June 8, 2013
Today was a slightly earlier start than usual so that we had time to go to the Bergere de France shop on the outskirts of Saintes, and then into the town to visit the market and have a
wander round before coming back to Le Vieux Monastere for lunch. I enjoyed looking at all the yarns in the Bergere de France shop but didn’t buy anything this year, although several of our group did take good advantage of their summer sale. Saintes is a town with a lot of Roman remains, here is a view of the cathedral as seen through the triumphal arch:
The market is alongside the cathedral and is mostly food, with some very good looking fruit and veg and lots of interesting cheeses.
After the market we wandered along to the Abbey aux Dames (I think I have remembered the name right) and found these lovely flowers growing at the base of one of the walls.
On the way back to base we stopped to take some photos of where we were staying from across the fields. So here is my attempt at being artistic.
In the afternoon we were back in the workshop, working on whichever project we wanted to from the week. I finished my first Knit One Below mitten:
Joanne finished her Entrelac cowl to match her beret.
Nicole finished her coffee pot cover with some lovely buttons she bought in Saintes.
I finished my Entrelac cowl – I am looking forward to wearing it this winter.
And Sue finished her beret.
At the end of the afternoon everyone laid out the pieces they had been working on through the week, so that we could go round and admire them with a glass of fizz in hand. It was a wonderful opportunity to see all the beautiful things everyone had created, and to thank Graham and Christine for being such great hosts.
Here is everyone’s work:
I love seeing the diversity and creativity. Everyone has started from the same ingredients but has brought their own personality to their knitting. What a lot of gorgeous things!
I had a wonderful time, a lovely week with such talented and interesting students. There are still some places available on the French Treats holiday this September. Fiona will be teaching broadly the same programme as we have been doing this week. Also there will be another holiday next June. The dates and subjects to be covered haven’t been finalised yet but it will probably be the
second week in June. I am very biased, but would encourage you to sign up, partly because it is great fun! And partly because if there are enough participants I can go again as teaching assistant
- 1 Comments
June 7, 2013
Today has been a day with lots of knitting, and some exciting weather!
The workshop topic for today was Entrelac. These are Fiona’s samples:
It has also been a good day for finishing things. Here is my coffee pot cover (I still need to find some nice buttons for the closure, and am thinking of trying to make some out of Fimo).
Here is the inside showing the crocheted steek.
Joanne finished her beret. Beautifully knitted, I love the colour combination, and it looks great on her.
I made some good progress on my Entrelac. I have decided to make the smaller cowl in stocking stitch, using the alternating colours.
The weather has definitely turned today. We went for a swim before dinner, and only just managed it before it started to rain! We have also had thunder and lightning and a power cut which meant a candle-lit shower after the swim!
- 0 Comments
June 6, 2013
Today was a full day of knitting, noses to the grindstone!
The new subject for today was knit one below, but people were of
course free to continue with projects from earlier in the week if
they preferred. Here are the two mitten patterns that Fiona
designed using this technique.
As you can see we have accumulated quite a lot of
paper and knitting on the work table, but fun was had along with
We went for a lovely dip in the pool before dinner. The weather has been gorgeous and sunny, and the wind has dropped. It was great to drift in the pool looking up at the sky.
Joanne finished her first mitten already.
I have made good progress on mine (you may recognise the neon yarn from the other day!)
This evening we went for a meal at the Auberge des Glycines at Taillebourg, on the banks of the river Charente. He is the view from the front of the restaurant.
The food was delicious and the setting delightful. I have eaten so much good food I shall be spherical by the time I go home!
- 0 Comments
June 5, 2013
Today we gave our brains a rest and our wallets a workout with a trip to La Rochelle.
Unfortunately one of the yarn shops we visited last year has since shut down, but we did visit the other two, along with a chocolate shop, and an ice-cream shop.
The weather has been hot and sunny, and when we got back several of us did a few laps of the pool. It is a great size, big enough to actually swim properly, but not unmanageable.
This evening was Show and Tell. We saw lots of lovely things! Myra has finished her mug hug.
And here is the inside to see the finished steek.
Last night we had a lovely walk up the road from Le Vieux Monastere, here is the view back. Totally beautiful. It is a very restful and peaceful place.
- 0 Comments
June 4, 2013
Today has been a whole day of knitting in the workshop. We have been doing stranded knitting with a yarn in each hand, and steeking, and some people have been continuing with their lace from yesterday.
These are two variations of the coffee pot cover Fiona has designed. It is the same pattern but one uses the multicolour yarn for the background and the other for the foreground.
For those who preferred to start on something a little smaller, Fiona also designed some mug hugs for people to try.
And a beret pattern, for those who wanted to make something with shaping in, but without the steeks. These three berets are from the same pattern, but with different yarns. The first two have been blocked over plates, but the third left to dry to its unstretched shape, for if you prefer a more casual look.
Sandra as completed our first finished project of the week with her mug hug!
Swiftly followed by Elisabeth with hers.
I am making progress with my rather fluorescent coffee pot cover:
And I have done a bit more of my lace.
Everybody has been doing really well, and learning lots.
French Treats,Stranded Knitting
- 1 Comments
June 3, 2013
Today we got down to some serious knitting! This morning was lace.
Here is my whole goody bag for the week, the bright multicolour is 4ply weight, and we are using this to make a lace shawl. You can make a reasonable sized shawl from only one ball.
This is Fiona’s sample showing the finished shawl:
And another of her samples showing a variation using slightly different lace patterns and also adding beads:
This is my progress so far!
Everyone is progressing really well, especially considering that for some this is their first experience of lace or charts.
In the afternoon we gave our brains a little rest and went for a trip to Cognac, and had a really interesting tour of the Baron Otard distillery. They are in a building in which Francis I was born, and which has connections to Richard the Lionheart.
And also happened to have some fantastic doorways.
It was probably best that the Cognac testing came after the lace knitting!
- 0 Comments
June 2, 2013
Today we flew out to La Rochelle for the start of this years French Treats knitting holiday. As with last year I am being Fiona’s little helper.
In very apt fashion the airplane had a City and Guilds logo on the side (did they know that several of us are studying City and Guilds knitting with Fiona?!)
As you can see it also had an energy certificate on the side which made it look a little like a fridge or a washing machine!
We arrived in time to enjoy our slightly squashed sandwiches for lunch. Then helped to organise the goody bags of yarn for everyone this afternoon.
The weather is a little breezy but still sunny, and this evening we have been sitting outside and knitting. This is the life!
Tomorrow we knuckle down to the hard work of serious knitting! Then a trip to Cognac in the afternoon.
- 0 Comments
March 25, 2013
The Great Sort Out is still coming along. I am definitely making inroads, but there is a long way to go still. I am looking forward to getting to the City and Guilds work currently buried on the dining table and making another good stab at that, it has been on pause for too long.
In amongst the sorting I have managed a little bit of slow knitting, a couple of rows here and there. It is surprising what can be accomplished with a few sessions of waiting for appointments, the odd 20 bars rest at band, and a bit of skyping to my sister in New York – ah the delights of hands-free phoning – and with the web-cam I can bore her rigid with my knitting too Their weather sounds even more horrid than ours, the hats I knitted for my niece and nephew for Christmas are getting a good work-out
Anyway, I have actually finished some socks (shock horror!). I am finding socks to be a conveniently achievable size of project at the moment, and have the added bonus of being very portable, hence I do actually work on them.
The pattern is called Escadaria (I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce it), and came from Sockupied, Spring 2011, one of the eMags from Interweave. I made the middle size (9in circumference), used 2.25mm needles and the yarn is some 75% superwash merino, 25% seacell fibre dyed by Fluff n Stuff and spun into a 3ply by me. Conveniently I used almost exactly the whole skein – only a couple of metres were left at the end.
The pale flashes are bits of the seacell which I didn’t manage to distribute evenly when I was spinning.
The yarn has come out rather hard and somewhat inelastic, although it is mostly wool it feels and looks like a mercerized cotton. This is something I am keen to work on with my spinning in the coming months. I would like to be able to spin a more elastic, squashier yarn. I am looking forward to some practising!
Hopefully in this case the fact that the yarn is quite strong should be a help rather than a hinderance, and will hopefully make the socks wear better. Also the very smooth solid nature of the yarn shows up the lace pattern well. I enjoyed knitting these, although I wasn’t that keen on the little pretend-cable pattern on the leg, and I didn’t really like the way the heel was done – the joins seemed a bit messy. It is fun trying out some different patterns, and different ways of working heels and toes. I am getting a feel for which I like to work, and how well different shapes fit my feet.
Back to the sorting I think. This week hopefully should see me finish cataloguing the rest of my knitting books.
Finished Projects 2013,Lace,Socks,Spinning
- 0 Comments
February 18, 2013
Happy New Year! I hope that 2013 has got off to a good start for everyone. I have been plodding along with the Great Sort Out. The pile of magazines and books on my arm of the settee is still large but is decreasing by the day. It is now less likely to spontaneously avalanche and bury one (or both) of us alive.
I have been knitting away in the background. More socks from my handspun. I seem to be having a purple phase at the moment.
These are my first toe-up socks, and it was great fun! The pattern is called Having Hope by Diane Mulholland.
I used 2.5mm needles and 96g / 272m of handspun Southdown wool, and made the medium size.
Southdown is one of the softest of the down breeds of sheep, but it isn’t nearly as soft as merino or blue-faced leicester. It is very springy though, which should hopefully make good socks, and which shows the pattern up well. Hopefully it should wear well too. I like the way the colours have come out, a bit of variation for interest, but not so much that it obscures the pattern, and not too pink
The next pair used a pattern called Nemesis by Susan Dittrich (named for the Agatha Christie book).
Again I used 2.5mm needles, and made the larger size. As you can see I ran out of yarn on the toe of the second sock. I used a total of 125g / 280m. Most of the yarn is a handspun blend of merino wool in purples and greens from Wingham. I used a bit of the purple Southdown for the second toe. The socks will be in my shoes most of the time so I am going to call the different coloured toe an interesting design feature
I am looking forward to wearing both of these pairs of socks. I suspect the merino pair will wear less well over time, but I am enjoying experimenting with spinning for socks and seeing how the results come out. I am also getting a better feel for how much yarn I need for a pair of socks for me, which is handy for the future.
Finished Projects 2013,Socks,Spinning
- 5 Comments
December 27, 2012
In a moment of over-optimism at the end of November about the speed of my knitting I decided that I would knit a little something for both my parents for their Christmas presents. I had had the yarn for both for absolutely ages, and had been meaning to knit them for a while so this seemed the ideal moment!
For Mummy I made the Eleanor cowl from Knitty, in Posh Yarn Marguerite, which is a 4ply weight, 50% cashmere, 50% silk. The colour is called celery.
I orginally bought the yarn thinking I would make socks, but the mixture of cashmere and silk is completely inelastic and would have made not terribly good socks. However I think it does make lovely lace.
For Daddy I made Ann’s Go-To Socks from the Simply Socks eMag from Interweave Press. They are a fairly standard sock pattern. I had to create an extra size two sizes larger than the largest one written because Daddy (like me) has rather wide feet. I used some Schoppel-wolle sock yarn for these.
The picture was a rather rushed affair because I finished knitting these on the day before they left after their pre-Christmas visit, while they were out visiting my Nanny. The picture was taken in the 5 minutes between casting off and wrapping them up
Luckily both presents fit (whew!).
Finished Projects 2012,Lace,Socks
- 2 Comments