Unravel – My first festival of knitting

We awoke on Saturday to the first properly nice sunny day for some time. Armed with a large flask of coffee, sweets for the journey, and everything we could think of needing for a day out (minus the big bottle of water I left in the kitchen) we jumped in the car and set off for Farnham. We left at 10am, exactly when we planned to.

The journey was uneventful, save for a rather long game of ‘I spy’. No traffic. No getting lost. As we entered Farnham we saw banners and adverts for Unravel. We arrived at the planned car park at 11, again, exactly the time planned. Things were going far too well, especially as we tend to be good at taking wrong turns during trips.

We had parked in a car park by the river, as suggested by some members of the Unravel group on Ravelry. We set off towards the venue, Farnham Maltings. We had planned to walk along the river but ended up taking a slight detour, but it was nothing major. The trip was short, and we arrived at the Maltings in about 10 minutes, with a quick stop to admire some pretty crocuses. They followed the path of the river all the way from the car park to the Maltings, as we found out on the way back.

Farnham River and Crocus Path

When we arrived at Unravel there was no queue for the advanced tickets so we could head right in. Nick set off in search of food while I made my way to the venue for Susan Crawford’s talk on vintage Shetland knitting.

The talk was interesting, and I particularly enjoyed seeing the intricately knit colourwork on the pieces. It impressed me that the yarn they used was so fine, somewhere between lace and 4ply. A 4ply cardigan takes long enough for me, I don’t think I could go any finer!

After the talk I met up with Nick, who had not only successfully found food, but had a bit of an explore of the building. We decided that we should look at everything before buying anything. There was so much I could have bought: yarn, buttons, needles, more yarn, baskets, aprons, more yarn.

There was a workshop at 2pm to learn how to felt a small creature. I’ve never done felting before, and Nick was up for giving it a go. Unfortunately it seemed there was a misprint in the guide book and the workshop was only meant for children. Although the tutor was perfectly happy to teach adults, we decided to leave the limited places for the children instead. It was then (I think) that I bought my first skein of yarn, as the room was next door to the workshop. It’s easyknits.co.uk DW Toughie in the colourway Who.

Easy Knits DW Toughie

We headed out to a seating area and had some coffee while planning the rest of our afternoon. The tent was decorated with a knitted pigeon, pompoms and on every table was a decoration of a ball of yarn with needles stuck in it.

After we were suitably refreshed, we made our way back to the stalls. The first thing I bought was a shawl pin and some buttons. I had seen some shawl pins earlier but, although they were stunningly pretty, I didn’t want to spend that much money on them. This one was much cheaper and still pretty. The buttons are for the Thermal I’m knitting.

Shawl Pin and Leaf Buttons

Then we found the John Arbon stall. I have knit with their Exmoor Sock yarn before and loved it, so when I saw the bargain yarn, I went a little mad. It was £3.50 per 100g for bobbin ends. So I bought:

100% Wensleydale. Nick chose this as we’re planning for another pair of socks and this was the brown he was looking for. I can’t find any info about it anywhere.John Arbon Wensleydale

Exmoor sock in Heather

John Arbon Exmoor Sock Yarn

Undyed Alpaca/Merino/Nylon 4ply. I may experiment with dyeing this but I’m not sure yet. It’s so very soft and it’s a pretty natural colour.

John Arbon Alpaca 4ply Yarn

Alpaca Sock

John Arbon Alpaca Sock Yarn

My favourite (for now), Alpaca Supreme. I wouldn’t usually buy silk, but this was just so pretty and so reasonably priced that I couldn’t resist. I’m looking for the perfect shawl pattern for it.John Arbon Alpaca Supreme Yarn

On the Little Grey Sheep stall, we found the perfect blue that Nick wanted to go with the brown. It’s a mini skein and as he only wanted it for detail, that was brilliant.Little Grey Sheep Gotland 4ply Yarn

Nick decided to head outside and sit down while I had a final look around. During the first look round I saw a single skein of Colinette Jitterbug in a crazy green colourway that I fell in love with. I told myself that if it was still there I would buy it. It was, so I did.Colinette Jitterbug Sock Yarn

I was also on the lookout for a project bag for my mum. I didn’t find anything suitable though unfortunately. There were some fantastic bags there, but none of the ones I saw had any pockets, and I’m pretty sure she wants pockets. I was tempted by the baskets, but I didn’t like any of the ones left on the stall, so that will be something to get another time.

There was so much more I could have bought, but I was pretty restrained, and thanks to the bargain John Arbon yarn, spent less than I had budgeted.

The plan when we were done was to find a pub for dinner and to watch the rugby, but we decided to just head home as we were both pretty tired. We walked back along the river (the right way this time) and drove home, entertained by another game of I spy.

My first visit to a knitting festival was very positive, and after being undecided for so long I was very glad that I visited Unravel. I did find it a little too crowded, but waiting until the afternoon to buy proved to be a great idea as it meant the crowds had died down and there was a bit more room to browse.

Seeing as he was so patient to come to an event all about knitting with me, please take a look at Nick’s website. He’s a game developer and is just getting ready to release his first game, Hyper Gauntlet.

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