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Sunday, 23 October 2011

The last day of the Crochet workshop at La Verderie

Culli sets off with Cath and Jane for Angouleme station at 6.45 am, I got up to wave them off and do a bit of tidying up. The rest of us had a leisurely breakfast and a brisk walk with the dogs, the first heavy frost of the autumn has left the fields sparkling white which makes me think I need to spend the rest of the weekend moving the geraniums and banana plants.
Cognac market
We are taking Jenny and Kevin to Cognac station and then on to Bordeaux with Linda for her flight back to Oslo. A little last minute shopping in Cognac, cheese at the market for Linda to take back to Norway (extra wrapping to prevent it escaping in her suitcase) and Kevin and Jenny buy some beautifully packaged chocolates to take back as gifts.
The cheese stall

After a quick beer in the sunshine we wander back to the car through the lovely park, home to the Cognac Blues Festival, held in July every year, before dropping Kevin and Jenny at the station followed by the drive down to Bordeaux airport with Linda. 
The entrance to the park
Culli and I made a compulsory visit to Ikea in Bordeaux on the way home for picture frames, candles and light bulbs then back home to collapse in front of the TV.
The workshop was a great success, being the first one here at La Verderie I was a little nervous about it, but I think the venue worked well. Having such a small group is fantastic as each guest can expect one to one tuition from the tutor and the resulting work was way and above all expectations. Now, I just need to pin Jane down and decide on some dates for next year!

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Crochet workshop at La Verderie - day 5

Friday is the last full day, the plan is to crochet most of the day and then go into Cognac for a wander late afternoon.
Everyone is keen to finish their projects, the concentration is intense and not a sound to be heard. Kevin and Linda decide to escape the pressure and go for a bike ride around the lanes after lunch, the rest of us decide we cannot tear ourselves away from the crochet, so the trip to Cognac is cancelled.
Cath modelling her crochet hat
After a brisk walk with the dogs around the vineyard it is the final photo session. The results are fantastic, I think we have all achieved our goals for the week.

Jenny's landscape
Kevin's flowers
Cath's chunky hat (not the Japanese one...)
Cath's sampler

Linda's flower bed
my Christmas fir cone, or is it a Christmas tree..?
my lampshade, an ongoing project I think
After the final dinner of chicken tagine, baked spicy aubergine with couscous and golden croissant pudding everyone collapsed in a heap. Cath and Jane have an early start on Saturday so early to bed for all.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Crochet workshop at La Verderie - day 4

Everyone voted for a whole day with their crochet and only set foot outside for a dog walk and hunt for fresh walnuts in the afternoon.

The amount that everyone has achieved in just a few days is amazing, Jane has been very patient and on hand to answer every question and demonstrate techniques.

Linda's crochet flower bed is growing quickly, by the end of the day she has the basic shape and is ready to complete the borders and flowers.

Kevin is creating the most gorgeous flower design, adding new pieces as he goes along to create a cushion cover.

Jenny is adding spirals to her landscape to create beautiful swirling clouds and sky.

Cath is working on her project of patchwork squares, each one using a different crochet technique.
I am plodding along with my lampshade cover, the chevrons are growing and tomorrow beads and bobbles!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Crochet workshop at La Verderie - day 3

Wednesday morning is a compulsory trip to the market in St Jean. It is a bright sunny day again, but cold. Winter boots and a jacket for the first time this autumn. The market is very quiet with no queues, a brief tour of the town    and a coffee in the sun at the back of the market, followed by a trip to LeClerc for a few more provisions. Then back home for lunch of prawns and salad.
Working on Dorset buttons
The afternoon was spent making Dorset buttons and starting work on our projects. I have had an idea for giant Dorset buttons using curtain rings and they work! I think they could become quite addictive, just managed to work the foundation row for my lampshade. Cath has completed a hat, but not the Japanese one yet, Linda is creating the most beautiful piece of freeform crochet from her image of the flower bed in Saintes.
Linda's project
Giant Dorset buttons
Tension square for my lampshade

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Crochet workshop at La Verderie

We are into the third day of the crochet workshop and all is going well.
Crochet Techniques
The four guests and tutor Jane arrived with no delays on Sunday afternoon to a gorgeous hot sunny day. Monday was a quick reminder on crochet techniques, going through the stitches and writing out charts. For me having a workshop here at home is fantastic as I actually have the time to join in, so perhaps by the end of the week I will finally get to grips with it.
The small group works well as Jane is able to give everyone individual attention to suit various skill levels. Linda (English but lives in Norway), can already crochet beautifully but is keen to learn how to create her own designs, brother and sister Kevin and Jenny are keen to improve their crochet and experiment with shapes, texture and colour, Cath and I just want to watch the stitches flow evenly..........., but after just one day things are looking good, we have all completed something! Linda's beautiful coaster is put to use immediately, sadly my rather small, pathetic one was appreciated mostly by Be Bop who decided to try and eat it.
Linda's beaded coaster
Tuesday morning, early breakfast and a trip to Saintes. We parked in the centre of town on a sunny but chilly morning and walked up to the Roman amphitheatre, too early for the shop but took a few snaps before a coach load of tourists arrived, then a quick visit to St Eutrope at the top of the hill and back down through the market to the shops.
The Roman Amphitheatre in Saintes
First visit of course to the yarn shop, where Kevin and Jenny bought some beautiful buttons then into a new shop with the most gorgeous cushions, throws, bags and bits, a definite one to revisit for Christmas gifts. A quick coffee, missed the haby shop by 5 minutes (how is it that after living in France for 8 years I still forget that shops close for lunch!), some magazines for inspiration then back home for lunch.
In the afternoon we started to think about stitches, colours and swatches for our chosen projects.
We all have different goals. Linda wants to make her own design and found her inspiration from the beautiful flower beds outside the Palais de Justice in Saintes, Jenny wants to understand crochet patterns, Kevin wants to design a cushion, Cath wants to understand and complete her Japanese crochet hat pattern and I want to crochet a lampshade, my original inspiration was a huge ceramic plate at the museum in Saintes but Jane has now taught us to work chevrons and bobbles so a change of plan, I think.
Section of a colourful wall hanging in St Eutrope