This was a new event for this year and I felt very honoured indeed to be asked to participate. There are people who have seen the potential of Lammermuir Wool when I could not (more in another post) and Mica and Jo are definitely among them.
The aim was to create a less formal, smaller event on the Sunday after EYF which would have a small number of stalls and focus on bringing forward yarn producers. I think there may have been a dozen stalls in the end; among them yarny colleagues I had met before from Uradale Yarns, Lifelong Yarns, Black Isle Yarns and Hawkshaw Sheep. Customers would have chance to take coffee and cake, knit and natter and buy wool with local provenance from small suppliers.
Things have not been great for me over the winter ( I was recovering from two operations and the loss of my eldest brother) and sometimes it didn't feel as if spring would ever come.
While I do seem to spend lots of my time either at meetings or looking after the sheep, having Meet the Shepherdess (or Meet The Princess as I once called it) to focus on gave me something creative to get stuck in to.
My major problem was possibly going to be a lack of yarn to sell - despite the Mill receiving my fleeces in September last year, when I checked in January nothing had yet been scoured or spun. Nor had it been when I checked in February. There is a limit to the amount of preparation you can do without being able to weigh and measure the finished yarn - but I was able to make a start on dyeing my new Colour Pops. These are 25g mini-skeins which would (I hope) complement the grey and brown yarn that I would be getting from the Mill.. But it was also important to me to find a blend of colours that I could expect to find in my own landscape. I spent a good week or so dyeing the mini-skeins and was quite p[eased with them. . You can see them at the bottom of the photo above and also below
Mica & Jo had mentioned the need for me to have things knitted up in my wool and it certainly did make a difference on the day: especially my Horseshoe Lace scarf which can be seen in the top photo. I am not a fast or even remotely experienced knitter and I have never knitted so much, so quickly.
The wool finally arrived from the Mill on the Wednesday afternoon before the event - well, ONE of the bags did; the other is still languishing somewhere in an unknown Parcelforce Depot - which meant several days of frantic re-skeining and labelling, and I could only manage a limited number of hanks in each weight and colour.
Saturday night - packed car. Organised!
Hasty re-packing of stock into The Mighty Defender, then a nerve-wracking crawl through the snow.
So - people were queuing to get in - which surprised me and - after an initial two minutes when I thought we might not sell anything, the stall went like a fair for the next four hours. I absolutely love talking to people - and will talk to absolutely anyone - and did not stop talking and selling until the event ended. At which point we had no wool left to take home.
I love the fact that people from all around the world were there (Paolo was able to practise his Italian), and I received some great and constructive feedback on what we were doing. Someone (unprompted) said she thought the Colour Pops were 'just like the colours you see if you drive over the hills from Haddington to Duns'. That will do me nicely.
Among the lovely feedback I love this You Tube vlog by Minna S from Northern Finland (a place close to my heart!) where - 30 minutes in - she talks about her experience of the Lammermuir Wool Stand
I always come away from wool events awestruck by how many talented and entrepreneurial women there are in the woolly world - and it starts me musing on how we as a society place value on crafts (especially those traditionally the domain of women). i may have given an incoherent and rambling interview to Louise from Knit British on this subject.
If this event runs again, I hope to be invited and I wouldn't miss it for the world.
As for now? Ti,me to try to chase this missing parcel of grey DK and get ready for St Abbs Wool Festival!
Edinburgh Yarn Festival really has grown into a 'must-attend' in the world of woolly events. As well as the fact that the show just gets better and better each year (more below), one of the things I really admire about the show organisers is the way that they have created a warm and friendly community feel to such a huge event, and this festival and events like the Knitters Christmas Party are a real testament to the fact that there is nothing we knitters and wool-makers like better than a chance to get together!
There will be two blog posts about EYF this year - this one about my experience as a vendor, and the next one about the awesome Meet The Shepherdess event.
Firstly, I did not manage to get booked into a class this year. Despite being warned in plenty of time about when bookings would 'go live', I completely forgot. I also did not get organised in time to get tickets for my preferred days, but sometimes you just have to suck it up.
I arrived half an hour before opening time, and queued around the block in horizontal snow. The queue is always a good time to get chatting to people, and everyone I had spoken to had attended at least one of the previous days and thoroughly enjoyed it. Was early in (like a greyhound), which meant things were quiet for a while. Quieter.
I was determined to be quite strict about purchase this time and did have a mental shopping list which I nearly stuck to. My stash (photo above) is very focused indeed:
1 sweater's worth of Midwinter Yarns Blane wool for making a purple Carbeth later. A Merrie Dancers Toorie's worth of Shetland Handspun from Elizabeth Johnston (already knitted up) and three skeins of Devonia DK from John Arbon which has a luxury woven scraf in its near future.
Added to that my Notions bag (now I know what a Notion is) from Woolly Originals - an item I have coveted since the Christmas Party when I didn't win one in the raffle - and my knitters notebook. Not bad going really. No single-skeins destined to languish in my Yarn Stash Box.
Managed to check in with friends and colleagues from Weft Blown, Threshing Barn, Dye Ninja, Uradale Yarns, Whistlebare, SkyBluePink and Borders Mill. Hoping they all had a great few days!