Outside is dreary: slushy snow, temperatures hovering around zero, the sky is dull, and we have precious little natural light. I am wearing enough layers to make me feel like the Michelin Man. Of course thoughts turn towards The Good Things Ahead. While I love February (it is my birthday month - more on that later!), I am really, really looking forward to March and the Edinburgh Yarn Festival.
Last time EYF happened, it was really quite special. The warm reception from the knitting community took everybody by surprise: the venue was packed, the vendors were shell-shocked, the on-site cafe couldn't cope, and the teachers (of which I was one) were taken aback by the interest. The organisers took time off to reassess and then came up with EYF 2015 which is bigger in every way imaginable. The venue has changed to the Corn Exchange, the vendors list has more than doubled, the teaching line-up is astounding (and I am there too), there is the innovative Podcast Lounge and there are other things happening which I cannot tell you about just yet. So, basically, it is bigger and bolder than before.
But the yarny events calendar is so full, I hear you cry.
Here's what makes EYF different: it is rooted in a very specific community and despite all the changes/growth, it keeps that community spirit. Central Scotland is a hotspot if you like your 21st century knitting. So many innovative designers and dyers live here - people who inspire and energise the online community every single day. I am big believer in creative clusters and we definitely have one right here. At the same time we are also fortunate to live with a strong Scottish textile heritage and knitting tradition(s). The first EYF fed off the marvellous synergy and I know this has continued with the 2015 event. It is more than just a place where we can buy gorgeous yarn - it is going to be inspiring, empowering, thought-provoking and damn fun.
Quite apart from my own plans, I am really looking forward to catching up with exciting vendors. I met The Border Mill at the last EYF and they have such a great story to tell. I cannot wait to see how they've expanded and what products they are bringing to the festival. Midwinter Yarns is a company close to my heart. Estelle is a fellow Scandinavian whose focus is to bring fabulous Scandinavian yarns to Britain. The Gotland DK is especially beautiful. A long-time favourite of mine, Eden Cottage Yarns will be bringing their new Bletchley-inspired collection with them. I hope to catch up with its designer Joanne Scrace during the festival. Weftblown is an innovative weaving company from the Scottish West Coast whose work is rooted in weather systems and landscapes. I have seen a tiny bit of Ange's work and am looking forward to learning more. And, as always, I am looking forward to catching up with dear friends (many of which are vendors, so I'll be waving in passing).
And now for the big question: what shall I knit? You may be interested to know that I have some design plans up my sleeve. That's for the next post..