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More Yarn – Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017

Another year has passed and it’s Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF) time again. So enjoyable to be volunteering and catching up with everyone involved.

 

Here are some of the stalls setting up on Thursday afternoon. It takes a lot of work to get all the yarn on the stalls ready for opening on Friday morning.

EYF17SettingUp

That’s Kate Davies Designs stall setting up at the end of the walkway on the right.

 

This is Java Purl and Di Gilpin’s stalls:

Java Purl and Di Gilpin

 

Estelle at Midwinter Yarns unpacking:

Midwinter Yarns

 

Thursday night, I was at the knit night at Akva in Edinburgh and was getting my first view of knitters parading their beautiful knits:

Colourwork shawls

 

It was a good opportunity to catch up with friends and meet new ones:

Sigi and Hikaru

Sigi and Hikaru

Knitters are generally friendly in herds, and Sara and Helen came over for a chat

Sara and Helen

and told us about their yarn festival, Yarningham in Birmingham. Only in its 2nd year, and the photos of their 1st year really reminded me of EYF’s 1st event.

 

And Friday we got to see all the beautiful yarn; a complete feast for the senses:

 

 

 

Wool Kitchen close up

Wool Kitchen

 

 

Love the rainbow array of kids’ dresses across the stand.

 

Incredible examples of designers work:

Lucy specialises in Celtic knotwork shawls and blankets, she’s been a feature of EYF for the last 2 years; it’s amazing to see how her designs have developed in style and complexity.

 

The stunning colours of Amanda Perkins’ crochet blankets:

Amanda Perkins

Amanda Perkins

 

Birdie cuteness from Sue Stratford:

Sue Stratford

Sue Stratford

 

My friends and I were examining an amazing shawl from one of the festival goers:

All the Stitches

I think it is coming on Ravelry soon – “All the Stitches”, knit in the round and then steeked.

I saw the same lady from the knit night, now wearing a colourful coat. I think she is a German designer, but I don’t know who she is, and the shawls from Thursday and the coat are her own designs, they remind me of Kaffe Fassett’s work.

Colourful coat

 

Friday night was Ceilidh night, and despite a busy day, heels were kicked up. Sadly not mine, as I’ve still got a bit of a sore foot from my foot operation last year.

Ceilidh dancers

Ceilidh dancers

Ceilidh dancers

Ceilidh dancers

Dancers I recognise are Jon from Easy Knits, Aimee from Le Bien Aimee, Nathan Taylor and my friends Kersti and Emma, and Cathy from Knitmastery.

 

On Saturday there were yet more opportunities to shop, knit, drink tea, and have photos taken in the Knitmastery booth.

Here is me in my Gujarati Diamond shawl:

EYF Photo booth Gujarati Diamond

And in the Lotus Crescent shawl by Kieran Foley I’ve just finished knitting:

EYF Photo Booth Lotus Crescent

(Thanks to Edinburgh Yarn Festival and Knitmastery for the use of the photos; photographed by Malena Persson.)

My friend Ruby, who was volunteering at the festival with me, is an amazing knitter and spinner, and she was fascinated by the spinning wheels on Spin City’s stall; and owner Louise was so friendly and helpful:

Louise - Spin City

 

I was delighted to meet Kate Atherley in person, she is Technical Editor for Knitty.com, and I previously worked with her online to prepare my Evangelina socks design for publication. I bought her marvellous book, The Beginners Guide to Writing Knitting Patterns, and she signed it for me.

 

I had chatted to Nathan Taylor, Sockmatician, last year at EYF, so it was great to renew our friendship, he was very helpful with some advice on a design I’m working on. He’s such a good egg, but maybe a little too obsessed with yarn?

Nathan Taylor

I like to think he’s praying to the God of yarn here. Such an amazing double knitted shawl he’s wearing.

 

And the festival just would not run at all without the helpful volunteers (I’m blowing my own trumpet here).

The Information Desk on Saturday afternoon, with Kersti, Catherine, and Oom (left to right)

Volunteers 1

And the Info Desk head honchos, Fiona and Hannah (left to right):

Volunteers 2

And of course thanks to Mica and Jo for thinking up this brilliant event and executing it so wonderfully.

I think it was a particularly warm, friendly and colourful one this year.

All the Yarn – Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

I am just surfacing from volunteering at Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016. What a fabulous time I had. I took quite few photos, but my camera was playing up, so my apologies for the poor quality, but you still get a great feel of the event.

I was checking people into workshops for most of my volunteer time, but on Thursday I help with the marketplace set up, and thought you might like to see some behind-the scenes-photos. I was acting as a runner essentially, and was dipping in and out of the marketplace; it was exciting to see people unpacking and all the colours of the yarn emerging.

Loading bay

Marketplace set up1

Marketplace set up 2

Marketplace set up 3

Here is Lindsay Roberts, aka The Border Tart, and her helper, setting up the Blue Moon yarn stall, bit of a way to go yet:

Border Tart set up

This is the Pompom Quarterly stand unpacking:

Pom Pom Quarterly set up

And this is Weft Blown, with some of their beautiful weaving hanging up:

Weft Blown set up

 

Friday was the start of the Festival proper, and I was there bright and early to check people into their workshops at the Water of Leith Centre. However I had plenty of time to explore the marketplace for real, after my sneak peek the day before.

I loved how Emma Lamb had decorated her stall and displayed her crochet, it all looked very cosy:

Emma Lamb 2

I love the way she puts colours together, those crochet flower garlands are exquisite.

Emma Lamb 1

Joe’s Toes stall was very eye-catching, they had created a felt fireplace:

Joe's Toes 1

They sell their own components to make your own felted slippers: great idea, and great colours.

Joe's Toes 2

Every time I walked past the Wollmeise yarn stall, the vivid colours made my mouth water – I seem to have a synesthetic reaction to colour. However once the marketplace opened I could barely see the yarn through the crowds of customers:

Wollmeise stall

Here’s what the fuss was about:

Wollmeise

I was chatting to Wollmeise owner, and she was saying she no longer sees the colours as everyone else does, she just sees imperfections as she strives for newer better colourways.

Lindsay Roberts did me proud displaying both my shawl designs, Gujarati Diamond and Dreaming Daisy, prominently on her stall. I headed around there regularly in case anyone needed any pattern support:

Border Tart stall

Jess at Ginger Twist kindly had my new sock design, Fair Flooer, displayed with her sock yarns on here stall. Lots of lovely bright colours on her stall including Jess and a customer – Redheads unite!!

Ginger Twist

More bright colours in abundance on the Rainbow Heirloom stall:

Rainbow Heirloom Yarns

With beautiful designs from Tin Can Knits, that’s the Vivid Blanket on display:

Tin Can Knits

Which you can buy in kits in their clever colourways.

 

One of the new discoveries of the festival for me was the daughter of a shepherd stall. It was the first stall with a queue on Friday morning, and a lot of the people queuing were designers and other stallholders. This is all because of the story behind the stall, from Rachel Atkinson, whose Father was offered a pittance for the wool from his flock by the Wool Marketing Board, and decided to get the wool spun and sell it directly to knitters. This was the first blog post she wrote about it, read the whole story in these posts.

 

On Friday night there was a ceiligh:

Ceilidh 3

It was a good opportunity to relax and kick up our heels:

Ceilidh 1

Ceilidh 2

Edinburgh Yarn Festival organiser, Mica and knitting pattern designer, Ysolda led the way:

Mica & Ysolda

 

So we were all ready to do it all again on Saturday. Time to consolidate and complete purchases, and chat to old and new friends.

Sigi, one of my fellow volunteers, proudly showed my her Style Award ribbon bestowed on her by the knitting pattern designer, Stephen West. She is wearing a Stephen West Shawl and jacket.

Sigi Style

I caught designers, Kate Davies and Amy Detjen hanging out on Ysolda’s stall with stall holders, Becca and Sarah:

Amy, Kate, Sarah & Becca

Alison and Laura in matching Carnaby skirts:

Carnaby Skirt

I was introduced to the Sockmatician, Nathan Taylor, in his beautiful shawl, one of his unpublished designs:

Nathan Taylor

Although the festival was very much an international affair, I felt there was a strong emphasis on British wool. I got to chat with Louise Scollay, who does the Knit British podcast, and Isla Davison, from Brit Yarns, and Carol Christiansen, from Shetland Museum, all of them passionate about British wool and our knitting traditions, techniques and culture.

 

Of course, I did some shopping. I was fairly restrained.

I wanted to make a Utilitarian Sweater in Tunisian Crochet, it’s a 2 colour design, and I had just been given 2 skeins of Baa Ram Ewe Titus in the Wesley Bob colourway (red), and I was looking for a second colour. I found it on Easy Knits stall, Big Boy, in a lovely hand dyed burnt orange. I bought a crochet hook while I was there, and started the project during the festival:

Big Boy and Titus yarns

I had a yearning for an unusual self-striping sock yarn, and was also keen on some of the new splashy dyed yarns, and found a lovely hand-painted Colour Scroll sock yarn on Skein Queen’s stall. This is it unrolled:

Skein Queen colour scroll

I eventually succumbed to the pull of Wollmeise and bought a vivid blue/green mermaidy sock yarn. I also bought a purple Alpaca Tweed from The Border Mill, good to support a local company, and I wanted to replace my own pair of Camellia wristwarmers, as I have worn them out by wearing them so much.

My Haul

 

Roll on next year!! 10-11 March 2017

 

 

 

 

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.

St Abbs Wool Festival

I headed over to the lovely fishing village of St. Abbs for a regular Wool Festival event, which I’ve never managed to get to. St. Abbs is on the North East coast of Scotland just North of Berwick-upon-Tweed, so not too far for me to travel for Lauder. I was looking forward to it, and the sun was shining, and it was beginning to feel a bit like Spring! I’ve just got a new car, with a Sat Nav, after being without a car for a year, and it was quite a novelty to be able to just go somewhere without excessive planning for bus times etc. However, I’ve only been to St. Abbs once before, so this time I was trying out driving to the Sat Nav directions. They were very good, but after encountering some scary bends, and an unexpected single track road, and just not knowing exactly where I was, I felt a little frazzled when I got to St Abbs:

St Abbs Harbour

I was eager to see yarn though, so I dived in and perused the stalls, stopping briefly to say Hello to Janice from Flight Weaving and Laura Brittain, a fantastic felter, I know them both from the Tweed Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, and Lindsay Roberts, The Border Tart, who I’ve mentioned before in this post:

Lindsay Roberts stall

She’s been dyeing yarn with indigo. I haven’t seen anyone doing a just indigo range before, I think she’s been inspired by her trips to India.

Bordertart Indigo yarn

The St Abbs Wool Festival was spread between two close venues, the Ebba Centre and the St Abbs Visitor Centre and it was really busy where I was, and I was still feeling a bit frazzled, so I headed to the other venue. I stopped to take a look at the view of St. Abbs Head, which is looked after by the National Trust for Scotland, and is a popular place for walkers.

St Abbs Head

There was a striking sculpture at the entrance to the Visitors Centre:

St Abbs Bronze1

It marks a fishing disaster in 1881:

bronze label

The distressed women and children are still looking out to sea for the men who will not return – I found it quite moving:

St Abbs Bronze2

There were demonstrations, rather than yarn sales in the Visitors Centre, and more people I knew – Eve Studd from Cornhill Crafts (more about Eve from this post) was showing examples of natural dyes and was making a rug on a peg loom, and Rod from Innerleithen Spinning Wheels was busy getting people to try out spinning on his fabulous wheels. In fact they were so busy, I didn’t get a chance to chat to them.

Some quite detailed wet felting was going on from Anna Turnbull as part of the Woolscape project:

felting a fish

The Visitors Centre were encouraging people to sign up to the project newsletter and April workshops, and knit/crochet/felt fishes and other sea life, like this:

crocheted rockpool

crochet coral and whale

I don’t often get involved in this type of project, but I liked that they were making specific sea life, and had books you could look at for ideas. As I work in a Museum Library, which has lots of natural sciences books, I thought I could get some inspiration there, use up some of my yarn stash odds and ends, and create some undersea flora and fauna. I’ll let you know how I get on, and any more news I hear about the project.

I was feeling in need of a cuppa, and a bit of a respite from the busy festival, but the café in the Ebba Centre was full, so I went and sat in the car and had a snack and a little rest. I wasn’t ready to go back into the hustle and bustle, and I remembered that Louise from Woolfish was having an open house, and had yarn for sale, so I drove back up the hill and felt welcome, and had a lovely time rummaging through the yarn, and was offered a cuppa, and a cheese scone, and I was soon relaxing with a bit of knitting in the comfy conservatory, and chatting to like-minded people. I bought some practical yarn for knitting man’s garments.

Louise used to have a shop on the road into St Abbs, but she is now focusing on her knitting retreats, which sound great; have a look at one of her itineraries. I was chatting to Louise about knitting styles, which I have written a post about, and she showed me her way of knitting Continental style, which she linked to how you hold your yarn to crochet. It made it seem a more feasible prospect the way she showed me, so I reckon her retreats must be very helpful, and would move on your knitting skills quite considerably, while having a relaxing time.

Feeling more relaxed and rejuvenated – the power of tea and knitting! I returned to the Ebba Centre and said Hello to the Wensleydale sheep outside:

Wensleydale Sheep

Sheep sign

The fleece from these sheep is made into lustrous Whistlebare yarn:

Whistlebare yarn

Whistlebare stall

I am making a cardigan from Wensleydale sheep yarn at the moment and it’s a lovely wool to knit with, and gives good stitch definition, with a slight halo and shine.

I was very impressed with the yarn from Yarn Garden, and their innovative garden-themed display.

Yarn Garden

I wish I had taken a close up photo of their yarn. They are a new company from Newcastle; go and check out their scrumptious yarn on their website. They said they were going to be introducing some new base yarns, but they haven’t made it to their website as I write, so keep an eye on it or “like” them on Facebook to get status updates.

I ended off my day buying some Pumpkin colourway yarn from the Border Tart, she is great with colours and blends different colours of fleece before she hand spins it:

Bordertart pumpkin yarn

I remembered there was a great gallery just outside St Abbs, so I thought I’d have a look around before I went home. I liked the view of St Abbs Church from the gallery:

View from Number 4 Gallery

I got tempted in the gallery and bought a beautiful small bowl – it makes me think of shallow rippling waves on the beach.

Pottery bowl

More photos of the St Abbs Wool Festival on the St Abbs Visitor Centre website.