I’ve been neglecting this blog terribly for the last few weeks – redecorating had taken up much more time than I anticipated! However, my living room is pretty much returned to a liveable state now and I have a couple of days off work, so I decided that today should be a pyjama day rather than spent visiting Ikea and hardware/homeware shops! I’ve finally managed to block shawls I finished in January and February and I’m very much looking forward to seeing them finished.
My first attempt at vertical blocking (due to lack of space); even with some tape holding them up, I’m not sure if this will work!
Despite the busy decorating, I’ve been able to indulge in one yarny adventure recently: a visit to Edinburgh Yarn Festival! This is a relatively new event, with this year’s Festival the second time it’s been put on; I was at the first EYF two years ago and loved it. It was so popular that when the organisers decided to stage it again this year, they needed a much larger venue, so last Saturday I made the fairly short journey by train and bus to Edinburgh Corn Exchange. One large hall filled with SO MUCH yarny goodness! And another filled with tables and chairs and a podcast lounge for relaxing and knitting. There was so much to look at (and, I admit, much, much yarn squishing to do!) and such a wonderful line-up of workshops to attend that I couldn’t possibly mention more than a fraction here.
I came across quite a few yarn dyers/sellers I’d not previously heard of, as well as some favourites. Despite my innate love of variegated yarn, I was determined to buy plain (or at least semi-solid) yarn for some patterns that really need a relatively plain tone to show up the texture. It was very difficult to ignore all the lovely variegated yarns but I found many lovely plain yarns. Ripples Crafts and Easyknits I’ve bought from before, but I also found Hedgehog Fibres (sold by La Maison Tricotée), Dublin Dye and Shamu Makes. I had a lovely chat with Karie Westermann about her Byatt shawl design – it’s been extremely popular and I saw at least a dozen different versions of it while wandering round the Festival, in a huge variety of colour combinations. It’s high on my to-do list but I’m struggling to decide which colours to use – it works in so many different combinations.
I only had one day to spend at the festival, so I signed up to only one workshop (though there was many others I would have loved to do). This was the late addition of a Stephen West class on use of colour. If you’re not familiar with his work, he designs mainly shawls, with some quite eye-popping colours and textures, and it quite a character. He wanted to push us out of our colour comfort zones, and the lime-green mohair I ended up using certainly fit the bill! Although I often use bright colours, I’ve never been adventurous in combining brights, and the class has made me more confident it trying that. And Stephen himself was very entertaining – I’d highly recommend one of his classes. As well as taking a class, he also had a stall in the marketplace, shared with Ysolda Teague, and they turned it into a “shawl cathedral” – very eye catching as I walked into the hall!
Foolishly, I took very few pictures while I was at the Festival (too distracted by the yarn!), but you can see lots at the EYF website, and they’ve just announced EYF2016, so maybe I’ll be more organised next time!
A last picture of my EYF stash. I’ve already started knitting socks from my new Rachel Coopey book, in very summery colours. More about them next time!