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Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018, part 2

· Yarn festivals,Yarn,Making

I decided that perhaps you had probably read enough of my EYF ramblings for one sitting. Cue the next instalment of ramblings!!

As I mentioned in my last blog update, my Saturday at Edinburgh Yarn Festival was spent with my great friend Sarah which was lovely. We arrived promptly around 9am and the marketplace was once again, beautifully quiet and easy to navigate around bright and early. We both like to take a good look at all the stalls rather than making a bee line to a particular vendor, so we’ve got to a tried and tested weave along each of the aisles so we don’t miss anything! We spent a lovely morning browsing the marketplace, doing a little shopping, refuelling with coffees and having an occasional chat to yarn friends, before having a proper sit down for lunch and recharging ahead of our afternoon classes.

‘Knitting the Landscape’ class with Karie Westermann

I’ve followed Karie for a while via Instagram and her blog, and supported her recent crowd funder for her awesome book ‘This Thing of Paper’ so I was really looking forward to meeting her in person (and felt a little star-struck!). The class lived up to and completely surpassed all my hopes. I wasn’t really quite sure what to expect to be honest, and I was feeling quite anxious about my limited knitting skills and whether that would make it hard. But it absolutely didn’t, I wish I’d taken a stitch dictionary with me to guide me through some stitches I can do but need guidance with. If I’d had a resource like this available it would have broadening my stitch repertoire. But as it was, I worked very effectively with the basic stitches I did have at my fingertips, and it certainly didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the class.

I won’t go into detail about the structure of the class in case you have an opportunity to attend one (if you can go, absolutely do, thoroughly recommended!). We were (by my standards) a large group – perhaps 25/30? – but we each explored a very different journey and landscape. I loved how Karie challenged us to capture this within our knitting, and to think really creatively and deeply around this. At the end of 3 hours we’d each developed such a breadth of different stories, colours and stitches. I’ll definitely be continuing with my project over the coming months as I got so involved in my (unexpectedly emotional) knitted landscape, and I have so many ideas I’m keen to explore further and apply the same thinking process to.

Some of my EFY highlights

Joanne Scrace, one half of The Crochet Project spotted my Transposition shawl and I got one of their brooches for wearing it at EFY - a unexpected bonus! I picked up The Shawl Project Book 4 which focuses on gradient yarns, and introduced myself to Joanne as I’m attending Gartur stitch retreat with the Crochet Project in May, which I’m tremendously excited about! Definitely more on that another time …

In terms of shopping, as I explained in my last post, my yarn buying was carefully targeted this year. I got some gorgeous Eden Cottage Yarn in cream, pink and green to make a hat for my little girl – including a toning pink sparkly yarn for a pompom, hooray! I do love an excuse to make a pompom … I just need to track down a nice easy hat pattern for that, and I can’t wait to get started. Any recommendations are most welcome! I will probably start with looking at Tin Can Knits as I love their patterns. The navy blue Rauwerk wool will also be a hat, but for my other half this time, so I went for a nice sturdy arran yarn for this one. I’ve been eying up the Wool Kitchen yarn for absolutely ages online now, so I got a skein to make myself either the Vanilla & Spice mitts or cowl by Sarah Shepherd (she made the most amazing metallic versions which are gorgeous).

Reflections

I can only imagine the hard work and organisation that goes into running such a massive event, both for the hosts Jo and Mica, and each of the vendors. I was walked past the Corn Exchange (where the event is held) as the market place closed on Sunday afternoon and saw lots of the stall holders brave the howling wind and the March snow, and start to load up vans with left over stock, ahead of (in some cases) very long drives homes. Perhaps it’s because I’ve started to think about what I need to do to prepare for Perth Festival of Yarn now - I certainly started to appreciate what a huge amount of preparation, time, effort and energy must go into it all. From making/ preparing the right amount of stock, displaying products and stalls so beautifully, to keeping a smile on over such a long period – I got an inkling of how tough (albeit I hope exceptionally rewarding too) these events might be. Definitely easier for the outgoing personalities amongst us, as I explained I found it quite exhausting just attending as a participant! I took so much inspiration from the beautiful stalls and arrangements but it also brought home how much time I will need to set aside to prepare for Perth Festival of Yarn! And I’m relieved it’s not until September …

On Sunday there was a ‘Meet the Shepherd/ess’ event, which was a late addition to the original programme, and was a spotlight on some of the smaller yarn producers, in a lot of cases local to Scotland. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend as I’d already taken family time out for EYF, but I’ll definitely make sure I’m there another time if something similar is planned (and fingers crossed it is!) There’s a super podcast from Louise from Knit British where she interviews some of the people involved, and it really does bring to life how invaluable bring some of these amazing products and businesses to a wider audience is, including sharing knowledge, awareness and expertise, and how passionate these yarn trail blazers are! Definitely worth a listen. http://www.knitbritish.net/mts-pod/#more-12814

That's all, folks ... Until March 2019

So overall, it was another awesome Edinburgh Yarn Festival, which I thoroughly enjoyed exploring with old and new yarn friends, and challenging some of my yarn related comfort zones and thinking! I actually though it was the best yet – the extra space really did help the community feel of the event to flourish. And by the time I’ve got around to posting this, Jo and Mica have already confirmed dates for 2019, so do pop it in your diary if you haven’t already, and there’s a chance you might be able to attend! Thursday 21 to Sunday 23 March 2019. Hope to see you there …

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