Happy Yorkshire Day

Happy Yorkshire day everyone! Today is the day that Yorkshire folk celebrate their Yorkshireness and all things Yorkshire.  I shall be wearing my White Rose of Yorkshire with pride at knit night tonight.

It came in a kit for from baa ram ewe Yorkshire’s loveliest yarn shop.  The yarn is British blue-faced Leicester produced in Halifax West Yorkshire, which kind of makes up for it not being made from a Yorkshire breed such as Wensleydale or Swaledale.

So I thought I would celebrate with posting some facts about my hometown of Doncaster in South Yorkshire as an expression of my pride.

Not a lot of people know but butterscotch, one of my favourite confections (which has no scotch in it but heaps of butter and other yumminess) originates from Doncaster.  It was made by a company called Parkinson’s and even got Royal approval after it was given to Queen Victoria when she opened the St. Leger horse race in Doncaster in 1766.  Now called The Grand St. Leger it is the oldest and longest horserace in history, not that I know a great deal about horse racing though I did once do a stint at silver service waitressing at the St. Leger.  Butterscotch is still being made by Parkinson’s in Doncaster after a recent revival, yay!

Quite aptly as today is Yorkshire day, hubby and I went to see the Grimethorpe colliery band  from South Yorkshire last night, they are touring Australia at the moment.  You may recall that Grimethorpe colliery band were made generally famous through the film Brassed Off.  Brassed off happens to be one of my all time favourite films, not only for the brilliant and emotive musical score and fantastic acting (Pete Postlethwaite, my absolute favourite actor) but because I grew up in a mining town and lived through that era so it has a particular poignancy for me. I have to say they proved themselves not only to be superlative musicians but also humorous entertainers too, we had a fantastic night.

ttfn Melanie x


Special delivery

The postie came yesterday, hurrah hurrah!   I know several knitters doing the postbox hover at the moment, the anguish and anticipation is horrendous and I hope they are all very soon to be united with their purchases.  This is my last purchase of 2010 and it’s a good one, I’m  so excited to show you my new acquisition and I wish you could squish it too because it’s full of woolly goodness.

It’s North Ronaldsay fingering weight wool in light grey undyed and for those who might not know, the sheep on the Orkney island of North Ronaldsay live most of the year on the beach and have adapted to be able to digest the seaweed.  The yarn is entirely produced and handspun on the island and therefore quite rare and special.  As a new spinner, I love that it is handspun as it shows me what I’m aiming for with my own spinning.  Ah, to be able to spin so beautifully, hopefully with more practice I might one day.  I bought it with Jared Flood’s pattern Celes, in mind it’s a gorgeous lace scarf/stole and I think they would marry very well.

I also got Verity Britton’s Yorkshire Rose kit, because, as you know I couldn’t possibly resist a knitted Yorkshire rose.  The little box contains a pearl button and the brooch pin.


Melanie x


It’s funny how the colonies have changed the names of stuff.  Over here they call scotch pancakes, pikelets.  I’m missing Yorkshire pikelets fom Bettys and M&S toasted and buttered with my Yorkshire tea.  In Yorkshire of course, pikelets are a flat crumpet.

Above are ones I got from Bettys when I was on my Jollies last, they THE BEST pikelets in the world.  Here they are untoasted and look like lace doilies, sooo light and crisp when toasted.  I’d love to know their secret, mine never turn out like that.

Ok I have to stop now, the drooling makes the keys stick together and it’s making me more homesick.


Whitby is one of my favourite places in the world, not just in Yorkshire.  Steeped in history with lots of interesting associations (apparently Bram Stoker derived inspiration for Dracula from Whitby).  We had a great day there to remember Mum as it was one of her favourite places too.  I did buy some Whitby Jet earrings little rose studs but they haven’t photographed well but here’s some photographs that I took.

Yorkshire rhubarb

It would be very remiss of me to visit Yorkshire at this time of year and not indulge in one of Yorkshire’s famous delicacies,  forced rhubarb.  I have mentioned it to my Antipodean friends and they all look at me like I’ve lost the plot but Yorkshire forced rhubarb is indeed very different to any other rhubarb anywhere.  For a start there’s the colour.

Pink! This is the result of forcing, removing the rhubarb plant entirely from the outdoors to warm sheds where they grow rapidly until they are ready to be harvested by candlelight to avoid photosynthesis.

According to E. Oldroyd the largest producers in Yorkshire, rhubarb forcing began in Yorkshire in 1877 and the area between Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford became known as the Rhubarb Triangle.  This area being ideally situated for the forcing of rhubarb as the Pennines shield the crop from frost, the wool industry provided the perfect nutrition, locally known as “shoddy” (sheep manure to you and me) and the coalfields provided cheap fuel to heat the sheds.

The result is absolutely delicious, more delicate in flavour than summer rhubarb and stunning to look at.  We stewed our rhubarb with a small amount of water and 100g of sugar and served with scones and Cornish clotted cream (another English culinary treat that I miss) and of course a cuppa Yorkshire tea.


Visit to Baa Ram Ewe

Well my holiday is whizzing by and I haven’t blogged regularly like I promised I would, but I couldn’t let this gem go by without due recognition.

Fiona and I took the train the other day to Headingley in Leeds (well actually two trains) to visit Baa Ram Ewe a fairly new yarn shop.  I had heard about it’s opening from one of the English forums on Ravelry (Baa Ram Ewe now has it’s own group on Ravelry)  and it sounded fantastic so of course it was top of my list of places to visit whilst on holiday in Yorkshire.

The shop is really easy to find from the train station, about a 15 minute walk, as it is on Otley road and opposite the Arndale centre, just ask anyone  you pass on the street and they will direct you (Yorkshire people being the friendliest on the planet and everything).

First sight of the shop told us we were in for a treat, and we weren’t wrong.

Loving the totally cute open/closed sign made by the owner Verity.

This place truly is THE place to come for British and particularly Yorkshire yarn and knitterly goodness, we were blown away by all the pretties on offer and Verity’s welcoming friendliness (Yorkshire lass you see!).

The place has a real community spirit too, and we both love the knitted bunting a great way to use up scraps we think.

After careful deliberation and much holding back (Verity please take all my money for the rest of my life in exchange for yummy yarn.  No, no, really I don’t need to eat or anything, ever!) I came away with this:

Some Wensleydale Longwool DK in fennel a gorgeous colour, (currently being knitted up as Ishbel by Ysolda Teague), both Ysolda books (yes, I know I have them both as downloads in my Ravelry library but they are so cute), a sheep tape measure (super cute), and a Herdy mug and Herdybank (for yarney pennies). Herdy is the face of the Lake District a gorgeous Herdwick sheep, the kind Beatrix Potter bred and  proceeds from the Herdy range go into maintaining the Lake District so looking cute and doing good, check out http://www.herdy.co.uk.

I can honestly say that Baa Ram Ewe is yarntabulous and I am looking forward to the online store so I can buy British Breeds Yarn when I’m back in Melbourne, we had such a great day, thanks a million Verity.

Walk over HumberBridge

Hi, i got over my walking over a bridge fear today! I did feel sick and dizzy at first and my legs turned to jelly but i got used to it in the end and managed to take some photos.

View from the bridge

View from the bridge

Humber Bridge 034

Humber Bridge 051

Humber Bridge 065