Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013

This may be a very “gushy” blog post, with multiple instances of “lovely” and “fabulous”; please forgive me, I was overwhelmed by attending the first Edinburgh Yarn Festival on Saturday.

You know how we all sit about and say ” wouldn’t it be lovely if…?” Three women, Jo, Mica and Linda, from my knitting group – Tea Tree Tea Knitters in Edinburgh, finished and fulfilled the wish, “Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a Yarn Festival in Edinburgh, and invite some of the best fibre/knitting people in Scotland and beyond to come along?” It really happened, and I was there.

Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013, Drill Hall

It was very busy, right from the start, I heard they’d had 1500 people come through the door. As this was the first festival, we had no idea just how much interest there would be, and it was quite a risk for the organisers.

Maybe it was a little too busy? Look at the queue for the café:

Café Queue

For anyone who is interested in knitting/crochet spinning etc., a Yarn Festival is a pretty exciting event; but for me it was more exciting than usual as I knew the organisers, the volunteers, many of the stall holders, and other knitting friends  were there too. I felt like I was included in a huge family party, and there was yarn there too!

I guess I should introduce you to the family:

Mica from Yarnpony

Mica (Ravelry: lillebrit)  one of the festival organisers, who recently started her own hand dyed yarn business YarnPony. Her lovely yarn:

YarnPony

A very busy stall indeed. Poor Fiona (Ravelry: AuntieFona), Verena (Ravelry: nangijala) and Nicola (Ravelry: nightswimmer),  were quite worn out after selling yarn all day (pictured left to right):

Fiona, Nicola and, helping out on the YarnPony stall

I found Cathy (Ravelry: FunkyOrange), creator of Stitchmastery, and festival sponsor, volunteering on the festival merchandise stand:

Cathy - Stitchmastery

Wearing her newly finished Levenwick cardigan.

Mementos of Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013

Jane (Ravelry: caleydocious) was selling her Caleydocious patterns, stitchmarkers, and gorgeous teddy bear patterns and kits:

Jane and Bears

Opposite Jane’s stall was Lindsay Roberts (Ravelry: bordertart), who lives in the Borders like me. She trades as the Border Tart, and has recently returned from an artist’s residency in India:

Lindsay Roberts - The Border Tart

Like me, she likes her bright colours, and I always find her goodies hard to resist. Here are her handspun yarns and embellishment kits:

Border Tart handspun yarn    Border Tart Embellishment kits

I was surprised to find Catriona (Ravelry: cat2832) had a stall, and ran her own business – Spin Pretty:

Catriona - Be Inspired Fibres     Spin Pretty

Natalie (Ravelry: theyarnyard) from the Yard Yard in West Lothian was there with her hand dyed yarns and embroidery silks:

Natalie - Yarn Yard

Linda (Ravelry: craftyally), another one of the organisers, was selling her hand made vintage inspired knitting bags.

Linda from Craftyally     Craftyally bags

Mei (Ravelry: magimix) was so busy every time I went to her Be Inspired Fibres stall, I didn’t get a chance to chat to her:

Mei, Be Inspired Fibres

I managed to catch Ysolda (Ravelry: ysolda) later in the afternoon, having a bit of a knit with Becca (Ravelry: bleideag); Sarah (Ravelry: saz), who works with them must have disappeared when she saw me coming with my camera.

Ysolda and Becca

It’s great to see knitted up samples of knitting designers patterns in “real-life”. Ysolda is wearing her Blank Canvas jumper, and here is her bunny and elephant Sophie and Elijah:

Ysolda's Sophie and Elijah

And her hats (left to right), Rose Red, Oxidize, Hendreary and the robot Trinket:

Ysoldas Hat's

Some of the other friends I had chats and cuppas with were Jackie (Ravelry: beshabar), who was on the yarn winding service table, and wearing a lovely soft colourway of the Betty Mouat Cowl, a shorter version of the one I made:

Jackie - Ball Winding

Jo from local crafting group Craft Reactor (she also works with me at the National Museum of Scotland) who was helping turn a cow into a sheep with donated pompoms, knitting and crochet:

Jo and Craft Reactor Sheep

Lovely Liz (Ravelry: Tiffin) and colourful Jenni (Ravelry: Wangaratta1961):

Liz    Jenni

It’s also a good opportunity to get chatting to new people. Amanda (Ravelry: OwlPrintPanda) from OwlPrintPanda, and her friend, Sarah (Ravelry: porcini) of Porcini & Button were very friendly:

Amanda and friend from OwlPrintPanda

and look at their cute fox and badger purses:

Foxy and Badger

Susan Crawford and her husband were lovely, shame the photo I took of them didn’t come out; but here is their stall.

Susan Crawford Vintage

Susan specialises in re-writing vintage knitting patterns for modern knitters. I think she is the best designer doing this, and I really want that book on the right – A Stitch in Time, Vol 2. She has also brought out her own line of vintage inspired yarn, Excelana, which I enjoyed “squidging”. Great to meet a bit of a knitting hero of mine.

Other inspiring stalls were Old Maiden Aunt yarns:

Old Maiden Aunt yarns

Beautiful jewel-like colours, it was a real struggle to elbow my way into that stall.

I never really managed to get a good look at the Skein Queen stall, you can see how busy they are re-stocking here:

Skein Queen

Afterwards, I remembered seeing a cute fox toy behind the stall, it caught my eye as I was struggling to get though a bottle-neck between two stalls. It was the Not-So-Intrepid fox, from the Intrepid Fox pattern; Debbie from Skein Queen said, “he has many adventures throughout the country, so is indeed intrepid after all!”

The other stall caught in the bottleneck was the button stall, Textile Garden, which I think is the best online button shop.

Textile Garden    Textile Garden Buttons

I eventually managed to get my hands on some buttons.

It was  good day for people watching too. I loved this lady in her stripy hat being shown a Scottie Dog cushion on the Strathern Fleece and Fibre stall:

Strathearn Fleece & Fibre

It was interesting to see what knitting patterns you recognised people wearing. There’s Ysolda’s Chickadee on the right, and can anyone recognise that striped shawl in the middle? – (Shawl has been identified by the owner, see comments below, Daybreak by Stephen West)

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013, Café and Drill Hall

I did partake in a bit of retail therapy – it was impossible to resist:

My Stash from Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2013

Gorgeous glowing green 50% merino/silk 4 ply from Old Maiden Aunt, so soft and squidgy. Sophie project bag from Ysolda. An Inspired by India goodie bag of Indian fabrics and trimmings from the Border Tart:

Indian Inspiration

Snake buttons from Textile Garden, and skull stitch marker from Spin Pretty:

Snake Buttons

Golden yellow yarn from YarnPony to combine with violet yarn, previously bought from the Yarn Yard, to make some colourwork socks, based on this Spilly Jane mittens pattern – Mystery and Manners.

Yarn Pony Yellow and Yarn Yarn Violet

There were many other people I enjoyed spending time with on the day, including – Laura, Alison, Kersti, Emma, Naomi, Rachel, Janet, Margaret, Laura, Louisa, Imogene, Kristen, Michele, Muriel. How lucky I am to be surrounded by such a creative and supportive community. It was a very inspiring and joyous day.

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11 comments

  1. Wow, what a fabulous post! I got to relive all the great memories again! It was fantastic to see you again, I really enjoyed chatting! We are very lucky to be in such a yarny world, huh?

  2. The shawl in the middle is me! The pattern is Daybreak by Stephen West and I love it, it has to be one of my favourite shawls.

  3. Oh it looks wonderful – so disappointed to have missed this. My son was up from London for the weekend – but next year I will ban all visitors on the EYF weekend (unless they’re serious knitters, of course)!

  4. What a great post! I certainly didn’t run away from your camera, I think I was elbowing at the Textile Garden stall when you came by, I can see Ysolda working on my knitting project in my absence!

  5. This looks amazing! Can’t believe I missed this – is the festival only annually? Or are there going to be more this year? I know some knitterly friends that would love to attend this.

  6. Thanks everyone for your kind comments. It took me almost all day yesterday to write, so many links! Claire C – we all would like this to be a regular event, but I guess that just depends on the organisers… handa – thanks for identifying YOUR shawl, have ravelled the pattern in blog.

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