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Monday 19 November 2018

Sawdust Hearts

This is the most amazing tribute to the soldiers of WW1,  1,568 hearts (one for each day of the war) made by crafters from all over the UK are displayed together in one room. Five of our regular guests here (Sandra, Rhona, Caroline, Tania and Pippa) contributed to the exhibition which is in Scarborough and runs until 30th November 2018. To see the history of the hearts and more details of the exhibition (including a virtual tour) visit

Wednesday 14 November 2018

Festive knitting and crochet with Carol Meldrum

The final workshop of the year was back to back with the previous retreat, the last group left on the Friday which gave me a day to get the house ready and do all the shopping – phew!

The weather forecast was lousy with the first rain we have had for ages, but the autumn colours and the cosy wood burn cheered up even the greyest of days.

Carol arrived in her usual enthusiastic mode full of ideas for Christmas wreaths, birds, baubles and Halloween surprises. 

All the guests had been here before so it was lovely to see old friends again, we also had my friends Jane and Annabelle here as day guests, so a full house. Sunday and Monday were full day workshops. I had provided yarn from my stash, so there was a huge choice of yarn types and colours for everyone to sort through and decide on their colour palettes – after half an hour it looked like a yarn explosion!

On Monday Jane arrived with the largest pumpkin I have ever seen – it was so heavy that the two of us struggled to get it out of the car. Pumpkin soup for a very long time!

On Tuesday afternoon we had a break from workshops and went in to Cognac for the afternoon, visiting my favourite little yarn shop Petite Mailles then on to Tissus bonnet for fabric and trimmings. 

Wednesday morning was a visit to the market in St Jean d’Angely to buy fresh fish for supper and of course a visit to the kitchen shop so that Barbara could stock up on her cutlery. 

In the afternoon there was a lot of giggling over the ears we were all making for the Halloween party that evening. Carol had also been busy making a crochet eyeball for everyone to go with the ears – a scary sight! 

Sadly we had no trick or treat visitors so had to eat all the sweets ourselves............

Thursday was another full day workshop, the race was on to finish the wreaths by the end of the week plus a few birds, angels, pixies and baubles.

 On Friday we went to Saintes for yarn and fabric shopping at l’oasis and Christmas decorations at Maison du Monde.

In the evening champagne and the final show and tell of all the projects. The spiral staircase made the perfect backdrop.

Jane rounded off the workshop with another amazing sonnet -

October in Bercloux - with apologies to Shakespeare for taking liberties with his sonnet form
 We find ourselves in chilly Bercloux, France
Here for a week of knits, crochet and shopping
Carol's theme is wreaths for Christmas, and by chance
our week's all Hallows, the spooks will be a popping!
The care is great, delicious food and gin at 6,
Patterns are clear, owls, leaves, berries and finally a bird!
Then to Cognac or Saintes for a retail fix,
More patterns to study, shhhh hardly a word.
But beneath all of this a subtext lies
Old friends new friends, laughter, fun, ideas
Sitting together, creating, learning, how time flies
Eagle owls, tassells, crocheted eyeballs, birds with ears,
Whatever the techniques we stitchers employ

This week has truly SPARKED JOY!

Then I discovered that Rhona, Sandra and Lillias had been yarn bombing the banisters, perhaps this will be added to next year?

We finished the evening in hysterics watching Rhona and Lillias flying around the room in a frenzy of Scottish dancing – the perfect end to a fantastic year. Thank you to all my lovely guests for making my job so enjoyable.

If you would like to book a space on one of Carol’s workshops next year we still have a few spaces available in September and October 2019, see details here. 

A few more birds, baubles and pixies -

Tuesday 13 November 2018

October 2018 knitting and crochet retreat at knitting holidays in France

This is a very belated blog for the October retreat – sorry girls I have been busy painting and our internet seems to be suffering a bit from the renovation work! Regular guests Diane, Sue, Veronica & Pat brought along two other lovely ladies from their knitting group – Jan and Linda. We had a magic week for the end of October – a wonderful Indian summer with autumnal shades and brilliant blue skies.  The first morning we set off for the brocante at Annepont – there were so many stalls we had to race around the last half to get home in time for lunch, everyone clutching their bargains ranging from vintage oil cans, large vases to hand-made baskets and potted herbs. 

On Tuesday we had a day out in La Rochelle, shopping and sightseeing. Starting with a quick visit to the aquarium shop

then on to the market

coffee at the beautiful cafe de la Paix followed by lunch of moules & galettes at Le Vieux Port 

finished off with ice creams and a paddle in the sea! Not bad for October.

Wednesday was a visit to Saintes for shopping for Christmas decs in Maison du Monde and sightseeing

and on Thursday a trip to Cognac for yarn shopping in les petites Mailles and yarn and fabric in Tissus Bonnet

A busy week, and believe it or not they even managed to cram in a little knitting and crochet!