New knitting festival succeeds in attracting hundreds of new visitors to Highlands

Hundreds of knitting enthusiasts from more than 20 countries visited Inverness this past weekend to attend the inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival.

A full programme including nearly 40 workshops, lectures and presentations from Friday morning through Sunday afternoon attracted more than 1100 attendees. Based around Eden Court, the Loch Ness Knit Fest brought together some of the world’s most well-known knitters and designers. Presenters included Christel Seyfarth, Alice Starmore, Vithard Vullumsen, Catherine Sclater, Di Gilpin, Ruth Black, Nancy Marchant, Chrissie Day, Carla Meijsen, and Pernille Cordes.

 Part of the festivities celebrating Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, the Festival also included a crafting village with hands-on demonstrations of spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, quilting and more.

 Exhibitors from across the UK and beyond attended, many of them noting they had made record sales at the weekend of their one-off and limited edition designs, hand-spun and hand-dyed wool and knitted garments.

 Knit cruises Friday and Saturday afternoon on Loch Ness, with interpretation by “Mr Loch Ness” Willie Cameron were a highlight for many of the visitors. Approximately half of the delegates were making their first visit to the Highlands, with half travelling by air to attend the festival.

Friday evening featured a “knit-in” at Eden Court, where designers and delegates spent a sociable evening knitting together, while local musicians entertained them with traditional Highland tunes.

 Lecturers from a range of countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and Norway highlighted the historical and cultural perspectives on knitting and design, while master-classes and workshops by leading designers gave knitters of all abilities new skills and inspiration.

 A sold-out concert Saturday night produced by Bruce MacGregor of ‘Blazin’ Fiddles’ was a lively introduction to the music and culture of the area for visitors from across the UK, Europe, North America and beyond.

 The inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival is a project of tourism organisation Visit Inverness Loch Ness. Alan Rawlinson from Visit Inverness Loch Ness was pleased that the new event succeeded in attracting visitors from all over the world.

 “We developed a full four-day experience for our visitors, and many of them told us they had planned their visit to Scotland and the UK around our Knit Fest.

“Some of our attendees told us they would be here for more than two weeks, as they take the opportunity to tour Scotland before and after our event. We’re delighted at the response, and believe that the Festival has provided a welcome boost to visitor numbers this autumn. Certainly, with nearly three-quarters of delegates staying in local hotels and B&Bs, there is clear benefit to tourism and other local businesses.”

Supported by Highland Council, EventScotland and the Inverness Common Good Fund, the Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival ran from 29 September to 2 October 2016. For more information visit the website at

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