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Sunday, 29 September 2013

September knitting retreat

On Wednesday we took Clare and Irene down to Bordeaux for their flight home, allowing time for a visit to La Droguerie the wonderful yarn shop in the centre of Bordeaux. Elke and I bought large safety pins for shawls, buttons and leather bag handles and Irene bought some patterns and various accessories.
Some nice crochet cushions in Zara home!


One of the amazing fountains in Bordeaux

Elke's shawl pin and buttons

I left Frank and Elke to explore Bordeaux while I took Clare and Irene to the airport.
Thursday was Frank's last day of woodturning with tutor Roger, so Elke spent the day relaxing in the garden with her knitting.

Frank and bowl

Frank arrived home clutching the gorgeous bowl he has made, a fantastic effort (but sadly for Elke not a yarn bowl)! Tutor Roger and his wife Pam joined us for supper, it was still warm enough to eat outside so we enjoyed a few glasses of wine, antipasto for starters, beef braised in red wine and golden croissant pudding.
Frank and Elke set off after breakfast on Friday to spend a few days in their little caravan on the Ile d'Oleron, I hope they are OK as we have had thunderstorms and torrential rain all weekend.....
Another great week with some lovely people.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

September knitting retreat

Today we went to visit Irene's friend Lena who lives in the Charente near Rochefoucauld. Irene and Lena are into dyeing yarn using various forms of funghi and the results are absolutely amazing!

funghi colour

funghi stash

paper made from funghi and a mushroom

a mushroom wall hanging

a piece of woven fabric using yarn dyed by Lena

more mushroom fabric

a bag made from mushrooms

funghi shades

Lena took us on a tour of her workshop (where everything revolves around mushrooms and funghi in various forms and shapes), showing us yarns in the most beautiful shades, there were 6 balls of mohair that I was very tempted to slip into my bag unnoticed....

on the right, the mohair shades I want!

more funghi colour

After drooling over the colours and learning a lot about dyeing we went into Rochefoucauld for a lovely lunch at 'Chez Steph'.
Chez Steph

a huge dessert

Then admired the beautiful Chateau from the outside (sadly closed to the public on Tuesday's) then back home to cook supper for Culli and Frank who had been slaving over a hot lathe all day.

Unfortunately Elke's dreams of a useful knitting related wooden gift from her husband seem to have gone out of the window, Frank has started work on a huge chunk of Olive Ash which sounds like it is turning into something far larger than a yarn bowl................., we are looking forward to seeing the finished project on Thursday. It is Irene and Clare's last full day, Clare has finished her crochet cushion, just the sewing up to go and has made good progress on her knitted bag. Irene's jacket is starting to take shape and the cable pattern looks lovely.
Irene's cable jacket

Clare's Lopi bag

Monday, 23 September 2013

September knitting and crochet retreat

It has been a wet and windy week, on Friday I headed off to Bordeaux to pick up Clare and Irene, two regulars from my old knitting group at Kangaroo, just as I arrived at the airport the sun came out. It was great to see them both again and catch up on all the news!

We spent the whole of Saturday sitting in the sunshine with our knitting. Clare has brought two projects with her, a bag knitted in a gorgeous Lopi wool she bought in Iceland and Jane Crowfoot's beautiful zig-zag crochet cushion cover from Kaleidoscope. Irene has started a cable jacket knitted in a yarn that she has spun and dyed herself. She is cursing me for making her knit a tension square, but it proved that the original pattern she chose just didn't work with the yarn, so she has started another one and it is growing fast.
I am struggling over an idea I have for a lacy top for a magazine design, I can see it in my head but just don't seem to be able to make it work.
On Sunday morning Clare, Irene and I went for a wander around the food market in Saintes, buying seafood for lunch and some gorgeous ripe figs. Then a trip to the huge brocante at Hyper U, there were too many stalls to visit but we found a few bargains and I managed to resist increasing my stash of vintage linen sheets!

In the afternoon our other two guests, Elke and Frank arrived from Germany. Elke is here to join us for a bit of knitting, bringing with her a selection of projects for scarves, shawls, a jacket and some fingerless mitts, her husband Frank is doing a woodturning course with Culli and tutor Roger Slater.
Monday is another beautiful day with clear blue skies and a light breeze, we spend the morning alternating between the garden and the barn depending on how hot we get in the sun. Frank is doing well with the woodturning and has produced a dibber by the end of the day.

It is warm enough to sit outside in the evening and enjoy a supper of chicken tagine and chocolate torte.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Final day of the Kaleidoscope workshop

It is the final day of the Kaleidoscope workshop, based on designs from the book by tutors Debbie Abrahams and Jane Crowfoot. 

The weather is definitely starting to change, but the needles and hooks are clicking fast to try and finish projects.
After lunch we have a show and tell, the work that everyone has produced is fantastic, some gorgeous colour selections and lots of guests going out of their normal comfort zones, experimenting with design ideas, colour choice and new techniques in knitting and crochet.

Felicity –  a selection of knitted squares in bright shades inspired by the patterns in Kaleidoscope to make a cushion cover

Mary – used yarn and beads from left over from the Mystery Cushion to inspire her
combination of knitting and crochet to make a cushion cover

Fran – chose to make 'Crackle' a circular cushion crochet project out of the Kaleidoscope book

Amanda – 'Dazzle' zig-zag cushion cover from the Kaleidoscope book. After a traumatic start with the beads she nearly caught up again just 24 hours later.

Katherine – chose to knit 9 squares from the project notes in sampler form using just four shades, pink purple, green and blue

Elizabeth – brought some favourite colours and beads to make Jane’s fairisle i-pad cover

Sonia – inspired by a knitting workshop she had been to with Lisa Auerbach has knitted a series of squares using a wonderful combination of colours and design. 

Laraine – worked on a knitted piece in lovely subtle shades and learnt to crochet

Astrid – has been working on a design idea for a jacket for her son with crochet front and knitted back using a selection of gorgeous soft shades in a Shetland yarn that I found for her in my stash. 

Katrin –  has put together this colourful crochet cover with square patches on the front and beaded 'BeBop' back.

Toril – has worked the crochet borders for her knitted scarf and nearly completed a beaded hat design from Debbie's Bead Club.

Mandy and Eleanor had to leave a day early and Lorraine could not make it on the final day, so we were missing three from the show and tell, but I think all three of them gained a huge amount from the workshop. 

It has been another great week with lots of laughs.

Saturday morning was an early start for some, Culli took Mary off to La Rochelle at 6 am, then came back to collect Fran and Katrin. However, on the way to Angouleme the poor old Volvo glided to a terminal halt, fortunately our knight in shining armour (Kevin Garraway step forward!) came to the rescue and managed to get Fran to the station with a few minutes to spare.
My trips to Bordeaux and Angouleme went smoothly, then a shopping trip in La Rochelle with Elizabeth and Amanda before taking them up to the airport. Sadly it was tipping down with rain, so we only touched the edge of some of the lovely shops in La Rochelle, however, Amanda did succumb to a lovely Desigual handbag……..

Looking forward to seeing everyone back here next year.