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Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas at La Verderie

The alternative Christmas Tree
I have just had four whole days of relaxing with nothing to do but eat, drink and be merry (and cook Christmas dinner for 7), the first break since the beginning of October and it has been wonderful. The trip back to France was fine, with none of the travel problems I was expecting. I had one whole day to get the shopping in for Christmas, our village shop had sold out of Christmas trees, so I grabbed a branch from the side of the road for a last minute decoration. Still didn't manage to get any Christmas cards sent or emailed so will have to go for the French version of the New Year card!

Christmas Dinner
Christmas day was great, just us and mates, Gill, Merv, David, Yvonne and Huw plus Bix and Be Bop's mate Joe who is staying 'til Tuesday.

Joe, Bix and Be Bop waiting for Father Christmas

Boxing Day on the beach
Boxing Day was a chilly but sunny walk on the beach at Royan (so chilly that the sea had frozen at the edges!) And today is back to work with the last few projects to go on the book, newsletters to send out and more additions to the sale at Kangaroo.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Snowed in again!

I am stuck in snowy Sussex and Culli is stuck in France. He was meant to be on a flight here yesterday so that we could have an early Christmas Day with the family, but all flights have been cancelled - what a pain. I really hope I can get back to France next week! The only good news is more time to finish the book, but I can't get out to Kangaroo at the moment, so no Open Day today, hopefully will get there for Monday. There are lots more bargains in the yarn clearance sale and I will be making more changes to the website over Christmas.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Addi Lace Clicks

We have just received our first delivery of Addi Lace Click sets. These are the ultimate luxury in knitting needles, a set of 8 nickel plated needle tips ranging in size from 3.50mm - 8mm with 5 red Addi cords measuring 40cm, 50cm, 60cm, 80cm and 100cm. The whole lot is neatly packaged in a leather case with a zip pocket for the cords - what more could you want in your Christmas stocking! ORDER HERE

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Ilga Leja Designs

We have plenty of the beautiful knitting patterns from Ilga Leja in stock. Teamed up with a lovely yarn from Fleece Artist this makes the perfect gift, or knit one of the lovely shawl designs for your favourite person.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Sale of knitting books

We have lots of great pattern books on offer, including Rowan magazines, Rowan Studio pattern books and sock knitting books. Snap up a bargain here!

Christmas Crackers and other knitting kits

Knit your own crackers with these great knitting kits. The cotton cracker can be filled with gifts of your choice and placed on the table on Christmas Day or use them to package small gifts. We also have lots of other knitting kits at Kangaroo which make great gifts for knitters, see here.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

A snowy day

Lesley and Bella walking on the Downs
Snowy Sussex
November ended on a chilly note! I managed to get the last flight into Gatwick on Tuesday and catch what was probably the last train out of Gatwick to Lewes, a very long day. Having been snowed in at Ringmer since then, yesterday was the first day I braved the icy roads to Chailey and managed to pack a few orders. The only two accidents I have had in a car have been in the snow, one left me almost hanging off a bridge in Switzerland and the other one pretty much finished off my old Ford escort at the NEC in Birmingham, so with a rear wheel drive Volvo I was driving like Miss Daisy yesterday. Snow is very pretty for a few hours but causes so much grief. However, it was a useful couple of days working on my book and means I might just meet the deadline now! Business is back to normal at Kangaroo and hopefully the post will sort itself out soon.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Noro Kureyon

Kureyon is the perfect yarn for felting projects, use it to make bags and accessories for Christmas Gifts. Wash in the machine at 40-60 degrees to create a strong firm felted fabric in beautiful colours. Buy here.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Knitting workshop in France June 12th - 18th

All the single rooms are now booked for the June workshop at Chateau St Julien l'Ars. However, we do still have six spaces available in twin rooms and these can be booked here. Alternatively email for further details about the holiday.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Christmas workshop

We have a room full of knitted robins upstairs at Kangaroo! Anne (Makepeace) is filling the place with Christmas spirit, everyone seems to be enjoying knitting christmas decs and gifts. It seems strange that this is the last workshop of 2010, where has the year gone! We have lots of exciting workshops coming up in the New Year. Finishing Techniques in January is already fully booked so if you want to take part in any of the other workshops, don't leave it too late to book.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Strips and Shells Patchwork Knitting workshop with Fiona Morris

The Strips and Shells workshop is a follow on to the Domino workshop. If you enjoy knitting with colour, being creative and using up your stash then book a space here for this great workshop with tutor Fiona Morris.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Kim Hargreaves Touching Elegance

We have just had a delivery of this beautiful new book of knitting designs by Kim Hargreaves. The 21 patterns all use Rowan yarns and include an eclectic mix of chic sophistication and bohemian charm. Order here.

New crochet workshop in France

We have a new workshop for September 2011 in France. The week of residential workshops will be held at La Verderie and there are spaces for just 5 guests (two sharing in twin rooms and one single room). Jane Crowfoot will be tutor for the week and the cost of the holiday includes the workshops, full board, trips out to local towns and transfers from local airports and stations. FULLY BOOKED or email for further details.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Arts and Crafts

Pumpkins in the frost
I'm back blogging! October seemed to pass me by, I have missed two end of month photos for September and October and have a lot of catching up to do. My life is a little chaotic at the moment, we seem to have had a month of disasters. However, I am settling into commuting from France to Sussex every week, I miss Culli and the dogs and the gentle pace of life in France desperately, however it is great to be involved in the day to day running of Kangaroo and meeting up with old customers.
I have just had an Arts and Crafts Exhibition at home in France over the weekend, the combination of paintings and textiles (and delicious cream teas in aid of the Poppy appeal!) brought visitors in from all over the Charente-Maritime. It has fired my enthusiasm to open a gallery in our barn and have had Culli drawing up designs for the conversion all weekend!
November is going to be just as hectic, I have finally had the designs for my book approved so now have three weeks to make up all the designs and write the text..........
I also have to get a few tea cosies together for my old friend Kim's Open House in Brighton. If you are in the Brighton area this exhibition is well worth a visit, details will be on the one2six website soon. The exhibition will be open on 20th, 21st and 27th, 28th November and 4th, 5th and 11th, 12th December, a one stop visit for all your Christmas shopping and some scrummy cakes.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Special Offers

We have lots of special offers for October. Go to the home page at Kangaroo for the latest reductions on Debbie Bliss Amalfi and Eco Cotton Aran. There is a new Addi delivery due this week and we should have the full range in stock again by the end of November.

Friday, 15 October 2010

Mission Falls Knitting patterns

We have two great new pattern books from Mission Falls in stock now. Silhouette has 14 designs for garments and accessories using DK and 1824 pure wool aran and pure cotton aran and Weekend has 8 designs using Mission Falls 1824 cotton.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

New Hanne Falkenberg knitting kit

The latest kit from Hanne Falkenberg is for a knitted skirt called 'Swing'. This lovely wrap-around skirt is knitted in 100% shetland wool and looks great worn over leggings. The clever design has an adjustable waist and the kit contains sufficient yarn to knit up to a large size (to fit 43" (110cm) hip. It is available in 8 colourways and can be ordered here.

Friday, 8 October 2010

Vintage Rowan Knitting patterns

I have just found a huge box of Rowan knitting patterns (designed by Kim Hargreaves) stashed away in the roof space. They are all single leaflets and unused. The patterns are for Rowan Magpie Aran, Chunky Chenille, Fine Chenille, Denim and Chunky Fox Tweed. All these yarns are now discontinued except for the denim, however the patterns can all be used with current yarns. See the full selection here.

Debbie Bliss magazine Fall/Winter 2010

The latest magazine from Debbie Bliss is now in stock and can be ordered here. Packed with gorgeous designs and inspirational articles it has something to suit all tastes. The designs include colourful fairisles, chunky cables and cute baby knits.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The first knitting retreat

The guests have just all departed from our first knitting retreat here at La Verderie. We have had a fantastic few days with three lovely people. Mark and Diane came all the way from Canada to visit Paris and our little corner of rural France. Whilst Diane was happy to launch into her knitting as soon as she arrived, Mark was a little worried that he had been talked into spending five days with three slightly nutty knitters. However Culli came to his rescue and whisked him off around the countryside to sample a little of the local cognac, check out the bar at St Meme, assist on a few site visits and even grovel around in the engine of the boat - what a lucky man!

The lovely Michelle from Devon kept us entertained with her stories and came up with some great ideas for my book - thank you Michelle! She is a knitter with the patience of a saint, producing her own designs for beautiful floaty garments in laceweight yarns, just stopping every so often to pop outside for a quick fag.

We managed to consume breakfast, lunch and a four course dinner every day with ease, washed down with lashings of wine. It was great to have three real foodies with no dislikes, the seafood lunch on Saturday was attacked with relish, oysters, prawns and bulot enjoyed by all. I try to make the menus a mix of french and english so came up with the following for the evening meals -
Thursday - smoked salmon pate, Normandy chicken, cheese board, peaches baked in pineau
Friday - pear, roquefort and walnut salad, salmon and prawn pie, cheese board, tarte tatin
Saturday - pumpkin soup, magret de canard with red wine sauce, cheese board, squidgy lemon pudding
Sunday - charentais melon with pineau, roast lamb with dauphinoise potatoes, cheese board, mousse au chocolat
Monday - prawns with ginger and chilli, boeuf bourguignon, cheese board, croissant bread pudding
We had an outing to the market at St Jean d'Angely on Saturday morning and I took Mark and Diane into Saintes yesterday afternoon for a wander around the shops and a visit to the Roman Amphitheatre.
It was sad to see them all leave today, Mark and Diane are back to Paris for a few more days of culture and Michelle is off for a week's adventure in La Rochelle. Tomorrow the house sitters move in and Culli and I are off to the UK for a wedding, Monday the diet starts..............

Autumn Sailing

Maet at Boyardville
Time to catch up with my sadly neglected blog.....
Culli and I and our sailing mate Mike spent the first two weeks of September sailing our little yacht up the coast from Royan to Ile de Re, not a particularly adventurous holiday as we were never much more than 50 miles from the coast, but it was a much needed break. Not a break from knitting though, I have some nerve-racking deadlines for my new book so spent at least 4 hours every day working on projects for this. There is something very peaceful about working on a boat, with a stash of knitting yarn in the fore peak and the laptop set up on the saloon table, I decided I could probably work like this for weeks on end.

tourist boat at St Denis
Our first stop was the marina at St Denis on Ile d'Oleron, this is one of our favourite marinas and a short walk up to the town takes you to the best Thai restaurant in France. Shopping at the daily market is a pleasure with loads of fresh fish and seafood, freshly cooked paella, luscious fruit and veg and cheesy fougeres from the boulangerie.
cycling on ile d'Oleron
Next stop was Boyardville, a small marina accessed through a lock two hours each side of high water and deep joy there was a brocante at the end of the marina on the sunday morning! We hired bicycles and cycled into the town of St Pierre for a wander around the shops and a coffee. Oleron is fantastic for cycling as it is totally flat with cycle paths taking you all round the island.
stormy sky
From Boyardville we sailed to St Martin on Ile de Re, a great sail with a good wind all the way taking us to the little port in the centre of St Martin, a great people watching place. We spent a couple of nights in St Martin with a howling gale and thunderstorm passing through on the second day, the only bad weather we experienced and were glad to be snugged up in the sheltered port.
Culli and Mike in St Martin
Next visit was an overnight stop at La Rochelle, sadly Le Vieux port was full so we had to go into the modern marina at Les Minimes, and because the boat show was due to start in a few days time had a whole pontoon to ourselves. Mike had to get back to the UK, so jumped ship at La Rochelle and Culli and I sailed back to St Denis for the final weekend.
abandoned boat
We met some lovely people, David and Sarah on their 38 foot Catamaran, who were sailing down the coast of France to Spain with their two cats and Tom and Danny who were also heading South on their beautiful dutch boat. We rescued a yacht that had been abandoned at low tide, saving it from crashing into the catamaran on the fierce current that whooshes into the marina as the tide comes in, the grateful owner treated us all to beers in the evening.
Chassiron lighthouse
We hired bikes for the day and cycled up the impressive lighthouse at Chassiron and walked around the headland, then stopped for a picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the deserted beach.

dodging the tide
The trip back to Royan was fairly eventful, with not much wind we had to motor some of the way. Just before the entrance to the Gironde estuary Culli noticed that the automatic bilge pump had kicked in. We opened the engine cover and discovered water pouring out of the engine, when he didn't reply to my question 'are we going to sink?' I knew things were bad......... My first thought was, how am I going to get all my knitting projects to dry land. However, a wine bottle cork saved the day, stuffed in the hole in the engine and held on with self amalgamating tape, we turned the engine off and resigned ourselves to a long sail home, but happily the wind picked up and we finally made it!
oyster shells

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

August 31st

It feels like summer is coming to an end. The weather today has been wonderful, a clear blue sky with a day time temperature of 28c, but when I went for my morning walk with the dogs it was a very autumnal 9c. Gill and Merv our part-time neighbours head back to the UK tomorrow and Culli, our sailing friend Mike and I are off for a late summer holiday on our little boat leaving my cousin Moira and her mates to dog and house sit. The grapes and tomatoes are falling on the ground so my last job before I go on holiday is yet more spicy tomato chutney, grape jelly and grape vodka..... (not totally convinced about that one, but watch this space). We get back in time for the first of the autumn workshops at Kangaroo, the first knitting retreat here at La Verderie, bramble jelly, sloe gin and very probably green tomato chutney.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Debbie Bliss magazine issue 5

New for autumn 2010, the fall/winter issue Debbie Bliss magazine no. 5 is due in stock mid september and is packed with gorgeous designs. Pre-order your copy here.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Debbie Bliss Andes

We have just had a delivery of the new Debbie Bliss yarn Andes. This gorgeous yarn is a luxurious blend of 65% baby alpaca and 35% mulberry silk with supporting patterns in the Andes book. Check out the patterns and order the yarn and pattern book at the same time for free postage!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Hand Maiden knitting kits

We have three new kits available in the gorgeous hand-dyed yarns from Canadian spinners Hand Maiden. The Criss Cross scarf is knitted in Camelspin and the Sea Lace and Chrysanthemum scarves are both crochet. Follow the links to see the designs and place an order.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bed and Breakfast in France and Arts and Crafts in Crazanne

A few people have asked what has happened to the blog recently.....? well, I have been busy, busy, busy. We have finally finished decorating the final part of the house for the chambres d'hotes, see the new website and have had guests! I also have two new knitting books in the pipeline, samples have just gone off for the first, so fingers crossed that sells and I have signed the contract for the second one - yikes! Now I have all sorts of scary deadlines to meet.

On Sundy I was invited to take part in the annual arts and crafts event at Crazanne, a pretty little village about half an hour away from us. Various artists and craft workers set up in gardens around the village to promote their craft, I was in our friends' Dick and Jackie's barn which was a great spot for an exhibition. The night before and all morning we had the most horrendous thunderstorms, so was glad to be under cover, however the sun did come out for the afternoon. It wasn't as busy as it could have been, but we had fun, I handed out leaflets and talked a few people into coming along to one of my knitting groups. My neighbour in the barn, Hazel was showing her beautiful ceramics and gave us all a hands on chance with some clay - since a brief fling with pottery at college I have always fancied going back to it, sadly not enough hours in the day at the moment...!

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Debbie Bliss A Tweed Story

A new book of knitting patterns by Debbie Bliss for autumn 2010. A Tweed Story has 7 designs that include women's sweaters and jackets and even a fabulous coat for a small to medium sized dog. The yarns used are Debbie Bliss Fez, Luxury Tweed Aran and Chunky. Order the book and yarns here.

Debbie Bliss Snow Queeen

Snow Queen is another new book of knitting patterns by Debbie Bliss for autumn 2010. The six designs include three jackets, a cabled cape, cabled gilet and a rib and cable dress. The yarns used are Debbie Bliss Como, Fez and Alpaca Silk Aran. Order the book and yarns here.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Debbie Bliss Andes

Andes is a new book of knitting patterns by Debbie Bliss for autumn 2010. The twelve designs use the latest yarn also called Andes, a luxurious blend of 65% baby alpaca and 35% mulberry silk. See the designs and yarn quantities here.

Debbie Bliss Folk Chic

Folk Chic is a new book of knitting patterns by Debbie Bliss for autumn 2010. The eight designs include cables and fairisle and use Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, Cashmerino DK and Aran. See the designs and yarn quantities here.

Debbie Bliss Land Girl pattern book

Land Girl contains 8 fabulous knitting patterns for women and children using Debbie Bliss Rialto 4ply, DK and aran. The books are in stock now and all the details of materials needed to knit each pattern are on our website - see here.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Debbie Bliss Glen

Now in stock, Glen is the latest yarn and pattern book from Debbie Bliss for autumn 2010. Glen the book has 12 gorgeous designs (see here), the yarn is a blend of 30% fine alpaca/30% merino wool/40% acrylic. It has a tension of 14 sts and 21 rows to 10cm using 6.50mm needles with 90 metres to a 50g ball. Order here.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

August offers - knitting needles and yarn

We have up to 50% discount on some of the current stock of Prym knitting needles, River John Knitting needles, Kaalund knitting yarns and patterns and BARGAIN OF THE MONTH  - the last of the Appleton's tapestry wool is reduced to just 11 pence per skein!

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Rowan magazine 48

I have finally got all the yarn quantities needed for each pattern in the magazine on the website, see here. We are still waiting for more yarn stocks, however if you would like to be notified when shades arrive please email me at 

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Last day of July

Another month has whizzed by, the 31st July was a blisteringly hot day with not a cloud in sight. Perfect for a visit to the Cognac Blues Passion. This brilliant music festival takes place every year and most of the music is free. The bands are usually excellent and mainly French or American with great bluesey names. This year we just went for the afternoon and saw 'Travis "Moonchild" Haddix' in the park, caught a quick soundcheck from 'Watermelon Slim' and then walked up to the main square to see 'The BW Jumpers', back home for a walk with the dogs then an impromptu BBQ over the road with Gill, Merv, Hubert and Marina.
Today is the last day of the Blues Festival, but we have thunderstorms rumbling all around and it is also final day of my stock checking so have decided to stay at home and make plum chutney and finish my admin!