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 ( 


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