Thursday, 28 March 2019

What I Bought At Edinburgh Yarn Festival

Me meeting Jess from Ginger Twist Studio
I've been back at home for a few days now following an exciting few days in Scotland's capital to visit Edinburgh Yarn Festival. That's given me time to unpack, recharge my batteries and lovingly look over my purchases.

Thankfully for my bank balance I wasn't able to buy much due to travelling hand luggage only on the plane - although if I'd had the cash and a huge suitcase there was much, much more I could have brought home! Indeed I saw lots of women with wheely suitcases there (although whether they were stuffed with yarn or their owners were planning on travelling home after the event I don't know) and a security guard told me that one festival goer had said she'd spent over £1000 on woolly joy. It sounds a heck of a lot but with over 90 vendors to choose from, some offering premium, one-off products, I can understand why she parted with her cash.

The reason for my going to to EYF was to write a feature on it for The Knitter magazine, which will be published in a few month's time. In this blog post I thought I'd focus on my own purchases. I've been to yarn festivals before, both big and small, and EYF really stood out to me as being at the top of the game. Although it did get really busy, apparently it's the most-visited event at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange, there were places to go to get a break either in the marquee or outdoors. Plus lots of outlets selling cake.

The atmosphere was very friendly and happy, with old friends meeting up and new pals being made. Lots of people (including me, wearing my my latest knit using a Ginger Twist Studio yarn and pattern) were proudly sporting one of their hand knits. I met the lovely Jess from Ginger Twist Studio at her stand to show her my jumper, and also spotted quite a few Kate Davies and Marie Wallin designs.

I also saw this fabulous jumper knitted by a lady (see photograph on the left) who kindly let me take her photograph. The pattern is 'The Simpler Sinister Sweater' by An Caitin Beag. I'd added it to my Ravelry favourites a few months ago but seeing the jumper in bold colours, as opposed to the light grey and yellow on the pattern's cover, strengthened my resolve to knit it.

Quite frankly there were lots of stalls I could have bought the DK yarn for it at EYF. Most stands stocked either 100% wool or wool blends, with an emphasis on Scottish and British fleece. It was rather like being a child in a sweet shop, being able to see and squish all the fabulous yarns on display, many from small businesses that only sell by mail order or at yarn shows. To start off I bought the printed pattern (I much prefer buying a printed pattern rather than downloading and printing one myself) at £6 plus a cute stitch marker also from An Caitin Beag for £4.


Then it was time to hunt for the yarn to knit the sweater with. I wanted British wool soft enough to wear against my skin and found it at the very helpful Kettle Yarn Co. stall. Owner Linda and her assistant talked me through their yarns and I was impressed my their recent launch Northiam DK. It's 100% British Bluefaced Leicester wool that's surprisingly smooth and bouncy. But which colours to buy? Linda helped me whittle the choice of 11 down to two for the sweater based on her colour knowledge. I bought the greeny/teal shade 'Caspian, which will form the main body of the sweater, and 'Rosehip' as the contrasting colour. Each 50g skein was £9.25, although on Kettle Yarn Co.'s website the skeins are now listed at £9.50.


The EYF marketplace was open on from Thursday to Saturday and on Sunday there was a separate, smaller event called Make::Wool. This gave very small businesses, including textiles and ceramics as well as artisan yarn spinners and dyers, a chance to showcase their products. With the knowledge that I had barely any more room in my overnight case I stuck to one purchase, that being a handy drawstring project bag for £5 from Donna Smith Designs. The enamel badge on it is my own.


All in all EYF was a great treat and fantastic research for this blog. I met some great people making gorgeous yarns and will be featuring them on A Woolly Yarn in the months to come. Watch this space!

Did you go to EYF? What did you buy? Let us know in the comments box below or on A Woolly Yarn's Facebook page.

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