Some of the world’s biggest names in knitting will be showcased at the inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival this autumn. Knitting celebrities including Scot Alice Starmore and Danish knitwear designer Christel Seyfarth are among the presenters at the four-day festival from 29th September.
Kicking off with a gala dinner Thursday evening, and followed by three days packed with workshops, fashion shows, lectures and trade displays, it is anticipated that the Festival will attract an additional 3,000 visitors to the Inverness Loch Ness area. There will also be a concert showcasing Highland music and dance, and specially-chartered “knit-cruises” on Loch Ness.
Workshops ranging from “Design your own Scandinavian sweater” to “Creating intricate Celtic knotwork felt borders”, and “Design your own garment and achieve a perfect fit” will give participants plenty of opportunity for hands-on involvement. Most workshops are three hours in duration, whilst a few extend to six hours.
The Festival will also feature lectures highlighting historical and cultural perspectives on knitting and design. Lecturers are from a range of countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and Norway.
Artisans and craftspeople are invited to take a stand at the Festival, which is based around Eden Court but with lectures and workshops also taking place at the nearby Botanical Garden and Culloden Battlefield.
Based on the “Strikkefestival”, a Danish knitting festival now in its second decade, it is hoped that the Festival will generate an additional £1million in direct and indirect spending by visitors to the area.
Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival is a project of tourism organisation Visit Inverness Loch Ness. Alan Rawlinson from VisitInverness Loch Ness anticipates the Festival will have wide appeal. “We have already had queries from the US, Canada, Scandinavia, across central Europe, and throughout the UK from people who have heard about the Festival and who want to plan a visit around it. We’re delighted at the response, and believe that the Festival will boost visitor numbers this autumn and benefit tourism and other local businesses,” he noted.
“We are hoping the Knit Fest will become an annual event, continuing to raise the profile of Inverness Loch Ness, and we are grateful for the support of Highland Council and EventScotland in staging this inaugural event.”
Christel Seyfarth is a Danish knitwear designer and developer of the Strikkefestival. It has attracted thousands of visitors and millions of pounds of investment to the island of Fanø. She is working with the Inverness Loch Ness Knitting Festival to bring this successful model from Denmark to the north of Scotland.
2016 is Scotland’s Year of Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events for VisitScotland, said:
“Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events, and it is hugely exciting to see Scotland’s first Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival taking place during the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. The festival’s planned programme looks set to offer enthusiasts a range of exciting activity, which combined with the cultural experience of the Highlands, will hopefully provide inspiration for many of the participants own future designs.”
Chair of The Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Audrey Sinclair said: “With programmes such as “The Great British Bake Off” and “The Great British Sewing Bee” we’ve seen a recent surge in interest in traditional skills and it would appear that knitting is no exception. The fit with both the tradition of Highland knitwear and crafts and 2016’s designation as Scotland’s Year of Architecture, Innovation and Design makes it all the more relevant that we welcome this event this autumn. As a lifelong knitter, I personally am looking forward to the festival coming to Inverness.”
Supported by Highland Council, EventScotland and the Inverness Common Good Fund, the Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival runs from 29 September to 2 October 2016. For more information visit the website at www.lochnessknitfest.com.