Let me just say: If you love all things wool and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival comes around - go there! I don't care where you are, go if at all possible. This year's festival was a major success and everyone I heard from enjoyed it immensely. There was so much to see, so many people to meet, so much money to spend....
Travelling the whole length of the country for 6-7 hours just to be there was definitely worth it. (We even braved packed trains full of Cheltenham Festival goers, which is something I would NOT recommend, if you can avoid it. We nearly did not get on our train despite seat reservations and at one station alone there were 500 people wanting to get on. I believe it was only down to my furious face that we were allowed on the train in the end - I have a very effective furious face, just ask my colleagues.)
Thick fog greeted us as soon as we entered Scotland, but it did not dampen my spirits. I spent the day before the festival checking out the lay of the land and taking a bus to the venue. You may have seen me loitering around the entrance for no particular reason, but at least I was prepared for my visit the next morning. On the way to the Corn Exchange I bumped into a lot of fellow Germans who were very excited to be there, too, and we had a nice little chat before we lost each other in the crowds and got distracted by all that yarn. Understandable, I think! I wonder if some of us actually happen to be on the same German Ravelry teams.
I decided to first head for stands I definitely wanted to buy from. So Wollmeise, Blacker Yarns, Ripples Crafts and Ysolda were on the top of my list. Blacker Yarns were hidden away in a separete area and I had to ask for help to find them. They were at the podcast lounge and full of wonderful yarns, including Tamar, which is the yarn I had my eye on from the start. As I mentioned before leaving for Edinburgh, I was planning to buy whatever I liked, regardless of the cost. Now, this isn't typical of me at all, but it was the best idea beause I did not end up regretting leaving something behind. So when I came to Blacker Yarns, I immediately chose these beautiful four hanks of DK. All I know is they will make a nice colourful shawl and I want to design it. I can't wait to start!
Ripples Crafts was present as well and I finally had the chance to buy their yarn. I first came across Ripples Crafts on a previous visit to Edinburgh about 6 years ago. There was a trunk show in a small wool shop and I had no money on me. The yarns were beautiful, but I couldn't buy it. I never forgot that yarn and am so happy I was able to look at a greater selection of hand-dyeds at the festival this year. A gradient pack in denim shades made its way into my suitcase (yes, I did take my suitcase with me to the venue - sorry if I rolled over anybody's toes). What will it become? You may have guessed it: a shawl, possibly of my own design.
You may have heard that Ysolda has created her first yarn in collaboration with Jonn Arbon. I just had to have a look, especially as the cover of Wool Tribe features mitts in this yarn, too. Two hanks somehow fell into my suitcase (ehem) and a day later I cast on those exact same mitts. They're not yet ready, but I am loving the yarn and its surprising softness. It is a thing of beauty.
Wollmeise was inundated with customers when I arrived, but I braved the crowd and had a rummage as best as I could. It wasn't easy and I decided to go for a lace yarn that's not too colourful. It was just too busy to think about colour choices in peace and I didn't want to come away with something I wasn't entirely happy with. So I chose a hank of Bluebell (blues and purples) that has knots somewhere. The price wasn't bad, considering. It was only a few days later that I found the sample of Wollmeise wool wash they popped into the bag, too. What a nice surprise!
But I didn't just buy yarn, oh no! Of course I had to buy a bag with the Edinburgh Yarn Festival logo on it and since I was already there, why not throw in a badge as well, eh? I found another bag from Knitting For All that I liked because of the bear on it. A surprisingly expensive DPN case from German seller Pink Hazel called to me as well and it has more space than I will ever need. The price made me think twice, but the case is well made and secure and I love the alpaca-print fabric.
Just before I left the venue after nearly four hours, I gave in and finally bought a yarn bowl from Wendy Fowler. I hesitated at first because I was worried about breaking it on the way back to Bath, but it survived the journey and I have been using it ever since I cast on my mitts. I love it! It's a beautiful colour, heavy enough to not slip as you pull the yarn, and the ball stays safely inside. I am very pleased with it.
Regrets - I've had a few
I came away from EYF2016 having bought everything I liked and wanted. It was a good plan to not restrict myself or set a budget (cue maniacal laughter at the mere thought). However, there were things I missed because I simply did not see them. I walked through the halls 4 times and still did not see things I would have loved to get. There were books (Little Red in the City, Knitlandia) and fabric with knitted print I have on my wishlist and didn't realise were available at the festival. I only noticed them when looking at other visitors' photos on social media. Ah well. Then again I had the opposite experience as well and ended up leaving things I had expected to buy. There were yarns I thought I would love to finally see in person and they turned out not to be to my liking. Swings and roundabouts, I guess.
Now I'm off to enjoy the Easter break before the usual madness at work begins again. If you have blogged about EYF2016, leave your link in the comments so we can all read about your experience and admire your haul.