It started back in July when I asked if you would like to contribute again to the Yarndale Sock Line which would be displayed at the Yarndale festival in September. The Yarndale Sock Line is a washing line full of pairs of hand-knitted socks which are knitted and donated from all over the world, admired by the thousands of visitors to Yarndale, and then are sent off to do a very important job of keeping someone's feet warm and cosy.
I can't tell you how proud it makes me to tell Yarndale visitors all about the socks and how they've been knitted for a stranger with as much love and care as you'd take over a pair for yourself. I love it when someone comes to visit and spots their own pair hanging high over the Knit N Natter lounge, and I love the fact that they are so beautifully knitted that I am asked many times whether they are for sale. They're not, though, and now I can finally tell you where they have gone.
It was a lovely sunny September morning when I went up to Skipton to spend the day with Lucy in her studio opening up the packets of socks that had arrived. Although a few pairs had come over the summer holidays, I wasn't prepared for the number that we waiting for me in Skipton - a huge Post Office bag full of them! (Here they are in my hall at home - you can see the size of the bag!)
The pile of socks on the table grew and grew and grew. We had 76 pairs of socks on the Yarndale Sock Line last year and it was looking very likely that we'd have a similar number this year.
I ran out of time to open all the socks at the studio and carried on at home. Each pair of socks is logged onto a spreadsheet showing where they have come from, a description to help me find them again if I need to and the size.
This year, I also gave each pair of socks a sticker with a number on them to make it easier to identify them when they were sent on to their new homes.
I like to be able to tell you where your socks have gone and the stickers definitely helped, especially as in the end we had 160 pairs - more than double the number we had last year! Wow! That's pretty amazing, and my deepest thanks go out to everyone who contributed. You can read about this year's Yarndale Sock Line display here.
Once Yarndale was over, the socks were taken down and the Auction Mart went back to looking like an Auction Mart rather than a haven of creativity, it was time to get the socks organised and ready to go to their new homes. It's taken me a bit longer than I intended this year, but it's done now and just in time with the colder weather on the way. I do enjoy this part; lots of phone calls to places that have been suggested either through the blog or Facebook or at Yarndale to speak to people who are very happy to be able to re-home our socks.
With my list of places to send them to, first of all, the socks were sorted into obviously male pairs, obviously female pairs, pairs that could be worn by either men or women and children's socks.
You'll be pleased to know that I have developed a new and highly sophisticated system for working out where all the socks go - colouring the spreadsheet with crayons that I pinched from small daughter's bedroom J.
Then the socks get sorted into piles to go to each destination. This year was quite easy as they were either mixed adult sizes or children's sizes so in the end it become quicker to abandon my sophisticated system and just worked from the piles that I had. This year, the socks are going to help homeless people, to adult and children's hospices, to a family centre and to a crisis centre. You can see the list of places that they have gone to, along with whose socks have been sent there here.
And here they are. Nine parcels all ready to send out. By the time you read this, they'll have been entrusted to the Royal Mail and hopefully the socks will be on feet by the end of the week.
Thank you so much for being part of the Yarndale Sock Line this year. If you sent socks, you can know that they have gone to somewhere where they will be very much appreciated and you will have brightened someone's day. Thank you for making a difference.