Last weekend was the Unravel knitting festival at Farnham Maltings and for the second year I was there working with Susan Crawford. It was as always, hard work and great fun all bundled into one. The most exciting thing about the weekend (well, apart from getting to wear the original Fair Isle Yoke from A Stitch in Time) was the world premier of Susan and John Arbons’s vintage-inspired yarn, Excelana. We had a marvellous launch for this lovely, squishy new yarn, with our Susan Crawford Vintage Knitting stand alongside John Arbon’s Fibre Harvest stand. The set-up worked very well, as it gave people the chance to see both the full range of the yarn in 4 ply (and two shades of dk) and also be inspired for knitting lovely vintage style garments with it at the same time.

The full range of colours in the DK will soon be available ( I have serious plans for some in the persian grey colourway) and later in the year there will be an aran weight and (very excitingly) a 3ply yarn too. This in particular, will no doubt please lots of us vintage-inspired knitters. Vintage patterns quite often call for 3ply yarn, and it really isn’t availble today, except in wishy washy pastels for babies and the like, which, I find, generally aren’t suitable for what you had in mind.

Whilst at Unravel, both John and Susan gave separate talks about the development and making of Excelana, explaining their respective inputs and how the yarn came into being. We even got to see a lovely picture of the actual sheep used for the fleece. There’s a dedicated Excelana website set up so that you can buy it online now too.

I came home with both Ruby Red and Cornflower Blue in the 4ply, and spent a very enjoyable afternoon watching Miss Marple repeats and knitting up swatches with it. It’s really lovely and silky around your fingers, and makes a beautifully soft fabric. I’m making a Greta Turban with some of it, but I think that I really want to make something that I’ll wear next to my skin to make the most of the silkiness. Maybe the Fair Isle Yoke jumper isn’t such a bad idea…

Excellent Excelana
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