Monday, 25 February 2013

A Great Day Out: Unravel 2013

I was very fortunate yesterday as I spent a lovely day in Farnham Maltings at the Unravel 2013 Fiber Arts Festival.

What a sight for lovers of colour and texture! The organisers had done a marvelous job of decorating the whole of the building ... inside and out. The whole place was yarn bombed in one way or another. It was difficult to take it all in, and I didn't want to miss a thing.

There were even a pair of sheep in a pen near the entrance!


Anyway, I was excited in the lead up to the festival as I'd planned to meet an Instagram friend, Amber Weinberg, and go around the show with her, as well meeting up with Danielle Alinia who had a stall at the event for her A Stash Addict business.

Amber and I happened to arrive in Farnham at the same time, so after brief introductions in the freezing snowy car park, we bundled into Farnham Maltings and begun to work our way around the show. That's Amber on the left and me on the right:


The lovely Unravel 2013 mascot greeted us in the foyer.


If you've ever been to Farnham Maltings you'll know how higgeldy-piggeldy the layout is. Needless to say, Amber & I struggled to find our bearings, but we simply followed our noses around the building.

Loving the sheep theme I just had to take a photo of this lovely fellow:


Being an enthusiast of spinning, I was excited to see many people sat around with drop spindles on the go, and there was a room where you could even try spinning on a variety of wheels.


And more evidence of yarny-arty-installations everywhere!


And I loved the pretty yarn creations hanging from every available wall and ceiling space!


Doing my very best to try not to spend a ridiculous amount of money, I carefully made my way around the festival, vowing only to part with my cash if I properly fell in love with something and couldn't part with it!

My first purchase was this 100g braid of Merino fiber in colourway 'Pale Jungle' from a company called Skeins. I simply had to buy this as it features my favourite colours ... beautiful earthy greens, browns and rusts:


After a LOT of walking, and losing our bearings in the maze of rooms, we finally found Danielle of A Stash Addict's stall, and I can hands down say that there was more colour on hers than on any other. It was simply stunning.

Here we all are having a photo together (thanks to Danielle's lovely husband Ashley):


I was so happy to see my Drop Spindle Spinning Kits for sale on Danielle's stall, I just had to take a photo to commemorate it. Here's the rainbow kit:


After chatting to the friendly couple for a lovely long time, I finally made my mind up which of her skeins of yarn I would purchase. I decided on one that I've coveted for quite some time ... The Earthy Rainbow DK Tweed. This colourway is just heavenly and coupled with the tweed effect, it looks amazing. I'll have to choose a special pattern for this one:

Here are a few of the other delights on Danielle's stall that caught my eye. First of all, here's a small sample of her braids of fiber ... a spinner or felters dream:


And then I was lured over to the display opposite Danielle's by the sumptuous fiber in batts and braids hanging from every inch the stall. It was Katie Weston of Hilltop Cloud and I was very impressed with her unique and luxurious blends. After chatting to the very knowledgeable Katie I was really inspired by her work, as she had cleverly made beautiful hand-knitted garments from her handspun yarn, using a variety of her very own blends. It was from this that she got the sale of this next beauty:


This is 50% Baby Camel and 50% Silk blend fiber in a beautiful range of purples. No kidding when I say this is the most luxuriously soft and sumptuous fiber I've ever had the pleasure to hold in my hands. But not only that, because I've seen how the finished result comes out, I know it spins up beautifully to produce a very fine yarn that looks phenomenal and feels fabulous close to the skin.

After a whole lot of chatting with store holders and squishing the vast majority of goodies on offer, Amber & I decided to go back to the beginning and make sure we had seen everything properly. I also wanted to buy a few things I'd seen at the beginning of our day.

In the first big hall we'd encountered I'd been impressed by a company called John Arbon Textiles. Amber had been too, as she'd bought a gorgeous pair of Alpaca Fair Isle socks from them. I was drawn to big floor-standing bins that contained  discounted fiber that you could buy by however many grams you liked. They were displayed so you could feel each of the fibers and the quality was very good. I ended up choosing 200g of Organic Merino in natural undyed white:


And also, I bought a bargain 200g bag of Alpaca, Merino & Silk mixed 'Broken Tops' that I thought would be interesting to have a play with:


On our last legs, after several trips around the show, Amber & I were overdue for some food and drink.

We plonked our bottoms down in true weary fashion and tucked in to some well deserved food, chatting all the while.

At 3:30pm, with many stall holders beginning to pack away, and all our energy (and money) , we decided to call it a day.

Going into the snowy outdoors was a shock after being so warm and cosy surrounded by lots of yarn, fiber and a whole lot of people. Amber & I said our goodbyes and then she departed for the train station.

Goodbye Unravel. I hope to visit you again next year ... and who knows ... maybe I'll be an exhibitor?? Fingers crossed.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

A New Pattern: The Lovebird Beanie Hat

Well, here it is ... my debut into the world of knitwear design ... The Lovebird Beanie Hat. Now available to download through Ravelry.


Modelled here by my friend Claire, it is a simple fair isle pattern that knits up quickly in DK to Aran weight yarn.

If you go on to make this hat I'd love to see your creation, so please link it to the pattern listing on Ravelry.

You can purchase this pattern here:

Thank you and happy knitting :)