10 Tips for Unravel Festival - #Unravel2015

This weekend will be my fifth trip to Unravel - I can't tell you how excited I am about it. I've already made plans to meet up with friends, fellow-bloggers and designers, and I hope to get to meet some of you too. If you're going to Unravel and haven't been before... or if you're not going but plan to visit another yarn festival, then this post is for you.

#cftcspringkal yarn choice.

1. Set a budget - I know, it's very boring, but unless you're fortunate enough to have a money tree, it's absolutely worth budgeting in advance as you are likely to be seriously tempted by lots of gorgeous things - if you know what you can spend, you'll be able to make better choices. 

2. It's worth taking cash to cover the things you really want to buy, just in case some vendors are unable to card payments or the machines have no signal (this has happened to me!), which brings me onto... 

3. Make a list of anything you need to buy. Include yarn weights and amounts, as well as any necessary swatches so you can look for the right colour buttons etc. If you're looking for yarn for a new project, it will help to take the pattern or a summary of what you need. I can't tell you the number of times I've been trying to connect to Ravelry over a poor internet connection in order to work out exactly what I should get to make a queued project.

4. Compare items 1 and 3 - revise them if necessary.

5. Check the Exhibitor list, talks and workshops - make a note of any you really want to see. It's very frustrating to get home and realise that you missed an entire room (these are the words of bitter experience).

A very small sample of the yarns I fondled at Unravel 2014
Note that opening times are as follows: Friday 12 noon - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 5pm, and Sunday 10am - 4pm.

6. Pack plenty of snacks / water / lunch - the queues can be veeeeery long, and if you have special requirements you may find nothing suitable at the end of them (e.g. Gluten Free is not readily available, much to my annual dismay). Seating is also limited which brings me onto the next point.... 

7. Wear cool layers and comfy footwear - With all the yarn and people, plus most are wearing knitwear, it can get very warm. You'll be on your feet for much of the day and there are plenty of stairs at Unravel too. It's definitely a weekend for comfort and carefree browsing.

8. Look twice, buy once. Unless your pre-defined budget is extensive, you'll probably have to choose between various different wonderful things before buying. My advice is to do a full 'recce' before making any decisions.

9. Take photos. I'm a blogger, an Instagram user and a mother so I naturally take a lot of photos, but even if you don't, Unravel is a good time to start. There are various things you might want to photograph:
  • The 'yarn bombing' around the venue can be really amazing, plus you might want to capture some of the atmosphere in the marketplace. 
  • With so many stalls, it can be handy to take pictures of the vendors you especially like - it'll help you to remember what you saw on each stall, and if you capture the name you'll be able to find them again for any purchases that were beyond your budget on the day. 
  • Get a "selfie". There are various reasons for doing this. Of course it may be that you've spotted one of your favourite designers and have to get a picture taken with them, or on a more practical level, if you're not sure about the colour of a yarn - especially if you're shopping without the aid of an honest friend -  it can be really useful to get a picture of it close to your face to see how well it suits you. I am drawn to yellows and greens but it's rare to find a shade that doesn't make me look jaundiced - a picture can be a really useful aid and I try to do this whenever I'm not sure about something. 
Everything at Unravel 2014 is knitted - including the birds and food

10. Break the rules - If you see something you simply can not resist, and that you won't be able to get your hands on again (pre-loved vintage tools, a single unique hand-dyed skein that makes your heart sing... ) all rules are null and void. Unravel happens only once a year and it's a great deal of fun so enjoy it! 

I very much hope to see some of you there - if you spot our little group doing the rounds, or relaxing somewhere with a cuppa and our knitting, don't be shy! Come and say hello, but please note that my glasses broke last night so I may be either (a) squiniting, (b) going with the Jack Duckworth look, or (c) wearing prescription sunglasses. Please don't let any of these things put you off! 

If you can't make it to Unravel you can follow the events on Twitter and Instagram - I'll be using the tag #unravel2015. 


  1. Great advice, I too nearly missed a whole room the first year I went, only finding it when I went back the next day!

  2. I'n going to be stuck in the shop so I'll be living vicariously through your Instagram feed. I hope I don't drool on my phone too much!


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