Edinburgh Yarn Festival is over for another year and what can I say? It was absolutely fantastic! As a vendor it was a huge success and as a shopper it was fibre heaven!
So what makes EYF so special?
Well for starters there's a marketplace with around 100 vendors from all over the UK and beyond. There are two large social spaces to knit and chat, eat and drink.
A photo booth and podcaster lounge. A Ceilidh and Knit Night plus this year there was an additional event on the Sunday called Meet the Shepherd/ess. Plus there are classes which are extremely popular and sell out within minutes of the tickets going on sale!
Jo and Mica who organise EYF do their best to bring a wide variety of vendors to the market place, concentrating on small independent dyers and spinners and those passionate about sourcing the best quality fibres, often single source and rare breeds. Additional vendors such as myself bring a selection of gift items and useful products that appeal to knitters and lovers of yarn and fibre. I should also add that their organisational skills are exceptional! They think of everything and keep us up to date with all that we need to know right up to and during the event, taking a lot of the stress out of our preparations.
To get an idea of just how popular this yarn festival is and the esteem in which it is held within the knitting community, look at where people travelled from just for EYF!
Needless to say, I was super excited to be there. I love the vendor badges. Look! I have staff! haha
Set up day was Wednesday and it took me five hours to get my corner stand from this to .....
I always like to line my booth with a coloured fabric as it gives a nice backdrop to my work and creates a colourful corner to attract the eye. Takes ages to hang it up though and get it just right! haha I had my husband David giving me a hand this year and I have to say he was very patient and helpful.
I managed to get everything out on display and although the right hand side looks in shadow, this photo was taken after dark and it looked okay in day light.
I swithered about setting the stall up so that visitors could come right into the corner but I prefer to be behind my table.
I loved how Sue Stratford Designs had her corner set up. It was really pretty and eye catching and I did wonder about changing my layout to maximise the wall space but during the busy times, I was glad I had my wee corner to stand in as I'd have felt in the way otherwise.
Sue Stratford Designs
Across the aisle from me was Tania aka TJFrog who lives on Sleat on the Isle of Skye. It was lovely to be beside Tania's stand again as we both started out exhibiting at yarn festivals at EYF 2015! We had stalls in the pop up market that year and again in 2016 then last year Tania was teaching a Dorset button class and had a stand elsewhere in the building and I hardly saw her. Not that we saw much of each other throughout the day this year either as it was really busy but we got wee chats here and there.
It's always lovely to see how people's businesses grow from year to year and Tania has added a range of yarns called Shorelines and Strata to TJfrog as well as bags printed with her own Dorset button design fabric alongside her kits and earrings etc. You can read more about TJFrog on her website and listen to the podcasts which feature among other things, interviews with creative people who live on or around Skye and the west coast of Scotland. (Links at the end of this post).
I could not have had such a successful event without the help of my best friend Kirsty!
Kirsty taught me to make felt twenty years ago and I taught myself how to needle felt and my little cottage industry has grown from there. We thoroughly enjoyed working together for the three days and had such a laugh.
Keeping our energy levels up!
Kirsty still teaches felt making at Falkland Felts in Fife. (Links at the end of this post).
A wee special mention for Mr TJFrog as well!
Garrant worked hard throughout the festival and was always cheery. We like cheery helpers :D
Thursday got off to a very busy start and remained steady with visitors throughout the day but I managed to nip round to The Crochet Project's stand and get my hands on a shawl pattern that I really wanted to try.
The Crochet Project girls could not have been more helpful and I went back and bought their latest book as well! I've made a start on the Acer shawl using a beautiful merino/nylon blend from Blue Moon Indigo.
This shawl is actually really easy to make and I'm even managing it in 4ply. As a relatively novice crocheter and follower of patterns I'm pleased with my progress!
A real highlight of my day on Thursday was when seven visitors from Spain arrived at my stand, all so excited to see my sheepies in person and sporting Style Awards from Stephen West for their matching jumpers!
They were so lovely and having such a great time!
So while everyone else was going daft for yarn, I went completely mad for fibre again this year.
One of my favourite vendors is Louise at Spin City.
She was really sweet and helpful as was her Mum and I got quite a few exciting things to experiment with over the next few weeks.
Look at these adorable handspuns! I had to restrain myself because I wanted them all!
Our whole aisle was just one feast of colour after another actually as in between my stand and Spin City was the Wensleydale Longwool Sheep Shop and they had the most beautiful array of colours on offer as well the most gorgeous basket of locks.
I was delighted to see the big John Arbon Textiles stand there again this year. Kirsty and I just go mad for his blends and we treated ourselves to a fair few this year!
Back to the yarn and it was lovely to meet Lj from The Rusty Ferret aka Fluph.
Based in Dundee, Lj produces an exciting and quirky range of hand dyed yarns, known for their humerous names and vibrant colours.
I was tempted by one called Kevin but had already bought a skein of turquoise but I know where I will be heading when I need a new colour to try!
Of course there is much more going on during EYF than I ever get to experience. As a vendor you rarely get to leave the actual market place so I don't have much to share about any of the other goings on. I did hear that people loved the extra space created by the marquee this year and enjoyed meeting old friends and making new ones. Lots of people came on their own but found people to sit and chat to, travel to and from their accommodation with and even attend classes with. There is a great camaraderie among the knitting community and you could certainly feel it in the air every day.
Stock wise, I sold some of everything and everything of some things.
My new needle felting kits were well received and I will add the Little Sheep Kit to Etsy on Tuesday (2oth March).
I have quite a few things to add to Etsy this week but need to photograph them all first.
This little cutie is available now as a cushion and as a bag.
As you can imagine, it is quite exhausting preparing for a big event like EYF but I can't really take too much time off to recover as Open Studios North Fife is in just six weeks time! All the fibres I bought are spurring me on to get going again though. I'm so excited to try felting some of them to see how they turn out and see where the creative process takes me.
Be sure to check out these links to people I have mentioned above;
If you fancy a rootle round Fife on the May bank holiday weekend of 5th, 6th & 7th May, come and see me during Open Studios North Fife 2018!
I'll have original felt pictures on display alongside my full Aileen Clarke Crafts range plus felt making demonstrations, tea, coffee, cake and wine!
Brochures are available from next weekend. Look out for them in galleries, libraries, book shops, cafes and all sorts of places between now and May or download it from the website here .