The hardest part about sharing this last week is picking which photos to share - because I have WAY too many. Of the people, of the yarn, of the scenery. And maybe that in itself sums up the whole experience. It was full of moments that had to be captured and savored and remembered. I'll try to recap some of the highlights here, but I'm absolutely going to have to leave off a great deal of it because 5 days in an enchanting city with all the yarn and all the people really should be a chapter in my personal Knitlandia - (right Clara Parkes?) - and neither you nor I have the time for that.
First, the city - it's just as enchanting as you imagine. Our flat was in a crescent of row houses, and it was quirky and charming and had a spiral staircase made of stone. My housemates were Ellen Mason, Sonya Phillips and Kirsten Kapur, which is an amazing and entertaining combination of both knitting and sewing talents who are intelligent, wonderful, and hilarious. This pic of Sonya and Ellen on the steps of the castle is one of my favorite images of the whole trip. It captures about one tenth of the joy in these two.
Edinburgh is a great walking city - charming shops and gothic stone buildings line the streets, and in the center of the town is the great castle, perched on a mound of volcanic stone and visible no matter where you go (helpful when you get turned around).
A bit by myself and a bit with others, I managed to explore the Old City, the New City, the Canal of Leith, and the bluffs nearby, and I feel like I barely scratched the surface. I ducked into beautiful old cemeteries large and small, found hidden alleys and stairways, found the path up the side of the castle, went out of the tourist area with Kirsten to check out the local neighborhood charity shops and read every single historical plaque I walked past. I bought a history book to fill in the gaps, and made my buddies detour into a free exhibit on the Plague at the National Library, But there's tons more to see and do, and I think another trip will be in order.
When Ellen and I arrived from the airport on Wednesday, we plopped our bags at our flat (in the row above) and walked back out the door to meet up with local designer and good friend Gudrun Johnston, who took us straight to the cafe where JK Rowling wrote much of Harry Potter. See that shot at bottom left? That's a view right near the cafe, where almost any of the streets could easily be Diagon Alley.
Festivities began Thursday night, with a gathering at a local restaurant - conveniently about a block from our flat. And for the rest of the weekend, there was the meeting in person of all the wonderful industry people I'd "known" online. Just to name a few -- Lydia and Sophie from Pom Pom, Linda of Kettle Yarns, Justyna Lorkowska, Melanie Berg, Susan Crawford, Victoria from Eden Cottage Yarns, Felicity Ford, Tom of Holland, Kate Davies (!!), Emily from TinCanKnits, Ruth of Wooly Wormhead, Nancy Marchant, Diana Walla, Jeni Reid, Anna Malz, Hanna Maciejewska, and all the way from Washington State, USA - Veronika and Daniel from YOTH, who I actually had not met at home in the US. Plus I got to see a whole bunch of knitters who came up to me to say hello at different points over the days. It's such a whirlwind and the thrill to meet some of these folks whose work I've followed or books I own or knits I've made - or who've made mine - is such an honor.
And the thought that runs through my head regarding this piece of the trip is just a giant thank you to Jess and Casey. It's the community that they built that created a world where I could get on a plane and go across the globe and immediately connect or hug or chat or have a beer with these people. As part of that community, we come pre-introduced somehow, and we never seem to have a shortage of things to talk about.
And then there was the festival itself. Held in the old Corn Exchange, just outside the city center.
I think I'll stop there for now - in a day or two I'll pop back in to continue - with proper photos and links and thoughts about the things I got to pet and squish and buy. Jo and Mica put on a wonderful show and I want to chat about it properly. For now, there is much catching up to do around here and I can feel myself getting a little distracted by the list to my left...