Unravel 2017

Some of you who follow me on Instagram may have noticed my Sunday Sevens didn’t tell the full fully story of last week. Truth is, I scheduled it to post on Thursday evening as I went away Friday morning and headed for Unravel at Farnham Maltings.

I was very excited. I was going to meet up there with Lovely Littlest and two old friends. (I was also going to spend the whole weekend with Lovely Littlest!) However, they were all working on Friday, so meeting up was Saturday’s plan and I’d booked a workshop for Friday.

It’s a long slow train Journey from Exeter to Farnham, so the day started with train knitting…

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Having got up at 5.15am, I was quite exhausted when I got to Farnham just before mid day. I needed to eat and there wasn’t time to look around – not that I would have, as it would have spoiled Saturday, but I couldn’t resist popping to see Exeter girl  Belinda Harris-Reid on her stall.

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My workshop was Bias Knitting with the hugely talented Alison Ellen. Alison was an excellent, very encouraging tutor who certainly knows how to nurture creative thinking in her students. For me the workshop was very much one of creative play and it has sparked lots of idea about projects and further creative exploration.

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I did feel at £45 it was expensive for 3 hour workshop. There was entry to the festival included, but with it opening at 11 on the Friday,  even if you were local enough, I don’t think the two and a quarter  hours it gave would be sufficient time to see it all. I’m in no way doing Alison down here, she was excellent. However I’d normally expect to pay  around the £45 mark for a full day of an expert workshop. Is that my perception because I live in the impoverished south west? What do you think?

On Saturday I returned to the festival with Lovely Littlest and we met up with my two friends. The theme this year is birds. The pigeons were my favourite…

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These were my non-bird favourites…

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The festival itself is curated, so there was a wonderful mix of excellent stalls. However, although I have a small stash, I rarely buy yarn without a project in mind. Having just has two batches of yarn spun for the DYC and having plenty of projects planned for that, I resisted buying any yarn. (I know, it wasn’t easy.)

There were so many wonderful stalls. I had planned to take more pics of them, but it was so busy and I was enjoying my day so much, I didn’t want to ruin it by keep taking pictures.

Although I didn’t buy any yarn, I did buy the latest copy of Pompom…

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… because I had spotted a pattern in it I want to knit….

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…  I think I’ll dye my own yarn for it.

I also bought a small brooch…

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And, although I don’t tend to buy yarn without a project in mind, it turns out I can buy buttons with no specific purpose…

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All in all, I had a wonderful day at the festival and enjoyed an inspiring and useful workshop. Unravel is undoubtedly one of the best yarn festivals! What more can I say?

37 thoughts on “Unravel 2017

    1. I did, thank you. And I already thought the workshop expensive and had resigned myself to the cost – so unless I’d learned some miraculous new type of knitting, that hitherto I’d never heard of, nothing would have changed my mind on that.

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  1. Hmm…. Some sewing workshops I’ve been to or know of via other people are blooming expensive but I know I’m not comparing like with like. My two hour (ish) crochet lesson was 22euros but it was one to one and I assume she calls herself an expert because you can also attend half hour ‘clinics’ with her to sort out your woolly problems for 9 euros. As I’m a beginner at crochet I couldn’t gauge her level of expertise but she was wearing a very complicated looking knitted jumper that she’d made which I’d definitely call advanced. Did your 45 euros allow you entry on the Saturday or just a little bit of Friday?
    I love that cardigan – the style is right up my alley. I’m not so keen on the yarn they’ve used with the fiddly bits of colour – what sort of yarn/colour do you have in mind?
    Those buttons – you just had to, didn’t you?

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    1. I’ve done the conversion and 22 euros seems fair to me for a couple of hours 1-2-1. Last year I did a 6 hour workshop with Anniken Allis – who is absolutely bloody brilliant and lunch was included – in Devon and that cost me £48. Jo Colwill’s patchwork courses are about that price for 6 hours too and she’s not just brilliant and super-talented, but taught Kirsty to patchwork on Kirsty’s handmade Britain.
      I’m thinking maybe pink for the cardigan, but I may go for grey with with bright splashes of colour or I may go turquoise – and as I type those words, I remember i have some turquoise DK I fished out of Blacker Yarns’ bargain bin a couple of years ago and I may have just the right amount 🙂

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      1. Turquoise would be fabulous. I have a slight worry with those sleeves – I don’t know whether it’s the way they’ve photographed it but I hope they will look purposefully dolmanish (made up word) rather than just baggy. What do you think?

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      2. The pattern say it should have 7 3/4″ positive ease – which is a lot in my book. I tried the sample on at Farnham and it had considerably less positive ease than that on me and my friends thought it looked better for it. So I’m not worrying about the sleeves – I might convert them to full length too if I have enough yarn.

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  2. I know it’s sewing, not knitting/crochet, but my rates are £35 per hour on a 1-to-1 basis. £65 for a six hour workshop based on four attendees, including lunch with bubbles. Hope you enjoyed it despite the perceived high cost. I must attend more workshops – I love them. That cardigan in hand dyed yarn promises to be something special. Why do you think button boxes still exist if not to fill with random button purchases?!

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  3. Goodness, it sounds very expensive to me, living in a land where we x2 to exchange money (It used to be x3, so is improving from my standpoint). But I’m of the opinion that we won’t know unless we try and having tried make a decision whether to support/return to that tutor or not.
    I like your cardy pattern and your choice of buttons! 🙂

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    1. The more I talk to you guys, the more I think it was well overpriced, but it will have been the venue and not the tutor that set the prices. I certainly didn’t gain any ‘nuggets’ that made me think it was worth it and I wouldn’t do another workshop there again unless they lower the prices.

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      1. Are you within reasonable distance of Liskeard? Anniken usually also does one as part of the 3 bags full wool week in Liskeard in October that costs even less. You might be interested in the Friday evening wool market too, or some of the other workshops – they have two weeks of them.

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  4. Beads and Barnacles

    Such restraint not buying wool, but then again we have seen the amount you had delivered recently :-p
    I always think that classes are expensive but if I think about all the costs there are I normally think they are ok. I imagine that the cost of that one was more because of the location/timing of it.

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      1. Beads and Barnacles

        Yeah. Was the cafe a permanent feature of the building? If so I imagine their rates are lower and they have the advantage of higher numbers of customers.
        We will never know if someone was just trying to make a bit more profit or it needed to be like that. But there is a saying that it’s not over priced if people are willing to pay that much…

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      2. I hear what you’re saying. But i also think there’s such a thing as taking the p*** The workshop in itself will cost little more than the tutor’s wage since it’s the venue itself that stages the event. Hopefully the tutors are receiving payments that reflect their skills and if it’s helping them to keep costs sensible and support the event then maybe it’s not so bad. Which is why i asked the question, because venues and staffing (and everything) are more expensive up country.

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  5. Wow, this is absolutely awesome. We have an expo coming up, although it is Hobby related, and not just yarns. It is normally very interesting, and I can not wait to go again and see what is new and all.
    I adore the sheep, and the pigeon is super cute, not to mention your brooch and cute buttons.
    Awesome, and thank for sharing all the information with us all. 🙂

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      1. The expo is very mixed, and lots of stalls are not really related to hobbies, but I just pass those, and stick to the floorplan and go to the stalls I am interested in. I enjoy the magazine sellers, as we get international magazines at a very good price. Then I just stock up on the ones I love. 🙂
        We don’t have many festivals or expo’s so we really have to make the most of the big one that we can get to once a year. 🙂
        Your Unravel sounds just super great, and definitely one to visit each time.

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      2. Sounds a sensible plan and that there is enough between the stalls you don’t like to make you happy. Unravel is nearly 200 miles away from where I live, but have friends close an, as I’ve said, littlest daughter. So worth the trip, but nothing like it near us 😦

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