Last week I visited the Dutch Knitting Days in Rijswijk. I still remember fondly the first installment of the event in Nieuwegein, where I met many woolly friends from Ravelry for the first time. It was cozy, new, shiny, and fun. Since then, it has changed a bit. It has become larger, the assortment has become (even) more luxurious, and the number of workshops and lectures has increased. It’s still fun, though.
I think the skills of the average, internet-savvy knitter have increased immensely in the past couple of years. This is mainly due to Ravelry, the large knitter’s website which is so much more than just a pattern database. It has opened a large world beyond the knitting rabbit hole, and those who like to be challenged have been able to do just that to their heart’s desire. They have learned plenty of new techniques and they are working with quality yarns from all over the world. Brioche, colourwork, knitting with beads, entrelac, many of them have tried it all with help from YouTube and other knitters.
This is reflected in what the knitting festivals have to offer nowadays. Where there may have been one or two stalls with exclusive hand dyed yarn in the first year, nowadays there are plenty of indie dyers present, with large assortments of beautiful coloured yarns. Knitters love their uniqueness, as well as the fact that they know the dyer personally sometimes. I think this makes the yarn (and the knitting) even more personal and special. Skeins of yarn are more expensive, because knitters are willing to pay more for quality yarn. They can appreciate the luxurious content because the art they make deserves the best supplies. They don’t feint when hearing the price of a skein of yarn with a lot of cashmere in it, but they nod and pet the yarn some more and take out their wallet. Paying 30 euros for a skein of luxury yarn is not rare like it was a couple of years ago. Well, of course this is not true for everybody, but it’s becoming more normal, which is reflected in the yarns on offer.
I enjoyed visiting the Knitting Days. I did not see many people I knew, but in a way it was nice to, for once, visit the festival kind of anonymously. I was there at a time when the floor was not that busy (many people were in workshops), so there was space to see what the stalls had to offer. Of course I paid a visit to the Belgian Boys, Bart & Francis. They always have interesting yarns, and they are quite affordable.
I had a nice chat with Francis, and later I met another woolly Ravelry friend. I did not go to any workshops this time, but I did manage to assemble some loot. Now that I’m weaving, I’m looking at yarns in a different way. I came home with this: