I don’t like the word ‘review’ as it might imply a level of expertise / authority on yarn shows which I most certainly don't have so I'd like to share my experience of this great show instead!
To Go or Not to Go
I can safely say ‘Edinburgh Yarn Festival? The knitters on the internet made me go’. I was not going, not going and then, I was so going. There was just too much going on not to go, too much I hadn’t seen up close and too many people I wanted to meet. Plus, how can I talk about all the lovely yarns if I haven’t seen all the lovely yarns? See, a business trip!
The first and most important question was, what was I going to wear? In the run up to many yarn shows you see a lot of awesome shawls, sweaters, cardis and other garments blocking but I really don’t have any flashy knits, finished ones anyway, just stalwarts! In the end I went with ‘way too much wool’ … Yep, if you are going next year remember to dress only in lace because it was roasting with the height of credit card machines melting little plastic cards!
Then there had to be RULES, what could and could not be bought. I wanted to see EVERYONE but since most my knitting time now must be samples (oh, the hardship) I have a limit on how much ‘other’ knitting time I have. Yes, because time available for knitting is always a key factor in how much yarn is purchased. Really it is. Really. So I went with two simple rules. I could only buy:
- 1. A jumper quantity of beautiful yarn that I hadn't used before AND a matching pattern for it
- 2. Items from people who wholesale or where there is the possibility of wholesale or who I ask to pretend they wholesale so I could buy from them for the shop … totally legitimate business trip!
I loved all the detail available about the show in advance. The show guide, the traffic info, the ticket availability, everything. The best was the details of when to arrive if you hadn’t bought a ticket in advance. Knowing this meant I didn’t leave too early, arrived at a reasonable time and then only queued for half an hour. It meant I knew I needed a Queueing Sock and so it was a very enjoyable half an hour, plus it’s amazing what you learn in yarn show queues!
A Queueing Sock, an important part of every yarn show goers kit!
A lovely Scottish Spinner told me that as a beginner I might find it easier to spin my fleece (yes, that fleece) dirty and clean the yarn afterwards than to clean the fleece first and then spin it. I had no idea you could spin a dirty fleece and that it might be easier because of the grease in it! She was sure to tell me that it was a much smellier option but that I’d have lovely soft hands. I wish I’d gotten her name!
I love a good clear idea of what's going on!
And in a flash we were in and it was already quite busy … not heaving but that would come. As someone who exhibits at shows I was thrilled for the people exhibiting. There is a lot of work (as well as hope, dreams and frayed nerves) that goes into getting show ready so it is great when there are lots of yarn lovers ready to see and buy yarny things. Also it was a sell out in prebooked tickets, so it was not going to be a quiet show!
I had to resist this ... it was really hard!
There is a lot to see in a compact area which makes it different to other shows where there are sometimes many rooms and halls. Having come from the Olympia, it was a lot easier to find and see everything. It is also dedicated to yarn with a few other companies so there are a lot more relevant stands.
I managed to go almost all the way through the first time without buying anything. These are my pictures of some of the lovelies I saw.
The Knitting Goddess - My first stop ... I may have some of these on our shelves but I always want more x
The Wool Kitchen, to see the yarn & meet Woollen Words x
John Arbon tops (?) ... there should be a 'No Swimming or Diving' sign!
This yarn nearly broke my heart to leave behind
Bilium yarns ... this was as close as I managed to squeeze!
This display on the Tukuwool *sigh of delight* ... I *may* need to borrow the idea, hope it's ok!?
I nearly had to super glue my hands in my pocket to not buy this ... dratted rules!
And these were ridiculously hard to leave behind ...
I am shamelessly coveting this sign for my own show stands ... SHAMELESSLY COVETING!!
This magnificence by Lucy Hague Designs
Porpoise Fur AKA Spin Enabler ... I am ashamed to say I resisted (this is the last time I resist though!)
Daugher of a Shepard *love*
Shelter, as light weight as the Yarn Substitution sites suggest ; ) ... this almost became 'Second sweater quantity of yarn'
So, did I stick to the rules?
I found (and bought) my jumper quantity of yarn on my first wander through, at the Kate Davies Design stand. I have (and stock) The Book of Haps, a beautifully written and photographed history/pattern book but I don’t think I was ready for how glorious the patterns in Kate’s new book ‘Inspired by Islay’ are. It’s a Knit Them All pattern book. I know I say that a lot but I put that down to my great taste in pattern books kidding. I will be making the OA in the sample colours. I also have a feeling Simon would like one but perhaps without the hood! I saw a few of them already finished at the show and it seems to suit all shapes and sizes which is always awesome in a design. And the SOCKS … oh jee, they make the Celtic part of my soul sing. I also got to meet Kate Davies, who is just the loveliest person without any pretence. Inspired by Islay coming to the shop ASAP … and the ‘Shop Copy’ for shows is SIGNED!
This is the Inspired by Islay 'You had me at ... ' moment
My most important visit of the day was to Sue Stratford! I needed my Edinbirds and to continue trailing Sue (& Heather & Max) at every yarn show this year ; )! Really, if you haven’t been to Sue’s stand at a show, you are missing out on a piece of joy!
I also bought some Jamieson’s for a shop project (I’m requesting to join their ‘Please let me stock your yarn’ list asap), 1.5mm & 1.75mm needles for my Latvian mittens, a triangular pouch from The Little Grey Girl (thank you Instagram for showing me the way)! And Joy gave me a copy of her brand new Knit the Rainbow pattern book for her mini-skeins. I truly felt spoilt then.
Of course it wasn’t the purchasing that made the show. It was all the lovely people I know and also that I hadn’t met in person but know from the internet! Woollen Words & Psycho Knitter, so fab to finally meet you! : ) The Baa Ram Ewe folk who I love to see at shows (no playdates this time though!). Some of the lovelies who have visited my stand at shows and later became Insta friends! Emily from Tin Can Knits who is so good to allow me to stock her patterns and is so nice in person! Isla from Brityarn whose shop I have just loved from the start! The yarn-enablers, Rachel & Allison, from Yarn in the City, who it is always fab to see at shows. Also, I love to see designers at these shows so it was neat to meet Marie Wallin and Jared Flood.
Overall (& will I go again!?)
I’m a frequent yarn show attendee, I’m used to the queueing, the dazzling nature of all the yarns, the heat, the crowds. I love it all. There is something unique to EYF that I really enjoyed. There was a lot of yarns I hadn’t seen before and really wanted to see. There were more than the usual number of well known designers and yarn folk that it is lovely to see, meet and, in my case, fan girl over! It was really well organised with great details being shared in the run up to it. The logistics were clear, the pricing comparable to other shows, the Cokes were less expensive than some shows and comparable with others.
It was easy to get to in the car both dropping off and picking up. The show guide is second to none, in fact more like a high end magazine. I have nothing else to say about it.
I’m definitely going to go again next year. Exhibitor or shopper! I will apply as an exhibitor but I’m not sure I’m ready. I feel like I need to earn my place there but applications don’t open for a while so plenty of time to get myself together. If I don’t make it as an exhibitor I will go but for the whole weekend this time – there is so much going on around the show that it, and Edinburgh, deserves more than just a rushed day trip.
Party in the Blacker Yarns Podcast Lounge!
Thank you EYF Team & all the exhibitors, awesome job.
Heart on my Sleeve for EYF x
Now, those mittens aren't going to knit themselves!
Happy (and plentiful!) Knitting
A few notes for people who might have different needs to me:
The show is busy so the seating is at a premium. Should you have seating needs, it is not insurmountable but something to consider.
The yarn is at the higher, bespoke end of the yarn scale and there are not a lot of the more common, commercial yarns available. If you are not used to yarn shows like this, this may come as a surprise. There are however options for many pockets and you are definitely getting what you pay for so this is just something to be aware of.
It may not be fair to bring non-yarn folk to this show. Simon loves a good yarn show as much of the rest of the non-yarny folk but this show may be just a bit full on. There is, however, a full bar, so I'll leave that there as a thought.
I heard a few people remark that this was their first yarn show and they were feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’m not surprised, it is an amazing, dazzling show! It’s the first year I feel like I was actually ready for EYF! My advice would be to do a walk through, followed by a cool drink while standing outside and then go buying things! A bit like a first visit to Loop London, pace yourself!
Flowers for Knitters (aka drop spindles) from Spin City