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Friday, 28 November 2014

Christmas Open House in Brighton

Open from 10 am to 4pm on
Saturday 29th, Sunday 30th November 2014
Friday 5th, Saturday 6th, Sunday 7th December 2014
Friday 12th, Saturday 13th, Sunday 14th December 2014

For the perfect Christmas gift visit our old mate Kim's Christmas Open House in Brighton. This exhibition offers a wonderful selection of Christmas Gifts including wood (a selection of Culli's yarn bowls!), textiles, knitted accessories, felt, jewellery and glass. See below for directions.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

October knitting and crochet retreat in France

The October knitting and crochet retreat started on another beautiful warm and sunny day. I drove to La Rochelle to meet Catherine, Alison and Dorothy who all flew in from Southanpton. Dorothy and Alison had a really early start flying from Aberdeen and Catherine came from the South of England. Culli picked up Jane from Bordeaux and the other two guests Cate and Pam opted to hire a car, Cate has lived in the US for the last 30 years and came to spend a week with her sister Pam, knitting!
We sat and enjoyed the sunshine for the rest of the afternoon and soon got stuck into food, drink and lively conversation.

On Friday after a leisurely breakfast we started on various projects. Catherine has brought along a sock project called ‘socks on a plane’ the ideal choice for a holiday knit, a cowl and a crochet throw. Jane is working on a calf length crochet waistcoat, a gorgeous retro design in a smoky blue bamboo blend. Dorothy has started on a fairisle beanie in lovely subtle Shetland shades. Alison is knitting an Artyarns kit for a lacy shawl in a gorgeous yarn that comes ready beaded with tiny sparkling beads. Pam is knitting a cardigan and Cate is working on a lacy shawl pattern that needs a bit of concentration.
After lunch we made the compulsory trip into Cognac for a visit to Tissus Mercerie. There was much excitement over the fabric, Cate buying linen remnants to make table cloths and aprons and Catherine bought a lovely polka dot fabric to make table mats.

Back home for more knitting and crochet in glorious sunshine, followed by apero’s and supper of smoked salmon pate starters, moussaka then home grown rhubarb with ginger crumble. More knitting in front of the TV and then bed.
On Saturday Cate and Pam went off to Angouleme to pick up Cate’s niece Rachel who is studying at the Sorbonne and is staying just one night with us. The rest of us went into St Jean d'Angely for a wander around the market and a bit of sightseeing with some retail therapy for Alison and Catherine who both bough sparkly tops, then a coffee in the square another yarn fix in the little yarn store and a quick stop at the supermarket for pate and more wine!!

Back home for lunch followed by a fairisle workshop for Catherine who picked it up straight away, then a quick dash indoors as it clouded over and started pouring with rain. We had  a noisy supper filled with laughter and conversations ranging from the olympics to cannabilism(!), whatever happened to good old knitting……..?
Sunday started with very different weather, a clear morning with bright sunshine and a cold wind, no more autumn mists. By lunch time it had warmed up and we were back out in the garden for an al fresco lunch while Cate drove niece Rachel back to Angouleme for the Paris train, clutching her nearly finished scarf. We had an impromptu workshop on knitting with beads, which everyone loved churning out colourful swatches, then tea and birthday cake for Dorothy and Cate who coincidentally shared the same birthday. After a dinner of Sunday Roast and strawberry cheesecake we settled down to watch Downton Abbey.
Monday morning was cool and grey, but in spite of the forecast of rain we decided to brave the elements and go to the all day market in Saintes. First stop was the umbrella stall, then a coffee and a bit of knitting another brief scurry around the market, a stop at the supermarket on the way home, then after lunch the final afternoon of working on projects.

It has been another fantastic week that seems to have gone far too quickly, with lots of laughs and plenty of knitting and crochet. Jane’s crochet waistcoat is growing fast, maybe not quite the finished project she was hoping to take home but it looks amazing. Catherine has started her chevron crochet throw, in lovely aqua tones. Pam is on to the second sleeve of her sweater, Dorothy has quickly knitted a chunky hat in between her Shetland fairisle hat, Alison has finished her lovely lacy shawl with the ready beaded yarn and Cate has started another scarf project.
Everyone has ordered wooden yarn bowls from Culli and Cate has gone back to Boston clutching a lovely spalted bowl that he turned on Sunday. 
On Tuesday morning they were all off back home, it is sad to think that there are no more guests until next Spring.
To see available dates for 2015 holidays click here

Monday, 29 September 2014

September knitting and crochet retreat

The September knitting retreat started on a glorious hot sunny Sunday. All five guests arrived at Bordeaux airport and by late afternoon were sitting in the sunshine chatting away like old friends. Regular visitor Sue arrived clutching gifts of antlers for BeBop and Buddy who were of course delighted to see her (I think she only comes back every year to see BeBop), the other guests were Natasja a crochet fanatic (see her lovely blog Crochet time) and Brenda with daughter Alison and their friend Phina a tap dancing granny from West Sussex!
It stayed warm enough to eat supper in the garden, so after roast pork with courgette & tomato bake and dauphinoise potatoes followed by chocolate torte everyone went off for an early night.
Everyone has a project planned for the week. Natasja has brought a bundle of yarn to crochet a throw inspired by the English countryside. It is a combination of vibrant green fields, crops of oat and barley and earthy ploughed fields, joined with a textured stitch to form hedges. Phina is working on crochet flowers, she is also a bit of a demon with fine knitting needles and makes me a gorgeous minature teddy bear. Brenda wants to master knitting in the round so starts on a small pair of socks and Alison wants to crochet a cushion cushion cover, so after reading through all my crochet books and the ones she has brought with her starts on granny squares in gorgeous pastel shades. Sue is working on a chunky cable jumper by Bergere de France for her son and a lovely soft scarf knitted in Rowan Kidsilk Haze.
Monday morning was fresh but dry and sunny. Sue joins me every morning for an early morning walk with the  dogs before breakfast, then we all settle down in the garden and studio for a day of knitting and crochet.

On Tuesday we went into Cognac to visit Tissus Bonnet the fabric and yarn shop in the centre of town. Everyone loves the beautiful ribbons, trimmings, fabric and yarns and we all buy something. After a coffee in the square we go home eager to start working with our new yarns after lunch. Natasja knits a snood in just a couple of hours using the pompom yarn she bought in the morning.

On Wednesday morning we visit St Jean d’Angely and wander around the market admiring the colourful pumpkins, giant beef tomatoes and beautiful flower stalls, then a bit of retail therapy in the yarn shop and kitchen shop followed by a coffee and a walk through the old medieval town.
Back home for a lunch of fresh prawns and cheese from the market and an afternoon working in the sunshine.

On Thursday we made a trip to Saintes to the big yarn and fabric shop on the commercial estate and all buy more yarn and pattern books, then drive back into the town for a coffee by the river and a quick visit to yet another yarn shop. I think this week holds the record for the amount of yarn shopping.

The final afternoon is spent trying to finish off projects, which everyone spreads out on the table at the end of the afternoon. It looks like a huge amount of work when you see it all laid out.

On Friday Culli takes Sue off first thing in the morning for her early flight from Bordeaux, the rest of us have a more leisurely start and drive down to Bordeaux later in the morning. We drop Natasja off at the airport for her flight then the four of us go into Bordeaux for lunch at one of the riverside cafĂ©’s.
Then a wander around the lovely pedestrian shopping streets with the final yarn fix at La Droguerie and a visit to the huge book shop, a stop for a cup of tea, a bit more window shopping admiring he designer clothes and mouthwatering chocolate shops then I take Phina, Brenda and Alison out to the airport for their evening flight.

It has been a great week, with lots of inspiration, perfect weather and lovely guests who I hope we will see again.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Knitting and crochet workshop in France with tutor Carol Meldrum - final day

We finish the final day with a visit to Egreteau, our local Cognac producer for a little sampling session of their Cognac and Pineau and a few purchases.

It has been another wonderful week with some lovely ladies who have all produced amazing work.

It has been a busy few months, I now have 10 weeks before the next retreat in September. Time to plan the knitting and crochet holidays for next year, launch the new website for KnitKits and do some much needed decorating and repairs to the house!

Knitting and crochet workshop in France with tutor Carol Meldrum

The week continues with warm, sunny weather. Three of us are up early every morning, Carol for a cycle ride around the lanes, Cath goes running and I am out walking the dogs. It is lovely and cool first thing in the morning, the first sunflowers are starting to flower and the big combines are out harvesting the crops.

Cath jogging through the sunflowers

Everyone is working hard on their projects, inspired with ideas from the Fil en Fete exhibition and the gorgeous samples that Carol has brought along.

The Cognac Blues Passion Festival is on this week, so on Wednesday we take our knitting and crochet with us and visit Cognac for a bit of free music in the town and park.