If you follow me on Twitter, you will know all about my excitement for Unravel at Farnham Maltings. Well, the festival was this weekend! I went along with one of the girls from Knit Night at Loop; we got the train from London (she brought bacon sandwiches!) and headed on down to Surrey.
I took fewer photos than I did last year – it was a lot bigger, and more overwhelming this time! Anyway, on we go…
The first thing when going to something is you have to get there, right? The wonderful organisers of Unravel had bedecked the route to the Maltings with yarn-bombed signs. These were fantastic, and definitely made me feel like the knitters had taken over Farnham!
We arrived and were greeted by these sensational taxidermy heads by Louise Walker (@sincerelylouise). Aren’t they fabulous?
Word on the grapevine is that these will be available to purchase in kit form from next month…
@plutoniummuffin hello! Thank you :) they will be available as kits next month, I’ll let you know once they’re online
— Louise Walker (@sincerelylouise) February 23, 2014
We met a couple of other Loop Knit Night knitters in the entrance hall, and got started.
Farnham Maltings is a large building on the edge of a stream/river/canal (not sure which!) that used to be a brewery and maltings, where barley was roasted. As a result, it has a number of little rooms, as well as a few bigger halls. We started out with the smaller rooms.
Downstairs: East Wing Workshop
We started with a look through the downstairs section where all of the spinning, felting, weaving & machine knitting guilds were displaying their craft, and trying to get to the Sparkle Duck stall. These yarns were fabulous, a fact made completely obvious by the number of people trying to get to them! We found some amazing mohair by New Forest Mohair, and this incredible scarf.
Not sure I would ever buy that particular pink colour…but gorgeous all the same!
Upstairs: The Tannery
We then headed upstairs where we found, amongst others, Wendy & Belinda of True Brit Knits. They have some *amazing* patterns, and were also selling some awesome prefect-style ‘Knitter’ badges and knitters notebooks. They very generously gifted me one of the notebooks, after I entered a giveaway and then spent a lot of time tweeting them. I admired the pattern for “The Highland Bling” with longing.
There was also some amazing mohair up here for £12, which I would have snapped up if I wasn’t on a strict budget. By this point, I had decided that I was going to look at everything first and then buy, so we moved on.
Upstairs: Courtyarn Kiln
The last little room that we looked in held only a few stalls; this is probably where I spent the most time, and I adored every one of the stalls in there.
The first one which caught my eye was Bigwigs Angora – the lady who owns this has around 100 angora bunnies! I tried to persuade JS to let me get one once…but this is well beyond what I thought was even a dream! We had a little chat about bunny-keeping and I fondled some fibre longingly…although after last years roving extravaganza, I had already decided I was not going to buy any fibre…
Tin Can Knits was also there. The girls started trying on all of her samples to decide which patterns they were going to buy, which prompted a flurry of buying by other ladies in the room. It was rather funny! I absolutely love Pop! I am knitting far too many blankets, though, so I decided to admire it from a distance.
The girls had a big discussion about what they were going to get from TCK, while I wandered over to Purlescence and had a chat with the owners about the pompom on my hat. They gave me a free sample of Soak – I would have bought a big bottle there and then, but I was trying so hard to stick to my budget, so I didn’t… They are doing a knitalong of a TCK pattern which you can find out more about here.
We then headed into the big upstairs hall, where Skein Queen and Toft Alpaca (amongst others) were based. I headed straight to Toft Alpaca, intending to buy another pompom (you can never have enough things that feel like heavy air). I got side-tracked by this guy, though.
I bought him immediately and wandered around for the rest of the day showing everyone my alpaca. JS and I decided to call him Mufasa because he looks so regal.
Skein Queen had some really lovely yarns on display, including massive 200g bundles for £20. They were a gorgeous pastel colour and they were immediately put on my ‘possible’ list. We had a quick chat with Debbie – despite having packed as much as she possibly could to take to Unravel, she was already running out by lunchtime on Saturday and was worried about Sunday. It is a great credit to Debbie and her yarn that it is so popular, and I highly recommend that you check her out.
After a bit longer upstairs, including a discussion with the guys from Hedgehog Equipment about drum carders, we headed down to the rest of the show.
By this point, we had been to all of the rooms I went to when I was on my own last year. We wandered down into a room filled with arches and I oohed and ahhed over Jennie Atkinson’s Butterfly Dress or Vest. I have enough spare Kidsilk Haze for this, so you will definitely see me knitting it in the near future.
Downstairs: Great Hall
We then walked into a huge hall. It was so enormous that I literally had to stop and take stock for a moment. It was a little overwhelming. The girls immediately got distracted by a stall to the right and I headed into the distance to see what was around. I had a brief chat with the girls from Pompom (I still haven’t told you all how incredible it was when my copy landed in the post wrapped in tissue paper with my name on a little sticker…amazing.)
Opposite their stall was Fyberspates. Despite everything I had seen, these just caught my eye. I popped my wool cherry with Fyberspates, when I bought some absolutely gorgeous deep blue yarn from Hulu to make a pair of socks for my dad. I spent a good long while fondling things here. Delicious! Another few things on my list of things to buy.
Off round the rest of the hall, I popped into Susan Crawford for a bit and admired some of her incredible designs. They are gorgeous on paper – even better in real life. There was a particularly cute little pink flowery number that was very nice indeed!
Then to John Arbon, a Devonshire yarn producer with the most incredible display of yarn I have ever seen. They had a variety of colours, which all ran across the stall. The top shelf was super vibrant colours; each shelf below was the same colour with less intensity, right down to the bottom where it was light pastel. For each colour. I was captivated.
We wandered around a little bit more – the last two stalls that really stuck out for me were Purl Alpaca Designs and Ingrid Wagner Rug & Art Designs. While I was admiring the Purl Alpaca stuff, I realised that I had already bought a dress pattern from them at a previous show, and the Ingrid Wagner display reminded me about the Gigantic Blankie that I’ve been working on for a while.
Suffering from overload, we went to lunch and admired each others purchases. This is not saying much on my side, I had bought only Mufasa by this point, but the others all had some beautiful yarns and patterns. It left us itching to cast on some projects! A glass of wine later, we were ready to head back to Unravel, and I had made the big decision about how I was going to spend my money.
ALL the money
I headed straight back to Purl Alpaca and checked the yardage required on the dress pattern I had, then on to John Arbon for the purchase. I went for an orange that was one shade below the most vibrant in their incredible display, and parted with my cash triumphantly. I also decided to go back to True Brit Knits and buy the Highland Bling. Because, it is incredible and I must have one! Finally, and sneakily, I went to Bigwigs Angora and bought some fluff. Shhh I know I said I wasn’t going to, but I needed it.
We were very tired by this point, and decided to catch the train home. I almost fell asleep. I couldn’t even work on the project I had brought with me, and spent a lot of time in a bit of a daze. It was all incredible and overwhelmingly beautiful. I went to bed as soon as I got home (8 pm!) because I was so taken by it all.
I had a glorious day, and I am already looking forward to next year! I’m not going to start the dress just yet, as I still have a few projects on the needles that I want to finish…but I am itching to get on with it!
Right, that’s it from me for now. There were so many other exhibitors and there is no way I could name them all – you can find out who they all were here.