Saturday, 21 March 2015

Wonderful Edinburgh!

Edinburgh Yarn Festival.
What can I say?
What an amazing, exciting, vibrant, tiring event to have been a part of!

The rental company spoilt me with their newest, shiniest van, MP3 player and all, and we thundered through the country in great comfort on Friday morning, although I struggled to keep it on the road once I started gawping at the snow covered hills in the Lake District, and the bouncing spring lambs in the Borders.

After many many coffee stops, we eventually arrived to set up at the Corn Exchange mid-afternoon. We off-loaded all the boxes and then sort of stood there and stared at them for a bit. By then I was far too busy trying to find out what pattern sweater one of the organisers was wearing because I NEEDED one like it RIGHT NOW , and snooping around at what everyone else was unpacking.

Eventually we did manage to turn the stall into something a bit more professional-looking and retired to our very comfortable and quiet hotel room and didn't make it any further than the downstairs restaurant for dinner, once more falling asleep in our pints by 9pm!

A good night's sleep later though, we were ready to face Saturday. We arrived early for some last minute tweaks and to check out the car boot sale next door. And then the doors opened....
This was pretty much the view I had of our stall for the duration of the day:

So much excitement, so many wonderful comments from lovely people! Having mostly done shows in the south of England so far, I noticed a real difference in people's tastes in Scotland, much closer, in fact, to Scandinavian ones. People were hugely excited about our "proper" wools, the once that are a bit crisp and smell of sheep and ideally have some twigs spun into them. I also noticed that the visitors to the festival were wearing vastly more colour work than I've seen down south, which was hugely inspiring.

Sunday was still very busy, but more mellow than Saturday. Leaving the stall in Mark's capable hands (he was far more photographed over than weekend than I was, including by Stephen West as he was wearing a Boneyard Shawl in our linen yarn), I got a chance to explore the festival myself (although I still missed loads!) and catch up with some friends and meet some new ones too (none of which I had the presence of mind to take pictures of, sorry!). Eden Cottage Yarns were there on their huuuuge stand, ready to share their show experience...and tools. Juliet and John from John Arbon were cheerful as always and either had the exact same conversation twice with both Mark and myself, or Mark and I were too tired to remember that we were standing right next to each other when the conversation took place....frankly by the end of the weekend we didn't quite know our own names anymore.
We also had a visit from Enrico from Parisian yarn shop Les Tricoteurs Volants, showing off his shawl in our gradient lace weight Ullcentrum that he bought in Brighton last summer.

My two favourite new discoveries were the wonderfully cheerful Siidegarte - sumptuous silk heavy blends from Switzerland in glorious, shiny colours

picture by Siidegarte

and the gorgeous, soft Alpaca Tweed from The Border Mill with the best illustrations ever. I wanted to buy most of their stall just to collect the labels!

In the end, this was my reasonably restrained haul (so many shows still to come this year, I had to try to be good!):

Springy pastel green Alpaca Tweed for my mother, along with the Aisling kit from Eden Cottage yarns, and a couple of naturally dyed silk/wool mini hanks from Shilasdair.
His and Hers hanks of indigo dyed yarn from The Border Tart - DK for a hat for Mark, sock yarn for actual socks for me.
A last minute ball of Alpaca Tweed for myself too, although Mark seems to think that it's a much more "him" sort of colour and won't suit me at all and shouldn't be taking up space in my stash and he 'll gladly take it off my hands. He is so selfless like that.
One thing I'm not sharing is the ball of liquid gold - I will take a better picture at some stage - my real, unnecessary yarn splurge of the weekend: Handmaiden Mini Maiden - silk/wool singles in the most glorious, shiny colour way, brought over all the way from Canada by La Maison Tricotee and expertly wound by the Teapot Trust who were operating a charity winding station at the show.
And finally, in lieu of tartan-everything from the Royal Mile, a "couthy" Blanket from the Knockando woollen mill - soft and light in beautiful warm mustards and reds.

picture by Knockando Mill

And of course, on order, 5 hanks of custom dyed silk and linen from Siidegarte for a very special project of mine still to come :)

Monday morning we still had a quick visit of Edinburgh. Neither of us had ever been, but even after just a quick whistlestop taking in the views, a little bagpipe busking and a veggie full Scottish, we were rather smitten and are already more excited than Christmas that the organisers have announced plans for the next one next year!

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