Festival Fun: Edinburgh Yarn Fest Recap

Posted on March 20, 2015 by Allison Thistlewood | O Comments

I was thrilled to be asked by Rachel if I would guest blog about my recent visit to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. I’ve often had good intentions of putting a recap up on my own blog but tend to forget as I’m back to work so quickly after a yarn-y event.

But what a yarn-y show it was – and too fabulous not to share! If you’ve seen any of the excitement around #edinyarnfest or #eyf2015 on social media you’ll have seen that it was something truly special. Organisers Jo and Mica did a fabulous job and they were understandably chuffed and humbled by the response. (And they did say to watch their website for an announcement about next year, so keep your fingers crossed!).

There was a queue to get in the door first thing on Saturday morning but happily it was moving quickly. I had spotted more than a few knitters by their handknits on the bus to the Edinburgh Corn Exchange that morning.

There was also a lovely volunteer greeting the masses with a smile and laugh as we made our way through! She made these glasses, which were fantastic!

Once inside, the marketplace was positively heaving with people. While Sunday was a little less busy almost all of Saturday was like this:

Which made it a little difficult to get many good photos! I was disappointed to find that many of my photos came out blurry from being jostled with the camera but hopefully you can sense some of the frenzy!

A great thing about the EYF was the number of designers that also took part. Many were partnered with yarn companies, or there to teach a workshop, making the event even more inspirational.

One of the busiest stands was that of popular designers Ysolda and Stephen West. (That’s Ysolda bottom left in a new colourwork waistcoat design not yet available and there’s no missing the colourful Stephen on the right in his Exploration Station shawl and Amazing Technicolor Dream Sweater!). Hot knitting tip from Stephen for 2015: brioche stitch. I’ve definitely got to add this technique to my repertoire!

A lovely display of baby knits on the Ysolda/Westknits stand
Another favorite designer I was happy to see and catch up with was Emily Wessel of Tin Can Knits (shown here having a selfie moment with designer Justyna Lorkowska of Lete’s Knits). It was lovely to be able to see the fab TCK designs in person with all the samples that Emily had brought along (including the Vivid blanket pictured in the background) and their newest book Road Trip. I’ve knit a few TCK patterns before so it was nice to connect with Emily and let her know how well-written the patterns are.
Lydia Gluck of Pom Pom Quarterly looking fabulous in her Tambourine Cardigan and ready to record another segment for the ‘Pom-cast’. Photo credit: Clara Parkes

Showing off lots of inspiration was Pom Pom Quarterly – an amazing magazine if you don’t know about it. There are always both knit and crochet patterns, and usually a recipe and always thoughtful essays and articles too. I saw more than a few Tambourine Cardigans from the cover of the Spring 2015 issue at EYF – or knitters hunting for yarn for it – proving it to be a very popular pattern! Confession: I may be casting on for this next myself…

And continuing with the theme of designers and inspiration, Felicity Ford hosted the Saturday evening Ca-Baa-ret and pub quiz, which included a talk about her book – The Knitsonik Colourwork Sourcebook.
This photo sums up the spirit of the weekend best for me: inspiration and happy knitters and designers. L-R: Clara Parkes, Felicty Ford, Tom of Holland, Karina Westermann, and Mel Ireland. Photo credit: David Fraser

But what I think might have been the best thing about the Edinburgh Yarn Festival was how connected it felt. In spite of the show’s size there were plenty of spaces to sit and knit (and catch one’s breath!), or catch up over a cuppa with friends. Many meet-ups were happening in the Podcast Lounge or new friendships formed over knitterly chat in the cafes with a compliment on someone’s shawl or sweater. It was lovely to meet up with friends and knitters in person we might only know online through Ravelry and now those online connections will be that much stronger.

Being at a yarn show can be overwhelming at times, but the energy and inspiration and creative spirit that I come away with is well worth it. The only trouble now is wanting to cast on EVERYTHING!
About the Author 
Allison is the UK sales rep for SweetGeorgia Yarns, Soak Wash, and ChiaoGoo. She also does freelance marketing and communications work, specialising in digital and social media for a number of Canadian and UK-based companies within the yarn and fibre communities. Allison is also one of the co-founders of Yarn in the City, the organisers behind The Great London Yarn Crawl and which this year is adding a Pop-Up Marketplace – to capture even more of that creative energy for this year’s participants! You can find Allison neglecting her own blog at www.champagneandqiviut.com.
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