A look back at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival

I always tell myself I’ll blog while on holiday – and then I remember I hate typing stuff up on my phone. So, everything is rather delayed.

There are three basic components to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival: learning, shopping and – most important of all – people.

People

Personally, the people made EYF. My trip was a long-planned event with Kat (of Fiber and Sustainance) and we were then joined by Sharon (of What I made) and Grace (a friend of Kat’s (and now of mine!)). The event was so long planned, Kat, Sharon and I had time to knit matching jumpers!

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All the Stasises! (I do wish I’d taken off my backpack for this photo).

Grace didn’t have a Stasis, but we did have matching Babble hats!

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Baable Hats outside Holyrood Palace in the snow. (Snow is amazing, awesome stuff and I love it).

It was so great to see these three women after so long planning. We all live in different parts of the world and all of the Instagram, Facebook Messsenger and Skype cannot compare with actually being in the same room.

Learning

EYF offers an array of classes, which went on sale in New Zealand at 4am – and I slept through that. When I woke up at 6am, all of the classes I was interested in were sold out. Fortunately, when someone returned a ticket to Felicity Ford’s ‘Colours of Edinburgh’ class, Kat snapped it up for me.

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A rather blurry photo of my table at the ‘Colours of Edinburgh’ class.

If you ever, ever get a chance to go to one of Felicity’s classes, grab it! Generally known as Felix (or Knitsonik), she is an excellent teacher, with oodles of enthusiam and knowledge. More than that, the class was exceptionally well-structured – Felix ensures that there’s always some knitting to be done while something is being explained and limits the amount of ‘faffing about’ that occurs.

The class was based on the techniques she developed for her book Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. We all chose a photo of Edinburgh and then developed a small swatch based on it.

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My photo and swatch.

A different kind of learning took place in the Kate Davies’ talk, which discussed the interaction of limitations and creativity. As most people know, Kate suffered from a stroke at the age of 32. At this point I’d generally write ‘and despite that, she went on to develop an successful knitting pattern and yarn company’, but as was discussed in the talk, she has not over come her stroke and the resulting disability, it’s a part of who she is and her creative process. There were many other thought-provoking ideas in her talk and I’ll be eagerly awaiting her autobiographical book that’s due out this year.

Shopping

Shopping at EYF was… well, an adventure. There was a lot of options, especially for someone who doesn’t generally have ready access to the British yarn market, and the market place was very busy and could be quite overwhelming. But with the help of friends (especially Grace who has a superpower for finding the right colours in a pile of Jamieson’s), I kept calm and am really happy with the purchases I made.

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Kat and Grace with their Friday purchases.

On Sunday there was the Meet the Shepherdess market, which was a lot smaller (although still fairly busy). This featured a range of smaller producers and I picked up small amounts of yarn from several different producers, so that I can go on my own little adventure of Scottish yarn.

I generally don’t like to list what I’ve bought, but if you’re curious, I’ll be uploading my EYF stash here.

People Again (they’re really important)

From the friends I shared accommodation with through to the lovely woman who gave me a bit of shortbread when I was so hungry I thought I was going to faint in class, the people really made EYF.

Walking through the marketplace and the marquee was like walking through a real life Ravelry. It took forever to get anywhere because I was always stopping to talk to people about their knits – and mine! Even on the bus to the venue and about town in Edinburgh, it was easy to spot fellow knitters, stop and have a chat.

And that was EYF – long awaited, much enjoyed and fondly recalled. Massive thanks to Kat, Sharon and Grace for being such awesome housemates (and looking after me when I was jetlagged)!

 

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