It's nearing midnight on Sunday evening and despite my having headed to bed hours ago I cannot sleep because my mind is buzzing from such an amazing weekend.
My Yarndale experience was not at all as I had envisaged it but it was wonderful in so many unexpected ways. I'm still trying to process everything that went on - it passed by so quickly.
If I'm honest, I had thought I'd have a few people join in but mostly be twiddling my thumbs and fretting about no-one wanting to purchase the kits. As it turned out I was busy as busy can be for the entire weekend!
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who came to say hello and to those who joined in with the workshop. We were much, much busier than I had anticipated and so I didn't really get a chance to chat properly with anyone (sorry!) but it was Amazing to meet so many of you that visit this little space and put some faces to names. It was great but kind of surreal to meet people who "knew" me - I was even recognised in the queue to get a cup of tea! - and the parents of a reader from overseas who couldn't make the journey (also called Hannah, I think?) came to take photos and say hello. You were all so lovely - thank you!
The event was incredible - I only got to see the majority of it before and after opening hours but the yarns and other lovely things for sale were beyond gorgeous. I was kind of glad to be working or else I think I may have bankrupted myself with the offerings from all of the stalls.
The bunting made by Lucy's readers was absolutely stunning. I was lucky enough to be part of the team that strung and hung those 6000+ triangles and each unique design was so well thought out. I have loved seeing people studying it around the venue, trying to spot the ones they made - quite a few people managed to locate theirs. What a great way to get people engaged in an event. I was truly in awe of it all.
The workshops area where I was based was a nice big space with seating all around it so we had a lot of people milling around observing what was going on and resting, too. It was a bustling atmosphere. I loved this as it meant more people got to see my yarny Christmas tree. Out of the corner of my eye I saw lots of people taking photographs, discussing the ornaments and getting inspired to make their own decorations. After almost eight months of working on it it was thrilling to see and hear feedback.
My workshop table had lots of sparkly beads and things for people to experiment with and some chocolates - it was Christmas after all! I had Christmas music playing (when my CD player wanted to work) and it was all quite festive.
I was overwhelmed with the amount of people that wanted to join in. It turns out that a lot of people want to learn to knit with double pointed needles but lack confidence or need someone to sit and show them.
I'm extremely proud to say that we had a 100% success rate - everyone that sat down at my table went away being able to knit in the round and most people also learnt another skill such as colour work or new increase/decrease methods. We worked with beginner knitters and advanced knitters and everyone in between and I adored the chance to pass on some skills and inspire confidence face-to-face.
The Saturday was extremely busy and I spent the majority of my time selling kits and talking to people - in fact I talked so much that I lost my voice! Sally was an amazing help with getting people started off, I was so lucky to have her there - thank you, Sally! I also love the atmosphere you get with a group of knitters - it's like an international code of niceness - everyone is so lovely and willing to help and pass on skills and this worked well during busy times when both Sally and I were already engaged and others needed assistance. Those joining in were keen to encourage potential customers to have a go, too.
Sunday was a bit quieter, although my workshop was full all day, again - we had to spill over into the surrounding seats! - and I really enjoyed getting a chance to be more hands-on with the knitting.
We had some lovely ta-da moments as baubles were finished as well as moments where it all clicked into place for knitters and they were happy to take their projects home to finish.
I remember that feeling of accomplishment when knitting in the round finally made sense for me - it's a particular skill, I think, that opens up a whole new world of possibility for patterns and I feel all warm and fuzzy about having helped others to get there.
Speaking of warm and fuzzy - I got to meet some alpacas on Sunday morning. How cute are they?!
There are a million other things I ought to tell you about the event but my mind is a blur.
It was awe-inspiring and I'm so pleased that I managed everything that I did (not a single panic attack all weekend - go me!) and that people enjoyed themselves and went away with a new skill.
The entire experience has me thinking that perhaps I'd like to do more hands-on, face-to-face workshops, although on a much smaller scale. It was so rewarding.
A big, Big thank you to the Yarndale team for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing event. Aside from all of the things I've already mentioned, it's been an emotional year for me and focusing on this project and the festive nature of it has helped me through some dark days.
When the workshop idea was first suggested I didn't think I could do it but I feel so empowered now that I have seen the project through to the finish.
Did you come to Yarndale or take any photos in the workshops area? I'd love to see/hear about your experiences. I have also been encouraging people to link up their finished bauble projects on Ravelry - my bauble pattern page is here. I would LOVE to see them! The knitted bauble pattern has been uploaded there too if you fancy making my baubles but didn't manage to get to the event.
It's late and I think I may be blathering now so I'll wrap things up. I'm in disbelief that it's all over, really. It's been difficult to contemplate life beyond Yarndale. What on earth will I do tomorrow?