The ultimate party for knitters is the beloved Yarn Tasting - where fiber, friends, and snacks come together. But not everyone is familiar with this lovely ritual, so I will explain. A Yarn Tasting is an event where makers are able to test several different types of yarns (in the form of smaller mini-skeins) within the span of a few hours. I even hosted one two weeks ago at Art Terrarium (a gorgeous plant store) in Des Moines, Iowa. If you're interested in planning your own, read on for more details.
1. Find a Space
Environment is key and can easily be found in many places. A local yarn shop, library, or even someone's home make great spaces for a Yarn Tasting. Mine was held at a plant store that had a bit of an industrial feel to it, but it was warm and plants just really create such a nice atmosphere. Just make sure you've got enough places for all guests to sit comfortably.
2. Choose Your Yarns
This step allows for a lot of flexibility, and can be adapted for your particular event. You can choose multiple brands of fingering weights, a mix of lighter and heavier weights, or even multiple types of fiber content. Many brands offer mini-skeins that you can purchase and utilize, or you can cut up larger skeins as well.
Our Tasting was especially for naturally-dyed yarns (using my own NewMerino base in worsted weight). I did this because every dye material can feel completely different, even on the same wool, and I wanted guests to be able to determine which felt best to them. As you know, naturally-dyed yarn is prone to crocking, and so this was a great way for individuals to understand what that meant in-person.
3. Determine Your Snacks and Drinks
I absolutely love event planning. Particularly because you can get so creative with what you serve for food! Lighter snacks are great for a post-dinner or afternoon event, or maybe a brunch with pastries and coffee would be more suited to your taste. Our event sampled treats from countries that produce wool: Tim Tams from Australia, Cadbury Fingers from England, Walker Shortbread from Scotland, and Icelandic chocolate! We paired these with a bottle of bubbly and it was perfect.
4. Prepare a Project
This was something that I am very glad that I did. After researching Yarn Tastings, there seems to be a gap or question of what exactly to do with the yarns once you have them in hand. So I created a Planter Cosy pattern (coming soon) that guests could knit with the worsted yarns. The plant store even provided the terra cotta pots so that, even if a guest didn't knit the cosy, they would still have a favor from the event. An important note: make sure you have crochet patterns on hand for anyone who does not knit.
5. Find a Silence Filler
Those of you who are part of knitting clubs or groups probably won't have much of a challenge for coming up with conversation topics, but if you're putting a group of individuals together who don't know each other very well, you may want to have some topics prepared ahead of time. Maybe even some divisive questions such as; "Do you slip knit-wise or purl-wise?" to really get things going.
Of course we all have those lulls and moments where things quiet down and we are very focused on our craft. So I highly suggest having some music playing in the background for those times. After all, who doesn't love putting together a playlist?
If you're intrigued with this idea, and want to learn a little more, go ahead and download my Yarn Tasting Checklist to get you started, and you can tick the boxes off as you go.
If you're intrigued with this idea, and also want to host a Yarn Tasting with my naturally-dyed yarns, let me know! I can completely customize the experience, build the music playlists, pick out the project patterns, etc. You can learn more about this option here.