A world-wide celebration as Highlands hosts international knitting festival in September

Photo credit: Max Robinson. 

Knitting enthusiasts from more than 16 countries will gather in Inverness from 29th September for a four-day festival devoted to their passion. Tapping into a revival of traditional crafts, the inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival is expected to attract hundreds of new visitors to the area.

 The opportunity to meet with and attend workshops and master-classes by the stars of the knitting world, enjoy a “knitting cruise” on Loch Ness, and the camaraderie of other knitters are the top three reasons delegates cited for attending the new festival, according to a recent survey by organisers.

 With nearly 40 workshops, lectures and presentations based at Eden Court in Inverness, the Loch Ness Knit Fest brings together some of the world’s most well-known knitters and designers. Presenters include 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 the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016, the Festival will include a crafting village with hands-on demonstrations of spinning, weaving, knitting, crochet, quilting and more. Exhibitors from across the UK and beyond will have one-off and limited edition designs for sale, including hand-spun and hand-dyed wool and knitted garments.

 With “knitting cruises” offered daily by Loch Ness by Jacobite, delegates will get an opportunity to appreciate first-hand the beauty of the Highlands. Non-knitting partners will also be catered for, with whisky tours organised by local tour operator WOW Scotland.

 Lecturers from a range of countries including Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, Scotland and Norway will highlight historical and cultural perspectives on knitting and design.

 A Highland concert Saturday night produced by Bruce MacGregor of ‘Blazin’ Fiddles’ will serve as 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 anticipates the Festival will have wide appeal:

 “We’ve developed a full four-day experience for our visitors. We have delegates coming from North America, Scandinavia, all across Europe, and throughout the UK. People who have heard about the Festival have been in touch to plan their visit to Scotland and the UK around it.

 “Some of our attendees have told us they will 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 will boost visitor numbers this autumn and benefit tourism and other local businesses.

 “We are hoping the Knit Fest will become an annual event, continuing to raise the profile of Inverness-Loch Ness,” he added. It is anticipated that the Loch Ness Knit Festival will generate an additional £1million in direct and indirect spending by visitors to the area.

 Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: We are delighted to be supporting the inaugural Inverness Loch Ness International Knitting Festival, taking place during the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Scotland is the Perfect Stage for cultural events, and the festival’s inspiring programme – showcasing the talents of both renowned international and local knit designers – will help to raise the profile of Inverness and the surrounding area in a new and engaging way, and attract hundreds of visitors to the Highlands and Scotland." 

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.

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