Catalogue No. 12

As the Autumnal weather takes hold and start preparing our Christmas knits and socks (dare we say it!?). This means it is also the time of year where we begin to send out our new catalogue.
We thoughtfully approach every yearly catalogue to best show you our sock styles, yarn ranges and tops blends. We won’t ruin the new catalogue by sharing to much but here are some behind the scenes photos (and a couple of tasters) to give you a glimpse of this year’s feel.

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KBN Minis & a brief Knit by Numbers history

Our Knit by Numbers range is what we would consider our most show stopping display. We are, therefore, going to share a brief history of KBN before we tell you the really exciting news, (by the way, it’s small and cute.)

A small idea with big potential created by John almost 7 years ago. The Knit by Numbers range is named after one of John’s fun pastimes when he was a child – Paint By Numbers, whilst at the same time being a homage to the celebrated Pantone colour charts.

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Gino!

Last week was a flurry of organising and tidying in the Mill before the arrival of two special Italians! One was human, and one, not so much.

So, without further ado, let us introduce you to out newest member of the team… GINO! He is the non-human Italian and is our first ever brand new piece of machinery (all the others being 2nd hand and re-furbished). Gino is a lovely and shiny new cone winder. He goes super fast and is very clever. And he came with the human Italian – an engineer who came to install Gino for us and teach us all the finer points on how to use him to his utmost! We have let the human go now (thanks Massimo!) and Gino is now settling in quite nicely.

So, here are some photos of him being moved into his new home.

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Beautiful Bluefaced Leicester & Fibre East

Drum roll!

After 2 years of waiting, we have managed to locate the perfect fibre to produce a beautiful Devon bred and processed Bluefaced Leicester Top. And we hope you will agree it was worth the wait!
It has been selected from breeders on Exmoor and then graded and sorted at the South Molton Wool Board depot. Our wool agent, and close associate, Andrew Bowman of Wooltops, has then sorted the wool again removing 20% of unwanted kemps and inferior fibres.
The result is an exceptional BFL at 26 micron with superb lustre and a handle, unlike any other BFL on the market at the moment.

BFL
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Shows and treats…

We had a busy time between us at the beginning of July here at John Arbon Textiles… John and Juliet went up to Durham Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, whilst over the same weekend Becky went to the Exeter Guild who were hosting their annual fleece fair (she is a member of the guild but this month she took lots of treats in the form of fluff!) Becky was exhibiting with lots of other talented Devon fibre crafters and John was giving a talk to the guild in Durham, explaining how he began his life in the textiles industry and eventually became the master of spinning at his Mill that he is today. A lovely weekend at both ends of the country.

Other exciting things … new to our secret Mill Members page on the website we have the natural Brown Corriedale Top, and also a new Top which is a blend of said natural Brown Corriedale with 20% Mulberry Silk which makes a super classy, silky, dreamy Top. They are currently only available to Mill Members, however will make their way over to the main website after a period of time when a new run is made up at the Mill.
Brown Corriedale

Brown Corriedale.Silk

OK, so we are currently busy preparing lovely woolly things for Fibre East, our next show at the end of July.

Ampthill, Bedfordshire, MK45 2NU – 30th and 31st July 2016
Saturday 10:00-17:00, Sunday 10:00-16:30

Find there website here!

We hope to see you there!

New things on our website!

Earlier this year we were featured on BBC’s Sunday evening tv programme Country File. They told the tale of our lovely Stanbury Walker Walking Socks, a trusty hard-wearing cushion-soled sock, which we are proud to say is named after our local farmer, and friend, John Stanbury who rears the very sheep that produce the fibre for the socks!

In celebration we have now released a selection of limited edition colourways in our Stanbury Walkers.

You can find them here in the specials section of our website.
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Winners of the Show & Tell raffle!

As part of our bustling Mill Open Weekend on the 15/16th May this year, we invited you lovely woolly folk to bring along anything you had crafted using something we made at the Mill – be it hand spun, knit, crocheted, felted, sewn, or everything all at once!

The winners were not based on our favourites (cos lets face it, that would be all of them), but were drawn from a hat (or should I say fibre can!). So, when John & Juliet returned from their holidays we set up the special prize draw fibre can and John plucked out 10 lucky winners (there were only supposed to be 8 but we loved everyone’s entries so much we thought we would pull another winner from each day, Saturday and Sunday, to make it a round 10).
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Raffle enteries!

After inviting everyone to come along to our Open Weekend with something crafted from our fibre or wool, it was great to see lots of entrants to the raffle to win a goodie bag.
We had some amazing things entered! From felted sheep, to experiments gone wrong with knitting then felting! And everything in between! It was lovely to hear the stories of creations also, from companionship in hospital to whipping something up on the journey to the mill. Again, we love seeing what you have made … we have a group on Ravelry dedicated to showing off your finished objects here.

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Thank you Open Weekend!

Thank you to every single person who came to visit us at our Mill Open Weekend … it seemed to be a great success and we have had lots of positive feedback.
We hope you had a fab time being shown around the mill and have more of an idea about what goes on behind the scenes here!

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There was tea and cake aplenty! We were very lucky with the weather, and it was great to see lots if happy knitters, spinners and crocheters not only visiting but enjoying the sunshine outside the marquee whilst partaking of their crafts. Thank you.

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Lovely guild member’s Brenda and Jean spent the weekend spinning up our fibres on their wheels and answering many a spinning query!

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John and Sara did an amazing job of showing everyone around the mill and letting people in on a few secrets! I’m sure the biggest gasps come with the splicer demo – it’s like magic, not a knots in sight!

Here are some photos of John giving tours and explaining how the fibre process works…

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John shows how the machine with no name works…. Clint is working on the Daughter of a Shepherd yarn, Hebridean with a hint of Zwartbles.

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Going on to explain how Ralph works, he is working on blending The Little Grey Sheeps Gotland yarn. Yum!

We had lots of entrants to the goody bag raffle! We look forward to sharing the photos of the entries with you! Everything was spectacular! The winners will be drawn when John and Juliet return from there holidays, so keep your eyes peeled and we will let you know if your a winner!

A special thank you to the mill folk who made the machines look so sparkly and were willing to share some of the their tips! And also a big thank you to the extra helpers we had come along (you know who you are)! And to Andy of Wooltops who came along to share his undyed white yarns. And for Amanda Perkins for putting 2 of her beautiful crochet blankets on display for all to see.

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We had such a lovely weekend sharing our Mill with you all … and are now feeling more inspired than ever, so lets get spinning!

Lots of love, The John Arbon Textiles weekend team!

John, Juliet, Frankie, Daisy, Sara, Becky, James, Lorraine, Judi, Ginette, Sandra, Pat, Alan, Rowan, Julia & Lewis. X
And thanks to Amanda, Andy, Pauline, Amy, Brenda & Jean! X