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Thursday, 17 December 2009

Exploring Colour Knitting workshop

We still have spaces available for this exciting workshop on Saturday 13th February. If you are not confident about changing colours in a knitting pattern come and learn from the expert.
Heike will start the workshop talking about the colour wheel and how we are all stuck with buying/using the same colours, she will then go on to talk about using moodboards to help with colour choices and then get everyone to pick some colours that they would not normally choose and knit up a stripey sample. They will then design a sample (they can design this with something in mind (ie. cushion cover/bag)) which contains only one colour that they would normally choose and mix with colours outside their comfort zone. Participants can bring along postcards or cuttings that inspire them as well as any yarn that they have had for ages but never been sure what to do with.
Start the New Year with a splash of colour, book here

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Knits for Kids

Well what happened to November? I can't believe I haven't written anything on the blog since October and it's now nearly Christmas!
I seem to have spent the last 6 weeks commuting between France and England, however no more travelling now 'til January for a belated Christmas with the family.
I have also been busy on the knitting front. Kangaroo now has a small range of ready to wear, pure wool handknits for children, these designs are also available as knitting kits. I will be adding more designs over the next few weeks, including a classic cable sweater and a ballerina cardigan.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

New KnitKits

We have two new seasonal additions to the KnitKits range.

Pumpkin hat - this adorable hat is knitted in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino and the kit contains sufficient yarn to knit a 6 - 18 month size.

Christmas Cracker - knit a set of brightly coloured crackers that can be filled with your own choice of gift and re-used for years to come.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Debbie Abrahams Beads

I am so excited about this, it was tragic when Rowan discontinued their range of knitting beads earlier in the year. However, Queen of bling Debbie and her partner Steve have taken on the distribution of the beads. The collection includes all the old Rowan colours plus loads of new shades and they are fab! The beads come in a large size (6/0) for knitting and crochet with double knit and cotton glace and a small size (8/0) for 4 ply yarns. Debbie arrived at Ally Pally clutching our first batch and we will have more shades in stock very soon. See our current stock here

The Big Knit

I'm back! Finally recovered from an exhausting few days at Ally Pally, which was very busy, so busy that I never even got a chance to look at a single thing apart from our stand.

We have lots of news for the blog, first thing is Innocent Smoothies 'Big Knit' campaign to raise money for 'Age Concern' and 'Help the Aged'. Contribute to this by knitting little hats and cosies for their Veg pots and Squeezies, follow this link for further details and patterns. Finished hats and cosies can be posted to - The Big Knit, 1 The Goldhawk Estate, Brackenbury Rd, London, W6 0BA

Every cosy or hat knitted raises 35p towards the campaign and last year the total amounted to £250,000, so let's try and beat that!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

World's biggest coffee morning

Well maybe not quite the biggest one, but a huge thank you to everyone who came along and contributed to the Macmillan Cancer Support charity box, we collected a total of £58.98, plus we have 26 knitted squares towards a comfort blanket. The pressure is on now to get another 14 done before I go to Ally Pally next week! How many squares can I knit on a four hour ferry crossing...?
Very, very sorry that I missed out on the cakes, carrot cake from Deborah, banana cake and rock cakes from Amanda, flapjacks from Harry and fudge from Jo.....

Monday, 28 September 2009

Rowan Studio 17

This lovely pattern book is due in stock this week. It has eight gorgeous designs using Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Kidsilk Aura, Shimmer, Wool Cotton and Pure Silk DK. We also have a huge delivery of Rowan yarns due in this week, a lot of which we will be taking to the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition at Ally Pally.

Friday, 25 September 2009


At last we are managing to rebuild our stock of Addi needles. The change over to a new UK distributor has caused big delays on deliveries but they are now starting to filter through. We have just received a big delivery and have more of the Addi Click sets in stock and will be taking the full range to the Knitting and Stitching Exhibition at Ally Pally.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Hanne Falkenberg Donna

Just got back from holiday, so am behind with everything!
We have lots of new stock arriving at the moment and the latest kit from Hanne Falkenberg is due in very soon. Hanne has designed a beautiful jacket called Donna, this is knitted vertically, so no seams and no sleeves to set in. The textured stripes give a lovely soft drape and flattering fit and it's available in 9 gorgeous colourways.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Rowan Colourscape Chunky

Have discovered the pattern for Cora as a FREE download on the Rowan website. This lovely scarf takes just 2 x balls of Rowan Colourscape Chunky. We have had more deliveries today, poor Amanda is up to her eyeballs in cardboard and back orders, but Harry is back from holiday soon, then I am off on holiday on Saturday (yippee!) We have had lots of interest in the French workshop for next May (and two bookings already), I am still waiting for the programme details from Anne and Heike, but hope to be able to send them out to everyone the second week of September.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Kim Hargreaves Precious

We have just received our first delivery of Precious, this lovely pattern book has twenty-one designs for ladies all using Rowan and Rowan Classic yarns. Have also had in more of the new Rowan yarns, Alpaca Cotton, Silky Tweed and Pure Cashmere DK.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Knitting workshop in France 2010

At last! Have got some dates and tutors.

24th - 30th May 2010 at the chateau again. Tutors Anne Makepeace and Heike Gittins, just waiting for the draft programme and full details will be in the next newsletter and on our website. St Julien here we come.......

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Knitting workshop in France............

....I'm still working on the dates and tutors, trying to co-ordinate everyone is not proving easy. At the moment we are looking at the possibility of two workshops, one in May at the chateau with two tutors and one in October at a smaller venue with just one tutor. Will post full details as soon as the dates are confirmed.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Macmillan Charity Blanket

As you may know, Macmillan Cancer Support is the charity of the year for ‘The Knitter’ magazine. Macmillan do an amazing job for people who are living with cancer and many of our families will have been helped by their services. ‘The Knitter’ are launching a Nationwide campaign called the Macmillan Comfort Blanket in association with the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning on 25th September and supported by Rowan. We are asking knitters all over the UK to knit squares (20cm x 20cm squares to be precise). In fact we would like them to host a Coffee Morning for their knitting group, friends and family and knit 40 squares to make a Comfort Blanket, 8 squares long by 5 squares wide. Each Comfort Blanket we make will be given to somebody who is living with cancer so the more blankets we knit, the more people we benefit. We have asked designers from around the world to create lots of square patterns especially for our campaign. Based on Rowan’s Pure Wool DK we have squares by Debbie Bliss, Alice Starmore, Meg Swansen, Kaffe Fassett, Marie Wallin, Kim Hargreaves…… the list is endless. These can be downloaded at
So here is what knitters need to do to take part in the Macmillan Comfort Blanket:
1. Download patterns from
2. Register for a coffee morning or donate online or call 0845 602 1246 quoting NA3
3. Knit squares with your knitting group
4. Take 40 beautiful squares and sew together into a Comfort Blanket
5. Send you Comfort Blanket to: The Knitter Macmillan Comfort Blanket, Future Publishing Ltd, 30 Monmouth Street, Bath, BA1 2BW or drop it off with us at The Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace.
Our target is 100 blankets, that’s 4,000 squares and we are planning lots of exciting news between now and October so do keep an eye on our Ravelry group, the Macmillan and the Rowan sites.

Debbie Bliss Autumn collection

Just arrived! The new Debbie Bliss books Fez, The Big Easy and 9 to 5. Some great patterns and yarns for autumn 2009. We are in the middle of a heatwave here in France, but I can't wait to get knitting on some of the new designs. Favourites are the shoulder cape in Fez and the Cape Coat knitted in Luxury Tweed Chunky.

I have just put in a new order for Addi's so hope to be fully stocked again very soon!

The Rowan delivery is late, but expected in the next couple of days.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

One and Other - Trafalgar Square's 4th plinth

On the 26th July our workshop tutor Anne Makepeace will be taking her place on Trafalgar Square's 4th plinth for an hour of knitting. This is part of of Anthony Gormley’s One and Other project. The Angel of the North creator is enabling different people to make the plinth their own, every hour, 24 hours a day, for 100 days without a break. Anne is one of the 2400 people who will climb up to the space normally reserved for Kings and Generals, but which is being handed over instead to people of all walks of life.
The mum-of-two is planning to spend her hour of fame showing people how much fun knitting can be, surrounded by woolly flowers. She is appealing for people to knit or crochet flowers for her to take on to the plinth, which will later be made into brooches/corsages and sold to raise funds for the following two charities. Arthritis Care Newcastle City Branch and East Sussex Association for the Blind – cash/cheque donations also gratefully received.
If you would like to donate a knitted or crocheted flower please see our latest newsletter for full details. Good luck Anne!

New stock

The summer sale finishes on Sunday night and we are expecting delivery of some of the new autumn stock very soon. I hate to wish the summer away, but there are some very exciting new yarns and designs coming in. As it happens the summer seems to have disappeared, it is cold and wet here in not so sunny France!

Rowan Studio 16 is also due in stock soon, these lovely designs will brighten up any day. Knitted in Rowan Bamboo soft, Handknit Cotton and Cotton Glace the simple patterns can be knitted up quickly for that last minute summer top.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Summer Sale

The sale is going well, but I would still like to clear some more before the stock check and arrival of the new autumn stock. The latest offer is 25% discount if you include any of the following yarns in your order - Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky, Cashmerino DK, Como, Prima, Pure Cotton, Rialto Aran and Noro Silk Garden Chunky.

We have made a lot of our friends in the US very happy with the free shipping offer on the Addi and Prym circular needles, thank you Wendy for the recommendation! Consequently we are now nearly out of stock of Addi's and I am still struggling to get any response from the new UK distributors, maybe it is time to change to Knit Pro.....?

Friday, 3 July 2009

New Workshops for 2010

I am just putting up the list of workshop dates for 2010, we have some great subjects and some more Saturday dates. If there is anyone out there wanting to Learn to Knit (or you know anyone who wants to), our next workshop is just what you need. Tutor Anne Makepeace will take you through all the basics of knitting, and start you off on a pattern for a cushion cover. The one day course is on Thursday 3rd September 09 and the charge of £44 includes materials a yummy lunch and 10% discount on purchases made on the day.

This is another workshop photo from St Julien, the furniture at Kangaroo isn't as posh but the workshops are just as good.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Back to normal life

It seems very strange to go back to cooking for just two! We arrived home from the Chateau on Sunday afternoon and collapsed, but I managed to revive myself enough to see Bruce Springsteen (my all time hero) at Glastonbury and Status Quo who were the first live band I ever saw on Hastings Pier of all places! Monday was spent ploughing through thousands of emails and making updates to the website.
Today is the start of the summer sale. We have 15% off everything for a limited period, just enter the code 15OFF at the checkout. I am still clearing stock before I have to do the annual stock take at the end of the month and of course making room for the gorgeous new winter yarns. Rowan magazine 46 (autumn/winter edition) is due out in just two weeks time, look out for the next newsletter for details.
I am also trying to confirm the tutors and dates for the next workshop in France, this will be on the website and in a newsletter asap!

Monday, 29 June 2009

and even more projects from Exploring Colour

More projects from Exploring Colour

The projects from Exploring Colour

The results from the 'Exploring Colour Workshop' were fantastic, we had a real mix of skill levels in the guests ranging from sisters Fiona and Bronwen who had only recently started knitting (not that you would have guessed) to Mary who was on her second knitting holiday with us and had been knitting all her life, Felicity who must have been to nearly every possible Rowan workshop and Toril who being Norwegian had to knit from an early age just to keep warm.

Saturday at the Chateau

We have an outing to Chauvigny for the market today. The first car load sets off at 8 am on the dot, I go on the last trip to get some shopping in the market. Chauvigny is a mediaeval town in two parts, the market is in the newer bit which is built on the river, to visit the old part of the town you can climb up the winding steps to the top of the hill and can visit the beautiful church which has painted friezes that are just perfect for fairisle and intarsia projects. Culli and I wander around the market, one of the first stalls we come to is the haberdashery one and guess who we find - the whole group rummaging through the button box. I love this stall, some of the buttons are just fantastic - you could spend a fortune and some of us did! The market is great with lots of colourful stalls selling everything you could possible want. I Bought some mussels and prawns for tonight's paella and some yummy looking strawberries and raspberries for pavlova (and of course some buttons...). Back to base for lunch followed by the final workshop, which was how to finish off the projects and an introduction to mattress stitch for those that didn't know. At last - show and tell, everyone lays out their projects, a few finished and some not quite. But a fantastic effort from all and apologies to any that I haven't included in the photos, I know I didn't manage to get them all. When asked to sum up the week these were some of the comments - 'Naught Mallory Towers girls go mad knitting in France: yarn, sun, buttons, wine and patisserie' by Yolie, 'this week has been truly inspirational, dedicated, good humoured and generous tutors, first class hospitality and delightful company' Suzanne (see Suzanne and Yolie's blog glittyknittykitty), 'delightful and brilliant' Gloria (Gloria is Connie's mum and comes from Texas and brilliant is her new word for the week), 'Thank you for a glimpse of what heaven might be' Mary Leeson, 'Fantastic in all aspects, when's the next one?' Chris, 'what a wonderful week of knitting, what wonderful women and wonderful creations, the best holiday I have ever had' Natalie. Back to the terrace and more Kir, we have a little prize-giving ceremony. Instead of choosing the four best projects of the week we ask the guests to vote for the person they think most deserves to win a prize and put the names in the hat. Felicity, Toril, Natalie and Chris were the four names drawn. Sarah, Emma and I all received some beautiful gifts and a bottle of whisky and bubbly for Culli - thank you everyone for your generosity and for being such good guests! For the first time in the week I actually managed to sit down and eat with everyone, was a total slut and left most of the clearing up in the kitchen for the next day and carried on chatting until the early hours of the morning sitting outside in candlelight and smothered with Toril's mosquito cream. It was a great week all round, just need to get that date booked for next year! Culli arrived back from the gig at 2.45, I knew that neither of us would feel like doing the clearing up in the morning.

Friday at the Chateau

Another morning workshop with free afternoon, the pressure is on to get projects finished for the show and tell tomorrow afternoon and sparks are flying from the needles and hooks. I go for a wander around the beautiful grounds of the chateau and take yet more photos, the tiles are in the downstairs sitting room, I just love the colour and will one day use the design in a project. It is Culli's last night helping me cook as he is off to somewhere near Jarnac to play a gig tomorrow night (see the Bedrock band here!). After supper he makes his customary speech with statistics for the week, to sum it up this group are very abstemious having drunk far less wine than the last two groups, however I think they may catch up by the end of tomorrow........., they certainly win all prizes for the quantity of cups of tea, thank goodness for the urn and constant supply of hot water. Supper is Lamb Tagine, Salmon au Poivre or aubergine and chickpea casserole. I am sensible and have a reasonably early night.

Thursday at the Chateau

Sadly Caroline has to leave early to go back to work today, so we have the group photo then all wave her off as Culli drives her to the airport. Just a morning workshop today with a free afternoon. Everyone is engrossed in their projects, a few cushion covers and lots of knitted bags. Supper is meant to be early to allow time for an evening workshop, but in a mad moment I had decided to do roast pork with dauphinois potatoes, normally not a problem but forgot about the temperamental cooker! Finally served up the roast and pasta with roasted veg about half an hour late. The thunderstorm is brewing, the evening workshop on embellishments is going well, Sarah has given me a lovely corsage made with Kidsilk Haze and fabric. The first few crashes of thunder echo around the chateau, Yolie has a ringside view in the library sitting in a comfy chair with her feet on the windowsill watching the lightning, the rain is short and sharp and clears the air, leaving a gorgeous fresh smell of wet grass and bruised roses.

Wednesday at the Chateau

Wished I had gone to bed before 1 am! Never mind another busy day ahead and soon get into the swing of things, still a beautiful sunny day but there is a threat of thunderstorms. Today everyone starts on their project, with a bit of fairisle and intarsia tuition to start them off. The workshops are very relaxed and although this one is meant to be all day, the guests can come and go as they want, disappear to find a comfy sofa or go and sit and knit in the sunshine. Sarah and Emma are great, always on hand to provide useful hints and tips and tons of inspiration. The menu for tonight is Cassoulet, Fish Pie or Roast Peppers stuffed with lentils and feta cheese. Culli has taken it upon himself to encourage the guests to drink more, I think he is worried that they are being a little timid - I am thinking great we won't need to buy any more wine, but looks like I could be wrong, they are rising to the challenge! Mary is doing an impromptu lesson on sock knitting for any that don't know how.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Tuesday at the Chateau

Today is the trip to Poitiers. Culli, Chris and Patty are providing a taxi service for everyone. The first group head off at 8.30 am ready to shop 'til they drop (and visit a few of the sights!) When everyone was safely deposited in town, Culli and I shot into Chauvigny for a quiet drink in his favourite bar, had a call on my mobile from Jane Crowfoot to check that everything was going ok, she sounded very jealous that she wasn't here, we wish you were here as well Jane...! then more food shopping and back to the Chateau in time to collect everyone from Poitiers. The little wool shop in town must have been overwhelmed by 19 manic knitters descending on them, but some of them came back with some fab buttons, free gifts left over from world knit in public day and lots of inspiration to start on their projects tomorrow. The apero's are becoming popular, everyone is knocking back the Kir's and I am cooking Provencal Fish, Lasagne and Stir Fry Veg, followed by cherry crumble (hand picked from my neighbour's garden) and stuffed baked apples. Sarah and Emma held an evening workshop on crochet, then we got stuck into a few drinks in the dining room. Rachael and I stayed up far too late with our international guests, Toril from Norway and Connie from Florida discussing the many differences between our four countries (I was speaking for France), crawled to bed the wrong side of midnight again.

Monday at the Chateau

Another beautiful sunny day. The first workshop is on colour theory, the workshop studio looks amazing with a huge colour wheel of yarn in the middle of the table. Sarah and Emma explain about opposites and complimentary colours and ask everyone to pick their choice of shades and knit up swatches with the yarn provided (mostly Rowan Cotton Glace, Handknit Cotton, Kidsilk Haze and Kidsilk Aura) - the results are fantastic with colour combinations that many of them would never have dreamed of putting together. More swatch knitting after lunch then a relax in the sun. I'm back in the kitchen slaving over a hot stove with Coq au vin and mushroom risotto for supper followed by lemon cheesecake and sauteed nectarines. My hat knitting is not progressing very well, but I am really enjoying the cooking. This year Culli and I are doing all the catering on our own as our friends Di and John weren't able to come, however, so far it doesn't seem to be any harder. At least the dishwasher is working, so far.....!