Wednesday, 5 October 2016

An Exotic Holiday

Anastasia Socks
During the summer, Mr Handmade and I did something we've long talked about and never actually done: we rented a holiday cottage with some friends and did a proper grown-up holiday with some of our favourite people.

We chose a small town on the edge of the yorkshire dales, with the promise of a little walking, a little shopping and some days out to encourage us. We found a cottage and took it for a week in July, just before most of the schools went on summer holiday.

When the time came, we crammed four adults and all of the bags and baggages we thought we'd need or want for a week away into my tiny purple car, and set off. Driving a heavily laden car around some relatively steep inclines was... interesting, but we arrived, got fish and chips from the local chip shop, and settled in.

The holiday was lovely - very restorative - and included a little of all the things we enjoy. Mr Handmade and I sneaked off on our own and wandered around Acorn Bank, a national trust property with excellent gardens and a house in the early stages of renovation and setting up. We had lunch at a chocolate factory in Orton and bought fresh bread from the town bakery each day. We played most of the board games we took with us. And I took one of the friends and the car and we went to a yarn shop and visited Farfield Mill.

Farfield Mill was... interesting. It was mostly given over to shopping, with artists having individual little divided spaces and selling various things. I think my mother-out-law would love it, but I'm not sure that we are the target market yet. Downstairs, it has some great displays and a pretty good presentation on the 'Terrible Knitters of Dent', who knit in a sort of whole-torso rocking motion and were apparently very fast. I'm quite sad that their sort of knitting - known as swaving - has died out, but there are not very many accounts of it, and no video evidence that might enable us to recreate how they did it. I am aware that a certain blogger claims he has worked it out, but I have watched his videos and he is wrong. What he is doing is knitting, cottage style, with bent needles, not swaving.

We enjoyed Williams' Wools, a lovely shop where the owner was very happy to let us browse at length. I bought some West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the Kingfisher colourway, which knit up very rapidly indeed into some socks which were claimed by my grandmother. Overall, the holiday was a distinct success, and one we plan to repeat in future. Holidaying with friends is very different to going with family or just as a couple, and we liked it a lot.

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