A blog about life and Ripples Crafts

Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018

I have been trying hard to digest and mull over Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2018 for the last few days.   It is very difficult to put down in words just how much, from a vendor’s perspective, I enjoyed this event this year.  I am struggling to pin point exactly what it was that made it so enjoyable but I know that it has something to do with the way it is organised and, as a vendor, how well the communication channels are kept open between vendors and organisers.

So I will start by saying a very big thank you to Jo and Mica, the two incredible women behind this event.  I only had brief chats with them over the weekend, but the fact that they had time even for that was appreciated.   And then the team of volunteers which they have helping them.  If I were Craig Revel Horward I would be saying “A-MAZE-ING darlings”.   The atmosphere of cheerfulness and helpfulness pervaded the whole weekend.  Nothing was too much trouble.   And the same has to be said of the staff at the Corn Exchange who were also very helpful and friendly.

This year it was all change for the Ripples Crafts stand.  New location, new look, new helpers.  So it was with a bit of trepidation that we turned up on Wednesday afternoon last week, not having any idea just how long it would take to build our “new look” stand as, while I’d used the new stand components at smaller shows, this was by far the biggest one and there was quite a bit of construction to do.  It is always interesting to get the first sighting of your stand at a show.  Sometimes you can be instantly a bit “meh” about it, but in the case of EYF I was completely and utterly delighted.  An empty stand never looks that inspiring but it is filled with potential:


Even with just the boxes of yarn in and the stand looked different instantly.  Just out of interest, the black cubbies which formed my stand break down and we transported the whole stand in the 4 shopping bags you can see against the right hand wall of my stand.  We have to be canny with what/how I display my yarns as we transport everything in our Fiat Panda, a roof box and a trailer so space is always at a premium:


Slowly but surely the stand began to take shape:

By the time we left the Corn Exchange at about 7.30pm on Wednesday evening, the stand was more or less as I wanted it.  You’re never absolutely entirely 100% happy – I’m always left with feelings of “should I have displayed it this way or that way”.  It is inevitable, but eventually you have to stop fussing and just step away.  So when the doors opened at 9.00am on Thursday morning, this was the sight that greeted shoppers:

I think for me, one of the joys of EYF (as with many events that I do during the year) is the generous nature of those attending.  I was constantly spotting beautiful knits, and everyone I stopped to ask about their creation were happy to chat about it, tell me a little about the making and the name of the pattern.  Nobody was in too much of a hurry, wanting to get to the NEXT stand to see the NEXT thing.

This year EYF was held over 3 days.  I really liked this format.  I felt that Thursday (which was entry by pre-purchased ticket only) was much more relaxed than the first day last year.  It was busy but it didn’t have that harassed, crushed feel about it.   My own very unscientific observation was that there were many many nationalities  other than British on the Thursday.  It was as if the Corn Exchange had suddenly became the cosmopolitan yarn centre of the universe.  It was lovely!  On the stand I had folk from Taiwan, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, all over Europe, Canada and US, and of course from all over the UK too.   We had a large contingent from Iceland – apparently there was a full plane load from Iceland who headed to Edinburgh.  One pair were so mesmorised by all the colour they had to have a little sit down on the floor to have a wee think and choose just the right ones – I apologise for the blurry picture but I just snapped it to keep:


There was a new addition to the event this year in the shape of a huge marquee and this helped immensely with providing seating for folk.  I only ventured in a couple of times to eat my lunch, but on both occasions I managed to get a seat without any difficulty at all.  The space in the main hall had also been allocated to stands in a different way to previous years, and this seemed to make the space feel much more, ummmm, spacious!  There were still short periods of times when it felt very busy, but without the feeling that you were being pushed or jostled.

My two new helpers this year were just fab.  On Thursday I had my sort of sister in law 3 times removed Jacqui helping me.  Jacqui is a sewer/textile printer rather than a knitter, but she thoroughly enjoyed the day and meeting folk.   And on Friday and Saturday I had the lovely Gabi helping me, both with the yarn but also the myriad of languages that folk spoke on the stand as Gabi can speak one or two.

Gabi has been a customer for a few years now, and is always stretching me when it comes to colours which I have always appreciated.  I know she enjoyed herself, and it was lovely to have both her and Jacqui helping out this year.


And so it is over for another year.   As usual there is a bit of a post show slump that is inevitable when you’ve been working so hard towards something for about 7 or 8 months.  However I am already busy putting the finishing touches to another special project I’ve been working on to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Ripples Crafts, and there will be more about that in my next blog entry.

So thank you to all who came to EYF and to all the organisers.  It was, for me, a happy, festive event.  I loved it.



A Few More Questions (with photographs!)


Introducing “Cochrane”


  1. Diane

    Hello! I concur with everything you are saying but from a visitor’s perspective – the staff of the Corn Exchange and the volunteers were calming and helpful. The new marquee was ideal – plenty places to sit and I think it also helped to make the market place a little less crowded – people were just happy sitting knitting and chatting. The marketplace did indeed feel less crowded.

    And your stand was amazing – with all those West Coast inspired colours and glorious yarns. I hope it was a great show for you and that many more people now know about your lovely yarn!

  2. Cynthia

    Hi Helen – I was one of the Americans that ventured into your booth on Thursday. My son was with me and pointed it out because of the fabulous colors. I bought several skeins of your yarn which I’m very happy with! You were my first purchase of the day. This was my first trip to EYF but I’m definitely planning to return next year. Hope to see you there.

  3. Clare Warwick

    Another time you are down Helen we have to meet up for a catch up. Hope all is good with you and Stevan. Shona and I are doing well in the city. Glad the festival was a success. A friend’s new gf was there and was very complimentary about your yarns. xx

  4. Thank you for your lovely story! Back in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, I am still practicing pronouncing the name of the colour of my beautiful yarn….Assynt Lochs (and yes the word Lochs is not the problem :0). Hope to find you again next year.

  5. Elizabeth Anderson

    Thank you so much for this lovely post and photographs, it’s so great to hear about the show I only had a couple of minutes in your stand on the Saturday because I know you are coming to the Aberdeen Yarn Festival. I’m so excited about that! I hope you’ll have lots of Suilven with you!

  6. Great post Helen. As a fellow vendor, I can relate to so many of your observations. Love your idea that EYF was the cosmopolitan yarn centre of the universe! haha It really was! Hope we get up to Assynt again this year. Would love to visit your dye shed 🙂

    • Helen_at_RipplesCrafts

      It will be lovely to see you Aileen. And again, my apologies for having to rush off when you were on my stand!

  7. Jill S

    Can I ask a festival-related question? I wondered, do you put out ALL the yarn you’ve brought with you on the first day? Or do you keep some in reserve for days 2 and 3? I also wondered what proportion do you sell of what you take with you? If that’s restricted information, that’s fine, and just say so but I guess I’m curious.

    So glad you had a good festival – it’s a remarkable success how EYF has taken off in the last few years, isn’t it? So many festivals cropping up around the UK now.

    We’re probably going to be in the UK in 2020, and I’m already trying to work out if our trip will coincide with a yarn festival. It’s looking positive for Yarndale so far which would good!

    • Helen_at_RipplesCrafts

      Hi Jill. Yes, I divide the stock up at events like EYF. Not on quite an equal basis over 3 days, as the last day is sometimes a little slower for sales, depending on the show you’re doing. But definitely – I keep extra stock of the highly popular colourways so that I have fresh stock to put out. And yes, I always have stock to bring home. It varies from show to show, and with EYF this year it was all a big unknown because of the extra day, so I overstocked so that I could be prepared for any eventuality.

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