Ahhhhh Yarndale....fabulous, wonderful, highly anticipated, woolly new event! Here in AtticLand we are counting down the days (sixty six in case you were wondering) until Festival Launch with a mixture of extreme excitement and a weeny bit of new-kid nerves. The amazing Woolfest has just clocked up it's ninth successful year, and here we are, teetering on the edge of our first year.
I have to say it's all going pretty well. We have closed the applications for 2013 now, and we are thrilled to announce that there will be over 150 exhibitors in this first year. Truthfully, Yarndale has turned into a far bigger event than we ever thought possible. When we tentatively sat around the table to discuss hiring the venue last Spring, it all seemed a little bit dreamlike. That dreamlike state has gradually been replaced by a great deal of dedicated team work, determination, energy and vision.
We meet regularly to discuss and plan the festival and work our way through a lengthy agenda. There is a great deal to be done in order to ensure an event of this size runs smoothly. Sometimes we meet in a local pub and have three-hour meetings over morning coffee. Sometimes we meet at the Auction Mart when it's necessary to work on the nitty gritty of running a show this size. We have just finished working on the floor plan as our amazing graphic designer begins designing and compiling our brochure this week. There are also various meetings taking place this week to do with the security of the building, emergency evacuation plans and traffic management. Oh, and a meeting with the bus company to look at the vintage red London bus we are hiring to transport people from the town to the event.
I've not talked a great deal about my involvement with Yarndale here on my blog, just trying to think now, I've forgotten what I've said actually?! Err....ok, think Lucy.....yes, there was the first introduction back in January, and then Bunting stuff during May. You would be forgiven for thinking that all I've been contributing is a bit of bunting and a sheep's head (with rosette).
The Yarndale Team is made up of seven people in total, so I am officially 1/7th of the outfit. All of us have busy lives with jobs and/or children, but we've chosen to give our time and energy to help make Yarndale a success. I think we make up a strong team, with each person contributing different skills and experience to the mix. There are even two members who don’t actually know how to knit or crochet (shock, horror!) but vitally they contribute much needed financial, business and event management skills to the team. It's been interesting to see how the work load has naturally divided itself, which each person taking on the role that they feel most comfortable with. For me, that has meant two main jobs :: creative wool person and writer/internet person.
The creative woolly part is where my heart lies and I've love love loved heading up plans for this aspect of the festival. We have been exceptionally fortunate in attracting the attention of the kind people at Stylecraft Yarns, who offered to send us some of the Stylecraft Special DK to use for our yarn bombing. The above balls are only half of what we've received, we are so grateful for their generosity.
And while we're talking about yarn and super-nice people, I would also like to say a huge big thank you to the lovely peeps at Wool Warehouse who are sponsoring the Children's Corner at Yarndale. They are supplying all the yarn for the children's activities (and adults who might have a bit of a thing for pom poms and wish to pretend they are child sized for a short while)
If you have been bobbing in here for a while, you will know that I love Stylecraft Special DK. For our yarn bomb projects, we were prepared to use any old cheap and cheerful acrylic yarn that we could lay our hands on, but thankfully, Stylecraft has saved us from the fate of working with the rubbish, squeaky, plasticky stuff.
When I've had time, I've been playing around with a few flower ideas for the park yarn bomb project. Well, I AM involved in much of Yarndale's Creative Woolly Thinking you know, it's all part of my job. I can't really give you much info about these flowers as I (of course) neglected to write anything down, but I can tell you that the two flowers top left and bottom left were from a pattern in Simply Crochet magazine (issue 7). And the others came directly from my Creative Mind.
The other thing I have been very, very very busy with of late is the bunting thing. Not making it, but overseeing the acceptance of it from other people. Just in case you do not know the Bunting Story, here are a few links to explain ::
This glorious vista is the interior of our local yarn shop, Purl&Jane Knitting Emporium. Jane very kindly agreed for us to use her shop as a temporary Bunting Delivery Depot, and this is providing us both with a surprising amount of fun. I call into her shop daily, after checking on Twitter to see how many parcels have arrived in that day so I know if I will be able to carry them or not.
Sometimes I can carry them all in a (large) shopping bag, but in recent days I've been doing the bunting run with my shopping trolley full to the brim. Little B is, as ever, my trusty assistant. We carry the parcels down through the town to my studio where they are duly processed.
This is a three part process.
Part one is to empty the bag/trolley and make a pile, whilst ooohing and ahhhing at the distance each one has travelled.
"Where is this one from, Mummy?"
The secondary part of the processing operation involves opening each parcel (Little B's job), making a note of who/where info (my job), counting the triangles (Little B's job, unless it goes past 13, in which case I need to assist), then carefully bagging the triangles in ziplock bags (a joint effort) and adding them to the pile (Little B's job).
And the third part of the process will be the Photographic procedure and the compiling of a (very large) gallery of images. I've not got there yet. So far, Little B and I have processed 59 parcels and documented 667 triangles. There are still 50+ unopened parcels. It's a long job. BUT..........I am SO EXCITED about these triangles and the world wide creative spirit that they represent. Thank you, thank you, thank you, to all of you who have joined in with this project, it's going to be incredible when it all comes together in September.
As I mentioned above, aside from the creative woolly stuff, I have also been repsonsible for much of the written content that represents Yarndale. Initially, this involved writing the text for the postcard and the website. I am also the "voice" behind the Yarndale blog, Yarndale on Facebook and Yarndale on Twitter. Boy, that last one has had me stumped. I find Tweeting an immense challenge as it is all so brief and my natural voice is very long winded. But I am trying hard to use this social media in a way that feels honest and fun, and importantly as a way of getting information out there for anyone who is interested. Ravelry is also great for this, and Yarndale now has a presence there too.
More recently, I've been writing some formal editorial stuff for magazines, and this too has been a challenge. I can sit and roll out a blog post in my own "Lucy voice" with very little problem, but writing in a "magazine voice" is soooooo much harder! Oh, how I have struggled!
It's much easier when I discover that someone else has unexpectedly done it for me, as in this sweet and lovely little mention in the pages of Simply Crochet magazine (issue 8, out now)
Something that combines both Yarndale jobs of mine (the woolly stuff and the writing stuff), is pattern designing. As I mentioned earlier, we are compiling a really wonderful colour brochure for Yarndale which we are all rather excited about! It will contain a heap load of information about the festival and all the lovely exhibitors, but as an extra bonus we are also including some creative interviews (I think?!) and a small number of patterns. I started out with a rather ambitious idea to design a three-dimensional version of our patchwork sheep, kind of like a plump little stuffed sheep toy. I had loads of fun patch working the body together, and even making the cute little stumpy legs, but the head....oh the head did NOT work at all! I ended up having a huge hissy fit and threw the whole lot into the fruit bowl, where it remains.
I'm hoping that later in the year, when we have dusted ourselves down after the festival, that I might pick it back up again and make it work. In the meantime.......
Designing something new is such an emotional process, even when it's something relatively small like this. There are highs (yaaaayy it's looking like the right shape, and I've actually remembered to write the pattern down!) and lows (ohhhh pooooop, it looks like a sad fish instead of a happy bird).
But it is such a great, unbelievable feeling when you end up with something that doesn't need to be slung in the bin (or the fruit bowl).
Do you like them? They are only small, measuring about 9cm across. I worked the blue one in Drops Muskat cotton, and the pinky red one in Rico Essentials Merino, both on a 3,5mm hook. A little bit of stuffing, some simple embroidery and a felt and button wing. A brooch pin on the back......
.....and ta-dah! I've called it my "Tweetie Bird Brooch", and the pattern will be in the brochure, available to buy at Yarndale. And possibly (although we've not discussed this fully yet) on our website after the event, if there are any left.
Gosh, this is a loooong blog post, 1806 words and counting. Perhaps you can tell how much I'm enjoying my own writing again after the pressure of formal writing this week, I feel like I could happily sit and write all night :o) Yipppeeeeeeeee for informal sentences and exclamation marks and words like yippppeeeeeeee that aren't in the dictionary!!!!!
Anyhooooo.... just one more thing, and then I'll leave you in peace.
Yarndale Workshops. We are thrilled about being able to offer these at Yarndale in our very first year, as for a good while we didn't think we would be able to manage anything so ambitious. The full programme of workshops is detailed on the website, but places are limited. So if you are coming along and think you might fancy a little bit of hands on creativity, do please book yourselves in.
Right then my Lovelies.....I really do need to finish up now, I'm sorry if I've gone on a bit.
The Little Peeps are home now for the Summer holidays (first day today, it was a bit tetchy at times, but not too bad), so hoping to be here in the Attic a little more regularly. I just remembered when looking through my photos earlier, that I need to talk to you about Felt Balls. The need is surprisingly urgent. Back soon........
ps Yarndale links, just in case you want to come and chat/tweet to me/us....