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Friday, 30 July 2010

Stock checking - huge discount on knitting yarns

My least favourite job, but I have come to the end of another financial year so it has to be done. To make my life easier we are offering 25% discount on all items currently in stock at Kangaroo (offer ends at midnight on Sunday 1st August 2010). To claim the discount enter the code 25DISCOUNT when prompted at the checkout. PLEASE NOTE offer does not apply to workshops and knitting holidays.

Monday, 26 July 2010

Photography Club

Yesterday was the annual outing for our photography club, a morning in Port d'Envaux with our cameras and four subjects (Stone, Guess What, Messing around on the river and Man Made) followed by lunch.
Port d'Envaux is a sleepy little town on the river Charente, Culli and I have been there a number of times in the past (when we were house-hunting we used to go down to the picnic site at the river in the evening and go through all the houses we had seen that day over a large g&t), but I discovered lots of things I didn't know about the place.
There is an amazing quarry called Les Lapidiales where sculptors from all over the world have created wonderful carvings in the wall, a perfect venue for the photography topic of Stone and like most sites in France completely unfenced with free entrance. The river was as beautiful as ever, very quiet and peaceful with just a few French families at the purpose built picnic site, the joy of being away from the coast at this time of year in France. There is also now a dedicated swimming area with diving platform, another venue for Noizefest guests next year!

Lunch in one of the local restaurants was excellent, smoked salmon roulade, duck in cherry sauce and ice cream and meringue washed down with lashings of rose, another good day for the diet......
Bed & Breakfast in the Charente-maritime

Friday, 23 July 2010

Knitting workshop in France September 2012

Tutors Debbie Abrahams and Jane Crowfoot. Email for further details.

This workshop aims to give participants the chance to play around and experiment with the crafts of knitting and crochet in order to create a piece of constructed textile design which could be used as the basis for an interior decoration piece.
Participants will be encouraged to work on small knitted or crochet samples which whilst enhancing their skills will each become part of a larger patchwork piece. Techniques shown will include colour work, textural work, colour theory, beading and embellishing in the mediums of both knitting and crochet.
A good amount of yarn will be provided, but participants are asked to bring along pieces from their stash to use or swap with others. It is a good idea to also bring along beads, buttons, lace and ribbon which could be incorporated within the textile piece.
Participants need to have a knowledge of knitting stitches and should be able to understand knitting terminology – the ability to crochet is not essential.


Large twin rooms are still available at £725 per head, non-knitting partners are welcome. There are also a few single rooms left at £825 per head, the price includes the workshops, transfers from Poitiers airport or station, all transport whilst staying at the Château, all meals taken at the Château with wine. What is not included: Travel to Poitiers from your home destination, entrance fees to some places of interest, any snacks/meals consumed on excursions.

The Château
Château de St. Julien l’Ars is situated just east of Poitiers on the outskirts of the sleepy village of St Julien l’Ars. The village is just a few minutes walk away and has a boulangerie, grocery store, bar tabac and café. This fairytale castle is owned by American Architect Nash Gubelman and his artist wife Linda Softing, their passion for the château and any artistic pursuit makes it the ideal venue for workshops. To see details of the history of the building visit
The peace and serenity of the château can be felt the moment you pass through the large gates, beneath the 100 ft. Gothic spire of the village church and into the castle courtyard. The 56 acre grounds feature walking trails and private corners to sit and relax with your knitting or a book.

All meals will be taken together in the ground floor dining room and consist of a buffet breakfast and lunch and a three course dinner with house wine. The workshops will be held in the reception room on the first floor of the château, a beautiful light and airy room with triple aspect windows or outside, weather permitting. There are two lounge areas for relaxation, a small library, terraces at the front and back of the property and 56 acres of beautiful parkland to explore.

Travel arrangements – it is the responsibility of each individual guest to arrange their own transport to Poitiers, we are more than happy to offer advice on flights, trains and ferries please contact for further details.

Book now at KnitKits

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Knitting Retreats

We have one twin room available for one or two people (if you are booking it as a single please send an email confirming this at the time of booking) for the September Knitting Retreat at La Verderie. Book here.
The June 2011 knitting workshop at Chateau St Julien is filling up fast, we now only have 2 spaces remaining for single rooms and 8 spaces in four shared rooms.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Sale of knitting yarns

The summer sale finishes next week, we still have offers on plenty of yarns so snap up the bargains now at

Monday, 12 July 2010

The chicks have flown the nest

The little Redstart family have gone out into the big wide world, they were all out of the nest yesterday morning and by the afternoon were launching themselves off the beams in the barn, no sign of them today so hopefully the five of them have survived.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

The sunflowers are out

It feels like summer is finally here to stay, the sunflowers have just started flowering and it has been blissfully hot for days, I am decorating the final guest room (not the best thing to be doing in this heat, but it has to be finished). The cherry glut is almost over and has been replaced with courgettes. Try this yummy recipe for courgette burgers, even Culli who is a dedicated carnivore raved about them -
Grate a courgette and squeeze out all the liquid, mix with a handful of breadcrumbs, a finely chopped onion, chilli and some fresh basil, 1 beaten egg, a squidge of tomato puree and a dollop of mustard. Season well and shape into four burgers, fry for about 5 - 10 minutes turning once. Serve in buns with chilli relish and cornichons, mayo and tomatoes - fab!
Looks like I may have another catering job for a wedding in September, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Rowan Magazine No. 48

The new autumn/winter magazine Rowan 48 comes into stock mid July and it is one of the best so far. I have to confess to being a fairisle and cable fanatic, so there are plenty of designs for me to choose from. The magazine is split into three sections -
Russian Doll is a collection of gorgeous fairisle and intarsia designs in soft heathery shades, I love the knitted dress Lidiya, but sadly not for my figure! However, Dominika is a must have.
Nomad is full of quick knits in chunky cables, designs for men and women with some great hats and scarves.
Timeless has classic, feminine designs in soft luxury yarns.
The magazine uses all the wool and wool blend yarns - Cocoon, Felted Tweed Chunky, Aran and DK, Big Wool, Kidsilk Haze and Aura, Silky Tweed, Cashsoft 4 ply and DK, Kid Classic, Pure wool DK and Wool Cotton.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Black Redstart chicks...

.... at least that is what I think they are. Rare in the UK, but fairly common in this part of France.
I am no twitcher, in fact birds frighten me. I would rather jump in a snake pit than walk into a room with a bird loose in it, however I have become fascinated with this little family. The five chicks are about eight or nine days old, mum has built the nest in a flower pot on a shelf in my potting shed (which is the other half of Culli's workroom). They seem totally oblivious to the noises going on around them which include Culli with his electric table saw and various other tools. I am hoping that they will fly the nest before too long as we have the Noizefest here next week, which involves lots of loud friends and family and even louder music.

Knitting workshop in France June 2011

Wow! We already have two bookings and that is without even a programme.
However, Heike and Anne are hard at work on the workshop details now. The theme is going to be based around 'Cottage Gardens' with plenty of inspiration at the chateau, and the classes will be perhaps a little more challenging this time encouraging students to use more freeform knitting and techniques they are not familiar with. I can't wait to see it.
As the holiday finishes on the Saturday next year we will miss Chauvigny market, however there is a street market and brocante (antiques & bric'a'brac) in Poitiers on a Friday which will be a good alternative and it also means that I can encourage students to visit the beautiful church in the old town of Chauvigny instead of the market (especially if we drop them off at the top of the hill), where the painted pillars and friezes are perfect for knitting inspiration.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Knitting yarn bargains

We have further reductions on the special offers page, plus some newly discontinued shades in Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Chunky, Noro Blossom, Noro Silk Garden Lite and Noro Silk Garden Chunky - build up your stash here!

Friday, 2 July 2010

Knitting holidays in France 2011

We have finally sorted out the dates for next year and are running two workshops at Chateau St Julien.
12th - 18th June will be the usual workshop for 17 guests in single or shared rooms, booking forms are up on the Kangaroo website now.
18th - 24th September will be a knitting and crochet workshop with partners! Bring along your other half to enjoy the delights of Chateau St Julien. This holiday is open to 10 couples, the cost of the week includes a full programme of workshops for the girls (and any boys that want to join in), plus a programme of events for the other halves to include some of the following: sightseeing, wine tasting, sailing, boules, clay pigeon shooting, golf, cognac tasting.... It also includes all meals and table wine at the Chateau and transfers from Poitiers airport or station.
Book here!