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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.

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