Nobody wants to speak to soon, but life in the U.K. is adjusting into a new phase of managing the Covid-19 pandemic and this means that not only are our retail and hospitality businesses open and re-building but also events can now happen - and whilst huge numbers of the public were excited about things like the Euros and Olympics going ahead with spectators - my excitement is 100% focused on the prospect or REAL and IN-PERSON yarn shows and festivals taking place!

Fellow yarnies, and even those who dabble, are I'm sure relieved this is where we are now - and whether you are embracing it and eagerly booking tickets, or still wary of re-entering the world we can all agree this is such a big step forward.

I am a strange mix between the two camps, but those who know me best would point out to me that I have always shied away from spaces which are too 'people-y' (not a real word I know!) anyway! And this is true, whilst I love to chat and meet like-minded people, I am probably more introverted than my smile indicates. However I will not only be at some of my closest shows in

person, Yarn Unique will be exhibiting - and without any Covid related nerves at all (There will be lots of business and self-confidence related nerves however).

This somewhat bold statement is wholly due to the amazing teams working tirelessly to make their events safe and secure and ever-responsive to the changing rules and regulations. Seeing the efforts behind the scenes has made me feel 100% confident that each of wonderful events Yarn Unique will be at will look after each of their vendors and those who visit.

So, where will Yarn Unique be this Autumn I hear you ask? Well.... let me list the AMAZING shows you can come and visit me at:

28th August: Yorkshire Yarn Fest

11th & 12th September: Perth Festival of Yarn

25th & 26th September: Yarndale

9th & 10th October: Bakewell Wool Gathering

30th October: Yorkshire Yarn Fest

There is much preparation going on behind the scenes at Yarn Unique HQ to get ready for these busy 6 weeks - we can't wait to bring new colourways and yarns to these iconic shows and meet those of you who are ready to step out and squish some yarn (after liberal use of hand sanitiser of course!)

Each of the shows have dedicated teams focused on the Covid-Secure measures, and you'll find more detail on each events website and social media posts. Common things you should expect to see are advance-purchase tickets (click the links above to be taken to ticket information) usually with a time-slot for arrival such as at Yarndale, this is to ensure the capacity of the venue is managed carefully and the flow of people will allow for good social distancing. Careful spacing of stalls and one-way systems to again allow people to maintain levels of distance they feel comfortable with, although (at time of writing) current regulations mean this is not required the organisers have shown such respect and care for visitors. Mask wearing will be mandetory (unless medically exempt) at events such as Perth Festival of Yarn, and strongly encouraged at others. Fewer tickets will be available to ensure events stay safe and compliant. And these are just the measures you will see as a visitor!

So, whether you are joining us at one of these events this year, or looking forward to next years events instead, lets all just marvel at how much we have all learned over the last two years, how dedicated the event organisers are, and how hopeful we can be that life, with some adjustments, can indeed begin to return to a normal we are happy with!

And just like that it is December! It's been quite a year so I, like so many of you, am absolutely ready for some sparkle and magic... some of this years excitement is going to come from my yarn advent 'advent'ures (see what I did there?)!

With 4 different Yarn Unique advent colourways this year I have however become yarn-blind and fallen down the (snow) rabbit-hole when it comes to finding that perfect pattern... not a new problem for me it has to be said as I am definitely easily distracted and over ambitious when it comes to pattern selection.

But, when you lovely lot started asking me for ideas - it galvanised me some more focused research and I have found a number of options I wanted to share. Below I've collated a range of patterns which I think would suit the Yarn Unique advents (but lets be honest - these are true stash buster patterns so suitable for those sad lonely remnants in your project bag) and I would be happy to knit up this advent season. Most are paid for, some are free, all are fabulous so do check out the designers other patterns too!

The construction of Bumblebee Acres Farm Speltas Wrap grabbed me straight away and ensured it had to make this list. A long rectangular scarf/shawl using 25x 10g minis, but with lots of flexibility to adapt or repeat colours I think this is perfect for advents!

A 20g minis pattern from Kate Whiting Designs next, this Day by Day shawl is ideal if you intend to knit a little each day, with a new colour and a different stitch design to keep it fresh through the month and result in a wonderful wrap!

Stephen West's Painting Waves pattern is a favourite of mine! I think it will work with all this years colourways with lots of room for individuality around colour placement, and will work either by throwing all the colours at it, or by supplementing a strong contrast colour. I think that I am going to use my Silky Yak yarns with a Silver Night skein and lay my gradient out in repeating, but fading, patterns (without giving away the colour scheme too much!)

Fingerless mitts are just my favourite (and not just because I haven't the patience or skill to knit fingers in a glove!) and this Elizabeth Abate pattern it the perfect fit for all of this years colourways, and takes so little yarn you can make at least two pairs with at 12 day, 10g, advent - off to cast on now...

I found this Fade into Advent pattern by Lisa K Ross after the dying for this years Advent was complete... Yet - so perfect for either the bright or pastel colourway! This will work perfectly with the 24 day 20g calendars. This DK Woven Stars pattern, from Frankie Brown, is perfect for using up the scraps you may have from your minis - perfect little woven stars, ideal as decorations, gift tags or bunting - just lovely! Now... I have to admit, I've started a Zick Zack scarf a few times and not managed it - but I remain totally impressed with the wide variety of other people's successes from Christy Kamms pattern! Designed as a 2-colour pattern for long self-striping yarns, I think that for those patient advent-ers (OR those with many WIPs!) this would suit an advent working with colours 1 & 24, 2 & 23, 3 & 22 and so on.... One of our advent-ers last year showed us progress on a few 'hexipuffs' they'd made with their advent minis and I was instantly entranced! Probably a long term project, but an absolute heirloom once finished the Bee Keepers quilt from Tiny Owl Knits is ideal if you don't want to make a garment this year All the 2020 advents (except the luck-dips!) have been designed with a gradient in mind, however if you need more of a stitch based challenge or want to emphasise more the colour changes you can't go far wrong with Casapinkas Perfect Blend shawl. And to wrap this list up... The first pattern I spotted which made me reach for the minis was one of Ambah O'Brians and this year her MAK is epic featuring all her advent-inspired patterns, browse the discussion thread here and see if one of these patterns (a number DK friendly) catches your eye - I've bought two patterns... still not sure which to cast on first!