What and where is Unravel Yarn Show?
Unravel is a prestigious yarn festival that takes place in Farnham in southwest Surrey. It is held at Farnham Maltings, originally a collection of buildings with a long history. These have been renovated and brought together over time to create an ideal space for arts and community.
Now in its fourteenth year, the show attracts a fabulous selection of artists and makers involved in the art of knitting, crochet, spinning, weaving, and all that goes along with it. There is a curated marketplace of 70 independent producers, makers and exhibitors situated in 6 rooms of the Maltings, alongside an extensive schedule of craft workshops and related talks.
For those who can’t make it to the show in person, there’s a virtual Unravel event, with a mixture of pre-recorded and live videos from the vendors. It also runs a pre-bookable lively programme of virtual workshops.
My trip to Unravel
Preparations for the show started when I received my confirmation email in October. Woohoo!
Yarns were carefully selected, colourways planned and dyed, patterns selected and printed, samples chosen and blocked. Alongside the product planning were the logistics to sort out; Farnham is over 200 miles from our base near Perranporth, so we couldn’t exactly pop over each day! That meant organising van hire, accommodation and travel routes.
I travelled to the show with my good friend Caroline from Gorgeous Yarns; we usually attend yarn shows together so we can share costs as well as providing support and encouragement for each other along the way! Exhibiting at a yarn show is great fun but also hard work, so it helps enormously to have a yarn buddie with you.
I was excited to go past Stonehenge along our way; I’ve never seen it in person before so had to take a photo! It was lit up by the sunny day, with sheep grazing peacefully in front of it – perfect!
We drove to Farnham the day before the show started, so we could have a few hours to unload everything from the van and set up our stands in the Tindle Studio. Setting up our stands from scratch always takes a couple of hours – and that’s following on from the sessions of mocking up and changing layouts at home several times in the weeks running up to the event!
We stayed at a nearby Premier Inn, so each day started with an early morning cooked breakfast then a short drive to the Maltings. When you’re driving around in an area you don’t know, having sat nav built in to the hire van is a wonderful tool!
Unravel was the first 3-day yarn show I’ve attended, so I wasn’t sure how many visitors to expect on the Friday. I soon discovered that plenty of people know and love the show, as it was busy right from the 9am start!
As the tickets had been sold on a timeslot basis and the organisers had set up a one-way system around the building, there was a steady flow of people around the stands throughout the whole day. This system worked well, creating a comfortable and manageable environment for both exhibitors and visitors
Lunch and refreshments were available from the Maltings cafe, and vendors were able to pre-order on arrival each morning. A member of the cafe team helpfully brought the food to the stands around midday, so we could continue to chat to visitors and be available on our stands.
The event had a vibrant and inspiring atmosphere, with a vast range of beautiful yarny products and accessories available. No matter what you were looking for, you could probably find it there! The team had done a great job of curating the list of makers taking part, so there was something for everyone.
The show finished at 5pm on Friday and Saturday. I threw a cover over my stand to put the yarns to bed for the night – thanks to Caroline for lending me one as I’d forgotten to bring an extra cover! We headed back to the Premier Inn and enjoyed a cooked evening meal and a glass of red wine to top up our energy levels.
We then spent a while each evening discussing business thoughts and plans from the day, such as ideas for new patterns that had been mentioned and intentions to adjust our displays the following morning.
Two heads are better than one, and everyone sees things from a different perspective, so this is really helpful if you’re running a one-person business.
Then it was off to sleep before starting again early the next morning!
I had a brief whizz around the other rooms over the course of the event, although most of the time I was happily discussing yarns, projects and Cornish holidays with visitors to my stand! One of the other stands I particularly liked was An Caitin Beag, who have a fun range of kitty-themed project bags and knitting patterns, as well as some beautiful silver shawl pins.
Sunday’s show day was open from 10am to 4pm, and was a little quieter than the previous two days. I was quite glad about that as we were all starting to flag a little after a couple of non-stop days before that.
By 4pm I had considerably fewer yarns than I’d brought along to start with, 3 paper bags left, 2 business cards, and I’d sold every last printed copy of my Light & Lacy Shawl crochet pattern!
We packed up our stands and headed back to the Premier Inn for the last evening, before travelling back home to Cornwall the next morning.
Unravel was a thoroughly enjoyable show, and I hope to return again next time. It was wonderful to meet so many of you, and delight you with yarns you hadn’t heard of or touched previously, such as the beautiful silk baby camel and silk seacell blends.
In the meantime thank you for sharing your hauls on social media! I’m looking forward to seeing your projects take shape – please tag @perranyarns on Instagram and Facebook so I get a nudge to take a look. If you have any specific colourway & yarn requests you’d like me to dye, contact me.
Happy knitting and crocheting!