Five Years, Three People, One Knitalong and a Giveaway!

Image (c) Lulu Locket Photography
It hardly seems possible that I've been blogging here for five years, but as Unravel 2016 approaches that must be the case, as the first post I ever published* followed my solo trip to Unravel 2011. It was a time when I was just learning to knit and found myself completely overwhelmed (and overjoyed) by the amount of different yarns and fibres on display. I was too nervous to attend any of the talks (in case I should be revealed as an imposter), or to chat to many of the stall-holders. Little did I know that I would come to regard Unravel as an annual highlight and that it would represent so much in terms of friendship, knowledge and a sense of community... not to mention the extensive opportunity for 'stash enhancement'!

If you don't already know, Unravel is an annual 'Festival of Knitting' (and handspun/ indie dyed yarns, crochet, spinning...), held over three days in the historic market-town of Farnham in Surrey. Since it's launch in 2009, Unravel has attracted visitors and teachers from around the world - as well as a wonderful range of carefully selected exhibitors, there are numerous talks and workshops.

The official logo, by Holly Exley, will be on this year's Unravel Tote bag - always a great souvenir!
I have written about my experiences of Unravel many (many!) times so this year I decided to ask some of the people who will be exhibiting their wares and/or teaching, to give their own perspective.

Joanne Scrace of 'Not so Granny' & 'The Crochet Project'

Despite knowing Joanne via her blog for a few years, we finally met in person when she came to Unravel 2015 to run a crochet workshop. Before she left, Joanne had already decided to come back again this year. I wanted to find out why...

Maker, Designer, Teacher and Tech Editor, Joanne Scrace. Image (c) Victoria Magnus
What were the highlights of Unravel for you last year? 
Last year's trip to unravel was my first and I am so pleased to be going back. Its such a lovely intimate feeling festival with a really choice selection of stalls. I think the people were my highlight of last year. I spent all the time I wasn't teaching, chatting and barely had time to buy a skein! I think Unravel is the best way to kick off the festival season for the year!

What are you most looking forward to this year? 
When I'm not teaching or chatting I will be hanging out on the Coop Knits stand where we are launching a very special collaboration between Rachel and The Crochet Project. We've been whispering about it for a while now and sharing sneak peeks - I can't wait for the big reveal! Its going to be suitable for novice and experienced crocheters alike so even if you are only just learning to crochet or not very confident following crochet patterns, you'll want to head over and see what we have made! 

You're teaching again this year, what can people expect to learn from your class? 
Yes! I'm teaching Textured Crochet. Its a really fun class where we look at a lot of the more unusual stitches that you can incorporate into your crochet to add interest and texture. I always used to get terribly confused between popcorns, bobbles, puffs and clusters. This class will sort all of that  (and much more) out and have you wielding them like a pro! Its suitable for anyone who has at least a knowledge of the basic stitches but I always make sure that there is plenty to learn for more experienced crocheters too. The class practice piece makes a lovely scrubby face cloth as a little bonus too.

Julie Nelson Rhodes of 'Tilly Flop Designs'

The Tilly Flop Designs stall is always a real attention-grabber - if you ask people what their favourite purchases were, Julie's designs frequently feature! This year you'll find the stall on the stage in the main hall and she has an Etsy Shop too.  (Tip: If you like something, get it asap as they sell like hotcakes!)

Image (c) Tilly Flop Designs
How would you describe Unravel to someone who hasn't been? 
It’s a yarny magical mystery tour - the Maltings is such an unusual place in that there are lots of rooms squirrelled away around the old buildings so you discover something new literally at every turn. The calibre of exhibitors is always high - I’ve really no idea how anyone can stick to a budget at Unravel. So pick up the programme as you’ll need the map and the list of exhibitors!

What are you most looking forward to this year?
I always think of Unravel as being the first show of the ‘season' so love seeing what everyone has made over the winter months - it’s a constant catwalk of knitted [and crocheted] goodness! My ravelry queue always grows exponentially after Unravel. And it’s always great to see what new yarn and designs and everything else associated with yarn is launched there too. Plus it’s one of the friendliest shows you can go to.

What do you predict will be your most popular product[s] this year?
Oh goodness - well, since I was last at Unravel I do have quite a few more card designs and they always sell well … if the God of Production is on my side I will be launching a new tea towel design there which will complement the existing ‘Oh how I’d rather be knitting’ one … but I suspect that the car stickers will be popular - I launched them in September and they caused much hilarity and sold really well … so fingers crossed!

Louise Zass-Bangham of 'Inspiration Knits' 

You may remember how much I loved Louise's book (reviewed here) and her playful designs using beautiful yarns so I was really pleased so see she would be at Unravel. When I got in touch, Louise was very excited about the festival, because she is not only teaching a workshop on yarn selection, but she has also designed the pattern for the first Unravel Knitalong!

(C) 'Maltings' by Louise Zass-Bangham, shown in The Little Grey Sheep's Stein Fine Wool, colourway: 'Her Other Life'
The design has been inspired by the barley which was originally processed at the 'Maltings' venue. The pattern includes three sizes (with DK and 4 ply/ fingering options), and 'Mini Maltings' - a more simplified version - perfect if you are pushed for time, or new to knitting. There are options to play around with the design too. 

Image (c) Louise Zass-Bangham. 'Maltings' shown in Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul 'Steppe',
Kettle Yarn Co. Beyul 'Iceberg', and Bee Ram Ewe's Dovestone DK 'Rhubarb'
Louise's patterns are really clearly written and easy to follow and here's the best thing about it - you can join in even if you won't make it to event. The pattern is free to download until February 21st, and you can participate via social media using the tag #UnravelKAL or via Ravelry. The pattern is also listed on Ravelry, so you can add it to your favourites/queue.

ALSO LOOK OUT FOR: An exhibition of Amanda Perkins' work, Veera Välimäki teaching a shawl class and the launch of the third instalment of her collaboration with Joji Locatelli Interpretations - by Pom Pom Press at the event (find more on the Pom Pom Press blog). As well as the official exhibitors and teachers, I happen to know that plenty of awesome designers and bloggers will be attending the show as visitors too, so you never know who you might bump into!


Update: The draw is now close and the winner has been notified. My thanks to everyone who entered, and if you are going on Saturday or Sunday and see me there, please do come to say hello! 

The festival organisers at Farnham Maltings are kindly are offering a pair of tickets to one lucky reader. To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post, letting me know which day you'd like to go, and what you'd most like to see/do there. Be sure to leave your Ravelry user name or some other way of getting in touch if you win! I'll be randomly drawing the winner on Tuesday 9th February 2016. Good luck!

*There were two earlier drafts which I went back and published later, when I was feeling a little more confident about the whole 'blogging' thing. Those old posts do make me cringe a little now but remain in the archives as part of my journey. 


  1. Would love to go to unravel on the Friday - Loop60 on Ravelry

  2. this is my favourite yarny event of the year and i wouldn't miss it even though my spending has been curbed. i am going on the saturday and really can't wait - tina aka wickedwoollywitch on rav

  3. Julie was the first person I talked to the first time I went to Unravel, and I bought a badge from her that says "100% handmade, almost 100% perfect". That marked the beginning of a journey for me too - it was the first time I'd managed to get myself out of the house alone for several years! Unravel also holds a special place in my heart <3 I hope I manage to get there this year.

    1. OH, this is not an entry as I'm not sure I can make it! Just something I remembered :)

    2. Ok no problem. I hope you can make it too! x

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Would love to go on the saturday. Have never been before so am sure I would love everything. Littlelibrarylass on Ravelry

  6. Would love to visit Unravel & soak up everything on offer. I hope to go on the Saturday. Sharonm4 on Ravelry.

  7. Was it really that long ago? While you were a new knitter, I was a non-knitter and I was inspired! Less than a month later I completed my first make. Since then I have loved learning all things yarny, I doubt I'll ever be as prolific a knitter as you are but you played your part on starting me down this textured road!!!
    This year coincides beautifully with a contact day for my children, so I'm planning to be there on the Sunday, hope to see you there x

    1. I'd love to see you! I'll be around on Sunday morning!! Xxx

  8. Love to go with my daughter every year on a Sunday, we love to look around and meet friends. I am poppyseed on Ravelry.

  9. I'm travelling over from Ireland for Unravel and bringing my long-suffering husband! I attended last year and really enjoyed it! We would love to visit on the Sunday. My Ravelry name is donnadiamond

  10. I'd love to go to Unravel on Friday. I've been the last 2 years and it's a great opportunity to stock up on some great yarns! Shdolby on Ravelry

    1. Congratulations! Check your messages for details on how to claim your prize! :)

  11. Yes! After missing it last year, I'm so looking forward to getting together with you and everyone else this year :)

  12. I would love to go on Sunday, I would love to find out more about lace knitting and buy my first lace weight skein x

  13. Perfect I live in Farnham and love the Maltings and all of their events and I would like to go on the Saturday please. Fab article.

  14. I would love to go on Saturday. I have never been, so I don"t know what I would like to see or do! I have knit and crocheted since childhood, but I have never been to a yarn festival before, so it would be really exciting. ravID: LiseJ


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