On Saturday my friend and I abandoned our menfolk and children, and skived off from all domestic duties, to go to Unravel, the yarny craft show that is run every year in Farnham. We hadn't been before, in fact we'd never managed a craft show together before .... there was always a football match or choir rehearsal or something that at least one of our children would've had to have gone to. What made it even better this time was that the children were going to a party so the menfolk would have to the taxiing around (for a change!). Joyous indeed :)
Anyway, we leapt into the car and before you could say "Mum, will you help me with my homework" we sped off. Sat-nav took us by a scenic route (3 times round Farnham town centre anyone ?) but we got there eventually, found a perfect parking spot, and scampered off towards the venue like a couple of nutters who'd been let out for the day (actually that pretty much sums it up).
Unravel describes itself as a knitting festival, but the first stalls we came across were spinning, weaving and felting, so really it's just one big happy jolly yarny love-in. We booked ourselves onto a felting workshop running later in the day, and went off exploring.
Well. Oh. My. Golly. Gosh. There was soooooooo much to see. Yarn, yarn, crocheting, yarn, knitted items, more yarn, buttons, more yarn, yarny accessories, yet more yarn, and did I mention the yarn ?
As I said, almost the first thing we saw was this lovely lady spinning. So very calming to watch. "Would you like a go dear?" she said to me. "Would I like a go ? Try and stop me!". So, I sat down, and with a little instruction, I had a go. A really bad go. It turns out I am seriously totally CRAP (sorry, but it has to be said) at spinning. Yes I could push the pedal but I was too fast, not keeping it even enough, I kept forgetting to let the yarn go in, it all sort of overwound, tangled itself all up, snapped, eurgh. The stuff I did actually spin ended up so tight it was like wire. My little spinning lady was so lovely ... "you're doing ever so well dear, keep trying". But it was no good. I was dreadful. I have now found a craft I won't be taking up. I shall leave it to the little old ladies and anyone else who can manage it, and will just watch in admiration from the side-lines.
Next up was The Great Hall. Yarny heaven. Serious, I-have-died-and-want-to-stay-here-forever heaven. Lots of stalls with merino tops (I know what is thanks to the felting lady), oh my gosh so soft I just want to lie in a bed of them forever. There were yarns of all colours, shapes, sizes, and lots of crafted produce on display showing the yarns crocheted or knitted up. And what's more, lots of the attendees were sporting hand-made items - I loved this lady's button necklace. She thought I was a bit bonkers when I asked if I could take a photo of it :) Isn't it marvelous :)
We had a lovely chat with Louise Walker who was showing some of her fabulous animal creations. I just LOVE the name of her book "Faux Taxidermy Knits" - how brilliant! I wish I'd taken some pictures of her creatures, they really were fab. Louise was really lovely, so bubbly and enthusiastic, I am sure she will go far :)
There was room after room after room of stalls of gorgeous fibers and yarns. My favourite though was Amanda's yarns, at the Natural Dye Studio stall. Amanda, who also hosts a blog amandascrochetblog.blogspot.co.uk, hand-dyes her yarns, they are the most amazing colours, truly DiVine.
On display at her stall was a Zodiac crochet blanket of Amanda's design, made by her crochet group. I kept coming back to gaze at it, the colours were so mesmerizing, and knowing that right alongside, on sale, was all the yarn needed to make such an object of beauty, was almost too much to bear.
And then there was the fact that Amanda is winding down the dyeing side of her business, so this was the last of the yarn. Waaaaaaah :( However, if I'd come home with all the yarn required, hubby would have sent me out to work, and we'd have needed an extra room to store it in, and a spare year to do all the crocheting. It just wasn't to be. Let's just have another look though. Sigh.
Just outside the Great Hall we noticed this very strange thing hanging down from the ceiling, like the drawings in Dr Seuss books, or some weird blue seaweed. Hanging from various points were random balls of blue wool with the occasional knitting needle sticking out. We wandered over to see what this was all about, and discovered we could be part of Sarah Filmer's Blue Project - you can read about it here. (www.sarahfilmer.com/blue-jumper).
We grabbed a pair of knitting needles (or the one-and-only crochet hook - shameful!) and got busy putting our own little stamp on the blue-jumper. This was my bit. Not my finest crochet hour, but lots of fun :)
Soon it was time for our wet felting workshop. We were a small group, just of 4 of us with an enthusiastic teacher. Here's our kit all laid out .....
We started off with this lovely fluffy stuff ....
.... then we made into a soggy heap ...
.... rolled it and bashed it about a bit ....
.... and somehow managed to get it to look like this! Miraculous!
Here are all our flowers together :) Really very pleasing, don't you think ?
There were some really fun stalls of vintage sewing and knitting patterns, and bits and pieces. We had a LOT of fun giggling at ancient patterns for men's string vests and things :)
I did bag a wee bargain though, this gorgeous vintage cross-stitch book for £1.50 ........
There are some really great designs which have probably come full circle back into fashion since its first publication decades ago.
And so the time has come for me to share some photos of the yarn I just had to buy. We wandered around a lot but I kept coming back to this luxurious number by Manos del Uruguay. It is heavenly. A silk blend, it's amazing to the touch, I have no idea what to make with it, I couldn't possibly do it justice.
That was the buying floodgates opened then, and I went a bit mad! One stall had some samples of woven fabric (on an Ashford Rigid Heddle like mine), made with a variegated yarn on the warp, and a single colour on the weft. And so I bought this to do my own version .... it's silky soft. Because it's silk. Soooooo gorgeous :)
And then I had a rummage in the sale box (which was still waaaaay dearer than I would normally spend on yarn - oops) and bought these Louise Harding balls as a 4-pack. More silky softness.
And since I couldn't make it my mind which of these skeins of squidginess to buy, I bought all three. And two of each.
And here it is altogether. Yummy yum!
All that ohh-ing and ash-ing at yarn makes a girl rather puckish and very thirsty, so we headed off to the cafe for a rather late lunch. We were standing having a sandwich and a cuppa (there were no seats left), and I was generally looking around, when right next to me I spotted this ....
... yes, a random little white paper bag, stuck on a pillar, saying "Take me!" with a "Have a nice day" sticker. I had a look around for the hidden camera, and after checking with my friend that I wasn't about to really embarrass myself (she thought I was) I tentatively peeled it off. The lady at the next table also thought I was mad, I think. I checked that she hadn't put it there and was waiting for an unsuspecting yarn addict to made a complete idiot of herself. She insisted she'd had nothing to do with it.
On the other side of the paper bag was this ....
Even more intriguing! And when I opened it, iI found this little leather key fob thingy .....
Isn't it gorgeous! A total "pay-it-forward" type gesture. The little business card didn't even have a business name on it so there was no one I could thank for such a thoughtful gift.
We'd had a really fabulous day at Unravel, and this was the icing on the yarny cake :)