It’s hard to believe it has been over a week since the close of Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016 and I am still processing all that it was and all that happened!
I had the most amazing time and the response to my Daughter of a Shepherd yarn was just incredible. Thank you to each and every one of you who stopped by the stand, joined the queue (there was a queue!!!), waited patiently to chat to me, and also bought yarn. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you all and say thank you in person for the support you have shown this project since it launched last year. Likewise it was a joy to meet people who hadn’t heard about the project and so were seeing and hearing about the yarn for the first time. I have bottled all the reactions and good words I heard over the two days and every now and then replay a few of them.
It’s difficult to pick a favourite moment but highlights included…
• Introducing the mill spun skein to the ‘Mother skein‘ handspun by Jane Lithgow.
• A lady who bought a skein as the clip date of the fleece is her birthday.
• I was bowled over by the young lady who came to the stand and told me she is also the daughter of a shepherd. Like so many others she picked up a skein, smelt it and then said ‘it smells exactly how our lambing shed smells at the moment’ before adding, ‘a clean lambing shed’! I actually got goosebumps when she said this as it’s exactly the same response I had when the yarn first arrived as mentioned in the launch blog. This confirmed that I wasn’t just a crazy sheep lady!
• Knitsonik and her ‘This is a Missy Elliott Exclusive’ superfan sweater. She captures the festival feeling of so many of us in this picture…
There was a wonderful atmosphere throughout the festival—so much excitement and inspiration as far as the ears could hear and the eyes could see. I take my newly knitted hat off to Mica and Jo for organising and executing such a fantastic festival and inviting me to be a part of it and apologise to Mica for bursting into tears on her. In fact the tears were an hourly feature during my time at the show—I probably cried on more people than I should have and I’ve been joking with Louise ‘Knit British’ Scollay that I should get Daughter of a Shepherd tissue packs produced for the next show.
Yes, I did say next show! Whilst the ‘fleeced’ project was always meant to be a one-off as an experiment to see if what was considered to be ‘worthless fleece’ could actually become something more, I have come too far and I’m having too much fun to stop now. I realised at Edinburgh that this is just the tip of the iceberg, and having chatted to many people from all over the world about their own fleece adventures, I know we can continue to bring change and raise awareness about these incredible raw materials and the skill sets required to turn them into something magical, so I’m going to continue this journey and see where it will lead. As with the Fleeced project, at this stage who knows if it will work or where it will go but are you all on board for the ride?
It’s crazy to think that only 10 days before Edinburgh Yarn Festival I didn’t even know if I would have a viable product to sell and at no stage was I absolutely sure this project would have a happy ending. But it did and it continues to create even more happy endings as it makes its way into your hands to start the next stage of the journey. I was so sceptical about have actual ‘real’ yarn that I didn’t even think beyond getting it in my hands and so it hadn’t really dawned on me that people would pick it up, buy it, fall in love with it and then actually make something from it—this in itself is utterly overwhelming (you’ll notice I say ‘overwhelming’ a lot at the moment!) and I am thoroughly enjoying seeing what you are doing with the yarn and looking forward to the finished projects rolling off needles and hooks. I have started a thread in the Ravelry group for us to share projects and ideas for patterns with the yarn.
I am receiving messages every day asking when the yarn will be available to buy online, and whilst my editing work (what I call my day job) is keeping me very busy at the moment, we are beavering away in the background building a dedicated Daughter of a Shepherd online store and getting it ready for the first update which I hope will happen next week. This update will be the remaining quantity of 100% Hebridean yarn and I will have news on when the blend of Hebridean with Zwartbles will be with me in the next few days. Please add your name to the mailing list as I will announce the day and time for the update via the newsletter first along with details about when the new batch of blended yarn will be landing.
Additionally one of the things I was completely unprepared for after the show was the response on blogs, podcasts and social media. Seriously you guys, utterly incredible and thank you, thank you, thank you. For more round-ups of the festival, head over to Kate Davies blog and you’ll also spot a picture of me on Knitsonik’s as well. In fact Felix and Louise (Knit British) recorded a really wonderful post-Edinburgh podcast over breakfast – just the two of them drinking coffee, eating toast and chatting away and if you’d like to know a little more about my background, there’s also an interview with me on That Canadian Girl’s video cast. Finally, if you hop over to the Edinburgh Yarn Festival Ravelry group, there are is a whole thread with all the blog posts and podcasts listed.
I’ll be back soon with a run-down of the other bits and pieces I managed to scoop up at the festival and my friends and peers who I caught up with and chatted to about their own projects. There will be more of the usual My Life in Knitwear blogging over the coming weeks as well once things settle a bit and I get back into my regular stride! Thank you again everyone – I really can’t say it it too much!