This weekend was the annual Unravel festival at the Maltings in Farnham. It is great to have a woolly festival so close to us, and this year there was even more fun stuff to look at.
As in previous years I was helping out with demonstrating and teaching spinning and knitting with the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers, and with the Surrey Knitting and Crochet Group. Members of both groups lent a wonderful selection of things they had made for our display table. We had our usual corner of the Cellar Bar which was handy as we knew the lie of the land beforehand. Here it all is on Friday afternoon after we had set it all up:
A good number of members of both groups volunteered so we all managed to have a good look around the show too which was excellent, and I also managed to hear Lesley Prior‘s talk about the Campaign for Wool which was very interesting.
This year’s January competition at the knitting and crochet group had the theme of sheep, and we had all the entries on display for the weekend. I made a Shetland Sheep out of some natural black handspun Shetland, although I didn’t manage to finish him in time for the competition:
He is made entirely out of bobbles, which nearly killed me. He wont be having any friends! I find bobbles very hard on the neck and shoulders, and had a headache for a week after finishing him! Luckily I am pretty much better now.
Sue made the most wonderful life-size model sheep which was then covered in knitted squares by members of the group, and hung in the entrance of the Maltings:
He is called Norman, and will be coming out with us to more exhibitions later this year.
And there were even real live sheep, I think from Well Manor Farm in a pen outside:
There were even more stands at the festival than in previous years. A great selection of things to see and have a go at. There were workshops and talks on both days, and a lot of enthusiastic people.
I had a fabulous time 🙂 It was great to see loads of friends, and to meet lots of new people too. I spent a lot of Saturday extolling the virtues of knitting socks with one long circular needle, and Sunday talking about spinning and different wheels and helping new spinners get started. They were all sickeningly tallented, and grasped the principles very quickly, even those who were rather tired after having a long day round the show 🙂 We had a lot of families around on the Sunday which was fun, and we did some great team spinning. My little victims got the hot seat (although some of them were a little short to sit on the chair and reach the pedals so had to stand up), and they were in charge of the treadle, with their accompanying adult in charge of checking that the wheel was still going in the same direction. Then I did the hands, and when they had had enough I did a little ply-back of the yarn we had been spinning so they would have something to take away with them. I think there will be quite a lot of orange merino featuring in show and tell sessions at Surrey and Hampshire schools this week 🙂
I was also thrilled to win the Best in Show exhibition with my Autumn in Anatolia jumper.
I am looking forward to the prize which was a subscription to Selvedge magazine. Our knitting and crochet group were well represented in the Best in Show competition, Kim came second with her crocheted Dalek Tank top:
Sue also entered her wonderfully witty knitted sheep portraits,and Mary entered her Noah’s Ark.
A show would hardly be complete without a bit of stash enhancement and there were lots of lovely things available to buy.
The first things I bought on Saturday morning when the show had barely opened were Knitting with Two Colors by Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen, from Tricia Holman, and an Unravel bag (which came in handy to put things in all weekend). Here they are with my first issue of my prize Selvedge subscription:
It took me all weekend to decide on which colour of Deepy Wicked sock yarn (100% superwash Merino, 100g, 400m) to buy from EasyKnits – too much choice! Too many lovely loud colours! They humoured my indecision, and in the end I decided on this lovely semi-solid green called Astro Turf 🙂
It is a bit grey and gloomy here today so the yarn is actually even bright than my photo suggests 🙂
I also had a lovely time at John Arbon‘s stand, squishing all the lovely tempting fibre. It was nice to see John and Juliet and catch up with them too 🙂
I bought 200g of white 70% Exmoor Blueface, 30% Bluefaced Leicester fibre:
I am planning to dye this and then spin it into socks. We were using some of this fibre for spinning demonstrations and for the new spinners to learn with, and it is very nice to spin, it drafts very smoothly without being too slippery.
I also bought a kilo of chocolate 80% fine alpaca, 20% merino fibre:
This is a gorgeous colour, very reminiscent of a good milk chocolate. I think this will be a jumper or cardigan but I haven’t thought much further than that.
I also got some lovely Cappuccino Alpaca and something, but I now can’t remember whether it was Alpaca and Merino, or Alpaca and BFL, or Alpaca, Merino, and BFL, or something else entirely. I think my brain may be a little full.
I’m not sure what I am going to do with this yet. I think not lace, because the colours are quite strongly contrasting. Perhaps a 4ply kind of a weight, and then maybe mittens or something. Or I may mix it with some other fibre I already have to eke it out a bit.
All in all a very good weekend 🙂 I woke up at 5.30am yesterday and couldn’t get back to sleep because I was too excited, so I have been enjoying a bit of a quieter day today. Roll on next year, but I shall try and catch up with my sleep before then!