Needles at the ready for Loch Ness Knit Fest

The second Loch Ness Knit Fest will be kicking off this Friday 13th October for a three-day celebration of the rich crafting traditions and strong history of wool production and design that we have here in the Highlands of Scotland.

Loch Ness Knit Fest launched last year, inspired by our neighbouring Strikkefestival, a hugely successful event in Denmark dedicated to knitting that has greatly benefited their local economy on the island of Fano. Loch Ness Knit Fest creates such a buzz among knitting enthusiasts and expects to welcome some 1500 visitors from all over the world.

Festival organizer Cecilia Grigor said “There’s a real enthusiasm for the event this year and we’re looking forward to welcoming people to the beautiful Highlands. What better place to learn Fair Isle and other crafting techniques that were born in our homelands?”

This Friday the Inverness Ice Centre will be transformed into the Knit Fest Hub boasting a marketplace with over 40 vendors selling beautiful yarns and crafting village with main stage which will come to life with live music and demonstrations throughout the day. Doors will open to the public at 10am each day and a full programme of 35 knitting workshops and presentations, many of which have already sold out, will be held across the city at the Mercure Hotel, Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Inverness Leisure Centre and the Archive Centre.

Loch Ness Knit Fest brings teachers from far and wide including internationally renowned Di Gilpin, Hazel Tindall, knitwear designer and mixed fibre artist Chrissie Day, writer and wool enthusiast Karie Westermann, knitting pattern designer Lucy Hague, Laura West, Katherine Lymer, designer and doll maker Sarah Berry, hat architect Woolly Wormhead, San Francisco based knitwear designer Kyle Kunnecke, Scandinavian knitwear designer Christel Seyfarth and Tania Ashton Jones.

The World’s Fasted Knitter, Hazel Tindal will be among those teaching and mentioned “For me knitting is the magic of creating something beautiful and useful from yarn. For a time I was concerned that knitting was in danger of vanishing from everyday life but now I'm so pleased to witness an increasing interest in knitting. I am passionate about sharing skills to ensure that the knowledge is not lost. The last months have been spent helping prepare a forthcoming book of knitting patterns from Shetland Guild of Spinners, Knitters, Weavers and Dyers which has been a fascinating task as I have learned so much from the other contributors. There's always something new to learn!”

In addition to the knitting focused events, there’s plenty planned to showcase what the area can offer in terms of Highland hospitality with many of the visitors attending the Blazin’ in Beauly annual Ceilidh on Friday plus Jacobite Cruise of Loch Ness on Saturday afternoon and Highland Feast with storytelling, traditional music and craft-along on Saturday night.

It’s estimated that the inaugural Loch Ness Knit Fest generated £500k for the local area with visitors attending from over twenty different countires. Already we’ve seen hotels, B&B and guest houses benefiting from festival-goers set to attend Loch Ness Knit Fest this week, many of whom are extending their visit beyond the three-day festival.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We’re delighted to once again be supporting the Loch Ness Knit Fest. Scotland is the perfect stage for cultural events and it is highly exciting to see this wonderful event return to the Highlands after the success of last year. Once again there is an exciting programme of activity, including workshops, presentations and market stalls, for everyone to enjoy so I encourage you to get along and join in the fun.”

Loch Ness Knit Fest is supported by headline sponsor Heathrow Airport, The Highland Council, HIE, Inverness Common Good Fund and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate. 

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