Thursday 24 May 2018

Preparing for Woollinn

I'm off to Woollinn tomorrow! Woollinn is a new yarn festival this year based in Dublin and is running between 25th to 27th May. I wasn't planning to go originally but after winning two tickets from the Yarn in the City Podcast that was all the encouragement I needed!

So while I'm procrastinating and avoiding packing for the weekend, I thought I would write a quick guide on what to do before going to a yarn festival.

1. Decide which festivals to go to

If you've never been to a festival and don't know what's out there, I have a page with as many festivals/ events as I could find (click here). I have focused mainly on the UK based ones as that's where I live but there are loads worldwide. If I have missed any, please let me know! I love finding new events to visit. I would recommend starting closer to home and try a local-ish event to see if you like it without having to spend too much money. I started with the Great London Yarn Crawl which takes place in September. As a new knitter it was a great way to meet other knitters and also discover new local yarn shops in London. 

2. Tickets and classes

Advance tickets for festivals are usually cheaper than on the door and have the advantage of skipping at least on queue on the day of your visit. If you're not sure you can definitely make it however, door tickets may give you more flexibility. One piece of advice for classes - book ASAP! Depending on the popularity of the event, the classes can sell out in hours. I wasn't able to book classes for Woollinn as I won the tickets really recently and there are great classes on offer such as beginner brioche, beginner double knitting and how to take product photos as well as talks. When buying a class ticket it usually includes the price for the entry ticket as well which is nice! 

3. Travel

It sounds obvious but plan your travel! Whether it's train tickets or plane tickets, buy in advance. This may also highlight any challenges you will have getting to an event. For example, Shetland Wool Week is on an island and involves a ferry or a tiny plane. If you're not great with planes anyway, a small plane is not for you. Also if you're just going for the day - check for rail replacement, weekend timetables and if it's feasible to get to the location on time. I'm not a fan of early starts so always try to avoid long train journeys too early in the morning!

4. Accommodation

If you're staying overnight, don't forget to book a room and check how far it is from the event. Dublin is really expensive so we're staying in one of the airport hotels which are cheaper and also closer to the Woollinn location. To get best value for money, we're going to cram in as much sightseeing as possible this weekend! 

5. Travel Knitting

 For the journey, any breaks and to show other knitters! It's amazing how much you can get done on a train journey. Check airport and plane company guidelines before packing your favourite needles! I'm travelling Ryan Air tomorrow with carry on luggage so won't be risking any projects as I've heard they're really strict. Also pack any finished knits to wear during the festival. It's lovely seeing other people's colour ideas and have people come up to you to discuss what you're wearing. It's all part of the community vibe. 

6. Packing

Leave room for purchases! And pack extra bags for the day. And don't forget your tickets!

7. Purchase planning

Now this is entirely up to you. Some knitters like to wander through the vendors and make impulse purchases as they see them. Others plan ahead and aim straight for certain stalls. I'm a bit of both. Before any show, I look up each vendor and see what they have to offer. This can sometimes be tricky if their shop is shut in the run up to the show as they are saving all their yarn to take with them. In this case, a shop's Instagram can be helpful. I also go through my Ravelry project list and the magazines in my room looking for projects I would like to make. This is useful if you have a budget as you can pre-plan costs etc. I still make impulse purchases but I now have less lonely skeins sitting there with no project. 

8. Research the local area

If you have extra time, explore the area. You never know what you might see and it adds an extra adventure to the trip.

And finally - enjoy yourself! I hope you'll make new friends, discover new shops and dyers and enjoy the ongoing community spirit of the knitting world.

Full details for Woollinn can be found here.

Are you going to Woollinn? Have you got any other shows planned?

Have a great weekend everyone x

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