Nestled in the heart of Pembrokeshire, near the beautiful Cleddau estuary, you’ll find AA Three-Star Rated Beggars Reach Country Hotel. This intimate, white-washed hideaway features everything you’d expect of a place that dates from the 18th century. Thick stone walls, old beams, a graceful staircase, cozy nooks and crannies and beautiful views across gardens and fields create a warm, welcoming and rustic farmhouse feel. Traces of the building’s former life as the local vicarage are still apparent in well-appointed rooms, tastefully decorated to a high standard, with traditional furnishings and private baths that compromise nothing to comfort. Contemporary additions to the building are a skilful blend of old and new, adding modern comforts while retaining the building’s magical atmosphere. The workshop will be held in the light and airy Orangery, a new and spacious room, with views of the manicured lawns through walls of windows, and an enormous skylight overhead to provide excellent light for knitting.
Outstanding food was a major consideration when selecting the venue for our workshop, and the restaurant at Beggars Reach does not disappoint. A true destination restaurant, it draws visitors from miles around, and has earned its well-deserved reputation for tempting menus, featuring beautifully prepared local ingredients, and simple but elegant home cooking.
Day 1 – Friday, 15 May 2015
Check-in to your room no later than noon, then meet us in the Breakfast Room by 1pm for a get-acquainted buffet lunch. Classes begin at 2pm sharp! Don’t be late!
Friday afternoon’s Quotidian Colourwork class kicks off with the inspirational objects you’ve brought with you to the workshop. Felix will share her methods for finding inspiration from the world around you, and offer samples and examples a plenty to jumpstart your creativity. We’ll make friends with some of the new toys you’ll find in your goodie bag, and we’ll start to get a handle on how to develop a palette of colours based on the things, places or plants that are meaningful to you.
Mid-afternoon, we’ll have a brain break with coffee, tea and lovely biscuits, followed by practical exercises designed to help you explore and identify colours throughout the afternoon.
Later that evening, we’ll meet in the dining room for our first dinner together and we’ll get to know each other better. In the evening, those who wish to can meet up for a relaxing evening of knitting and chat. The inn has a licensed bar and serves real ale and cider.
Day 2 – Saturday, 16 May 2015
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, we’re back in the Orangery for lessons on shading and pattern development, and you’ll begin to use the information gleaned from Friday’s exercises to develop your own unique colourwork charts. After a brain break with morning coffee, tea and biscuits, you’ll begin swatching your charted designs with Brenda and Felix available to assist, should you need it.
After a splendid lunch, we’ll adjourn to the mini theatre where our focus shifts from surface design to sweater architecture in Brenda’s class, Bespoke Yokes. Clear visuals will help you understand the mathematics of yoke architecture, and you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you get the shaping just right, no matter how complex the colourwork. Following our afternoon Brain Break, we’ll head back to the Orangery and begin working our all important “petal swatch”. We’ll use the afternoon to refine our designs, with Felix and Brenda both on hand to assist your process.
After our Saturday night dinner, and back by popular demand, well meet back in the Orangery for an evening of Today’s Sweater! This Finished Object show and tell has become something of a tradition at our weekend workshops, and is hosted by Brenda, as only she can. Bring whatever you like to share with the group - FOs, UFOs; successful projects or those less so! You can count on learning more about your fellow gwlana weekenders, much cheering for your knitted work from all assembled, and a really lovely, warm, knitterly glow as you head off to bed. This is one of our favourite parts of the weekend!
Day 3 - Sunday, 17 May 2015
After our Sunday morning breakfast, we’ll head back to the Orangery, where Brenda will show you the ins-and-outs of planning a sweater based on your own measurements as well as the information gleaned from the petal swatch you began Saturday afternoon. Don’t worry if your swatch isn’t finished! You just need enough knitting to obtain an accurate row gauge. Following our mid-morning Brain Break, we’ll measure ourselves and each other and fill in the blanks on our comprehensive Bespoke Yokes worksheet. At lunchtime, we’ll enjoy a traditional British Sunday roast dinner.
While we dine our UK-based vendors will be setting up for one of the highlights of our weekend, The Tiny Perfect Marketplace! Our vendors will be bringing their best wares to share with you – solids, semi-solids and variegated yarns in fibres and blends of all descriptions! And, our Marketplace is not just for vendors. Do you spin or dye yarn? Make stitch markers or jewelry? Paint watercolors or work in wood? Something else we haven’t thought of? Your wares are also welcome at our Marketplace! We’ll be talking about this in our Gwlana Ravelry forum…come join us!
After a substantial Sunday Lunch and the thrill of the Marketplace, the rest of your afternoon and evening is free to spend as you choose. This is a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Cleddau Estuary, go for a drive in the country, organize your recent stash acquisitions, nap, knit on the porch or in the lounge – whatever you wish! And because we know some of you can’t put your needles down, Brenda and Felix will be available from 3-5 Sunday afternoon in the Bar area to answer questions, bounce design ideas off or just chat and knit with.
By the way, dinner fare Sunday night will be much lighter than usual [think buffet], since we’ve just had the feast of the ages at lunchtime. In the evening, we’ll gather beside the bar for a singalong pyjama party, and maybe even get to watch a period costume drama, if the BBC or ITV are cooperative. Bring packable musical instruments, if you’d like. Felix will have her accordion and the evening’s musical madness begins when she’s finished her second pint. Naturally, the bar will be open for your imbibing pleasure.
Day 4 – Monday, 18 May 2015
Our last class together on Monday morning features something new and different for each workshop, with the focus on interesting techniques that you might not have tried before, and small projects that are easy to travel with. It's always a secret, and always memorable. We promise you’ll love it.
We’ll meet for a farewell lunch in the dining room and, if you wish, you can add your contact details to our class roster, so we can keep in touch, and share photos of our FOs when they’re complete.
By 2pm, you’ll be on your way.
What you’ll learn: The KNITSONIK system: A fun and intuitive way of working with colour to create unique and meaningful stranded colourwork knitted fabric; BESPOKE YOKES: How to apply your own stranded colourwork designs to create a custom-fitted yoke sweater; A surprise class on our last day that sends you home with a special small project well underway, designed for enjoyable travel knitting.
What you’ll take away: A very special goodie bag made just for us, filled with all your class materials and some truly wonderful surprises; Class handouts that will help keep the KNITSONIK and BESPOKE YOKES systems fresh in your mind so that you can continue your design journey after the weekend is over; all the intangibles: inspiration, excitement, a new way of approaching colourwork and knitwear design; and, if you’re anything like our previous attendees, a new group of friends from all over the world!
Single or double registration includes: All workshop fees, your lovely goodie bag and its fabulous contents, three nights single or double occupancy accommodation at Beggars Reach Country Hotel; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages.
Partners and Family registration includes: Three nights double occupancy accommodation for spouses and children sharing your room, plus breakfast and dinner (excluding alcohol), payable directly to Beggars Reach Hotel at the end of your stay.
Registration opens at 2:00 pm GMT on 15 March 2015!Sign up for our mailing list to stay in the loop.