I'm coming to the festival for the first time this year and would like some help planning my day! Can you tell me what's on at this year's event? – Jenny
We're delighted to have 79 vendors joining us from all over the UK this year (and five who are international). We also have our Keynote Lecture, which is being delivered by Fiona Wemyss of Wemyss School of Needlework, and a selection of classes led by respected tutors like Karie Westermann and Skeindeer. You can download a copy of our Floorplan and Festival Guide here too to help you plan your time with us: https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/floor-plan
What is the atmosphere like at the festival? – Ruth
It's very friendly, inclusive, and international with a welcome that the Scottish people are famous for. We are amazed to be welcoming people from 17 different countries this year. The marketplace is well lit, there's plenty of seating and everyone is there to have a great time. Pip and Cia from the Tipsy Knits Podcast recently did a take-over of our blog and they chat about their experiences of last year: https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/news
I've always wondered, how do you find such varied stallholders? – Louise
For the first two years we didn't have an open application process. I reached out to businesses I already knew and loved because I knew the wider yarn community would love them and their products too, then word really started getting out and we added vendors who approached and wowed us. There are so many incredible yarn businesses out there that, even though I keep my finger on the pulse and live and breathe this stuff, I know there are businesses out there that I will miss, so this year we had an open application process for the first time. Sadly we cannot accept everyone and do have a cancellation list every year; competition is tough.
How does it feel for you this year, with lots of members of the International Virtual Knit Nights (iVKN) community that will be attending as well as participating in the Perth Festival of Yarn? – Phil
It's absolutely wonderful to welcome so many members of the International Virtual Knit Nights community to Perth this year and I have tried to place them all together within our marketplace to create an iVKN Avenue! It's great that Perth gives us an opportunity to get together socially in real life and they/you have all been very supportive of the event. It can be a little difficult sometimes though because I have made so many friends within the industry, but it's still my livelihood, so sometimes the lines between personal and professional can become blurred.
Can't wait to browse all the yarns! Which indie dyers should I make sure I don't miss? – Debbie
All of them! I have to say Lise of TréLiz who returns from Athens to join us for a second year! Also Cosmic Strings, Dye Candy, DyeNinja, Mothy and the Squid, My Mama Knits, Greta and the Fibers (who join us from Barcelona), Natali Stewart (who have incredible gradients)… Seriously, I get to hand pick all the vendors who join us from an absolute mountain of applications and all the successful businesses' work is incredible. I find it difficult to choose myself.
It would be great to know what you love most about the Perth Festival? – Sophie
Is it a bit cheesy to say the smiles on everyone's faces? I love being able to bring everyone together to celebrate their love of knitting and fibre craft, making indie dyers and farmers accessible to their fan base.
Will there be food and drink at the festival? – Sophie
There will indeed. There is a fantastically priced cafe which serves hot food on the second floor (next to The Knitter Podcast Lounge), a bar, and a pop-up coffee station in our marketplace.
How do you design your floor plan? It always strikes me as the hardest thing to get right at a show! – Michelle
Not going to lie – it's a pretty difficult thing to do. I plan everything to scale using a spreadsheet. I try and place the largest of the stalls around the perimeter of the marketplace, then I try and get all those that have electricity requirements together. You need to be mindful that you can never have enough seating and it's important to incorporate this into the marketplace, then slot in all the single stalls. If I know that vendors have been collaborating on projects together then I also try and place them close by.
How did you come up with the amazing merchandising idea for the show? The T-shirts are such a great idea! – Alexandra
Several moons ago I studied popular music performance and it's what I have my degree in. I think excitement levels for music festivals and yarn festivals are very similar and I try and focus in on that with our T-shirts. Last year we had the full line-up of vendors and tutors listed on the back of our tees just like you get at music festivals. The homage to Nirvana this year was an extension of that. We still have limited T-shirts that you can pre-order here: https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/tickets
I'd like to know how long it took you to get everything organised for Perth Festival of Yarn? – Beverley
This is my full-time job and I've been working at organising this year's event for near enough the full year. Vendor applications open in January of each year and sometimes you are already in discussion with tutors and personalities for two years before you can secure them.
Why did you decide to start Perth Festival of Yarn? – Stephanie
This is quite a long story, but the concise answer is that it began accidentally. I stepped in to help out some indie-dyer friends after another small scheduled event in Highland Perthshire was cancelled. Perth Festival of Yarn was supposed to be a one-off event to prevent them from losing too much of their income, but it was such a success and well supported by the Scottish yarn community (despite only 10 weeks to organise it all and little promotion) that we realised that we had something very special that needed nurturing.
What is your favourite part of running the festival? – Philippa
I realIy enjoy getting to choose all the amazing vendors, trying to get the mix just right, and introducing people to emerging dyers and supporting farmers who are making that leap into yarn production.
I'm intrigued by 'Gin Flight Friday' on the night before the festival – what's it all about? – Helen
This is an opportunity to meet up in the Bothy of the pub where we hold our monthly Knit Nights; The Green Room. You get three local gins with tonic water (or grown-up non-alcoholic alternatives) and the chance to knit and natter with some of our vendors, tutors, podcasters and festival-goers before all the fun of the Fest kicks off. You'll have to be quick as we only have a few tickets left for this one! https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/tickets
What is your number one advice for the festival goers? – Ellen
I always print off a paper copy of our floorplan and take a highlighter to it so I don't miss anyone I'm desperate to see – like those vendors who have special edition colourways exclusively for the Festival. Reading the Guide we've put together here is a great way to get prepared too: https://perthfestivalofyarn.uk/floor-plan