Sunday, 12 March 2017

A Whirlwind Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2017. . .

What a wonderful two days I have had in Edinburgh, starting with my wardrobe.  It came down to the wire, but I finished my Kildalton just in time.  The pattern is by Kate Davies, from her new book Inspired by Islay, and knit in her Buachaille yarn which really highlights the cables.  This was the first time that I knit set-in sleeves using short rows and it's a really effective technique.  The buttons are from the Border Tart which I bought at last year's Edinburgh Yarn Festival.

I absolutely love everything about this cardigan - the fit is just perfect.

It was a good sign when I arrived in the city, checked into my hotel and saw that this was my headboard! (The hotel was the budget chain Ibis, just off the Royal Mile).

I arrived around noon on Thursday and spent some time walking around. This beautiful city was just blooming and the weather was perfect.

I would have loved to have walked up Arthur's Seat but I didn't have time. So I did the next best thing and climbed up the Scott Monument on Princess Street.  I remember my first visit to Edinburgh - over twenty years ago - and being completely awed and delighted that there was such a huge monument to a writer.  But until now, I'd never climbed up.

It is definitely worth it, although I did get a bit dizzy coming down. There are four levels of viewing platforms and as you climb higher, you see more and more of the city and especially the water surrounding it.

Sorry for the bad photo below - the sun was in the wrong place - but from the top platform, you get a wonderful view of the castle and the Pentland Hills rising behind it. 

And Sir Walter looks even better at night!

The festival started with a lovely knit and natter at Akva, a Swedish restaurant that had been reserved for all of us eager knitters.  I was able to chat and knit with many friends - new and old - from ravelry and instagram.  We were all working on our helical stripes from The Year of Techniques (more on that later in another blog post).

Then it was fairly early to bed to prepare for Friday and the first day of the marketplace.  I didn't have an advance ticket, so got up early to queue for one.  This festival has gone from strength to strength and its reputation (deservedly so) for being one of the best yarn festivals in the world attracts a really international attendance.  I chatted with lots of Scandinavians, Germans, Aussies, French and many North Americans too. It was the busiest I'd ever seen it, but the organisers were fantastic and I only waited about 45 minutes before I got in.  I didn't take that many photos inside, but here is just a teeny bit of what was on offer.  The big non-British booth was definitely Brooklyn Tweed with their colourful wall of fabulous yarn.  It was hard to resist grabbing several sweater quantities, but I already have at least two in my stash, so just bought one skein of Shelter to use as a possible future contrast colour. For something in the future.

The Crochet Project had a new book out and I was in love with several of their new shawls, including the blue one on the bottom which is actually Tunisian crochet.  The construction just looks so interesting.

Garthenor has the most beautiful organic British wool.

And John Arbon, which is always a must see booth for me, was debuting their new Devonia yarn - 50% Exmoor Blueface, 30% Bluefaced Leicester and 20% Wensleydale.  Just gorgeous colours and a really beautiful lustre .

I was only able to stay for about four hours before heading back to Waverley to catch the train home but managed to bump into most of the people I was hoping to have a chat with.  It was very crowded, but I probably got to about 90% of the vendors and for the first time at a yarn show, I was actually able to stay on budget.  I had made a list for the must-buys and then allocated some money for the inevitable temptations, and that seemed to do the trick.  Here is my EYF haul:

In the back, the greeny-blue Skein Queen Voluptuous yarn has great yardage and those two skeins will easily knit up into a sweater or cardigan.  The grey and tan skeins to the left of the Shelter are from Uist Wool and they are so lovely in sheepy texture and colour - they need to be smelled to be believed. I'll be hiking on both North and South Uist in September so it's lovely to have some of the island's wool in my stash. The deep red in the middle is Blacker Yarn's new Samite silk/wool blend.  It is gorgeous.  I've been given a small skein to swatch with and a shade card, so will do a full review of it shortly but I am really looking forward to knitting this up.  I couldn't resist a skein of the Devonia and it's the same colour as Baa Ram Ewe's new Brass Band colourway for their Dovestone.  This mustard/gold/harvest colour was really on trend throughout the marketplace.  And I love the little 10gram balls of laceweight from Garthenor - perfect for shawl borders.

Whew - it all went by so quickly, but such a satisfying visit, although next year, I really must book more days in Edinburgh.  No one wants it to end - there were impromptu meet-ups and brunches happening all over the city.  And for those who couldn't make it - there was always the #bedinburghyarnfest which is also well worth searching out on IG.  It will put a smile on your face.


Anne A said...

Great memories! So pleased to have found your blog, and to meet you again albeit briefly. Hope there will be more time for chat in Shetland!!

Jamie Lairg said...

You gotta love a bit of yarn! I remember when I was younger I had a yarn blanket and my mum used to hit the roof when I gritted it between my teeth lol! The festival in Edinburgh was brilliant, didn't manage to spend the whole day as I was leaving but was good to catch a glimpse.