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Monday, 25 February 2013


Unravel Show guide with illustration by Amy Blackwell
This post is going to be an unashamed glorification of all things Unravel.
Look away now if you're ruing the day you missed taking a trip to this incredible Show . . . or read on and plan your knitty calendar around Unravel 2014!

MillaMia have been fortunate enough to be stallholders at Unravel for the past 2 years - taking a lucky (for us!) cancellation at the very last minute in 2012 and being invited back again this year. We initially wondered whether the Show would be right for us - not being a small indie dyer, or local craftsman, spinner or artist we were unsure if the Unravel customers may think we didn't quite fit. Of course, the fact that we've exhibited twice now, proves that this certainly wasn't the case - and we were in fact welcomed in a warm and cosy embrace by the other vendors and customers alike.

Unravel is unrivaled in it's friendly, intimate atmosphere - it's warmth due in part to the mix of vibrant, supremely talented stallholders and teachers and in no small measure to the loyal knitters, crocheters and multi-faceted crafters who stream through the doors of Farnham Maltings every February. These people aren't just customers - they are designers and pattern writers, yarn shop owners, podcasters, yarn dyers, farmers, spinners and textile artists - they are knitting celebrities chatting over their purchases and yarnoholics planning their next project.

The MillaMia stand in the Long Kiln Gallery

The venue, in itself a beautiful building perfectly matched to this lovely event, always offers a plethora of rooms to get lost in - each with a variety of stalls and people to discover. I don't have space enough to list all of the incredible people that I met at Unravel this year - suffice to say that I felt humbled by the excess of talent crammed into such a small space! You can find a list of this years exhibitors here but I must mention just a few of the vendors that I had the great pleasure to come into contact with (and, ahem, make a few purchases from . . .) It was great to see Pom Pom Magazine exhibiting for the first year, and to be alongside EasyKnits again. I met podcasters aplayfulday and Miss Elle Knits and on my pre-opening hasty shopping trip around the venue I also saw Fyberspates, Juno Fibre Arts, A Stash Addict (also their first show), Jenny Bartlett (beautiful needlefelt animals), Knitting4Fun, HilltopCloud, Sparkleduck and the marvellous Interknit Cafe who along with Selvedge Magazine are sponsors of the Show.

 Happy Shoppers!                                              The view from our stand

Some very loyal MillaMia customers made a point of seeking us out, and even some knitters who discovered us last year, came back to see what new and exciting developments we had made during the course of 2012.  I was thrilled to be able to show them the first of our 2 adult collections - Country Escape and Colour Coded (we sold ALL of the 7 preview copies on within hours of opening on saturday!) and for the first time, be able to offer the grown-ups some garments to try on! Judith, owner of Fringe (one of our stockists in London) came along with her son, Alex who was rather taken with the Stefan Jacket, and there were many other knitters who took the opportunity to try the samples on for size.

Alex looked great in the claret Stefan Cardigan

If I'm left with one lasting impression of Unravel, it is one of a crafting community that is generous, all-inclusive and passionate. You won't meet a more thoroughly decent group of people anywhere - well, apart from maybe at Unravel next year . . . see you there!
Oh, and a huge thanks to my Mum, Margaret who helped out all weekend.
(posted by Max)

Friday, 22 February 2013

CHSI - Stitches at the NEC Birmingham

It's actually been a whole year since I started working for MillaMia and what a whirlwind 12 months it's been! I remember my first Trade Show so well (CHSI 2012) where I felt a lot like I'd been thrown feet first into a very deep pool indeed! The pool turned out to be teeming with shoals of super lovely, kind and crafty fish - many of whom I've been swimming alongside this year and ALL of whom made me very welcome.

This year the Craft Hobby and Stitches International Show was again filled with a multitude of stands from a very wide selection of the textile and craft community - with everything from the large companies like Rowan, Bergere De France and Groves and Banks to smaller independent companies rather like us. The draw of this Show in particular is not only the variety of crafts covered - from everything imaginable you can do with yarn, to paper crafting, buttons, publishers and designers but all the new products that are being showcased. There is a New Products Showcase just inside the main entrance where exhibitors can display something new from their range - such a good idea to highlight a wide selection of these new and exciting developments that you may otherwise miss.

As we'd had such an incredibly successful Show in 2012, we decided that we needed more people on the stand this year, in order to make sure nobody was left waiting to speak to us. We were lucky enough to persuade Caroline over from Sweden for Sunday and Monday, and our lovely new office manager Maja came up on Monday to help out and also to see for herself what a Show like Stitches is all about. Helena and I were present for all 3 days, which I confess was very tiring, but also immensely satisfying and a real buzz!

Helena, Max and Caroline
We were lucky enough to take on many really lovely new stockists, and I'd like to give them a brief mention  here - we're so happy you came on board! In no particular order - Spin A Yarn, Yarn On The Square, YarnNew Jersey, The Knitting Gift Shop, Stitch (Solihull)Cotswold Needlecrafts, Jenny Wren’s Yarns, Sweet Ginger Emporium, Rainbow Silks, PollyJane Yarns, KnitStitchCrafts, SewMeSomething, Bobby Davison and Slanchogled.

This Show is also so much about meeting up with all our current stockists - many of whom have become a lot like good friends! Thanks to all of you who came along and were just so complimentary about the new adult collections, Country Escape and Colour Coded (on general release at the end of February but available for pre-order at right now!) - we're already looking forward to next year!!
(posted by Max)

Monday, 11 February 2013


Our lovely intern, Yumiko Isa is also a knitwear designer with a keen eye for detail and texture. We are very proud to have her working with us and sharing her amazing design ideas and passion for knitting. Her stunning graduation collection has recently been featured in Surface Asia Magazine, with some truly beautiful images and a little about the inspiration and techniques behind the garments. You can see some of these pictures here, but I also asked Yumiko about her ideas and how this collection came together.

Yumiko's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection is inspired by the traditional Japanese kimono with Balenciaga's dramatic design from the 1950s. The collection called “the beauty of blank” which came from the phrase “less is more” has a combination of simplicity and femininity using high quality yarns and a wide range of knitting techniques such as felting and brushing. All outfits are unified by the same elegant style, and hand made accessories such as head pieces and long gloves with block colours add extra impact to the collection. As Yumiko says, 'I am deeply interested in creating experimental and unique textures combining various techniques and yarns.'

Yumiko has a domestic knitting machine at home - a Brother KH-836, and used various techniques to achieve the shape and structure of the garments. The shoulders of the short cape are shaped using a sock heel method for example, and the fluid drape of the skirts is created by short row shaping. The dresses are made from lambs wool which is then felted and the capes and accessories are constructed from stretchy mohair, vigorously brushed to create a wonderful halo.

This wearable collection uses twisted, knotted and folded details to create garments which look unique and sophisticated. The graduated colours came from kimono patterns, with special yarns such as elastic mohair and angora mix fine lambs wool, making her collection look soft and elegant. As a knit based designer, Yumiko is also interested in terms of sustainability and producing high quality and long lasting products with her own aesthetic.

You can view the entire collection at
(posted by Max)

Friday, 8 February 2013


Issue 4
Last year a stunning, new-style magazine appeared in the knitting community. Small and perfectly formed with a quirky, crafty aesthetic
Pom Pom Quarterly quickly became known for it's chic knitting patterns, all manner of lovely craft ideas and delicious recipes!

Meghan Fernandes and Lydia Gluck are the beautiful brains behind this exciting new magazine, and can also be found helping out at London's most fashionable, destination yarn shop Loop.

They are both originally very word-y people – Meghan studied English Literature and Lydia studied linguistics, and so immediately had that in common, along with a passion for traditional folk cultures, music and of course, knitting!

Before Pom Pom, Meghan did her MA dissertation on knitting in women's literature while working as an event manager at an architectural gallery and Lydia taught English in Mexico.

They now work together from their London studio in a building they share with fashion-types, music labels, other craftspeople and artists - loving every minute of working on Pom Pom!
The double page feature in Pom Pom

Though all issues of Pom Pom to date have been full of gorgeous, wearable knitwear this edition is particularly special to those of us who love MillaMia, as we are this quarters' featured brand. Focusing on Katarina and Helena, the design and MillaMia ethos, the piece is an informative interview with the girls.

As Katarina says of working so closely with her sister Helena 'It is both great and terrible! I think we both appreciate what the other brings to the table, and are very supportive and proud of our individual skills and talents on the plus side. We also have a shorthand for communicating which cuts out a lot of time-wasting and discussions just for the sake of politeness, so it enables us to work quickly and effectively together.'

To read more of this interview you'll need to buy a copy of Pom Pom Quarterly available in select yarn shops in the UK, and from their etsy shop. Hurry though, as copies are selling out fast!

You can also find Meghan and Lydia on Ravelry, Facebook and Twitter, and they'll be at Unravel in Farnham Maltings at the end of February too.
(posted by Max)

Monday, 4 February 2013

MILLAMIA at TNNA Long Beach, USA 2013

MillaMia at TNNA, Long Beach
At the beginning of 2012 Helena and I had an amazing experience participating in the TNNA (The National Needlearts Association) Show in Phoenix USA together with our US distributors Classic Elite Yarns. The bi-annual TNNA shows are the major trade show events for the knitting industry in the US and are the place that yarn shops from all over America visit to select their products for the coming half year, see what is new and also to catch up with industry news. There is also a strong sense of cohesion amongst the various yarn exhibitors with industry networking events etc. In the UK the nearest equivalent is probably the show known colloquially as ' Stitches', officially as 'CHSI - Craft Hobby and Stitch International' which is taking place in a couple of weeks' time at the Birmingham NEC.

This year as I am now 9 months pregnant it somewhat ruled out our hands on participation, but we were so delighted to see this photo that Heather from Classic Elite sent us over the weekend. It shows the fabulous display that they have put together on our behalf to represent our product to all the US based knitting shops who come along to the show. Typically the winter show has long been held at Long Beach near Los Angeles and the show is back there this year. Helena and I would have loved the excuse to come along to the West Coast (despite the inevitable jet lag that these trips entail) but instead we will have to satisfy ourselves with looking forward to the summer TNNA show that will be held in Columbus in June!

Wishing all our colleagues at Classic Elite a successful and fun show!
(posted by Katarina)