In our last post about how we select exhibitors for the Yarningham marketplace I’ll talk a bit about the panel. The panel is made up of TEAM YARNINGHAM – myself (Sara Fowles), Helen Winnicott, Venetia Headlam and Lilith Winnicott.
Sara Fowles “I grew up in Birmingham and learnt to knit at school aged around 7. I then promptly gave up knitting and learnt to sew instead, crafting clothes for myself out of pillowcases and my mothers cast offs. I didn’t take up my needles again until a friend gave me a birthday gift of 2 balls of chunky Rowan yarn. Less than a year later I had started Stitches and Hos, a monthly knit night held in a pub. Over the last couple of years I have expanded my making repertoire to include machine knitting after buying a machine in a charity shop.”
Venetia Headlam “My mom taught me to knit when I was about 7 or 8 years old, I forgot it all then she re-taught me when I was 11, ill and needed something to do. She also taught me the basics of crochet when I was 14, and I have surpassed her in my skills, she will now call on me if she needs “help” with something (ie wants me to do it for her!). Over the past few years I have expanded my skills and added knitting machines and an electric spinning wheel to my arsenal of yarn crafting instruments. The spinning wheel doesn’t get as much action as the needles/hooks/machines but I am determined to make yarn that actually looks decent, and not like spun carpet fluff.”
Lilith Winnicott “I began knitting as a child and promptly forgot how to do it. I re-learnt when I was about 18 and chose the most complicated pattern to knit, on dpns! I also sew, bake and build things. My life seems to revolve around one craft or another but I love it all”
Helen Winnicott “My mom taught me to knit when I was 6 or 7, but I don’t remember making anything until I was a bit older. My cousin and his wife had a baby girl when I was 12 and I knitted bootees and a cardigan for her. I began knitting again in 1989 when I was pregnant with my first child and have never stopped since then. I knitted things for all my children when they were small and now for my grandchildren. Thanks to the internet, I found lots of indie dyers and gorgeous yarns and love to knit socks and shawls for myself. I have tried to crochet but am not very good at it and can only manage a chain.”
A large part of Yarningham is our marketplace. It’s THE place to find the best independent producers, dyers, designers, online retailers and bricks and mortar shops.
From the beginning we set a rule that at least 50% of the marketplace each year must be new to Yarningham. This helps to ensure that the marketplace never feels like its gone stale or we’ve just repeated last year’s festival. It can lead to some very difficult decisions when going through applications but this rule is crucial for Yarningham.
This exercise of looking back through our feedback and compiling statistics has been really eye opening. We’ve never properly analysed our feedback and usually take a much more practical approach to using it. What needs to change? What can we improve? But there’s nothing like a cold hard figure staring back at you unexpectedly from the calculator to surprise you with what you’ve achieved.
And so it was with this figure. Out of 107 exhibitors over the four editions of Yarningham, 71 are unique. Meaning that over the 4 years of the festival 65% of our marketplace has been new to Yarningham. I always knew that we had achieved our target each year but never imagined that we had such a high number of unique exhibitors.
This success is really about TEAM YARNINGHAM. Without Lil, V and Helen as part of the team I think this figure would have been difficult to achieve.
There’ll be one more feedback post after this one. If you’ve missed the other three you can find them here (Part 1), here (Part 2) and here (Part 3).
Yarningham looks sees and does a yarn festival differently. One of our core aims is to bring you the best independent producers, dyers, designers, online retailers and bricks and mortar shops to our marketplace.
We are committed to seeking out new talent and unearthing existing hidden gems. This means we are constantly looking for and researching potential companies and individuals to invite to apply for our marketplace.
From 2016 – 2019 we have had 107 exhibitors in our marketplace. That’s 107 exhibitors packs that have been created with all the information that an exhibitor needs to exhibit at Yarningham, 214 invoices sent (deposit and balance) and 107 badges made for the website.
That’s quite an achievement and something to be proud of.
Due to unforeseen circumstances The Yarn Cafe will no longer be able to attend this year’s Yarningham. We are however pleased to announce a last minute addition to our marketplace – Made by Penguins.
Made by Penguins yarns are hand-dyed by Lisa-Lou in her Hampshire studio. Every hank is hand-dyed using a variety of techniques including painting. Lisa-Lou specialises in producing small batches of one-of-a-kind colourways created with your creations in mind.
Made by Penguins will be located in the Conservatory in our marketplace. We can’t wait to meet Lisa-Lou and giant penguin Brian.