On Saturday, I got up at an insanely early hour to get down to Lime Street station in time to catch the 5:47 train to London. Thank goodness the coffee shops open at 5:30am. Still, even fully caffeinated, it's never a good idea when half asleep to start a complicated lace pattern on a moving train.
This is the start of what will hopefully be a gorgeous lace and cable wrap. I foolishly thought that with 6 hours of train time, I'd get the first repeat of the chart (80 rows) done. After making mistakes and having to rip back, I ended up with only eleven rows completed, which nonetheless felt like a great victory. That's only 494 rows left to go. Sigh.
Anyways, after arriving at Euston, jumping on the underground for the quick trip to Waterloo and hopping aboard another train, I made it to Farnham around 10am.
A short, pretty ten minute walk from the station gets you to Farnham Maltings, the annual site of Unravel, yes, yet another U.K. yarn festival.
The set of buildings is quite cool - they normally house a theatre and several craft studios and if you look at their monthly calendar there are tons of interesting courses, exhibitions and events happening on a regular basis.
I wasn't entirely sold on the venue for a crowded yarn fair, however. It definitely has its charms in that it's a bit higgledy-piggledy; you walk into one room of exhibitors, which leads into another. A set of stairs takes you to another room and in an annex of that, are more vendors. Then you make your way to the basement - yet more to see - and in various alcoves and display cabinets along the way are examples of work by textile artists. Oh, but don't forget the platform at the back of the Great Hall and the vendors tucked away behind the back wall. The organisers do produce a good programme with a map of all the rooms and a list of corresponding vendors, but it's still very easy to miss some. And when it gets crowded - as it did about an hour after I arrived - it's really hard to move between and among the tiny rooms.
I only really managed one photo so as not to jostle or be jostled, but it was for one of my favourite booths - The Little Grey Sheep. I first came across them at Yarndale and bought a skein of their hand-dyed Gotland yarn. They have the most gorgeous yarns from their own flock of sheep in Surrey and under the photo of Jose, is a display of their mini-skeins. I bought five luscious, beautiful, deep colours that I'm sure I'll use in a future colourwork project.
There are fewer stores highlighted in the London Craft Guide, but such is the inexhaustive nature of the hidden treasures to be found in the big city, that they listed one very centrally located, that had flown under the radar of Metcalf - Beadworks, near Covent Garden.
I popped in on my way home and it's a lovely, fully stocked store, with a large selection of size 6 beads (the ones most knitters use because the hole is big enough to fit a tiny crochet hook in). I was able to find some vibrant green beads for a future project.
The Yarn in the City booth also sold yarn, including this skein of sock yarn especially dyed for them in Union Jack colours, so it had to come home with me too.
I didn't get home until 10pm and I've been trying to recover sleep ever since, but I'm glad I made the trip south. I got to chat with some people who had been at Gwlana with me last year and I also got to meet my course tutor and ask her a few questions about my module. And while I didn't stay for the screening, I learned there's a documentary called YARN looking at global artists and knitters, which will be out later in the year.
Bring on Edinburgh!