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Friday, 11 May 2012

Crochet workshop in France - days 4, 5 and 6

Wednesday starts off damp and cloudy, Cath goes for an early morning run on her own and I take the dogs out on my own, however after breakfast the clouds begin to clear.
A bar at Le Vieux Port in La Rochelle
We continue with our crochet project until late morning then all bundle in the car for a visit to La Rochelle.
The sun is shining and the first visit is to a bar in Le Vieux Port for a refreshing drink, followed by a wander around the beautiful shops hidden in shady cloisters in the ancient town.
The Patisserie
The window displays are fantastic, whether it is shoes, cakes, clothes or kitchen gadgets, but amazingly no purchases were made.
Shopping in La Rochelle
A trip to the beach for Cath to swim, however the tide was out and the long walk across the sand was not appealing, we sit at the cafe with ice creams and coffee watching the sun worshippers.
The beach at La Rochelle
Back to La Verderie for the compulsory evening dog walk, and as it is such a warm balmy evening supper of chicken kebabs and couscous in the garden.
Walking through the woods
Thursday promises to be hot and sunny so Cath, Sue and I take Bix and Be Bop out for an early walk then a whole day of crochet in the garden, the pressure is on to finish the cushions by Friday evening. Another beautiful warm evening so we have supper of roasted red peppers and seafood pies in the garden and sit there for ages watching the moths flit around the lights.
The woods at La Verderie
A shady corner
Roasted red pepper with cherry tomatoes and anchovy
Friday is the last day, it is hard to believe how fast the week has gone by. After the early morning walk and breakfast we go into Saintes for a little retail therapy, starting at the yarn shop then into the lovely little shop a few doors along which sells gorgeous clothing, bags, quilts, jewellery and homewares.
Salad Nicoise
Back to La Verderie for lunch of Salad Nicoise then the race is on to finish the projects. Sue completes her cushion cover first, closely followed by Jane then Cath. I have failed miserably with half a back to complete, my only excuse being the time spent in the kitchen preparing meals, however, it has been the most brilliant workshop and I can finally say that I think I have at last mastered the art of crochet. Jane has been very patient and helpful to all three of us.
Sue's cushion - back

Sue's cushion - front

Jane's cushion - back

Jane's cushion - front

Cath's cushion - back

Cath's cushion - front
There is a threat of thunderstorms but we have the final supper in the garden, paella followed by cherries in cognac with chocolate brownies and ice cream. An early start tomorrow for the return trips from Angouleme and Bordeaux.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Crochet workshop in France - day 3

The cushion fronts ready to be blocked and pressed
It is a Public holiday today so there is a Brocante in Brizambourg, however, we wake up to steady rain with no sign of a break. Cath and I brave the elements and take the dogs out for a short and soggy walk after breakfast. The weather doesn't really matter as we are all desperate to get on with our crochet, after a morning of hard concentration and little conversation we have all finished the front of the cushion covers, now all I need is for my new iron that we ordered on-line last week to arrive!
Brizambourg brocante
There is a brief respite in the rain so after lunch of French onion soup we go into Brizambourg to check out the Brocante, understandably only three stalls have put up with the weather. I buy some more geraniums for my new window boxes that Culli has just finished painting and we have a laugh at the bottom half of a shop mannequin that is for sale on one of the stalls then back to start on the back of our cushions.
Sue's start on a fairisle cushion from an old Debbie Bliss mag
Sue has a good rummage through my remaining yarn stock and comes out with some lovely shades to knit a fairisle cushion which she starts after supper.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Crochet workshop in France with Jane Crowfoot - day two

Yarn shop in Saintes
It's a lovely sunny morning so Cath, Sue and I take the dogs for a walk through the woods then back for breakfast and a trip to Saintes for the monthly market. Saintes is an old Roman town with a long straight high street and the market stretches from one end of the town to the other.
The street market in Saintes
Many of the stalls are repeated but there is plenty to see with lovely fabrics, buttons, shopping baskets and colourful clothing. Being Monday morning not many of the shops are open, but we all make a few purchases in Maison du Monde, pretty tea light holders, colourful plastic glasses and some silk flowers.
Window display of cup cakes in the opticians window
The yarn shop is closed, but maybe another visit later in the week. We have a coffee and do a bit of people watching for a while then home for lunch of Greek salad, bread and cheese in the garden.
lunch in the garden
In the afternoon we continue with our crochet cushions, the air is thick with concentration but the cushion covers are growing fast.
The crochet projects so far
After completing the most complicated round we go for a walk around the vineyard and come back for apero's and supper - Culli's (or perhaps I should say Rick Stein's) famous seafood ragout and tagliatelle, followed by lemon curdy pudding.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Crochet workshop in France

Brocante in Bordeaux
Saturday morning and it's off to Bordeaux to pick up tutor Jane and guest Sue. Jane arrives on the early flight from Luton, we make a dash to the car in torrential rain and head into Bordeaux for a bit of retail therapy, another visit to Le Droguerie then a wander around the shops, back to the spring market I visited last week with the amazing brocante and a sandwich and coffee in the sun.
Vintage linen at the brocante
Sue's flight is early afternoon so we head back to the airport to meet her than return to La Verderie. Culli picks up Cath from Angouleme and they are back in time for apero's and supper.
Gearing up for the workshop
Sunday morning, Sue, Cath and I take the dogs for an early morning walk. After breakfast we have a basic session reminding us of crochet stitches, I admit to the fact that I have hardly picked up a crochet hook since last October and I think Cath is not far behind me, Sue is a member of Jane's Crochet Club and has brought along her current piece for a bit of advice.
lunch al fresco
We brave the elements and have lunch in the sun, between the clouds and the wind. After lunch we all start on the project that Jane has brought along for her Coronet Rose Cushion an exclusive pattern from the Crochet Club. This is fantastic, Cath and I are both so excited to realise that we can actually read a crochet pattern at last...........
The centre pieces for our cushion covers after one afternoon
We have all reached the same stage on the cushion and are feeling the strain of the concentration so head off for a bit of fresh air with the dogs, it is a lovely clear but blustery afternoon, but very soggy underfoot as I lead them on a muddy trail through the woods. Culli has been busy building more window boxes to put along the front of the house and the planters are finished and filled with tomatoes, lettuce, rhubarb, beans, spring onions and chillies.
my new vegetable patch!
Apero's in the garden then supper of lamb with mojette beans followed by pavlova. An evening of lively discussion ranging from the Royal family to walking on the moon..........
Tomorrow morning it is the first Monday of the month and the huge street market in Saintes.