Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Unravel 2015

Having my pre-schooler in tow, it was going to be a challenge to visit the Unravel Knitting Festival for anything longer than a few hours, but visit it we did ... and we did it in style.

Unravel has become an annual treat for me, and I was very happy to introduce my son to it this year. He was very curious about the adventure I was taking him on in the car. I kept him entertained for the hour-long journey to the venue with a sing-along session to a Disney CD.

We were in good spirits when we arrived at Farnham Maltings at about 2:30pm on Saturday 21st February, where I was delighted to find a car parking space at the venue straight away.

Eager to see the goodies, I took my little one by the hand and led him around the quirky corridors of the Maltings to the sales halls of delights.

With it being later on in the day, I was relieved to see that the usual crowds I'd encountered at Unravel in previous years had dispersed.

The Natural Dye Studio's stall was as stunning as ever. The best way to advertise your range of colourful yarns is to see them in action of course!

After receiving a text message from Sarah of Crafts From The Cwtch that the Nudinits talk she had listened to was finished, I cut our tour of Unravel short to see my fellow crafting and blogging friends in the cafe area of the Maltings. I was delighted to see that Sarah was there, along with Marinke from A Creative Being. It was so wonderful to see these two again, and after the initial hellos were said, they introduced me to another lovely lady called Alison (Cristaltips on Ravelry). My little one was bashful at first and then sat on my lap as I caught up on news with friends.

Realising that time was slipping away, I still needed to see the last half of the festival, so my son and I excused ourselves from the cafe area to go and look around some more. Leaving Sarah to her networking, Marinke decided to keep us company whilst we investigated more rooms.

The most tempting stall for me personally with regards to wanting to part with my hard-earned cash was the one run by Louise Player of Spin City UK. Hers is a feast for the eyes ... with all the kinds of fluff I love ... gorgeous hand-carded batts, sparkly and girly drop spindles, roving in all the colours of the rainbow, and more. As a spinner, I couldn't keep my eyes off of it.

Louise herself was busy trying to (and succeeding) in converting yet more yarn lovers to the joys of spinning on a drop spindle.

And here's one last full view of the stall, with Louise and her lovely Mum.

A vendor that I hadn't encountered before had me loitering around their stall for quite some time. The faux taxidermy knitting kits by Sincerely Louise were just so well designed and executed. From giant tiger floor rugs (like picture below), and trophy wall-mountable animal heads, to faux fox stole scarves, Louise's designs and kits were all really tactile, endearing as well as being quirky and fun.

Other stalls that took my breath away included Hilltop CloudJohn Arbon Textiles, Ingrid Wagner Rug Art Creation, and IST Crafts.

It seemed even bigger and better this year, which may have something to do with more stall holders, more Maltings rooms allocated to the event, and the fact that this was the first year that they'd run the event over three days instead of the usual two. Either way, it was great. With familiar and unfamiliar vendors, it was a feast for the eyes.

As usual, the Maltings was decorated with a variety of yarn-art to inspire crafty souls of every persuasion.

'Growth' by Barbara Touati-Evans

Towards the end, I discovered a very interesting installation at the event called 'Blue Jumper'. This was a participatory knitting experience conceived of by artist Sarah Filmer. Hanging up around the eaves of the Undercroft area of the venue was knitting in a large variety of different blue coloured yarns, in undulating and beautiful shapes, hanging down with unfinished sections attached to knitting needles ... inviting you to join in. Many women were sat at this communal knitting lounge adding their few lines to the sculptural work. It would have been rude not to have participated, so Marinke and I sat down and got involved.

My little one is too young and lacking in the fine motor skills needed for the yarn crafts, but I'm hoping that some of the buoyant creativity seen at events like Unravel will rub off on him in some way.

5pm had been and gone, and it was sadly time to leave. I said farewell and safe travels to old friends and new, got in the car with a tired and happy little one, and home we went.

Thanks for a great afternoon, and see you next year Unravel!

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