I recently made a road trip from London to Farnham with three friends to attend Unravel at Farnham Maltings.
Unravel is an annual yarn and fibre festival, and as it’s at the end of February, it usually kicks off the UK yarn “season”. Farnham is a pretty town a little way south-west of London, and Unravel is held in a lovely old maltings building (where barley used to be prepared for brewing), which is now home to an arts centre, café and all-round creative hub. I’d not attended Unravel before, but had always heard great things about it, and so I was excited to go for the first time.
I wasn’t disappointed. The whole building had been transformed with yarn and knitting-related displays everywhere, from sweaters on the walls of the café, to knitted arrows pointing the way to the venue.
The marketplace was spread over several floors, and the winding nature of the building makes it into a bit of a treasure trail, as you wend your way through the different spaces, discovering new vendors around every corner. Although it was busy, there was still time to chat to vendors and other attendees, and a lovely convivial atmosphere.
My friends and I hadn’t booked for any of the talks or classes, but I did get the chance to meet Annemor Sundbø (who had given a talk on Norwegian knitting traditions) and to see her wonderful collection of old Norwegian mittens, which were strung around the walls of one room.
I really enjoyed looking round all the stalls in the marketplace. There was a really inspiring selection of yarn, fibre, patterns, notions, tools and other lovely things. There was so much to admire on the beautifully-presented stalls.
Marketplace photos – top to bottom above: knitted taxidermy from Sincerely Louise, Kaffe Fasset-inspired crochet blanket at The Natural Dye Studio’s stall, a tempting table of Skein Queen yarn, beautiful vintage objects from Eliza Conway, and Spin City’s stunning hand-dyed fibre.
There was so much to see that I took the approach of taking a full tour round at a leisurely pace, and then going back to a few stalls towards the end of the day to make my purchases. In the end, I bought Annemor Sundbø’s book, Knitting in Art (which I had been coveting for some time), three skeins of John Arbon’s Viola yarn to make a big shawl (so hard choosing between the gloriously complex colours), some very luxurious ruby-toned lace weight yarn from Skein Queen and a skein of gorgeous green Stein Fine Wool from The Little Grey Sheep (who produce their own hand-dyed yarn from their own herd).
While I’m very pleased with my purchases, it wasn’t just about the shopping. Unravel 2015 was full of inspiration: lovely knitwear, new and familiar vendors, lots of products to explore in the future and lots of catching up with other knitters. Thanks to the vendors and organisers for a brilliant event, and I’m already looking forward to next year.