Yarn shows, what to look for….

Yarn shows are Back!

Hooray! Yarn shows are back, and in person again after a couple of years of no yarn shows or virtual shows only. Several shows have already taken place this year, including Unravel at Farnham Maltings. Shows can be a bit overwhelming, especially after the break we have had. So what do you need to think about before you go, and what to look for when you get there? Keep reading for my top 5 tips….

Yarn shows are back!

Plan before you go.

Do you have a specific project, yarn or colour scheme in mind or are you going to see what there is, and what you fancy? Whilst it can be tempting to go to the show and enjoy looking then buying a bit of everything you love, this can be a mistake. Yarn shows are like giant tempting sweetie shops for most knitters! It can be easy to get distracted; buy what you don’t need or won’t use, buy something because you love it, and then have it remain in your stash unloved or spend too much and regret it.

I recommend a plan… have a look at your favourite patterns, or projects you want to make in the coming months and make a note of what yarns these need. Then when you wander around the yarn show you can refer to your notes and have a better focus on the yarns you need (and want) for these projects. You can also plan and note colours you are looking for and what yarn types, fibre types and thicknesses too.

Do some Pre-search before the yarn show.

What do I mean? Go to the yarn show website, find the exhibitor list and see who’s new to you, who you like, and those that are exhibiting something that interests you less. If you do this you will be more focussed at the show and be able to look for your favourites and the ones you are most interested in. Its such a pleasure, as an exhibitor, to have customers come to that stand and say “Hello, I’ve looked at your Instagram/Facebook/ Website etc and came to see your yarns for real”. One customer who said this to me, shyly showed me the baskets she makes from hemp rope and I liked it so much I bought it!

Allow yourself plenty of time

Give yourself plenty of time at the show.

When we rush, we tend to make rushed decisions that aren’t always the best in the long run. If you see yarns that you really like, think about how you will use them, the colour and texture thy are and if there are enough to make or add to a project you have in mind. After all, there are only so many 100g scarves/shawls/mini projects we need with that irresistible single skein! Ask the exhibitor lots of questions about the yarn if you aren’t sure, and don’t be rushed to buy for fear of missing out. These are often the skeins you put into your stash and don’t use! Sometimes, you may have think, and go back to the exhibitor and find that what you wanted has gone. That just means there’s one you will love more just around the corner.

Think about yarn types, fibres and colours.

Is there a yarn thickness you prefer to work in? For me it’s 4 ply, though I don’t mind DK, and I’m less fussed about Aran. Some knitters prefer thicker yarns and go for Aran and chunky, we’re all looking for something different. So if you see a beautiful yarn, you love the colour and feel of it, but its not a thickness you have to think: can I use it in a different way? A thin yarn can be doubled up. A thicker yarn can be used in a different craft, or perhaps as a textural addition to something. If you really like it you want to give it a try: learn to knit with a lace weight or crochet with a chunky yarn.

Do you like particular colour combinations or shades of colour? At yarn shows there is usually a riot of colour! From neon brights, tonal hand dyes, art yarns and naturally dyed shades. Some won’t appeal as much as others. You will soon get a feel for what colours, yarns and dyers attract you the most. You may have ethical or allergen reasons for choosing a specific yarn or method of dyeing. Seek out those exhibitors first, have a chat with them to see if they have what you are looking for.

Keep your eyes open and spot a trend.

At most yarn shows there is a trend. It may be a colour or combination, or a yarn type that everyone is raving about. Perhaps lots of the yarn show visitors are wearing a particular pattern or design that you like. This happened to me at Unravel…. I noticed quite a few exhibitors and visitors wearing the same design shawl, knitted in many different colourways. I admired and asked one of the visitors about the shawl. She told me who the designer was (Stephen West) and the name of the design (Slipstravaganza). I went on line there and then and bought the pattern. I then had the pleasure of choosing yarns to make the shawl with; mixing colours and hand dyer yarns to make it my own. When it’s knitted it will be a lasting memory of my first visit as an exhibitor to Unravel.

What yarn show are you going to next? Have a look at our Events and Shows page to see where I’m going this year. Hope we will get to the same shows. Make sure you come and say hello, it mean’s so much.

Bye for now,


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