Aleks Byrd Designs


Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018

This was my second year attending the Edinburgh Yarn Festival (EYF). It is always a fun event and this year proved the same. While there is so much yarn to lust over and buy, it's also about connecting with people in the larger knitting community. EYF is easily one of the largest and well known festivals in the UK & Europe and has quite the international standing. People fly in from all over the world to attend. It provides the perfect setting for designers, dyers, farms/ wool suppliers, shop owners, and avid knitters to intermingle. 

A quick illustration I made of a knitter shopping at The Little Grey Sheep's booth in a lovely yoke sweater.

A quick illustration I made of a knitter shopping at The Little Grey Sheep's booth in a lovely yoke sweater.

It is a great place to meet new and old friends including  people you've connected with online via Instagram or Ravelry. And one has to mention meeting Morag the Highland Coo as a particular highlight!  It is also a great place for new discoveries with a variety of amazing workshops! Last year I went heavy on the workshops (4 amazing workshops with Anna Maltz & Felicity Ford aka Knitsonik over 3 days!) but left me little time for exploring the marketplace. This year, I chose to focus on the marketplace and enjoying the wonderful new addition of the marquee ( a great area to sit & knit as well as a great meeting place). I also took part in some of the other events like the Ceilidh (which I enjoyed last year and even more so this year!) and the new Meet the Sheperd/ess event. My plan was to focus on interacting with people and taking in as much as I could for inspiration/ motivation for my own knitting plans!

This was the first year I felt I was attending not only as an avid knitter but also as a designer. I had my mitten samples on display and Color & Knit Mittens book available for sale at A Yarn Story's booth. I also came prepared with little quickly printed leaflets with the information on my Vaip cowl. I love the cowl and wore it to last year's festival which prompted many a knitter to ask what pattern it was. So this year I came prepared! I also used this year's festival as an opportunity to chat with wool suppliers and other designers. It was nice to chat with other designers such as Marie Wallin, Susan Crawford and Felicity Ford to name a few to introduce myself but also get some advice on progressing as a knitwear designer. I have to say that every designer I chatted with, however brief, were extremely generous with their time and information as well as being extremely kind and encouraging. It was lovely and motivating to hear their comments about my work such as my Color & Knit Mittens book. 

I also took the time to meet with some of the amazing vendors at the festival. It was a great opportunity to see the faces behind some amazing yarn I've been using. I'm looking forward to trying out some new yarns that I purchased (more on yarns and vendors in another post). I'm also excited about the opportunity of possible future design collaborations! 

It was also great to meet with some of the shops that are carrying my book.  One of these shops is Stephen & Penelope in Amsterdam! It was so nice to meet the amazing people who work at that incredible shop and to hear how excited they were about carrying the book! They also gave me a style award for my Vaip cowl! I felt super proud and honored to have a ribbon!


EYF is a special place! If you are thinking of attending next year- don't hesitate! There is so much you can learn whether you are taking a workshop with one of the talented instructor/designers or just connecting and learning from knitters you meet. I taught a Scottish knitter how to continental knit just from sitting next to each other in the marquee. Big thank you and congratulations to Mica and Jo who organized another amazing year of Edinburgh Yarn Festival!