Sunday 26 May 2019

Review of John Arbon Textiles The Annual

Image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles
Instead of publishing the usual catalogue of yarns, this year John Arbon Textiles, a family-run business in Devon that spins yarns for its own range and other clients, has taken a different approach.

It's harking back to the 1970s and 80s with issue one of The Annual - a collectable, entertaining read that even includes a word search!

A lot of John Arbon's sales to customers are done via the web, therefore it's handy for would-be-purchasers to have background information on their yarns, particularly its composition and specifications.  Yet this isn't just a mere catalogue (and readers would expect more than that to justify its £5 plus P&P price tag when bought directly from John Arbon Textiles). The Annual goes behind the scenes at the business with information about the staff, what the machinery does, and for light relief there's a spot the difference puzzle featuring John himself.

The stand-out highlights of The Annual are the four exclusive knitting patterns that aren't available anywhere else. These are:

Chapman Socks by Rachel Atkinson

Image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles
These use Exmoor Sock 4ply yarn.

Boyd Hat by Sonja Bargielowska

Image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles
Viola DK is the yarn of choice.

Drucilla Shawl by Fay Dashoer-Hughes

Image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles
Knitted in Alpaca 2-3ply.

Cuthbert Scarf by Francesca Hughes

Image courtesy of John Arbon Textiles

This pattern requires Knit By Numbers 4ply mini skeins.

The only thing missing is a feel of the actual yarn itself. British people old enough to remember the early years of the Next Directory (a clothing catalogue) when it launched at the end of the 1980s will know that it included little cloth samples from some of the designs, which was great for colour-checking and feeling the quality of the material.

I'd have loved there to be a strand of each yarn in the John Arbon range included in the annual. That'd be so helpful for those of us who have now idea how a Zwarbles feels differently from an Exmoor Blueface or Merino. Perhaps something for John Arbon's team to consider for issue 2?

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