Yarnfolk Festival of Wool 2018

In less than two weeks from today on Saturday 4th August 2018, the beautiful seaside village of Whitehead will play host to the

Yarnfolk Festival of Wool.

wendy wash knit

Louise Williamson

In its second year, the Yarnfolk Festival is the brainchild of  Louise Williamson from Lighthouse Yarns has been organising the event.  Louise has a passion for all things fibre, and after attending many yarn events across the UK and Ireland, she wanted to bring these amazing crafters and designers to Northern Ireland.


This year the festival is even bigger with over 40 exhibitors, including vendors from here in Ireland and overseas.

The Yarnfolk Festival will be held across six different locations within the town of Whitehead in County Antrim, all very much within walking distance of each other.

  • Methodist Church Hall, Edward Road
  • Lighthouse Yarns, Edward Road
  • Church of Ireland Parochial Hall, Edward Road
  • Whitehead Community Centre, Balmoral Avenue
  • Lourdes Pastoral Care Centre, Victoria Avenue
  • Victoriana

General Admission Tickets cost £7, and under 16s go free. You can pre-purchase your festival tickets until the 4th of August here.

Getting There

  • Parking is available in and around the town and a map to carparks is available on the website here.
  • Public transport is the easiest way to get to Yarnfolk. Trains run regularly from Belfast and the train station is less than a five-minute walk from the festival locations.

Other Things to Know

  • A yarn crèche will be available throughout the day and details will be available in the programme which is currently being printed 🙂
  • Maggie’s Working Kitchen will be running a pop-up café in the Community Centre where you will be able to purchase drinks and homemade food and there’s a café hub in Lourdes.  In the town of Whitehead itself, there are plenty of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants all within a short distance of the venues so you will be spoilt for choice.
  • All venues have been passed by disability action. Lourdes has been passed as suitable access however only tested for children and the toilets would not be suitable for a disabled adult. However plenty of access within 5 minutes elsewhere.

What You Can Expect on the Day

  • There will be an amazing array of talented exhibitors at Yarnfolk –  a list of who can be found here.
  • Throughout the day there will be many workshops on dying, spinning, felting, knitting, beading, crocheting, and Dorset button making.  Reasonably priced, the workshops which include General Admission to the festival, cost £35 for 2-hour workshops and £45 for 3-hour workshops.  which includes all materials, plus a bun and a cup of tea or coffee.
  • Emma from Flock Belfast will be holding Children’s Woolly Workshop’s at different times throughout the day.  Suitable for boys and girls aged 8+ they cost £12 each and again include materials and light refreshments.
  • Demonstrations and ‘taster sessions’ will be held throughout the day by the Ulster Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers, the Guild of Machine Knitters and the Felt Makers North.
  • There is also a prize draw for a hamper of goodies from the exhibitors with profits going to this years chosen local charities; Whitehead Community Association Restoration Fund and Hope House, a local retreat for people with cancer and their families.

Festival Highlights

  • Debbie Orr aka Skein Queen has created two exclusive Yarnfolk Festival colourways on her Selkino yarn base which is 70% merino 30% silk singles.  Inspired by her trips over to Northern Ireland – Coloured Houses for the seafront houses in Whitehead and Storm on the Lough for the darker, stormier days on Belfast Lough.
  • A Northern Ireland first!  John Arbon Textiles will be at Yarnfolk armed with their luxury yarns and fibre tops – a fine array of woolly wonders all the way from Devon.  They’ll have the fabulous new range Devona, a beautiful blend of Devon fibres in 14 deep, mottled, irresistible shades and all 103 Knit By Number shades are now available in baby 25g hanks for all your colour art enthusiasts and not forgetting all you spinners and felter’s – Johns ‘Tubs of Joy’!
    Don’t forget if you are a Secret Mill Member you will be entitled to 10% off any purchase made on John’s stand at Yarnfolk.
  • Lucinda Guy author of ten knitting and crochet books is one of the workshop tutors.
  • Verity Hardcastle aka @trulyhooked, will be launching her new book and signing copies at the Community Centre from 2pm.

If everything goes according to plan, I’ll be at Yarnfolk on the day, with my ever suffering husband Con, so come an say hello.  Thankfully we’ll be staying in Belfast, which means I won’t be driving the round trip of 829km in the one day like I did last year.

It was the first time I’ve ever been to Whitehead and I was completely blown away by how pretty the town is.  About twenty miles from Belfast, Whitehead sits on the Causeway Coastal Route just north of Carrickfergus.  There’s a lovely walk along the Promenade, or so I was told last year, that I’m hoping to take a walk along and as an extra bonus, Whitehead’s Summer Food and Folk Festival is happening on the same day.

If you’re still on the fence about visiting the festival, there’s a vlog here on YouTube about my experiences last year.

Hope to see you there.