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    Entries in Unravel (4)


    Unravel 2016

    Last weekend me and my friend Gilly (Tickety-b) went to Unravel. We missed last year, and it was lovely to be back again. We met up with Sarah (Crafts from the Cwtch) and later Joanne (Not so granny - after she had finished teaching) and had a grand time going round all the stalls, chatting with the vendors & bumping into friends. 

    I made sure to visit Rachel & Alli of Yarn in the City and was excited to pick up my copy of the London Craft Guide. It's a great size book - perfect for popping in your bag, and there's a whole lot of stuff packed in. It's made me want to have a couple of solo days in London so I can do my own mini yarn crawls!

    I had fun at Spin City's stand, and had a lovely evening chatting with Louise & her Mum along with lots of other knitty folks that evening. I didn't buy any yarn, but I did get lots of spinning supplies.

    You might have spotted a copy of Crochet Yeah! in there too - and I've already started a project from it. Joanne & Kat are a great team, and I love what they have done with The Crochet Project

    Another highlight was catching up with Amanda Perkins and seeing her crochet blankets on display as a collection. Spectacular, and definitely a good argument that crochet can be both practical and art at the same time.

    If you went, I hope you had fun. I met too many new people to name check everyone, but that's one of my favourite things about yarn festivals - all the amazing people I've got to know! What's your favourite thing?



    Unravel 2014

    Now it's no secret that I love wool festivals. I love that my overwhelming fascination (some may call it obsession) with yarn, needles, hook, patterns and fibre makes me feel like one of the cool kids. Bizarrely, it doesn't always work that way in real life! 

    Unravel is the first big festival of the year & a great chance to meet up with online friends while squeeing over colourful skeins. This year I was lucky enough to win a weekend ticket from Hilltop Cloud. So I made a weekend of and stayed over in a hotel with Gilly (she's just started up her blog again, click on the link to go see!), Sarah of Crafts from the Cwtch and Marinke (known as Wink) from A creative being. Gilly is a regular partner in crime, but I hadn't met Sarah or Wink before. They are predictably lovely :)

    (Top row L-R: knitted pigeon, knitted taxidermy & sculpture, Wink's dreads! Middle row L-R: Sarah & Gilly, knitted directions, The Natural Dye Studio. Bottom row L-R: Books & knitting in the cafe, Sweet Georgia yarns,  bloggers in action!)

    I love this group selfie that Gilly took. L-R; the adorable Ruth of Rock and purl. Designer & tech editor extroadinaire! Me, the fabulous Kate Heppell, editor of Knit Now & all round lovely person, Gilly who's hair generated lots of interest :)

    I did do some buying. Mainly fibre - I now have an extensive yarn stash & love to find out what's new at shows but I don't get to do an enormous of knitting or crochet for me these days. This is what I got;

    Small photos: Sweet georgia bfl/silk roving in spring garden colourway, Hilltop cloud's handblended gradient roving in Dark Rainbow, Knit by numbers dk merino by John Arbon (bin ends) (the 3 x 200g broken tops in the main picture are John Arbon too), gradient wool in rainbow from Namolio, Icelandic lopi Einband laceweight wool.

    I've already started spinning the sweet georgia bfl/silk. It's GORGEOUS! I'm also really looking forward to trying the new-to-me Icelandic lopi wool. I got the last ball of laceweight - the red ball above.

    I love to catch up with the producers/dyers who are kind enough to let me use their yarn in my designs, and to meet up with twitter/instagram/facebook/ravelry friends in real life. Unravel 2015 will be February 20-22nd. Will I see you there?



    Wool Festivals

    I sometimes forget that I haven't always known about wool festivals. It seems like they have been part of my life for a REALLY long time now. But the first one I went to was Wonderwool in 2010. It was a revelation! I know that many readers will be keen wool festival goers. But there might be some of you who have never heard of them. Well, prepare to be enlightened!

    So what do you do? Well, now, what happens at a wool festival stays at the wool festival! But seriously, mostly you buy, you meet up with online friends & you learn. There are generally workshops - often given by knitting celebrities, but always by people who know their stuff. There is always a marketplace. Sometimes the marketplace will feature some of the animals that produce the fluff you like to spin/knit/crochet. There are always stalls that showcase things you haven't seen before. Prepare to have your mind blown & your wallet emptied! Some expensive, some absolute bargains, aostly things you can't easily buy in your LYS. You can buy direct from the producer, and you can be as geeky about wool as you like! There are generally local food producers too. Mmm, cake! (And Scotch eggs, if we're talking Wonderwool. They are seriously good!)

    As I am in the lucky position of having a large personal stash and getting to try loads of gorgeous yarns for work, the main deal for me is buying things to spin - not many shops sell pretty dyed fibre - and meeting up with knitting friends.

    So why go? It's probably the most fun you are going to have with your clothes on!

    The first big festival of the year is coming up on 22nd-23rd  Feb, Unravel in Farnham. I have just been lucky enough to win tickets on Hilltop Katies blog. I never win anything - so I was THRILLED to win. More money to spend on pretty fluff :) This is a great event, with a different demographic to the more rural events. It is more squished in that others I have been to - I found it a little claustropobic, but the fun outweighed the squash. You can see the exhibitors here - all 67 of them!

    The next one I love is Wonderwool Wales on 26th - 27th April. It's at the Royal Showground in Builth Wells, and as it is held in the barns, there is generally livestock there too, from angora bunnies to alpacas, to different breeds of sheep. This is my favourite show - it's less of a crush and you always have the unknown quantity of the weather to deal with. Some years have been glorious, and we have sat outside on crocheted picnic blankets (natch!) enjoying our lunch, other years I have been toasty in multiple layers and stall holders have been wearing their samples! It's relaxed & there are great food stalls. Fancy Scotch eggs, delicious pattiserie & yummy cider - not too shabby a lunch right there!

    A favourite for many and possibly the largest is Woolfest in Cockermouth, Cumbria. I haven't been yet - it's quite a hike from me, the others can be done in a day. Lots of people will not miss this one - nearly 6000 visited last year. 

    There are others - I'll talk about a couple of new ones next time.

    Have you been to a wool festival? Are you planning to go this year? Which is your favourite?


    10/14 Unravel

    Oops, I'm not going to make 14 posts this month. Ah well, I've got more into practise, which was the point of the challenge. I'll try and squeeeeeeze one more in after this!

    Anyway.... did you get to Unravel? I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's in a much warmer venue than many of the others I've been to which is VERY good for a (slightly) snowy February day. There were lots of different rooms to explore. In fact, I think I might have missed one altogether! But I had a lovely time.

    I went with 3 friends and really I should have got a photo of us! But I didn't. I did meet up with lots of people I know online. I did finish the cardigan in time to wear it - even if it was unblocked, and lots of people commented on it :) I will post a proper picture - I just haven't taken one yet.

    My purchases :)

    I met Ruth from Rock n purl - there's a photo of the two of us on her blog here. Both of us wearing glasses & with very similar hair colour! The photo above the one with me is Gilly, who is one of the friends I went with. The bad influence....that introduced me to Chambord....and very delicious it is!

     Other than Gilly, we've been to wool festivals before & know what the food queues tend to be like, so we bought our own. We ended up eating in the car, squeeing over yarn/pattern  purchases & drinking Chambord!

    I bought some gorgeous Faerywings 4ply from Fyberspate - exactly the same colourway that I bought at Ally Pally last year - so I can write the pattern for the shawl I made for Mum's birthday. I loved the new range of yarns, Vivacious & Gleem, and would love to get my hands on some to play with! SkeinQueen was also high on my list of must visit stands, and I treated myself to some gorgeous sock yarn & a couple of mini squeens.

    I visited Amanda & Phil on the Natural Dye Studio stand and I bought a kit to make the Iris scarf, which I have loved for ages. Apparently having an attractive man on the stand is an excellent sales strategy as Phil was constantly surrounded while I was there! Other stands taking advantage of this phenomenon inlcuded Rock N Purl, A Stash addict, John Arbon & Easy Knits.....

    I bought a skein of Fibre Harvest Merino-silk to make myself a hat from the design I did for The Crochet Project. It turned out great - but I can't show you yet!

    I also bought various spinning related items - including 200g of superwash BFL to spin for a cardy for me. At least that's the idea!

    And here's one of the other things I bought:

    Says it all, really! Tillyfop designs cards & other knitting related goodies. This one does it for me :)