Friday, 11 July 2014

Unwind with John Arbon Textiles

John Arbon Textiles will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked them to answer a few questions and share some of their crafting experiences with us.

(c) John Arbon Textiles

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
We are a traditional worsted spinning mill located in North Devon. At our mill, we process fibre (local to us, wherever possible) from scoured fleece into yarn. Our little team of workers produces luxury, worsted hand knitting yarns on our selection of antique machines.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
We are very excited to be bringing our complete selection of yarns to Unwind. Viola, a custom blended colour range in a DK weight organic merino is a favourite. Another fabulous yarn that we are really excited about is Alpaca and grey alpaca. A brand new yarn in our range, Zwartlbes, is a rustic double knitting yarn in 3 natural shades that is perfect for a cabled jumper or hard wearing pair of mittens.

What is the story of your mill?
The mill has grown slowly but surely from a heap of old machine bits into a busy, buzzing place. It began with an idea to produce high quality, local yarns in a traditional worsted spinning technique that is almost lost in England today. This is still our focus, and we strive to source interesting British fibres for our yarns, which are carefully prepared. We take a lot of pride in our worsted yarns, which are strong, smooth and lustrous.

A Mill in rural Devon? That sounds completely idyllic.... Is it?
Yes. Living and working on Exmoor is such a treat! We love where we live, and feel so lucky to be able to enjoy the moors, meadows, sea and sky every day whether it’s at the mill, at home or on the drive to and fro.

You’ve developed distinct yarn ranges thanks to different personalities who work with you at the mill. How does that process work?
Our team at the mill is small, only 5 members of staff, but each contributes their own ideas, skills and personal taste to the products we make. We love to experiment with new fibres, colours and techniques and when there is an opportunity for someone on our team to work on a new project, they take the lead and we will all work together to make that product come to life. Of course, we always need John there to figure out the tricky bits!

It seems like a really creative space as well as productive. Do you all share ideas a lot?
Indeed! Most van journeys to and from the mill are passed discussing yarn and colours (although we manage to chat quite a bit about music and pies as well…)

You recently moved site and relocated your mill, how did that go?
The mill move last summer was a very big task. Our machines are very big, very heavy and very old which made for some interesting moments and a lot of creative problem solving. Now that we are settled in our new mill things could not be better! We have the space to work more efficiently and have already begun to increase our collection of machines. It hasn’t taken long to grow into the new space!

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
That’s a tricky one. We are all looking forward to a show that feels like it will be a bit different than the rest. Meeting so many interesting knitters from around the world, having a fab weekend in Brighton and hopefully a lot of yarn chatter! Of course, we can’t wait for the Pom Pom festivities on Saturday night – the records are packed and John is ready to DJ!

A big thank you to John Arbon Textiles for taking the time to share some insight into their knitting world.

You can find John Arbon Textiles’ website by visiting To keep up to date with all of the latest John Arbon news, keep an eye on Twitter (@johnarbontextiles), Instagram (johnarbontextiles) Facebook (Fibre Harvest and John Arbon Textiles) and the blog ( 

Unwind with Woolly Wormhead

Woolly Wormhead will be teaching a full day class on Hat design tomorrow and just in time, here's her teacher interview to get you in the mood for your classes. 

(c) Woolly Wormhead

What was your first knitting/spinning/crochet project?
I don't remember all the details as it was a long time ago, but it would have been an outfit for one of my dolls. I knit myself a rag doll when I was about 8. My mum taught me to knit when I was 3.

What’s your favourite thing to knit?
Do I have to answer this one? Really really? Oh, alrighty then. But the answer might surprise you.

What's my favourite thing to knit?

A Hat.

There, see, I told you you'd be surprised, didn't I?

What was your most (or least) successful project?
A me sized jumper I knit in some grey cotton I bought in a sale. It taught me to never, ever knit anything that size in cotton again.

Do you have a favourite knitting tip to share?
Lots! But I think the thing I'm always saying is this: just try it; it's not as difficult as you think.

Do you have any other crafty hobbies?
Lots. I've a couple of degrees in Textiles, so I've tried quite a few things. Work reduces spare time, but when I can, I like to custom draw/print clothes, dye up odds of fabric and make mismatched/recycled clothes. Spinning, too; making chunky oddball yarn is very therapeutic   

Would you say you are a process or product knitter?
Process all the way.

What are you working on right now?
Erm, a Hat. A secret one.

If you had to pick just one kind of yarn to knit with/ tool to work with / fibre to spin for the rest of your life what would it be?
Tough choice, but whatever it is, it'd be wool. No, come to think of it, I don't think I can pick just one, sorry.

What are you most looking forward to about Unwind / Or visiting Brighton?
ooh, lots! I used to spend a lot of time in Brighton but haven't been in about 8 years, so I'm very much looking forward to just being there; it'd be nice to wander the old lanes again. I'm also looking forward to seeing knitterly and fibery friends, as we rarely get to see each other. I'm looking forward to meeting Hat knitters and helping them get the best out of their knitting. And I'm very much looking forward to wandering the marketplace and getting my hands on some special yarn!

Asymloche by Woolly Wormhead

Woolly has been working on Hat designs in preparation for Unwind and has collaborated with Unwind vendor Juno Fibre Arts to create the Asymloche, due for release later today. You can find more details about this special Hat on Woolly's blog here and also check out the free tutorials she has created especially to walk you through the techniques it features.  

And there's a different pattern using Eden Cottage Yarns, another Unwind vendor, in need of a name here

(c) Woolly Wormhead

Keep an eye on Woolly Wormhead's Twitter feed today to find out the exact release of these Hats (love that Hats MUST be capitalised by the way!) Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions Woolly and we hope your classes are full of fun and awesome Hats!

Thursday, 10 July 2014

People to Find, Yarn to Taste, Shawls to Cast on.

Across the weekend there will be various hosts in the Pavilion Gardens to help you find some tranquil knitting time and inspiration away from the hubbub of the vendors market and encouraging you to Unwind after your classes. The Gardens are an ideal spot, close to the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange, to sit back and relax and enjoy some stitches across the weekend. 

Vivacious, one of Fyberspates yarns

On Saturday morning, Jeni from Fyberspates will be hosting a Drop In Learn to Knit/ Yarn Tasting session. Armed with some of her fine yarns and some needles, she'll be there to start the weekend off to a cheery start. So if you're dragging along family members or friends and looking to snare a new knitter into the fold, you can drop them off to meet later, safe in the knowledge that they are in expert hands! Of course, you can settle in and chat to fellow knitters about what you're excited to see, things you've already enjoyed and swap knit tips too!

Pebble Beach Shawlette by Helen Stewart

Then at 2pm on Saturday, join the mass Cast On of Pebble Beach Shawlette, the winning design from our Design Competition. The designer of the shawlette Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade, will be there to welcome knitters and help them cast on the pattern that features in the programme. Whether you're planning on a new purchase from the vendors market or bringing along some precious stash, come and share your new project with other knitters here for the day too. 

On The Pier (c) Marcin Duda

On Sunday afternoon, between 2-6pm, join Justyna Lorkowska, designer of 'On The Pier' which was one of our official KAL patterns. She'll be enoucraging you to knit and natter as things Unwind for the weekend. 

The gardens are a great picnic spot with a cafe nearby and plenty of food, drink and ice cream spots slightly further afield that you could easily bring back to the gardens and settle in for a good knit and natter. 

See you soon!

Unwind with Julie Asselin

It's so close now, we can't believe it! We've almost introduced to all our vendors and here is Julie will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...

Julie wearing her own yarn and design

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
I've been knitting for most my life and loving all things color! I stumbled into dyeing 3 years ago as I was curious about it and I became really interested  in how yarn behaves and is constructed. I now work closely with mills to develop my own yarn bases.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?

You will find Merletto, a lace weight yarn that I recently launched that is a blend of Merino, Cashmere and Silk made for a luxurious feel. The 3 ply construction of this yarn makes for strength and a great ability to withstand ripping back! These are 2 qualities that are sometimes lacking in lace weight.


You will also find Leizu DK a Merino yarn with a touch of silk that brings sheen and drape to the yarn. One of my favorite features about this yarn is that even with the silk it is still safe to machine wash- perfect for baby items.

Leizu DK

The other 2 yarns that will be on display are Hektos (worsted weight) and Nanos (fingering). Again with the Merino-Cashmere-Silk blend they are a joy to work with perfect for accessories or sweater.


Where do you find constant colour inspiration from?

Nature is the best place for inspiration. Loving to cook food is also a source of inspiration as well. I also  sometimes try to translate feelings or moments.

Dyepots in action

How did your crafting journey begin?
I come from a crafty family; everybody is crafty in a way. I learned to knit at a very young age from my grandmother and mother and it's the one thing I've always been doing as a craft. 
I find that I need to be careful because I'm interested by anything crafty so I get easily side tracked by a new project or hobby!

RiverEdge by dandiliongirl designs 

You’re also a designer, what kind of knitted item do you enjoy working on the most?

Hats! and sweaters!

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?

Mostly I wish I could be there physically, as Unwind are hosting my products this year. It is a really great opportunity and initiative and hopefully I will be able to make the trip someday and I am sure this festival will become a staple in the years to come for all knitters.

A big thank you to Julie for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Julie's website by visiting To keep up to date with all of the latest Julie Asselin news, keep an eye on Instagram (@julie_asselin), Facebook( and the blog (

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Unwind with The Little Knitting Company

Ruth will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
Hello. My name is Ruth Chester, I started the company in early 2008 wanting to showcase a range of predominantly natural fibres that were independently sourced. Over time we have become known for our knitting kits; aimed mainly at early and returning knitters but increasingly more complex and perfect gifts. A range of children's and adult beginner kits will be unveiled later in 2014.

Hamper from The Little Knitting Company

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
Our rosewood knitting needles and DPNs are always a huge hit, in sizes 2.75mm to 20mm the range now extends from a teeny tiny 6in up to 16in long. We’ve a good selection of summer weight yarns in linen, cotton and ramie blends and we’re hopeful that a consignment of lace blocking wires clears customs in time!

Rosewood knitting needles

 What supplies would you recommend as a gift for a crafter from your store?
Our Luxury Knitter’s Hampers are a treat and include a comprehensive selection of yarn, needles, Soak and other knitting accessories. A WPI tool is always a handy gadget and our new knitting word search greetings cards are fun too.

Rosewood Buttons

How did you craft journey begin?
As a small child I was always “making” things including dresses and scarves for Pippa dolls and teddies. Watching my mum sewing Clothkits pinafores and knitting must have rubbed off on me. My first real project was a garter stitch panda from a Blue Peter show in the mid 70s.

What’s currently in YOUR knitting bag? (notions, sweet wrappers and other paraphernalia welcome here too!)
Erm. Well. Apart from the ubiquitous swatches, Rachel Atkinson’s Reasons To Be Cheerful socks are underway. There is also a HUGE pile of blanket squares waiting to be assembled as a gift from our knitting group to the landlady of the pub that suffered a tragic fire last summer.

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
Being amongst enthusiastic knitters and sharing knitting experiences is always energising, there’s always a new tip or technique to be shared. It will be good to catch up with the other vendors who have become friends. Meeting our online customers and friends “in person” is very rewarding. 

A big thank you to Ruth for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find The Little Knitting Company’s online woolly emporium by visiting To keep up to date with all of the latest TLKC news, keep an eye on Twitter @lkco and Facebook.

Unwind with the Knitting Swede

Yes! More wonderful vendors and this time it's the Knitting Swede, better known as Tanja. Tanja will be joining Unwind as a vendor so I asked her to answer a few questions and share some of her crafting experiences with us...

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.
I am a fiber obsessed, knitting Swede living in the UK, having left Stockholm for London 18 years ago. After years in the Square Mile I felt it was time for a change in my life so I started The Knitting Swede. I did so with a focus on high quality [BFL based] yarns sourced from ethical British suppliers and breeds indigenous to The British Isles & Ireland – with the hope of introducing some Swedish yarns/fibre in the future.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?
Hopefully I’ll have a little something for everyone J

As far as yarn goes; fresh out of my kitchen is the amazingly soft and luxurious Charisma, a BFL / Silk mix dyed up in some of my best selling colours as well as some new colours.
Charisma both is and isn’t a new base… it’s not been listed in either of my shops as I intended for it to ‘debut’ at Unwind. However, word got out, and some of my existing customers have already asked to have this base dyed up as they did not want to wait until Unwind to get their hands on it (or as one customer said: what if you sell out before I get there!!??!)

When it comes to new colours, the highlight is a Star Trek inspired collection of 5 new and beautiful colours, 3 of which you can see here in my Whisper base:

Whisper in 3 of the Star Trek Inspired Collection © The Knitting Swede

And finally, as to patterns, I have been working on a shawl design especially for Unwind. I can reveal that it’s a beaded shawl in the Charisma base, and as with most of my designs, simplicity is the key.  A little teaser:

Brighton Pearl © The Knitting Swede

Where do you find constant colour inspiration from?
Most recently; Star Trek.  I saw Star Trek Into Darkness live at Royal Albert Hall not long ago and the combination of the visuals of the film and the amazing live music by the 21st Century Symphony Orchestra and Chorus was the inspiration for my latest (and only!!) collection.
Generally speaking though, my inspiration tends to come from nature and travelling and occasionally books or films.  What I do with the inspiration though, is very much affected by moods.

You also like to dye fibre, what blends do you enjoy working with the most?
I do dye fibre but not in very big quantities. I think I’m very much in the ‘still learning’ phase when it comes to fibre, as it is a much, much trickier medium to dye compared to yarn.
But, as with yarn, I must admit to my love of working with BFL.  In my humble opinion, no other fibre beats BFL.  It is a delight to dye, spin and knit with.

You’re also a designer, what kind of knitted item do you enjoy working on the most?
That’s an easy one J.  As you can tell by the few designs I have released; shawls!
I love designing shawls and shawlettes as much as I love knitting and wearing them. To me, a shawl is the ultimate accessory. It can be worn with anything and everything, and is as practical as it can be beautiful!

I also very much enjoy fingerless mittens, but for some inexplicable reason I have only ever written up one pattern… hmm, I might have to do something about that…

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?
Having grown up on an island in the Stockholm archipelago I’m looking forward to going to the seaside for a weekend - and I’m really excited to be exhibiting at my second yarn event as the first one was such a great experience.

I’m also looking forward to meeting a lot of creative, yarn & fiber loving people who are travelling to Brighton for the event from around the world.

A big thank you to Tanja for taking the time to share some insight into her knitting world. You can find Tanja’s website/ etsy shop by visiting or The Knitting Swede on Etsy. To keep up to date with all of the latest TKS news, keep an eye on Twitter, Facebook and the blog

Proud to be hosting Signature Needle Arts!

A very special package arrived recently FULL of Signature Needles and goodies. Yes, Signature Needle Arts will be hosted at Unwind and we couldn't be happier to be bringing them to the seaside. 

(c) Signature Needle Arts

We love the story behind this luxury needle brand that has become well known for the high quality precision that the needles bring to knitters projects. 
(c) Signature Needle Arts

"Like many new products, ours started with a "Why don't they…?" moment. One night, when struggling with a fuzzy yarn, I said out loud, "Why can't I have needles with a better point?" From across the room my husband, Kent, replied, "You can, just take them to work." I am the President of Bothe Associates Inc., a family-owned precision machine shop, that makes custom metal components, so I did just that.
I had a pair of what has come to be called the "Stiletto point" made and had it hand-polished. I could not believe the difference in my ability to deal with all sorts of yarn. I found myself changing patterns to accommodate my "special" needles.
At this same time I began to think about the metal needles available and the opportunities for designing fine tools for knitters that would include both performance and aesthetics. Think about it: people who restore cars can buy high quality tools for their hobby, but knitters have to make do with whatever the big companies sell. We knitters spend lots of money on yarn, and even more of our time, but knitters who like metal needles didn’t have much in the way of choice in great tools, or any ability to customize their needles to their preference.
Not every knitter is fortunate to have access to a metal cutting company, so we decided to open up shop and share our special needles with everyone. We had many people involved in the design and manufacturing process here at Bothe Associates Inc. Machinists who were non-knitters became experts at crafting needles perfect for avid knitters and they rose to the challenge with a great, reliable product made here in America. In addition, we met with focus groups of knitters who had lots of great ideas to give us a push in the right direction – and so Signature Needle Arts was born."
Cathryn, Founder of Signature Needle Arts. 

(c) Signature Needle Arts

You will be able to find a huge range of needles and items from Signature needles when you arrive at the vendors market. We asked Signature to recommend a first purchase, seeing as they're the needle experts and here's the scoop:

"We would recommend a size 7 (4.5mm) 10" single point or if they use circs the 32" length cable with the 5" stalk size 7
If you're a sock knitter, we would say go with 2.5mm dpns."

Of course if you want to be very well prepared, there's a gift guide on the website. 

A big thank you to Signature Needle Arts for making Unwind just that bit more special.