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French knitting – designing a project for a knitting holiday workshop

In April I will be travelling to France with Arena Travel as the knitting expert on a knitting holiday to Reims where I will teach a day of workshops as part of the trip.

So recently I’ve been designing the project for the workshop and thought I’d share a little about the process and what I’ve come up with.

One highlight of the trip is a day visiting the Bergere de France factory in Bar-le-Duc, a short drive from Reims and as the company is kindly supporting the workshop we will be using its yarns. I am certainly looking forward to that outing and meeting some of the Bergere design team.

It was this that gave me the theme for the workshop. I associate Bergere yarns and patterns with texture and cables so I decided that it would be interesting to look a double-sided textures including reversible cables, choosing stitch patterns and travelling patterns.

And if we are thinking about reversible patterns, it seemed the project should be an accessory as this and homewares are where being double sided comes into its own. But I wanted to add a bit of fun which meant I finally decided on a true moebius cowl where you knit outwards from the centre of the strip.

The moebius cast-on can seem daunting when you first encounter it, but once you learn it can be addictive because it creates such lovely cowls. So I’ll be showing everyone how to get started.

Reims cowl1

So then I had cables and texture and a moebius cowl. Next was the choice of yarn. I wanted something with good stitch definition and a chunky yarn because it would both be warm (which is good for a unisex cowl) and allow us to make progress in the workshop. So after exploring a selection of sample cards from Bergere I decided on Magic+, a worsted wool and acrylic yarn that shows off texture beautifully and comes in a wide range of colours which again is great if you want a unisex pattern.

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And finally I wanted to link the project to Reims and so the way the cables travel on the cowl could be seen as a faint echo of cathedral – also why I choose the main colour for the first sample.

Reims cowl close up 1

We will be offering three or four colour combinations for participants to choose from.

And so the result is a chunky, completely reversible, cowl that can be extended length and width-wise.

Reims cowl 2

I’m now really looking forward to working with the Arena traveller on the trip and sharing my knowledge and the project with them. As well as hearing their knitting ideas and experiences because that can make a great workshop.

Find out more about the trip here.