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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Knit in Style at Chateau St Julien, June 2008

This was our third workshop in France, but the first time at this fairytale chateau just outside of Poitiers in South West France. The workshop was held in the third week of June, with tutors Debbie Abrahams and Jane Crowfoot leading a group of twenty guests. I arrived on the Friday night with my trusty helpers, Culli (hubby) and friends JB and Di, we were in charge of the catering and general household duties. Parts of the chateau date back to the 12th century and some of the bedrooms come complete with their own turrets. More details about the chateau can be found on the Chateau St Julien website link. All the guests arrived safely on the Saturday, with just one delay of half an hour for one of the trains. By the evening they were all chatting away as if they had known each other for ever. Stern warnings from Jane and Debbie about a day of maths to follow on Sunday were ingnored and the wine flowed freely.

The first full day workshop was on Sunday, this covered the basic principles of design (and yes there was some maths, but not too taxing), with a break for lunch and a chance to sit in the sunshine on the beautiful terrace.
Monday was the coach outing to Poitiers for design inspiration and a bit of shopping. Poitiers is a university town, with some fascinating churches, beautiful gardens and a great shopping centre. Most of the shops are closed on a Monday morning, however some were open in the afternoon and plenty of inspiration was gathered in for the following workshops. The chateau itself is full of inspiration with some beautiful tiles, stone work and wrought iron, plus the 56 acre grounds with the most wonderful mature trees, grassy paths and quite corners to sit and relax.
The remainder of the week consisted of another full day workshop to work through the wish list of each guest and start to plot out a design with diagrams and graphs, this was followed by three half day workshops that included beading, fairisle and intarsia, plus two evening sessions on finishing techniques and crochet.
The workshops are held on the first floor of the chateau in a lovely light room with triple aspect windows, this is linked to a comfortable sitting room so guests can choose where they prefer to work, there are also terraces at the front and back of the building that provide sun or shade.
We had two more outings during the week to the two picturesque towns of Montmorillon and Chauvigny. Although the week is fairly packed guests can pick and choose their level of involvement, there are plenty of places to escape to if a bit of solitude is needed.

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