A few months back I had the pleasure of interviewing two of the organisers of Yarningham festival for Laine magazine. For those who don’t know, Yarningham is the UK’s only Black-led fibre festival and it takes place annually in the heart of The Midlands, in Birmingham, England’s second biggest city.
The team behind this fabulous event is made up of Sara Fowles, Venetia Headlam and mother and daughter, Helen and Lilith Winnicott. Now as you’ll have noticed I said, it takes place annually. And it does – in normal circumstances. But of course the last year has been anything BUT normal and last year’s event was cancelled due to Covid.
So this year, like many other events, Yarningham will be making the switch from an in-person to an online show but that’s where the similarities end. They’ve always followed their own path, which is what makes the show unique. That, and the fact that as I mentioned, they’re the only fibre fixture organised by a team that includes two black women. So what can you expect from a virtual Yarningham? The unexpected of course!
There’s a Marketplace packed with droolworthy yarns, must-knit patterns and notions galore; some vendors you may know, others you definitely won’t have heard of. But that’s another thing that makes this show special. Each year they pride themselves on finding vendors who are brand new to the scene, so there’s always a new offering instead of the same old faces in exactly the same places. There are also lots of Yarningham Online Exclusive products, created especially for this event. So don’t worry, you won’t find them available anywhere else and exhibitors will be around during Q & A Sessions, if you have any questions about exactly whats on offer. Last but definitely NOT least there’s Yarningham Bingo. And as if Bingo itself wasn’t a good enough reason to go this year, their very Special Guest Caller is none other than Stephen West. See, I told you they had their own way of doing things! CLICK HERE to buy your Yarningham Bingo ticket.
Now before I go there’s one other very important thing you need to know. Yarningham are looking to raise money for a one-off print publication to celebrate this year’s show.
Called Yarn + Stitch the magazine will feature lots of specially commissioned content including contemporary knitting & crochet patterns, exclusive articles, Midlands-maker spotlights plus festival mascots, the alpacas Boris & Donald (not Johnson and Trump, these are much cuter) in their debut comic strip adventure.
Confirmed Contributors to Yarn + Stitch Include:
Apoorva Designs, Carissa Dickerson, Scott – Crystal Yarn, Deborette Clarke, Rachel – Flyydyed, Gaye Glasspie, Gurinder Hatchard, Imogen Morris, Jackie Cassidy, James Chandler, Noriko Ho, Ruth Green, Sandra Gutierrez, Sylvia Watts-Cherry… oh and yours truly (me).
The team have started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to produce the magazine. This ensures everyone involved in the publication is paid fairly for their work. This is going to be very special magazine but they need YOUR help to make it happen so, if we really want a fibre industry that reflects and includes everyone, we need to help Yarningham reach its target.
The campaign runs until 12th July, 2021.
Let’s make Yarn + Stitch happen! CLICK HERE TO DONATE
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