There is so much yarn at EYF! I did come home with quite a stash! Here is a little break down of the yarns I bought and some of the trends I saw at this festival.
Most of the yarn I purchased is non-superwash with the exception of the 3 skeins of Uschitita merino singles. The beauty and qualities of non-superwash wools including their colours and softness have come a long way. I remember a time when I thought these wools were too "scratchy" and was not inclined to use them. My feelings about it have greatly changed with the availability of many different breed options. There are also great variety in colours! There is something to be said of the gorgeous natural colours from the various sheep breeds. It is also great to see dyers working with farms to overdye skeins of natural grey coloured wool, which often produces very tonal and weathered colour palettes. This trend of collaboration was very prevalent at EYF with multiple vendors teaming up to produce something exclusive to the event such as Walcot Yarns dyed by Townhouse Yarns & Uist Wool dyed by Old Maiden Aunt.
Farm to skein trend
This year EYF introduced a new event to their lineup called Meet the Sheperd/ess, which featured sheep farms that create yarn hence farm to skein. This is a process in which the yarn produced has a single source or origin as well as a strong story behind it. This trend aligns with the demand for natural, sustainable wool and customers' desire to know what they are buying/ supporting. It also allows for experimentation with achieving different dyeing and blending of various breed fibres to showcase the beauty of the wool.
I found The Little Grey Sheep when I first visited EYF last year and have been a fan since! I bought a whole bunch of mini skeins in their Hampshire 4ply (one of 3 bases they offer). I love the Hampshire 4ply which is naturally a light grey that has been dyed into a number of wonderful colours! The Little Grey Sheep has a wonderful story behind it- you know who raised & sheared the sheep (Susie) and who dyes the yarn (Emma)- a quintessential farm to skein story! It stories like these that you really see and feel the passion about the wool which is infectious!
I was excited to see this wool in person after reading the story about them in issue 3 of Laine Magazine. Uist creates beautiful natural coloured yarn on the Outer Hebrides island of Uist. They source all the wool from local crofters and operate the business as a cooperative with everything done on the island. It is an inspiring business model and story about creating business for the local people of the island and burgeoning the local wool industry. Their yarns are truly stunning and show the beauty of natural colours and textures of different fleeces and sheep breeds. This is another case where non-superwash is soft! I bought a sweater quantity of Canach in one of their brand new colours Osna to make a Magnolia sweater from Laine issue 4 and a skein of the Reothart, a DK that knits into a nice natural grey gradient which I plan to do some design swatching with another skein.
I bought a skein of a golden/mustardy yellow in their Aran weight which I plan to pair with the Uist Reothart. Similar to Uist, Iona Wool produces yarn on the Inner Hebrides island of Iona. They offer a range of beautiful colours inspired by the landscape and sea around Iona. They offer their yarn in two weights- Aran and DK.
I bought a few skeins including a special marled blend called the Speckled Hen from The Birlinn Yarn Company. This yarn is from the Outer Hebrides with sheep that are "seafaring" traveling between their home on sle of Berneray to their grazing spots on island in the Sound of Harris. I'm excited about the Speckled Hen which is the natural colours of Hebridean and Cheviot sheep twisted together for a nice black and grey marl.
I first heard about Rauwerk through a friend I met when living in Munich. Rauwerk is a yarn shop with their own namesake line of yarn sourced from farms in the surrounding Munich area. This yarn which is plush like a DK weight can be knit in varying needle sizes to produce different fabric qualities. It has wonderful stitch definition too for textured stitch patterns and cables. Christine who is the owner and face behind Rauwerk works to provide sustainable wool. This sustainability extends to the introduction of dyed skeins of Rauwerk yarn at EYF. The skeins were dyed with natural dyes by fellow German Jule Kebelmann of Hey Mama Wolf.
The speckle trend is still going strong!
I was on the hunt for gradients this year as I have lots of design ideas featuring this colour blending method! One of my favorite suppliers of gradients is John Arbon Textiles. They have a collection offered in 4ply and DK weight called Knit By Numbers which boasts a gradient series in 17 colours! On top of that they offer those gradients in mini skeins! John Arbon develop and spin yarn in North Devon sourcing all the wool from the UK. Their wool, especially the Knit BY Numbers, is incredibly soft and luscious to knit with.
Well now it's time to start knitting this stash!