Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2019: Vignettes

Wow. It’s just as well that returning to this post 4 months after I started it, and 5 and a half months after the events I’m talking about, that I can still laugh at the hubris with which I started this post, and yes, I’m leaving it as it was so you too can laugh or at least smile in recognition.

When I reflected on blogging in February I noted that last year it was eight weeks after Edinburgh Yarn Festival that I blogged about it, and that I would no longer impose a statute of limitations beyond which I could not longer blog about an event. Thus, it is with mixed feelings that I’m blogging about this years event approx 6 weeks after the event and feeling almost, dare I admit, triumphal at ‘beating’ last years record, especially since I’ve been separated from my purchases for much of that time and I did actually want to share them with you. Don’t worry, there isn’t a huge conspicuous consumption post coming along. My purchases were limited and considered and I’m thrilled with them and fully aware of the privilege that they and the fact that I went to Edinburgh, represent.

Like last years event I want to share a series of vignettes of the weekend; the special memories that I’ll take with me into the next 2 years and beyond. There will be no Edinburgh Yarn Festival next year as the organisers take a year hiatus. Most of these vignettes will centre around people I met, and their knits.

Yule

I wrote in a previous post about the completion of my Yule cardigan and I was so pleased to be able to wear it. However, I was even more pleased bump into my sweater twin ‘Hippidion‘ during our first coffee stop on the first morning. Our photo shows my modified into a cardigan Yule and Hippidion’s more faithful version rather nicely I think. I know that neither of us are at our most comfortable in front of the camera so I’m really pleased to have this picture.

 

One of my resolutions for the festival was to step out of my comfort zone a little more and be more forthcoming speaking to people I don’t know – off to a good start I thought.

Podcaster Meet-ups 1: Hey Brown Berry

There wasn’t a formal podcaster lounge at Edinburgh this year but a range of podcasters had organised meet and greets at various times in the marquee. There were two people whose podcasts I particularly enjoy who I was keen to say ‘hello’ to.

The first was Marce of the HeyBrownBerry Podcast  – a video podcast on You Tube.

Marce also has a Ravelry group full of chat, encouragement and knit alongs etc. which I’ve been a member of since I met Marce at EYF 2018. In my EYF2018 post I shared meeting Marce as one of my highlights of the festival, not that I knew her or her podcast at that time, but because she was such a generous soul and made me feel welcome in a group of people, none of whom I knew. It was partly the joy which that encounter brought me that made me feel like I had to be a little more ‘outgoing’ this year, because as uncomfortable as it might be, the rewards are worth it.

Another of my knits for EYF this year was a pair designed by Marce; the Pebbles and Pathways socks. *

I loved knitting these socks – it’s a great pattern that I can heartily recommend. I knit mine in a special skein of Sparkleduck sock yarn** which I bought at one of my first Woolfests, some years ago now…

I took, rather than wore my socks to the meet up and Marce filmed them for her podcast. I wasn’t sure about wearing them and walking around all day in my boots and then sharing them with anyone! You can just see them on the table in this screenshot.

But the following day I wore them to Maria (Ninja Chickens‘) meet up and she took a picture of them which also made it onto the podcast!

Podcaster Meet-up 2: Maria of Ninja Chickens

I’m also a keen watcher of Maria’s Podcast and a member of her Ravelry group. Maria lives in the Appalachian Mountains and has an eco awareness that I really appreciate in her making. Whilst she knits and has designed knitting patterns, I find her natural dyeing and eco-printing really fascinating too. You can find out more from her website. In the last year Maria has increasingly included information on techniques used in her eco-printing and dyeing. If you haven’t watched her podcast, I’d really suggest you give it a go; a recent episode features a visiting bear!

Meeting a Garment in Person (1) and the designer inside it: Eli of Skeindeer

It was really good to catch up with Eli of Skeindeer. I first met Eli at Wild and Woolly back in May 2018 at the launch of Susan Crawford‘s Vintage Shetland Project. I was aware of Eli from her podcast and as a result of that, also knew that just before EYF she had released her Kosekofte pattern. Its a fabulous ‘coatigan’ as Eli describes it, a big jacket/cardigan that looks so snuggly and warm and the perfect garment for those transitional seasons when you need more than a cardy, but less than a coat. I tried on Eli’s sample and I’m smitten. I’m wary of starting something I may take ages to finish but may have to just bite the bullet at some point. It has 5 steaks which may seem a lot but hopefully will make the knitting speed along and it does allow for some very neat finishing. I’m overheating slightly whilst I sit and think about it now in Italy, but it won’t stay warm forever (ETA: I assume….) !

Meeting an Garment in Person (2): Putting myself in it – Canisp

On the train to Edinburgh I had swatched for a new project, ‘Canisp‘ by Emily K. Willams. I’d seen this when it was launched on Ravelry and knew I wanted to knit it. I had some Excelana 4 ply in cornflower blue and dark mandarin that I thought would be perfect. I also thought the large amounts of knitting in the round would be perfect travel knitting. It was, but believe me the 2 inches of almost 350 stitches of rib was about of a slog. However, I tried on the sample at the John Arbon stand, the sample was knit in their Devonia Yarn, and that gave me all the motivation I needed to keep going and I got through the rib and well into the stripes over the weekend. I also had a quick chat with Emily on the Sunday as she was helping on the Black Isle yarns stand.

 

Meeting a Whole Collection of Garments in Person (3): Putting myself in most of them

 Interpretations 6 by Joji Locatelli and Veera Valimaki

Talking of trying on samples because I had bought a class I was able to access the marketplace early on the Friday morning. It was still quiet and I was able to mosey on up to the Pom Pom stand I try on pretty much every sample from Interpretations 6 and I want them all….

I’m hoping that my stash, once sorted after the move (right, reminder from my earlier self there!) will deliver on a couple, but with nothing else specific in mind for my weekend festival shopping I decided to splash out on the yarn for an Understated jumper by Joji Locatelli.

I’ll need to swatch but I’m hoping to get the Dk gauge with Whisltlebare Yavering 4 ply. This is a luxury yarn for me and working in the 4 ply will be plenty warm enough  (menopause means I run permanently hot with moments of spontaneous combustion) and  the extra yardage of the 4 ply means fewer skeins, so more economical, but still a real treat.

Sunday escapades and some natural dye inspiration

By Sunday, despite not particularly burning the candle at both ends, I was feeling a little fuzzy which I think contributed to getting on the bus with my luggage ready to go straight to the train from the Sunday morning event, and getting off the bus at the Corn Exchange without it…. Cue horrifying realisation, a yelp of ‘the yarn’ and leaping in front of the bus, waving madly at the driver as I then ran around the bus shelter to jump back on the bus and retrieve my suitcase. This then produced an even greater energy dip as the burst of adrenaline wore off…

So first stop was the marquee and a coffee, a read through my wool press and a little knitting on my Catnisp.

 

Suitably fortified I then went for a walk around the event MAKE:WOOL which showcased  farmers, small holders and small business where the dedication of those working with sheep and wool shone through.

I was thrilled to bump into Woollenwords who I had seen since we were in Shetland. Amelia hugs are pretty good hugs I have to say. There were yet more thrills in store as Amelia was helping out on the Southdowns Yarns stand. Louise makes and dyes single flock yarns and their website introduces you to the different flocks of Southdown sheep from which the wool comes from. I think I’m late to the party of realising how lovely Louise is and what stunning yarn she produces. I’m really looking forward to knitting with these.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my highlights and they point you in the direction of some interesting and inspiring makers who it was my pleasure to meet and to share with you.

All the best,

Tess xxx

 

* This pattern was initially released as a fundraiser to support Marce’s very talented niece Genna pursue her gymnastics goals. At just 9 years old she’s a level 7 gymnast with Olympic dreams. If like me you worked through your BAGA (British Amateur Gymnastics Association) badges back in the day, or if a young person working hard to fulfil their ambitions is something you can get behind, she’s now looking to fund the 2019/20 season and you could make a contribution through her Go Fund Me Page which has lots more information.

** Heather the dyer behind Sparkleduck passed away a couple of years ago now and so I’ve been looking for a special project for this yarn, and I found it in these socks which have since become my ‘Sunday Best’ socks.


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