Last week I was away for 4 days with 10 of my knitgroup friends on our annual knitting retreat to Buxton. It is now almost guaranteed to be glorious sunny weather each time we retreat to Buxton – this was our third retreat and we had wall to wall sunshine again.
Buxton is beautiful in the sunshine (and not too bad when it rains either!) and it feels like a home-from-home. The hotel we stay at looks after us very well, their hospitality is wonderful and they cater perfectly for a group of knitters. In fact we have already pencilled in next year’s retreat at the same venue!
We have some favourite shops and cafes that we visit, and always discover something new. This year 2 of us (Julie and I) took the train to Whaley Bridge to locate a yarn shop – it is Yarnbirds and is situated just a stone’s throw from the station within a lovely café. The yarn selection is excellent, I came away with a skein each from Peak District Yarns (a sock yarn – merino/nylon/sparkle in ‘Brilliant Boots’) and The Little Grey Sheep (British Stein Fine Wool in ‘My Girl Lollypop’).
We always hold our own workshops at the hotel – this year Sue did an excellent workshop on sock knitting, Margaret and Lorraine did a weaving demonstration (I am holding back the urge to buy my own loom…but it is so hard….) and I had a ‘crochet corner’ for anyone wanting crochet help or wanting to make the Buxton Satchel.
The 4 days flew by, and I can’t wait til next year 🙂
Meanwhile here’s the Buxton Satchel – I have a ‘recipe’ for this (not a full blown pattern) and will share it on this blog next week.
I have just returned from a knitaway break to Buxton in the company of 8 lovely knitters.
I have been on numerous such holidays over the last couple of years and they are always enjoyable. We find new things to do, enjoy a relaxing time away from our normal ‘routine’ and have a great laugh. Perhaps I should add we eat very well and quaff a fair amount of wine, or maybe I should say lots of wine 😉
This was a new venue for us – the Alison Park Hotel . It is a family run hotel in a large arts and crafts style house just a stone’s throw from Pavilion Gardens and therefore very easy strolling distance of the town centre. It proved to be a very good knitters’ venue – the rooms were all ensuite and spacious, they have 2 lounges, one of which was ours exclusively, and a light and airy dining room, part of which is a conservatory and a perfect size for our meals and workshops. The staff and managers were very friendly and nothing was too much trouble. The food and drink was plentiful and good.
So what do we do on a knitaway? Well it isn’t all knitting, there is always some crochet but we also like to try new crafts. So we started with a self help workshop on making Dorset buttons, which are buttons woven with yarn on a circular ring. I had seen these at Yarndale and I purposely decided to buy a bag of rings so we could all have a go at Buxton. Here are the two I made:
Dorset buttons were traditionally made in Dorset as a cottage industry, with thousands employed in the craft. You can find out about Dorset buttons on various websites such as this one: Henrys. And you can buy the rings from Beakers Buttons
Do you remember the beaded crochet and knit pouches? Well that was the subject of the second workshop. Some ladies wanted to knit and some wanted to crochet, but everyone had a go. Of course with all the nattering we didn’t quite finish these beaded pouches, even with 4 days away.
This is the one I made, finished at Buxton except for the lining.
The lining is purple felt bought from this shop in Buxton. I am sure they enjoyed our stay, we all purchased at least one item from them!
The third workshop was on sock knitting, toe up two at a time socks (avoiding the second sock syndrome) expertly tutored by Jenny, and Sue was on hand to provide excellent hints and tips and one to one tutoring on sock making
We dipped in and out of workshops as we fancied, nothing was compulsory and everything was flexible. We had chosen 2 mitts patterns to work on together, although very few of us made much progress with them!!!! I did start mine….
Also, we worked on many other projects (I brought a hat and a shawl to work on). Although I don’t think very much was finished.
Buxton has lots of lovely shops, so we visited the town every day for a bite for lunch and a bit of shopping…..did I mention the shops?
On the last evening Nic from Yarns from the Plain dropped in to see us with her pop up wool shop. This was like a sweet shop for knitters and crocheters. Not only were her colours wonderful and the yarn bases soft and squidgy, but the names she gave them were very local, such as Nether Alderley, Chelford and Mobberley. All of which conjured up images of the Cheshire plains and local sheep. Of course, I couldn’t resist……
So – knitting, crochet, shopping, eating, drinking laughing….such a good combination and one which we are sure to mix together again, and likely at the same venue!