Yarnporium 2018 is reviewed on this episode of the podcast, where I give you a rundown of the event which took place at Westminster Central Hall in November. Hosted by the fabulous ladies of Yarn in the City, Allison Thistlewood and Rachel Brown, this was a fabulous event which brought together some of the best UK and EU vendors into a glorious venue in Central London for two days of yarny fun.
This was a really enjoyable event, as I felt it brought together a really nice mix of vendors. There were a lot of very good quality yarns on offer, and what I particularly liked, was that along with the ‘usual suspects’ you see at a lot of other shows, there were also quite a few new-to-me vendors. Additionally, there were some related vendors that really added to the mix; by this I mean of interest to knitters, but not necessarily your yarn/pattern/accoutrements.
The venue was particularly good. Very close to all the major transport links, it was both beautiful inside and out, as well as bathed in natural light, which meant for an enjoyable shopping experience. There was ample space between the stands to allow for chatting in the aisles and an airy feeling. Coupled with the breakout area on Friday, it created a really nice vibe for catching up, meeting people and enjoying the community spirit that is often a big part of attending shows.
As always, after a good rummage around, I tend to choose my favourites for listeners to check out, should you not have been able to attend.
Shinybees Best in Show Yarnporium 2018
I was initially drawn into the RiverKnits stand by a rather fetching display of mini-skeins, which captured me like a tractor beam and before I knew it, I was up close and personal with the fluff. Becci runs RiverKnits with Markus, from their narrowboat. Yes, that’s right – a narrowboat – which they travel the canals and rivers of the UK on, and which is their mobile, floating dye studio!
They specialise in British wool yarns and it is all hand dyed by Becci, who was previously an engineer.
There were some great colours on show and a good variety of weights, not forgetting the aforementioned mini skein display, which – of course – was a mini skein extravaganza perfect for the many fair isle/patterned yoke patterns around at the moment.
Garthenor are an organic, sustainable British wool producer, who are based in West Wales at their family farm. They produce a wide range of fully traceable, sheep to yarn lines in both natural and dyed colourways. They also produce socks and bespoke knitwear.
Most interesting to me was the wide range of yarn blends available, but also that all their products are produced in accordance with the Global Organic Textile Standards. This means the resulting items are free from toxic chemicals, pesticides and heavy metals which are often found as by-products of the manufacturing process, and also as trace elements on the garments. These chemicals and metals can cause all sorts of health issues, so it is good to know that this yarn is guaranteed not to have any of these at any part of its production.
The fleece for the yarns comes both from the Garthenor farm as well as fully traceable, organic producers. It’s a great choice if you are looking to make more local choices about your yarn, or you are concerned with provenance or lessening your environmental impact.
3) Rosy Green Wool
Based in Germany, Rosy Green Wool is run by Rosy and Patrick. Rosy grew up with wool; her grandparents owned a spinning mill, which later became her parents, so she was surrounded by wool, knitting and crochet as a child. The idea for Rosy Green Wool came about when Rosy was unable to find organic merino yarns to knit with. She was aware of some of the practices that are common with merino sheep and wanted to make a yarn that was free from that. She uses organic Patagonian Merino, which is spun and dyed in England to organic standards, making a fully Global Organic Textile Standard compliant product.
Recently, she has begun working with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust to create breed specific yarn to complement the merino yarns on offer at Rosy Green Wool.
In this episode, I briefly mentioned becoming more aware of what I consume and where it comes from of late, which probably influenced my decision to award 2 BIS awards to organic yarn brands at this event.
I have recently discovered Crowdbutching via a random – and for once, relevant – Instagram ad. The concept of this is that you have a fully traceable cow from a named farm (you even get to ‘met’ the farmer) and people commit to buying some of the meat from that cow. Once it is fully sold, the cow is sent to be slaughtered, but not before having a few days to chill out following its journey. The cows are all reared with care in mind, fed lots of nice grass and minimal antibiotics etc, which makes for good tasting, healthy beef. Also, it cuts out the middle-man, meaning the farmers get a rightfully better price for such high quality livestock.
I’ve had two boxes now from them and been really impressed with the service.
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Music from this episode is ‘I Need a Drink’ by Adam and the Walter Boys, available via iTunes.