Edinburgh Yarn Festival 2016

I almost can’t believe it’s been a whole week since I was at Edinburgh Yarn Festival. It’s been my first big “knitting event” and it was a lot of fun – everyone there was exceptionally lovely, and I picked up a lot of yarn and had a good time with the friends I went with. I’m looking forward to hitting up the Indie Burgh Yarn Crawl in June, but for now let’s show you what I picked up!

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Three skeins of Skein Queen Desire Bounce, and my adorable Edinburgh Yarn Fest logo project bag. It’s pictured as the beginning of a Distinction by Caitlin ffrench. It’s been my first ever colourwork project, and it’s so much fun! It’s come a long way since I cast it on a week ago, you can see my latest project picture on my Ravelry page.

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Two skeins of DyeNinja High Twist Merino Fingering, and my Edinburgh Yarn Fest tote bag. The blue is in the Queen Magrat colourway of DyeNinja’s special Discworld colourways, I was very excited to pick up the last skein she had for sale. I’m most likely going to knit this into a Byatt by Karie Westerman.

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Two skeins of Border Tart Blue Moon Merino Fingering, and a copy of the festival’s exclusive Wool Tribe magazine. I saw a few stalls selling yarn dyed with indigo at the festival, and thought I’d get in on it while it’s trendy. I’m still not sure what I’m doing with these – I might make a second Byatt, depending on how I feel after the first one, or I might make something else entirely – I’m sure I won’t struggle to find a project for this gorgeous pair. I am planning to make the Stevenson Cowl by Gudrun Johnston from Wool Tribe at some point, though – and I’ve already bought a few skeins of Jamieson’s to get me started.

I feel like I’ve been existing on wool fumes since I left – I’ve spent more time solidly working on the Distinction in this past week than I think I have on any other project, and I’m so excited to see my other gorgeous pickups as finished objects.

I was amazed at how it managed to have such a relaxed atmosphere despite half of the event being a sales hall – people were happy for you to browse and touch yarns, and respected if you said you were still planning your budget or wanted to see everything before laying down cash. I think the difference from, say, comic conventions I’ve been to is that most of these people seem to have online or physical stores that are doing fine – this event isn’t the only chance they’ll have to sell wool, whereas at a comic convention things can feel a little weird when you’re browsing the creator-owned comics and the creator in question obviously needs people to buy things so they can at least make back their table cost. I also ended up in a lot more casual chat than I ever have at a comic convention – telling people their scarves look nice, or asking what yarn they’re using, and having people do the same back to you, gave it a real tangible sense of community. I’m already looking forward to next year!

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February Reading & Writing Check-In

Last month, I finished the story I started in January and sent it away, and have since started writing another one! I’ve been making very small edits to the novel since I’m still waiting for a beta to finish reading & send me their feedback, but the changes feel like they’ve been important – they’re all tweaks or rewordings of scenes or phrases that have been bothering me since the first draft but that I didn’t change because nobody flagged them in editing. While there’s still one part I’m mentally picking over, I think most of them are a lot better for the changes I’ve made.

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Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett – Because of when the first Sunday of each month fell I ended up reading two Pratchett book club entries this month. I really enjoyed Wyrd Sisters, since I enjoy Shakespeare enough that I could a) laugh at all the jokey references made to them and b) enjoy the glorious melodrama of the Shakespeare-inspired main plot. I love the three witch characters, and feel that there’s enough to the book to enjoy as a standalone fantasy work with themes of magic and stories as much as I enjoyed it as part of my Pratchett-reading project.

Arrows of the Queen & Arrows’ Flight by Mercedes Lackey – Speaking of enjoying things, my boyfriend bought me a Mercedes Lackey omnibus for Christmas because he was sure I would love them. And I do. I’m two novellas through the great honking tome. There are elements of them that are pure “teen fantasy”, involving running away from home and finding out you’re something special and making new friends, but what elevates Lackey amongst lesser entries in the genre is her keyed-in understanding and deep exploration of emotions. The protagonists’ troubled upbringing and experience leave her with a whole host of mental scars, and the book takes this trauma as genuine and explores the different messy ways people notice or don’t notice, try to solve it and fail or succeed, and the way it affects her when new things enter her life. It’s a very effective book, and this truly successful psychological realism melds wonderfully with the more fantastical adventure elements.

Pyramids! by Terry Pratchett – This month’s second book club read. While I won’t say it didn’t have issues, re: Pratchett’s recurring joke that everyone, deep down, is a middle class English person taking on slightly troubling colonial connotations when transferred to an Egyptian environment, I still really enjoyed it. It’s the best-paced Discworld I’ve read so far, and does lots of interesting and fun things with its setting and its ideas about mathematics and the cosmos.