Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018 is drawing nearer and we are many spirits and flavours of excited! We count ourselves as seasoned professional yarn festival goers (if we type it, it must be true!), so thought we’d share our top tips for preparing- and getting in the festival spirit.
Before the festival
- Sign up to the EYF mailing list
Info about the festival regularly comes through the mailing list, and for the eager yarn fans, it’s also a good way of making sure you know when the dates for 2019 will be announced. If you’re on social media and Ravelry, give them a follow and drop into the Ravelry forum too.
- Get those tickets printed
These are your gateway to EYF. Don’t do it the night before either- get them printed in advance and save yourself the heartbreak of a late-night dash to get a new ink cartridge for your printer. As an aside, if you’re going to keep your tickets in a safe place, make sure you make a note of where that safe place is!
REMEMBER- there will be tickets on the door on Friday and Saturday.
- Plan your travel
EYF will be held at the Corn Exchange in Edinburgh, which is near the junction between Slateford Road and Chesser Avenue. It’s a stone’s throw away from Slateford Station, and also on plenty of the Lothian bus routes (4, 34, 44 or 44A) which stop by the aforementioned station. We travel by train every year, and we always keep an eye on when the first and last trains are, as well as how frequently they run. Keep checking a few days before the festival, just in case rail or roadworks spring up and alter timetables and journeys. We’re based in Glasgow and travel around Edinburgh isn’t our expertise, so do make sure you check out the EYF’s Travel FAQ page.
- Order your EYF merch
Have you seen the amazing new enamel pins, project and tote bags available this year? Pre-orders for festival collection are open until 28th February, and orders requiring shipping will be sent out from the week commencing 26th March.
- Line your wallet
Whilst some vendors may have the ability to accept card payments, and there is an ATM at the nearby ASDA, we very much recommend making sure you have cash for your purchases. It makes life a lot easier and means you don’t have to worry about not being able to purchase that special skein or braid of fibre.
It’s also worth nothing that sometimes WIFI can be patchy, so bear this in mind too.
On the day
- Food and drink will be available at the venue, and there are nearby supermarkets. A bottle of water is definitely a must- make sure you stay hydrated throughout the day. A good breakfast is also a must- you’ll need the fuel for yarny excitement (not to mention the ceilidh if you’re attending!)
- Likely to be using your phone a lot? If you have a travel power bank, bring it along- it saves you the worry of trying to find a power socket.
- Store your coats and bags in the cloakroom
Prices are TBC, but this is a great way to make sure you’re not struggling between booths as you drag around warm jackets, three totes, and your suitcase.
It’s fair to say we’re both rather different yarnies, with different tastes and priorities towards our knitting, so we also thought we’d share our personal festival preparation and attending tips.
I am a planner. I recently had a conversation with a coworker where I was asked if I was organised. I had a mild existential crisis over this. At my core I am an unorganised mess, so I counter that by organising a lot of what I do to quite a degree! So am I unorganised or not? Well, I looked at my notebooks and realised that yes, I’m organised. So if that’s your jam here are my tips for organised festival goodness.
- Check the vendor list
Every year I print off the vendor list and check out everyone on it while making notes. It allows me to set some expectations for what I’ll be able to get my hands on and also stick a big star next to the folks I really want to visit so I can make sure I don’t miss something in the madness and kick myself about it later. I then collate these starred ones into a ‘must visit’ masterlist in my notebook.
- Print off the venue map
While in previous years these have been available already printed on site, I prefer to print it off in advance and then cross reference it to my must visit list and highlight/circle the stalls those folks are at. This means at a glance I can see if I’ve missed a stall in my wandering and also allows me to make a beeline if I want to revisit a stall (or if I remember particular stalls were extremely busy). I am pretty methodical and spend the first walk around going around the entire place which also helps me get everything settled in my mind.
- Bring a shopping list
This is my big, big tip. Every year I make a list of the projects I want to buy for, the yarn weight and quantities I will need and, if the specific yarn the pattern is made in is what I’m looking for, the colourways and names. This means I don’t get home and realise I didn’t get enough or I got the wrong yarn weight. Last year I added something to this: pictures of the patterns. This was what I consider to be my genius moment – it made it so much easier to decide on yarns and colours because I had a reference right there. Instead of having to try and remember what the pattern looks like and if the colours are similar, I could just quickly reference my notebook and boom, decision made.
At work, I’m organised and I love a good to do list. Take me away from academia and I become an agent of chaos, especially when there’s yarn involved. The year I tried planning my purchases a la Pip, I essentially rebelled against myself and the result was a lot of yarn that wasn’t really ‘me’, for patterns that weren’t on my list or really ‘me’ either. Here are my slightly more impulse (and likely coffee-fuelled) way of doing things.
- Select and wear comfortable clothing
I love planning outfits and am known for sudden wardrobe changes. If there’s one thing I love more than leopard print clothing, it’s comfortable clothing. There’s nothing worse than having sore feet, or feeling as though you’re being smothered by your sweater. Yarn festivals usually involve a surprising amount of movement, as well as being in some busy spaces which can be quite warm. I recommend making sure you’ve got comfy footwear (maybe some blister plasters in your bag just in case!) and having a cardigan or zip-up hoodie you can throw on and off as required. Obviously you’ll also want take an FO or two to show off too, and have photographed in the TOFT Photobooth.
Another wee tip related to this I have is to customise your tote bags in advance- chances are other knitters may have the same bags as you, so to prevent any awkward mixups when you put bags down and pick them up throughout the day, I like to add badges and yarn scraps to mine so that they’re easily identifiable.
- Follow podcasters and vendors on social media
This overlaps a little with Pip, but is quite easy to do when you’re on the go. Ridiculous algorithms aside, Instagram is a great app for catching up with my friends or favourite podcasters. Designers and dyers sometimes share their creative processes through Instagram Stories and Live streams, and of course, there’s the main EYF Instagram account sharing previews of what to expect too. It’s also my favourite way to document my (and Pip’s) shenanigans, and I love scrolling through the festival hashtags once everything’s over too. There’s something lovely about seeing so many happy faces in knitty selfies, admiring close-ups of booths, reading comments full of compliments about someone’s FO, and just continuing to quietly revel in the festival spirit.
- Own my stash and taste in yarns
I’m all about being in control of my stash, loving it, and not feeling ashamed or guilty about its contents or size. I may not be going with a list of planned patterns like Pip, but I am going having acknowledged that no, I still haven’t knit up the many black and pink variegated emo princess yarns I’ve bought over the years- so no, I don’t need any. However, I do know I love high twist merino 4ply yarns, and that I probably shouldn’t buy mohair as I’ve not had a good track record with it.
Whether I remember this once Pip’s gone to her class and can’t remind me I don’t really like mohair is a story for next episode…
We’ll be in the Blacker Yarns Podcaster Lounge this year, and we’ll be attending the Big Thursday Knit Night. We can’t wait to see you all! Until next month, Tipsy Knitters!