Peggy and I were off to the Edinburgh Yarn Fest with a couple of knitting buddies this year! Set in Edinburgh’s Corn Exchange, it was a fairly quick bus ride from our flat in the West End of Edinburgh. There were no big yarn companies present, just a lot of wonderful smaller dyers and farms….awesome!
The very BEST was the small farm producers that we met. I spend a fair bit of time talking to a fellow from Knockando Woolmill from Speyside in Scotland. This mill was lovingly brought back to life and the owner was so proud of the rejuvenation, that it was hard not to get caught up in his enthusiasm. He has managed to get the old 1800s equipment back up and running and was falling in love with the fibers, the dyes and the possibilities. Sooooo, had to buy a couple of skeins from him….just because!
Another wonderful retail was Skein Queen out of Berkshire. Not only was this lady absolutely lovely, but her yarns were to die for! Her hand-dyes are unique and the colourways are absolutely gorgeous. I could have spent a small fortune here but picked up a bouquet of her mohair-silk mix called “Floof” and some merino cashmere as well. I think I will mix them together and make a small cardigan.
Several years ago, I was fortunate to go on a Jean Moss Tour to York. One of the highlights of my trip was a visit to the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop. The owners were at EYF this year and I was able to fondle their yarn again! While not really soft, I absolutely love the long fibers and the way the yarn sucks up the dye. I have had a couple of balls of red from the trip and added a red/black marl and black to the collection, so I can make something nice.
A few pics from that farm:
Toft had a wonderful booth full of great yarns and AMAZING POMPOMS! As my son’s girlfriends pompom was demolished recently by the gorgeous, yet mischievous Seamus (a golden retriever), I snagged one of these Alpaca fur beauties to remedy the problem. They also had a booth set up in the knitting lounge wherein you could get your pic taken with a ginormous crocheted Highland Coo and check out their cute knitted animals. I picked up a copy of Edward’s Menagerie so I could crochet some of these really cute critters.
Every religion needs a goddess to worship, and the Knitting Goddess from Harrogate might just be a candidate! I have been wanting to do Melanie Berg’s True Colours wrap, but needed some gradient mini skeins. I was pretty excited when I saw Joy’s offerings as they will be perfect!
Everyone knows, that when you are sitting in a crowd, easy knitting is the best….otherwise, you can chat away and then go home and rip out everything you knit because you will have, of course, made a mistake! Peggy and I found this amazing yarn from the Wool Kitchen for socks. LOVE THEM!! And am hoping Shantiknits can cook up something similar for us! As it turned out, there was a few flakes of snow in London on the day we were to leave, so FORTUNATELY I had packed this beauty as my emergency yarn and I needed it. I knit this and watched the last season of Game of Thrones on the plane….a damn near perfect day!
So that is the details of box #1 that I had shipped home (you understand)!!
All in all the Edinburgh Yarn Festival is certainly worth a visit for the beautiful yarns. The venue is small (much less than KW Fiber Festival) and it is really worthwhile to get the prepaid tickets for Thursday. The ticket numbers are limited and it is not crowded so you can have a good look around. As far as the Fringe Events? Not sure I would bother to be honest. The Thursday Night open knit had some good snacks, but basically, it was up to you to mix and mingle. I felt badly for the women who had travelled from other countries who did not speak English very well. There was no efforts to encourage us to get to know each other and “break the ice”. We did get to meet some lovely ladies from England, Sweden and Germany at our table, but that was it. There were so many fascinating folks at the EYF that surely one of the vendors or podcasters could have given a brief talk and HOW ABOUT SOME DOOR PRIZES LADIES? It costs a lot to go there and everyone loves free stuff, but not a door prize during the entire festival.
The Ceilidh was a blast…nothing like watching Stephen West bounce around in his neon pink ball cap (that had some sort of strange paraphernalia glued to the top) for one of the reels. The cool kids of knitting had a lot of fun and the caller was fantastic. However, I don’t like to comment on Scottish thrift, but by the time they had called the 500 of us up to the buffet, they had long ago run out of food. Apparently 1 hors d’oeuvres per person had been allotted and that was consumed after the first 100 people, I am sure. So other than some smoked salmon on toast, we were given some dried out sandwiches, most of which had sandwich spread and not much else. So much for Scottish beef and the wonderful cheese I had been craving. I was in a bad mood by the time the Ceilidh rolled around, so so much for the 45 pounds sterling I paid (yikes!!!).
Fortunately, we had a chance to walk around the beautiful city of Edinburgh, sample some great food (am loving haggis and scotch), and visit with my knitting buddies. I was happy to have Peggy with me as she was my main gal who stuck through thick and thin at DocKnits! I was so blessed to have her apply for a job when we opened and I hope the EYS was a fun send off for her as she moved on to a different job. I love that the DocKnits gals still meet once or twice a week for a chat. After all, that is what is important in life; people, love and relationships.