Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2015!

When last we blogged, I had just finished my Byatt in time to show it off at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival. In fact I was weaving in ends (only four, thankfully) on the train ride down on Friday. The train ride was...long. It's usually only 3.5 hrs to Edinburgh, but we were sharing a car with both hen and stag parties, which quickly merged into one big cacophony. Then the doors wouldn't lock so we sat there for a good span of time before they decided to continue straight to Perth with the conductor running up and down the train begging people to stay away from the doors. When we got to Perth, they said we could wait for the next train in about an hour (two cars to our four) and take our chances, or go outside and coaches would take us to Edinburgh. Coaches, right? Only after we'd all been standing outside for about 10 minutes did they admit that the coaches would arrive at the same time as the train and we couldn't go back and wait for it because it was already full. We almost missed the coaches arriving as they'd parked around the corner and we'd go inside to get out of the wind, which made us just about the last people on. The good news is that our coach was less than half full, the bad news is that it had the drunk hen and stag parties and now they were playing music on someone's phone and singing along without knowing the words. By the time we got to Edinburgh I was...twitchy.

Fortunately the rest of our trip passed smoothly, including the first class train ride back (our first Virgin train in Scotland, the big service from London with all the free food and drinks). Amy came up from London that evening and we had dinner at the hotel (we'd talked about going for Mexican but, despite taking a nap, Little Djinn was manic and liable to fall apart which eventually she did, so we opted to stay close. Highlight from dinner, Little Djinn got the waiter to do Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes with her.

I caught a taxi over early to get to my Professional Finishing class. Towards the end, the woman on my right asked if I'd actually learned anything as I seemed to be familiar with most of the things the instructor mentioned. I hadn't really, but being largely self-taught as a knitter I've discovered some, uh, interesting stylistic techniques in knitting that were making things a lot more difficult than they need to be and, as she herself had said at the beginning, one doesn't know where the holes in one's knowledge are. I do read a lot of knitting blogs (if you wonder if anyone reads blogs: yes, yes I do. I just, as a general rule, never respond) and have picked up a lot of "expert" tips, I just may not have actually tried them myself. So I didn't learn anything new, but I did have a really really fun time being in the class. I wish all of those knitters were regulars at my local knit night. Then I snapped my seat-mates brand new knit pro interchangeable tip when showing her how to tighten them properly. Gah. I was mortified. I gave her my extra fixed length circs (pony, and I never use them). It was only the knowledge that knit pro are guaranteed against things like that and there'd be a dozen retailers in the marketplace who could exchange them for new kept me from dying on the spot. It was a close thing. 

After the class, I walked with another lady over to the market place (yay for someone who knew where we were going - I'd left my phone at home and couldn't even google for directions). I was a little early for meeting Amy (I'd picked a stall near the entrance and named a time by which I should be done with my class) so I went to the Old Maiden Aunt stall for a quick look-see as two patterns on my "wool to acquire for projects on the short list" called for her yarn. I'd ordered wool from her in the past and, while it was nice, the colours weren't quite what I was expected and I really wanted to see them in person before buying anything else. Lilith's colours are as lovely in person as I'd hoped. I settled on one skein of superwash BFL DK in "midnight", a dark mottled purple (which I see as grey on her website). It is deliciously soft and I've already used it.

Amy and I wandered around the market place together, doing a quick flyby to see what there was, and then we caught up with Chris and Little Djinn, who had decided to join us at the convention rather than do their own thing and risk not meeting up in time for the train. LD elected to go with me while Daddy got coffee and then as soon as he'd walked off, started in with wanting food. Gah. We finished our circuit (I bought one more skein of yarn, a silk alpaca lace weight that changes from pale pink to dark purple for a pi shawl; a pair of 2.75 chiaogoo circs; and some soak Flatter spray for freshening wool between washes), found Chris again, and got lunch for LD and me and then it was time to go so Amy could catch her train.

It's not really surprising, given how briefly I was at the market place, that I didn't run into many people I know. I saw Hellen of Ripplescrafts long enough to exchange a moment of significant eye contact (her booth was hopping and I only had time to squish her two new bases - I'll see her and her yarns at the Highland Wool Festival in Dingwall in May). I also saw Karie, designer of my Byatt shawl, just barely long enough for a quick hug as we rushed in opposite directions. (Her partner, the famous Dave, snapped this quick picture - I think I was halfway through taking my hat off when I saw them!) that's it. Those are the only people I know to say hello to who I saw at EYF - and one of them I didn't even get to say hello to! 

My Byatt did receive admiration, both for the beautiful wool and lovely design. A woman in my class recognized it as the "infamous Byatt" and Lilith of OMA said she had hoped it was her yarn so she'd have been responsible for such beautiful colours. The woman at Baa Ram Ewe asked for permission to stroke the shawl on my shoulder, wanting to touch such loveliness. Later, another knitter walked up and ran her finger down the shawl - down my cleavage - and said "very nice." Those two interactions are pretty much a masterclass in the difference between "good touch" and "bad touch".

Next year we are not traveling on EYF day, it's just too stressful. Dates have been announced, the 18th and 19th of March (a Friday and Saturday), with classes starting Thursday. Life willing, we will be there!