Unwind Brighton recap: #thanksdani

Thanks for your patience with the blog folks. Looks like the new app I downloaded works like a charm. (Actually, check that. It's now taken me well over two weeks to get this post edited. The technical challenges of trying to post from my iPad thwarted me so I basically was forced to wait until I had my new computer. Hopefully it will help me do more remotely!)

Ah... summer in Brighton! Photo credit: Jordan Thistlewood

Ah... summer in Brighton! Photo credit: Jordan Thistlewood

With August suddenly here (holy cow, how did that happen?!) I feel like I can finally write about the magical time that was Unwind Brighton last month.

The lovely Dani sneaking in some knitting time (and work!) during a pre-Unwind visit with Rach and I in the spring.

The lovely Dani sneaking in some knitting time (and work!) during a pre-Unwind visit with Rach and I in the spring.

I had the good fortune of visiting Brighton way back in late January/early February when Unwind was quickly becoming more than a twinkle in Dani's eye. Dani, for those of you who don't know, is the indie dyer behind Lioness Arts. She is also a lovely sponsor of the Great London Yarn Crawl and one of the kindest people you could ever hope to meet.

Dani walks Rachel and I through Brighton's charming streets.

Dani walks Rachel and I through Brighton's charming streets.

Dani had told me a little bit about what she was thinking of for Unwind but knowing how close Brighton is from the station right near our flat in London, I hopped on the train one afternoon to pop down and see Dani and hear all about her plans for the festival. This one-woman powerhouse (with a strong team of friends and supporters) had a VISION! and I was completely captivated by the vibe and energy of Brighton, not to mention it's unique architecture and winding lanes.

There's a quiet strength to Dani and thoughtfulness to who she is. She's a do-er. With little to no fanfare Dani's one of those people who just sets out to do something and gets it done. And not just done, but DONE WELL. It was easy to see how wonderful her plans were and a no-brainer to get involved as a vendor, making the introduction for Felicia to come over from SweetGeorgia and teach also. 

Arriving in Brighton with the most of the fixin's for a booth of SweetGeorgia yarn-y goodness! (Lucky for us, the yarn was sent ahead, and Jacqueline from Soak was along to help us with everything else!)

Arriving in Brighton with the most of the fixin's for a booth of SweetGeorgia yarn-y goodness! (Lucky for us, the yarn was sent ahead, and Jacqueline from Soak was along to help us with everything else!)

On the Friday before the show, with everything packed up including my guys, we headed down to Brighton on the train. The guys were going to have a boys weekend of rides on the pier and exploring down on the beach while mummy worked.

Spending some time with my boys down at the beach before work got underway on the weekend.

Spending some time with my boys down at the beach before work got underway on the weekend.

Since this wasn't my typical show visit (in that I wasn't there for the day, wasn't taking classes, and had next to no time to look around or shop), I can't tell you what the Unwind experience was from a typical visitor's experience - although SO many people told me how ace they thought the event was, how much fun they were having, how great it was to meet so many knitters, designers, dyers, and so on, have a chat and in general just how awesome everything was! - but what I can tell you is that from a vendor perspective, it was pretty magical.

I know I only have one other show as a vendor to compare it to, but even for that I was going down each day, not staying over, and as a first show I think I wasn't really sure what to expect. 

Putting faces to names: Felicia from SweetGeorgia and Aimee from L'Oisive Thé et Tricot finally meet after knowing each other for years online!

Putting faces to names: Felicia from SweetGeorgia and Aimee from L'Oisive Thé et Tricot finally meet after knowing each other for years online!

Knowing how hectic a show can be, Dani and her organisers had thoughtfully arranged a dinner for the vendors to attend on the Friday night (many with their families!) before we could get access to the venue to start setting up. It was a wonderful way to put names and faces to people, and meet some of the kniteratti who would be teaching but not necessarily have a booth at the event.

Our colourful Unwind Brighton booth ready for visitors!

Our colourful Unwind Brighton booth ready for visitors!

The load-in and booth set-up were pretty uneventful - my guys helped get things loaded in, Felicia and Dan and baby Russell helped put together fixtures and Jacqueline from Soak (who's booth was next door) helped unpack yarn. It wasn't long before the booth was set up and ready to go!

The very lovely Jacqueline Sava in the Soak booth.

The very lovely Jacqueline Sava in the Soak booth.

Once the show began on Saturday, the rest of the weekend is a bit of a blur of knitters and yarn-lovers and fibre enthusiasts. Everyone had such nice things to say, from how well-curated the exhibitors were, to how much they had learned in the workshops, or how exciting it was for them to meet designers and dyers and put faces to names that they had only seen online. And knitters came from not just all over the UK but also Scandinavia, North America and other parts of Europe too.

Clockwise from top right: happy knitters in the SweetGeorgia booth, Catherine gets some delicious yarn for a new project, a very chuffed knitter with a sweater's worth of Tough Love Sock.

Clockwise from top right: happy knitters in the SweetGeorgia booth, Catherine gets some delicious yarn for a new project, a very chuffed knitter with a sweater's worth of Tough Love Sock.

This wonderful knitter had bought some SweetGeorgia fibre at Unravel, spun it and then plied it with another bit of handspun before knitting it up in her own design.

This wonderful knitter had bought some SweetGeorgia fibre at Unravel, spun it and then plied it with another bit of handspun before knitting it up in her own design.

Chatting with knitters is my favourite part of any of these events, whether as an exhibitor or when I'm just visiting. It's always wonderful to hear what people are working on, or planning with their latest stash acquisitions. At Unwind I also had the happy pleasure of knitters and spinners coming up and telling me how much they had enjoyed knitting or spinning with their purchases from Unravel earlier in the year.

Half of the Seaside Shindig - there was another room in the basement of the bar filled with knitters too!

Half of the Seaside Shindig - there was another room in the basement of the bar filled with knitters too!

On Saturday night the fun gals from Pom Pom Quarterly hosted the Seaside Shindig. A lovely get together for everyone to hang out and knit, and with goodie bags and a fun pub quiz! I was happily part of the winning team - a competitive dream team that consisted of an editor, a designer, an indie dyer and a couple of sponsors. There was good-natured grumbling from other teams after we won, but as one of our team members commented on her blog, "when we saw our prizes we got over it!".

New stash: my pretty selection of the Seaside Shindig prizes - a skein of linen yarn from Sweden called Kalinka. I was happy to win as the weekend was so hectic I didn't get a chance to browse or shop properly with any of the amazing vendors!

New stash: my pretty selection of the Seaside Shindig prizes - a skein of linen yarn from Sweden called Kalinka. I was happy to win as the weekend was so hectic I didn't get a chance to browse or shop properly with any of the amazing vendors!

Sunday was another happy day meeting knitters but it seemed like it was over way too soon before we were packing everything up and getting ready to make the trek back to London. 

A huge shout-out to Dani and her team of volunteers and co-organisers. I'm hopeful that they are still enjoying their post-Unwind summer and look forward to hearing about any plans for next year. I'm in!

Catching up

It's still half term here at our house. My son's school gets two weeks as opposed to the one that most British schools get and while I think we do a good job of filling the days (my mom is here so we've been having a great visit and seeing various sights) and keeping the little guy on a regular schedule, mommy's regular routine has been completely thrown out the window.

Things have also been ramping up a bit for me work-wise so that's keeping me busy too, and then of course there were two more knitting/craft-related shows that I went to. One was a craft trade show, where I met some fabulous folks and also the lovely gals from the UK Handknitting Association. Their organisation keeps track of all kinds of knitting and crochet goings-on in the UK and their website has a ton of resources from retailers to suggestions for charitable knitting.

The other show was Unravel, which I attended with Rachel this past Sunday. Rachel seems to think I was using her for a ride to Farnham and while I cheerfully acknowledge being a ride-mooch, I do enjoy her company! Unravel was held at Farnham Maltings - a cool arts-and-culture-and-community kind of space made up of a bunch of different buildings and the show took over almost every available space. We wandered through room after room of exhibitors, down hallways and on multiple floors until we were yarned out (sadly, this meant I didn't go back to look at a couple of yarn-y stalls and I never did get that tea towel that said "Oh how I'd rather be knitting". Oh well.).

Sadly, I didn't get a lot of photos, but I did get some good loot:

A ball of 100% alpaca in a chunky weight from  Toft Alpacas  and an alpaca fur pom pom (a kit to make their  Pom Pom Hat ), a ball of  Bigwigs Angora  DK (50% angora, 50% merino), 25g of Bigwigs Angora fibre, and two little lavender sachets for my sweater drawers.

A ball of 100% alpaca in a chunky weight from Toft Alpacas and an alpaca fur pom pom (a kit to make their Pom Pom Hat), a ball of Bigwigs Angora DK (50% angora, 50% merino), 25g of Bigwigs Angora fibre, and two little lavender sachets for my sweater drawers.

As you can see, the hat was very quick to get on the needles. It's also been even quicker to get off since it's already finished! I need some better pics though, so will have to wait to show you.