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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Shades of Autumn workshop at Chateau de St Julien L'Ars

14th - 21st October 2008. This was our fourth residential workshop run jointly with Rowan, the course was design based with tutors Debbie Abrahams and Jane Crowfoot. I arrived at St Julien on the night before the workshop straight from the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally so was not feeling that lively to say the least. However we had an early arrival, Christine had come all the way from Australia (via New York) to take part in the workshop so we launched straight into entertaining mode with a lovely meal cooked by Di and enough wine to sort out Christine's jet lag for days!

The remaining 17 guests and Jane and Debbie arrived on Tuesday, after all my panic about delays from the Channel tunnel, Denise was the only late arrival. The workshops were on a similar theme to the week in June, however we had decided to introduce felting this time which was a great success. The thought of actually producing a finished project by the end of the week gave all the guests further incentive. The weather was kind to us with lovely sunny days, warm enough to sit outside for much of the time, but cold enough at night to have a roaring fire in the small dining room downstairs and some roasted chestnuts. The outing to Poitiers on the second day was a great success, with possibly more shopping than inspiration occurring, but on the second workshop everyone settled down to achieve their targets for the week.

The workshops consisted of two full days on basic knitwear design, how to change a pattern and yarn and how to plot charts and graphs, these were followed by half day workshops on intarsia, fairisle, beading and hand felting, with evening workshops on crochet and finishing techniques. Knitting needles were constantly clicking, some even at the dinner table every evening.

We had a second outing to the picturesque town of Chauvigny on the Saturday morning to visit the bustling open air market and to climb up the steep steps to the beautiful old church.

The final review of the week produced some fantastic projects, with certificates and prize-giving in the evening followed by a lively meal and some of us chatting away into the small hours, seemed like a good idea at the time until I had to get up four hours later to get the breakfast ready! Another wonderful week with a lovely bunch of guests, looking forward to June 2009 already.

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