Celebration and Collaboration
Today was a momentous day in Adventures in Yarncraft’s journey. “What happened?” I hear you ask. “Was it the shop’s first birthday?” No, that’s coming up soon, but not yet! It’s incredible looking back to where it all started around a year ago and how far things have come in such a short time: what was simply an ambitious idea then is now a beautiful (and slightly crazy) reality, thanks to Laura’s skill and hard work, and thanks to you amazing people who’ve bought her stunning hand-dyed yarn. I remember what a big step it seemed when Laura bought her first wholesale order of undyed yarn, yet now deliveries of large cardboard boxes at our front door are a normal part of our lives!
“Ok, so was it reaching 5000 followers?” No, Laura hit that landmark a while back (not bad for a business that’s still so young, right?) And even though I don’t have Instagram myself, I can tell from what I’ve seen looking over Laura’s shoulder that there’s a brilliant community in the yarn-dyeing world that is mutually supportive and joy-bringing.
“What is this momentous day, then? Please tell me!” I can hear you shouting at your phone/laptop/tablet. Well, it was something very, very exciting – the first YARNCRAFT FESTIVAL!
Yarncraft Festival was born out of a desire to showcase the talent in the yarn-dyeing world, amplifying the creations of new crafting businesses and intentionally allowing space for people with different ethnicities, sexual orientations, genders, disabilities, and neurodivergence. In the run-up to the event, Laura launched a regular feature called Makers Mondays, highlighting new businesses from the yarncraft community and those from marginalised groups. And in the first ever event, TODAY, the idea fully became reality, with over 20 vendors showcasing their skills and creations through Instagram lives!
What has impressed me most about Yarncraft Festival isn’t the number of followers it's gained already (over 1000, by the way) or the number of vendors, or even the beauty of the products shown; it’s the motivations at its centre. Firstly, as already mentioned, promoting inclusivity; and secondly, promoting collaboration over competition. It would be easy to shy away from promoting others, fearing that people would buy their yarn instead of yours, but that’s not the point: we are designed to be connected; we are stronger together; we find more joy in connection than we do in isolation. And, while we’ve been physically isolated due to lockdown restrictions, it’s a testament to Laura and the yarncraft community that they've actually become more connected with each other, not less.
So, watch this space for how Yarncraft Festival grows, and how it increasingly shapes – and is shaped by – the community it exists within. If you have Instagram, you can follow Laura at @adventuresinyarncraft and follow Yarncraft Festival at @yarncraftfestival.