Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015

I’m still reeling in the aftermath of the whirlwind of yarny goodness that was the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. What a weekend!

My apologies for the poor photo quality, my camera has died on me, and in the interim these photos were taken on my phone, indoors with no flash or focusing capabilities…

As I mentioned in my last post I had a place on a shared stall with 6 other members of the Tea Tree Tea Knitters in return for volunteer work over the Festival. We had a good position in the main cafe area:

Craft Tree in the cafe

We decided to call ourselves Craft Tree as not everything we were selling was knitted, while still having similarities with our Ravelry group name. We all made bunting pennants to make our sign.

Craft Tree stall

Here you can see Becky’s knitted glasses and yarn buckets and my section with my samples and patterns and some of Jenny’s handspun yarn and knitted accessories. There were other knitted and crocheted accessories and gifts, knitting project bags, stitch markers, and felted and button-based jewellery on our stall. I was selling some Felty Folk greetings cards too:

Felty Folk and Evangelina

It was very quiet to start with as most visitors headed for the main hall; after they had worked their way around there, they were ready for a cuppa, and had to queue past our stall, which gave us plenty of opportunity to chat to everyone.

I had lots of interest in my patterns, and handed out plenty of leaflets with links to my patterns, so I’m hoping this with materialise some more online sales.

Becky’s glasses were a good talking point and ice-breaker. Here is Becky, Oom and I modelling them:

Becky, Oom and I

Thanks to Jenny, Sonia, Sigi, Om, Becky and Patricia for their good company and excellent crafting talent on the stall.

I didn’t get too much time to have a look at the main stalls on Saturday as I was either on rotas on the stall or volunteering. When I did manage to have a look around it was incredibly crowded, and the scale and choice of the stalls was completely overwhelming. I only bought a pair of vintage knitting needles on Saturday, which reminded me of the needles I learned to knit on as a girl, then sadly I broke them as I packed up my stall for the day. I am going to glue them back together and keep them in my decorative knitting needle jar just to look nice instead, they are 1960’s plastic tortoiseshell. I bought them from a stall selling jewellery made from vintage knitting needles – Yellow Bear Wares.

I was staying on with some of my friends for the evening Ca-baa-ret. This was hosted by Felicity Ford aka Felix aka Knitsonik. She entertained us with her own songs on accordian, and told us all about her adventure of publishing her book, the Knitsonik Stranded Colourwork Source book. This was a crowd financed book through a Kickstarter campaign. I got the book for Christmas, and I think it is an excellent creative resource for knitters and designers. She told us, in a very amusing style all about the project, and broke off in the middle for a tirade against the Shreddies breakfast cereal, Knitted by Nanas’ advertising campaign, and how it denigrates knitters and knitting. Her first point was that Shreddies are clearly woven not knitted! Her 2nd point is that it is impractical and clearly impossible to do this. She had attempted to knit a 4 layer Shreddie, and found it took her 1 hour. This is her calculations based on this:

Shreddie tirade

  • 1 hour to knit a Shreddie
  • 750 Shreddies in a box
  • £4,875 to pay minimum wage
  • RRP on the box is £2.29
  • underpayment of £4,872.71

It gave us all a good laugh. Ysolda Teague joined Felix for the 2nd half of the evening to put of a knitting quiz. Felix is also a sound artist, so one of the quiz rounds consisted of various sounds of sheep, and we had to identify which ones they were from a list we were given. Felix did a bit of a sheepy dance, with a sheep mask on during the sounds:

Felix the sheep

For another round, each team was given a kit of various craft materials, quite a limited kit, and had to make a sheep in 10 minutes! I had an idea that I could make one using the fleece rolling technique, that I had used in kids workshops before. However, I tried to make it a bit too big using all the fleece, and he was just too heavy to stand on his pipe cleaner legs and too woolly to see any features. Aww poor thing:

Our sheep entry

And he didn’t really bear comparison with many of the other entries:

All the sheep

Although some of the others were pretty deformed…

It didn’t affect our score though, as my team won – Team Evangelina – and we all got a goodie bag of Yarn Pony yarn from Festival Organiser, Mica. Thanks to my team for our pooled knowledge, and how lucky we were to have 3 people from Shetland on the team.

The Festival was a bit quieter the next day, which was a bit of a relief as we were all a bit tired. I had a bit of time and space in the morning after my volunteer duties to have a shop. The pathways between the stalls were much quieter than Saturday and it was easier for me to take some photos:

Sunday crowds

One of my favorite yarn shops, Baa Ram Ewe from Leeds were there:

Baa Ram Ewe

They have brought out their own range of yarns, and you can see their range of colours above. I had a skein of 4ply in the green bought for me for Christmas. This is their Little Fella kit, and the Vivid blanket, by Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits in the Titus yarns:

Titus and Little Fella

I loved the way the Toft Alpaca displayed their Edward’s Menagerie pattern samples. It looks like the panda is having a ride on the stall holders back:

Toft Alpaca

I liked the sheep sitting above all the soft natural colours of the Rare Breed yarns on the Black Bat Rare Breed stall:

Black Bat Rare Breed Wool

They have sheep knitting patterns available.

The cute felted puppets on Ulrike Muehle-MacDonald’s Woolly – Felt – Design stall caught my eye. Reminded me of Jim Henson’s style of puppets.

Woolly Felt Design

Heather looked so cheery spinning away on her bright Little Owl Yarns stall:

Little Owl Crafts

I had got chatting to the Shamu Makes stallholders during the festival, they are a fairly new business, and their yarn colours were lovely:

Shamu Makes

Shamu makes yarns

I bought some beautiful emerald/leaf green sparkle sock yarn from them. Here is my yarn haul from the Festival:

Festival stash

The 2 skeins of purple yarn from Yarn Pony and are my winnings from the quiz, the cream yarn is also Yarn Pony and was in my volunteer goodie bag, the teal yarn is from The Border Mill, and the raspberry yarn is from Easyknits. The cream and raspberry yarns are going to be some of the stripes in the Missoni style jumper I have in mind to knit, I’ll probably adapt this pattern; they will go well with the yarn I bought back from Venice. The teal yarn will make Dusted Gauntlets when combined with some Aubergine Kidsilk Haze I have in my stash. The green sparkly yarn is just because I fancy some sparkly socks! And I have no plans, as yet, for the purple yarn.

I really enjoyed volunteering during the Festival. It added to the feeling of being “part of it”. I was mainly checking in people to their workshops at the Water of Leith Centre; everyone I met there was very friendly and happy to be there. It was also a good opportunity to meet some of the tutors, Hélène Magnusson (The Icelandic Knitter) who was wearing beautiful traditional Icelandic costume all weekend, Hazel Tindall (the World’s fastest knitter), Karie Westermann, Katherine Lymer, Rachel Coopey (Coop Knits) all were lovely people and it was great to meet them.  I did a stint on the main Info Point too, which was very much like my day job, when I work occasionally in the Info Zone at the National Museum of Scotland. I also had a couple of opportunities to chat to Nancy Marchant (the Queen of Brioche knitting), who is a bit of a knitting hero of mine; I hope I didn’t gush too much… I hadn’t seen Ysolda for a while, so it was nice to catch up with her, and her marvellous assistants, Sarah and Becca, I had a bit of a natter to Stephen West (WestKnits), and Mel, who knits for Kate Davies, was hanging out on Ysolda and Stephen’s stall too. And I chatted to many, many more knitting friends, old and new.

I had a photo taken in the photo studio with my Evangelina socks:

Me and Evangelina Socks

Loads more portraits from the day are on the Edinburgh Yarn Festival website.

This was a much larger event compared to the 1st Edinburgh Yarn Festival, held 2 years ago, which I wrote a blog post about; surprisingly, for its size, it still retained that friendly atmosphere, and a feeling that something special was happening.

Thanks so much to Mica and Jo for putting on such a great event.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for volunteering, you also played a big part in the friendlyness of the festival. And congratulations on winning and most of all your published socks!

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