This post is little late (ok, a lot late), but better late than never, right? Anyway, I wanted to share my thoughts on the recent Edinburgh Yarn Festival (17 – 20th March), because it’s an up-and-coming popular yarn festival and it deserves all the attention it gets!
The Edinburgh Yarn Festival first happened in 2013, and had its second event two years later. The one in 2015 is the first one I attended, and it was magic. It was a yarn lover’s paradise. Our knitting group regularly attends the Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS in Dublin every year, but the EYF is on a whole different level of niche market. Tailored especially for those passionate about fibre, it manages to expertly combine a fantastic display of vendors, host classes for all skill levels and interests, and provide an atmosphere of friendly conviviality. It is for all of those reasons that I love going! Walking through the aisles of stands in the Corn Exchange, I was struck by how many people were not only wearing hand knit items, but how many of the patterns I recognised by sight. I admit to feeling a little starstruck when meeting (or even just spotting) many of the talented designers and dyers ambling about!
Just to give you a quick visual tour of some of the amazing stalls you can find at EYF:
Above, from left: La Bien Aimée was showcasing a new pattern by Julie Dubreaux, Cosmic Dandy, and had a selection of amazing skeins to choose for it; Skein Queen was there with her usual stock of richly coloured variegated yarn, and the fellas from Easyknits were there with their rainbow stock.
Below, clockwise from left: the beautiful Jessica from Ginger Twist Studios managed to stay bubbly and cheerful the whole weekend; Yvonne from Dublin Dye Company brought an astonishing array of gorgeously dyed yarn; the Buffalo Wool Company from the US were there with their yarn made from bison (yes, bison!!), a strong and surprisingly soft fibre; and Larissa and Helen from Travelknitter and the Wool Kitchen respectively shared a stall, which provided much temptation.
There was also plenty of fibre for spinners! Louise from Spin City was so nice to me, and went through all kinds of info regarding different spindle weights, fibres, etc. for a new spinner. The Tour of British Fleece were there too, with a well-informed stall with samples, pictures, and all sorts of interesting things to look at and touch. And John Arbon’s Textiles stall was a treasure trove of yarn, fleece, fibre, and patterns.
And the Podcast Lounge! There was a podcast lounge for podcasters and for people to meet and chat with the podcasters. Jo from Shinybees gave a seminar, Louise from Knit British was there with a friendly smile, and so many more! The whole atmosphere was one of friendship, fun, and knitterly (or crochet/fibre) passion. I made a lot of friends, saw old ones, and had a brilliant time with a few of my fellow crafters from Down the Crafting Rabbit Hole.
The one negative opinion I have about the festival is about the organisation of the classes. Signing up for a class is, in itself, practically a lottery because they sell out so quickly. And because they’re sold months in advance, it can be difficult to assess how your plans might change. Cancelling the class incurs a relatively high cancellation fee, which apparently you can be charged even if you find someone who wants your ticket (which isn’t hard, although for some reason a thread about this in the Ravelry group was archived which I felt it was useful info for others). And if you’re late, well that’s just too bad. You may have paid the money but the organisers have made it clear they will not allow late entry. I understand that it would be annoying to deal with constant latecomers, and it could disrupt the classes to have people coming in late, but in all honesty, we’re not learning calculus, or life-saving skills, or anything that requires exceptional focus and attention. In my experience of the two years that I have attended the festival, the atmosphere in the classes has been informal and relaxed, and I have no doubt the skills of the instructors could have easily accommodated someone who had gotten held up by public transport or other reasonable excuses. The majority of festival goers aren’t lucky enough to live in Edinburgh, and therefore require a bit of navigation around the stunningly gorgeous city! But all in all, we all had a wonderful time and can’t wait to go back next year! Hope to see you there!