Karie Bookish Dot Net

The Fibre Festival Survival Guide – The Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edition

Attending a fibre festival is always a great day (or weekend) out. You are surrounded by people who love the same activities as you do, and you get to do some serious knitwear-spotting too. It can also be a really exhausting time because there are just so many things to see and do – and you might find yourself so overwhelmed that you end up leaving empty-handed and slightly burned out.

With Edinburgh Yarn Festival just around the corner, I thought I’d share some of my tricks for having a fabulous time.


July 2014 857aa

  • Plan ahead. Start by looking through the vendor list and visit their websites, so you know roughly what to expect. Make a short-list of your must-visit vendors and grab the official EYF programme to find out where their stalls are. This stops you from feeling completely overwhelmed by all the squishy yarn goodness on offer!
  • Plan ahead, pt 2. Look through your Ravelry queue and make a note of yarn requirements for those must-knit-next patterns in your queue. Do the same for any needles or hooks you may want to pick up at EYF. You don’t want to buy a 3mm needle when you actually wanted a 3.25mm needle! And nothing’s worse than picking up a perfect skein of yarn and then realising the pattern calls for two skeins!
  • Plan ahead, pt 3. If you are meeting up with far-flung friends at EYF, make sure you have exchanged phone numbers before heading out! Also make sure to describe yourself (“I’m short with curly brown hair and will be wearing a blue/white/yellow Colour Affection”) if you are meeting up with internet friends who may not have met you before.
  •  Food. If you have special dietary requirements, always make sure to bring a back-up lunch. Personally I always carry some bottled water to keep myself hydrated and a small bag of mixed nuts to snack on so my blood sugar stays level throughout the day.
  • Bags. Scotland has implemented the carrier bag charge (very good news for the environment!) so remember to bring your own carrier bags. You can also buy gorgeous tote bags at the events, of course.
  • Wear sensible shoes! You will be on your feet most of the day, so leave your high heels at home. I hear the “wear sensible shoes!” advice all the time and yet I keep seeing miserable-looking people in high-heeled boots at events.
  • Budget. Unless you are a multi-millionaire, chances are that you will have to make some tough decisions at EYF. Decide before you leave home how much you are going to spend. Decide how much you’ll spend on yarn, how much on notions, and how much on cute accessories like tote bags, mugs etc. Then leave room in your budget for impulse buys. Even the smallest budget should have an impulse buy allowance. You will fall in love with something unexpected.
  • Travel. The EYF brochure contains everything you need to know about transport, so make sure you know your train times and keep your tickets in a safe spot. Allow yourself plenty of time to get to and from the venue. Make sure you have a perfect travel project on the go – travelling to a fibre festival is part of the festival fun!
  • Be Social! Say hello to people! Smile and talk knitting while you are waiting in a queue. Let strangers know how awesome their cardigan is. Enjoy the atmosphere. If a vendor or a tutor has been especially incredible, let them know! Take pictures of amazing things and share them on the internet. Use the hashtag #EdinYarnFest both during the weekend and afterwards when you share your memories.
  • Remember to Breathe. Fibre festivals can be exhausting (especially because so many of us are introverts). If you get tired, take a break. If you need some fresh air, go for a short walk. Nothing is more important than you enjoying yourself, so be kind to yourself rather than push through. The perfect buttons will still be there ten minutes later.
  • And just have fun! This is going to be one of the highlights of your year.

And this from the comments (THANK YOU, Jackie!): “if you’re taking a class, make sure you check what you need to bring 5 days before you need it. Then you’ll have plenty time to stash-dive or pop to your nearest lys before the event itself!”

9 Thoughts on “The Fibre Festival Survival Guide – The Edinburgh Yarn Festival Edition

  1. fabulous advice! The only thing I think should be added is this: if you’re taking a class, make sure you check what you need to bring 5 days before you need it (ie tonight!). Then you’ll have plenty time to stash-dive or pop to your nearest lys before the event itself!

  2. mirandamcd on March 9, 2015 at 2:45 pm said:

    Thanks for that Karie. I have only been to Glasgow School of Yarn before which is much smaller so I am a bit nervous especially after seeing some of the pictures from last year – it was packed!

    • Karie on March 9, 2015 at 3:12 pm said:

      It is a much bigger venue this time, so it won’t feel as packed as last time! It also has allocated seating areas and a nice coffee venue, so there is plenty of space to relax. I really look forward to seeing you :)

  3. Andrea on March 9, 2015 at 4:48 pm said:

    One of my favourite memories of the last major yarn event I went to is of the pen store a bus ride away. I needed a breather from all the yarn & the crowds so I popped onto a bus and wandered away. I chatted with other yarn people on said bus, had a fabulous chat in the pen shop and came back refreshed and ready to mingle and see more yarn.

  4. Shuna Marr on March 9, 2015 at 10:07 pm said:

    Thanks for all the pointers and the links to the vendor list and layout of the stalls. This will be helpful for finding my way about the venue. I work just up the road at edinburgh napier university, so I know my way about the area – and it therefore feels very much on my home turf, as it were. I’m quite excited about it all as its my first ever knitting festival. I don’t really know anyone other than yourself and Victoria from Eden Cottage, whom I’ve bought yarn from and follow on Facebook. But maybe I’ll make some new friends while I’m there. We are bound to have at least knitting in common!

  5. glad that the coffee area is bigger this time! I think the trick is to allow yourself breaks… and knitters are so lovely you will end up chatting to some stranger !

  6. Shuna Marr on March 13, 2015 at 8:17 pm said:

    I’ve followed up on all your advice. It was really useful to systematically work through the vendor list. So thanks for sending that out. I clicked on each name to take me to their website and have a look at what they did. I made brief notes beside their name on the alphabetical list from the brochure, so i’d remember what they were. I then circled the ones I really fancied the most on the layout of the floor plan. So now I know what they all are and which ones I want to target. I feel much more prepared and ready to go. Really looking forward to it. I saw you have a pop up but its on at the same time as my class so I won’t be able to visit you there. But I hope I bump into you somewhere. ☺️

    • Shuna Marr on March 14, 2015 at 8:02 pm said:

      all the prep definitely made me feel less overwhelmed than I would have been if I’d not done it. Thanks again for the advice. Had a great day. :)

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