Edinburgh Yarn Festival

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Blimey! What a weekend!! The second Edinburgh Yarn Festival is over and what an absolute blast. It was a non-stop, fun-filled weekend and I can’t wait until the next EYF already … although I still need time to catch my breath a little.

My involvement started on Friday morning as a volunteer helping to get everything set up – taking boxes to the venue, filling EYF bags with leaflets, helping exhibitors with set up. This was all cut a little short for me as I had to collect Rod from hospital, but the glimpses of what I saw had me really excited for the weekend.
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Saturday morning was an early start – I was collected by taxi and whisked off to collect the teachers from their hotel. What a lovely bunch of teachers and they seemed to be appreciative of somebody to make sure they got to the venue okay. We had a quick breakfast at the venue and a bit of a natter. It was really nice to be able to get to know the teachers a little.

My next volunteer duty was to help out at one of the external teaching venues, the Risk Factory. it was only a couple of minutes walk from the Corn Exchange and very easy to find (especially having been there once before on work business). My fellow volunteers were already at the venue to check students into their classes so I ran around the classrooms checking everything was in order, checking when the teachers were ready for students to come in and then help direct students to the appropriate rooms. I was certainly kept fit as I ran up and down the stairs. There was excitement in the air as the students scurried off to their classes. I scurried off to my first class too.
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I had decided to sign up to one of the Teapot Trust classes – the fair isle brooch class. It was a bargain price and I thought it would be great to give me a few hints and techniques given that I have set myself the goal of completing something in fair isle this year. The class was full and we all sat around the large table with yarn and pattern and set to work. The yarn I had didn’t quite work out for the project, but I think I got the hang of fair isle in this simple pattern. Fingers crossed my first proper fair isle project does work.

Back to the Risk Factory to see everybody out of their classes, tidy up the classrooms and get ready for the next round of classes. I was very impressed with the Risk Factory as a venue, and it was nice to be able to get some fresh air as I moved between the Corn Exchange and the Risk Factory. Everybody settled into their classes it was now time to hit the marketplace. I had already looked at the list of exhibitors in advance, but I was really quite happy just running around and looking at all the stalls, so much so I couldn’t really tell you many of the exhibitors who were there. I bought a few bits and pieces – not too much really as I’d planned for Sunday to be my shopping day, Saturday I was more involved and focussed on volunteering.

A couple of us volunteers then headed for the bar next door to watch the England v Scotland rugby match. Pleased to say that my side won the game … much to the disgust of many in the bar!!!

In the evening we had the Ca-BAA-ret to look forward to … an evening of entertainment from Felicity Ford AKA Knitsonik, telling us about how her Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook came to be. Her presentation was delightful and funny and interesting all at the same time. I was particularly interested in Felicity’s breakdown on the true cost to knit a box of Shreddies!
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The evening was rounded off with a pub quiz. We scratched our heads and puzzled over many of the questions and rounds, but I am pleased to say that our team won. It was a rather tricky quiz, and earning about half the total marks available we really were surprised to win, but boy were we chuffed to bits, especially when we were each handed a little project bag with two skeins of Yarn Pony.

Sunday started in the same way as Saturday – collecting teachers, ensuring they were fed and coffeed and sent to their classrooms. Here I thought my volunteering was over, but there was one little task left – handing out tote bags to the first 100 through the doors. Those were some very happy people heading quickly towards me – so nice to make somebody smile over such a little thing and I’m sure it set their day off to a good start.

Now my volunteering really was over. I met up with my friend Hester and a little later we were joined by Jackie and we hit the marketplace together. We worked our way along each aisle, stopping at the stalls that caught our eye. Having already done a quick run around on Saturday I already had a rough idea what I was after. The marketplace was just a wonderful sight – so much to see, a real feast for the eyes … and fingers as we fondled the yarn! I was mighty impressed with the marketplace. Don’t get me wrong, the first Edinburgh Yarn Festival had a wonderful marketplace, but the festival was so popular that there was such a crush to see any stall. The new venue has allowed for much more space, and although very busy, the set up was much improved.
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Another great improvement was the availability of space to sit and eat/drink and knit. There was a large room filled with tables and chairs and I could see I was not the only person glad of a chance to stop and look over the new purchases and have space to knit and chat with friends. There was also the podcast lounge with comfy sofas so I dropped by for a short time before needing to head to my class.
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When classes for the Yarn Festival were announced I had decided I’d not take a class, but then the more I thought about it, the more I really wanted to take one to get the full festival experience. One of my other goals for this year is to darn a pair of socks belonging to Rod. They hold sentimental value so I really want to give them a new life. There was one space left in Master Darner Tom’s class on the Sunday afternoon so I booked it – that single space was a sign, right?

Tom’s class was interesting as he explained different types of darning and when to use them. I love that he does not hide his darning as he wants to show that something has been used and served time. I was also impressed that he would happily darn anything – even an item of cheap clothing that many would just throw away once it had served its purpose. What an interesting idea that even though somebody could not give as much loving time as they liked to finish off an item of clothing properly, Tom would still lovingly darn that item of clothing.
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My final haul from EYF 2015:

  • 3 x Ullcentrum 2 ply in Petrol
  • Joes Toes suede soles
  • A large pair of socks for rod and a woven brooch to go with my Vasa from Laura’s Loom
  • Pattern for Pyukkleen
  • Ribbons and buttons from Textile Garden
  • A gorgeous ring made from an old knitting needle from Yellow Bear Wares – reminds me of my nana’s knitting needles
  • Stitch markers from Spin Pretty as a thank you gift for Rod’s cousin
  • A gift for a very good Aussie friend … but I couldn’t possibly say what for fear of prying eyes!!
  • 2 x YarnPony Posh Pony in Saline (quiz prize)
  • 1 x YarnPony Mustang in Concrete (volunteer gift)

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Festival over and I can truly say that this was an amazing weekend. I was honoured to be able to volunteer and help the yarn festival be so successful, but that volunteer work was only a very small part – Jo and Mica deserve a lot of praise for making this the wonderful event that it was.

Roll on Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016!

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