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Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Sale of handknitted samples

I have a few ready made garments that were shop samples and are now available at bargain prices on KnitKits, so pick up something for less than the cost of the yarn here!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Addi circular knitting needles at a bargain price

I have started up-dating the KnitKits website and have some addi premium circular needles at the bargain price of £4.00 a set and with FREE postage to the UK. CLICK HERE to order.
I have also set myself a target to finish a design for a new knitting kit every two days, which means plenty of time watching Wimbledon while I knit up the samples! Finally finished the smocked jacket I was knitting at the Chateau and this will be available to order from today either as a knitting kit or PDF pattern. ORDER HERE

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Sunny France at its best

With a promise of soaring temperatures we have a day at home, Culli exhausted after a gig in the Dordogne last night with Bedrock (is he getting too old to be a rock star....), so instead of heading for Royan to varnish the boat it is a day working around the house. We have more b&b guests in July so there is lots to do.
Our Campsis looks amazing, the hibiscus is just starting to flower and the fields are full of sunflowers, albeit a tad small due to the lack of rain but I still love them.

I have got to the stage where I have so many things to do at the moment that I am not achieving anything, time for some lists! I want to (and should be) designing some new kits for KnitKits, I am still buzzing with ideas from the Chateau and there is so much inspiration around the countryside at the moment, but I also have new websites to design, a bedroom to paint, a boat to varnish and an office to muck out!
Time to reach for the pen and paper and a bottle of Rose!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Goodbye Kangaroo, hello KnitKits

The end of an era, I have sold the Kangaroo website and am concentrating on my other business KnitKits The KnitKits website has been around for some time, but is in serious need of some up-dating and at the moment all it has on it is a list of the knitting, crochet and textile workshops in France for 2011 and 2012. I am working on a new range of kits which will be available to order soon, plus knitting needles, buttons and accessories!

I also have some exciting new workshops planned for 2012. Jane Crowfoot has agreed to tutor another workshop in June 2012 at La Verderie (more details to follow) and having said that this year would be the last time at the Chateau I have already weakened, so I am working on some dates for autumn 2012 with Nash. Watch this space! If you would like to be on the mailing list for KnitKits and the workshops please let me know here

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Knitting workshop at Chateau St Julien June 2011

Doorway to the secret staircase
We have just returned from another fabulous week at the Chateau, it seems to get better every year. This year we had eight returning guests who had been on the holiday on previous years Felicity, Caroline F, Rhona, Sandra, Chris, Tania, Mary and Toril and six new ones, Caroline C, Clare, Astrid, Di, Shelley and Elizabeth. Toril and Astrid made the journey from Norway and Di came all the way from New Zealand!
Carol Meldrum and Nicole Wilson made a fantastic double act as tutors, it was the first time they had worked together and they were absolutely brilliant at combining their skills. The course was structured around producing mood boards and swatches inspired by the Chateau and the beautiful gardens. Everyone learnt a new technique or was able to share ideas, the stitch of the week was shmocking (Norwegian pronunciation for smocking) and knitted or crochet jewellery was abundant. We now all know how to say 'Hello gorgeous' in Norwegian which sounds something like 'Hiya chucken', I am not going to attempt to spell it, or any of the other unrepeatable phrases!

In spite of Culli and I maintaining it would be the last one at the Chateau, nobody seems to believe us. Perhaps if Nash bought a new dishwasher we might be persuaded to change our minds.......
Caroline C leads the charge for after dinner drinks on the terrace
The guests had all arrived by Sunday evening with no serious delays, apart from two fed up Norwegian's whose flight was late meaning they missed their train by just 1 minute! They soon relaxed after a few glasses of Kir, followed by Italian braised beef and roasted veg and pasta gratin.

Chateau knitters June 2011
Monday morning was an introduction to the workshops and tips on how to gather inspiration, in the afternoon everyone set off around the Chateau clutching their cameras and sketch books.

On Tuesday they started to put together the mood boards and play around with different stitches and techniques with an introduction to crochet in the evening.

Wednesday morning was a trip into Chauvigny, some of the more enthusiastic made the climb up the hill to see the beautiful paintings inside the church perched at the top of the old town, whilst the others wandered around the shops or relaxed with a coffee. In the afternoon it was back to the workshop for embellishments and trims.

The beautiful painted interior of the church at Chauvigny
Thursday was a day of maths, with the basic principles of garment design and Friday saw the final touches to the mood boards and finishing the gifts for secret santa.

Secret Santa's pressies
Carol and Nicole organised an exhibition of all the completed mood boards on the Friday evening in the beautiful hallway and library on the first floor of the Chateau. The finished swatches were stunning and all looked really professional.
Entrance to the exhibition!
Astrid's mood board
Caroline C's mood board

Chris's mood board

Clare's mood board

Di's mood board

Elizabeth's mood board

Felicity's mood board

Mary's mood board

Rhona's mood board

Sandra's mood board

Tania's mood board

Toril's mood board

The Library
 After aperitifs at the exhibition, we had the final supper of paella and Nicole handed out the secret santa gifts.

Secret Santa!

Everyone seemed to choose the perfect gift - Sandra picked a delicate crochet necklace that matched her dress perfectly, Tania and Elizabeth both chose wristwarmers the same shade as their shirts and even Culli looked good with a bit of adjustment to his crochet necklace..............

Everyone went off home on Saturday, with promises to keep in touch on Ravelry and meet up again at Ally Pally in October. We got home late afternoon to a very welcome dinner, cooked by our dogsitters Jo and Andrew and two very happy and relaxed dogs.
Bix making the most of forbidden territory!
Book for September 2012 here!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Knitting Retreat in France March 2012

I have just organised the dates for the 2012 Knitting Retreats in France. The first one is from the 1st - 6th March at La Verderie, book here. See the suggested programme below, or for further details email

Knitting Retreat programme
Wednesday 1st March: Arrive at Angouleme/La Rochelle/Bordeaux.
Transfer to La Verderie, meet your fellow guests over aperitif’s followed by dinner.

Thursday 2nd March: A relaxing day at la Verderie with your knitting. Explore the local lanes by foot or bicycle, browse through my library of knitting books and magazines and be wined and dined in style.

Friday 3rd March: Optional day trip to Bordeaux (car journey of approximately 1 ½ hours each way). The beautiful city of Bordeaux is of course famous for wine; however it also has a fairly impressive collection of shops including La Droguerie an Aladdin’s cave for yarns and accessories. Back to La Verderie for dinner.

Saturday 4th March: Outing to St Jean d’Angely market in the morning. A covered food market, plus outside stalls selling a mix of fruit, veg, clothing, plants and flowers. Back to La Verderie for lunch and a lazy afternoon.

Sunday 5th March: Optional visit to Chateau Roche Courbon. This beautiful Chateau is known locally as the sleeping beauty’s castle. The ornate interior has painted beams and furniture dating back to the 17th century. The formal French gardens pre-date those at Versailles and feature terraces, geometrical flower gardens and lawns, fountains and a small lake. Return to La Verderie for a late and leisurely Sunday lunch and more knitting.

Monday 6th March: Return transfers to your chosen airport or railway station.

Total cost of the holiday £295 per head, based on two people sharing a twin or double room. Single room supplement £75

The idea of the knitting retreat is to relax; all the above outings are optional and can be changed to suit guests’ preferences. The price of the holiday includes transfers from specified stations and airports to La Verderie, transport for all the excursions, accommodation and all meals (with wine) at La Verderie.

NOT included – flights/train travel to France, entrance fees to any places of interest and any meals or refreshments taken outside of La Verderie.
We will provide free transfers to La Verderie from La Rochelle or Bordeaux airport and Saintes or Angouleme station.