Saturday, 31 August 2013

Day dallying at the Gathering while Amy Advises

The whole idea of the Small Wool Gathering is that it IS SMALL but although the bedrooms at the house are full we do still have 5 day tickets available at £350 each or £225 for those who prefer to arrive Saturday morning and depart after Sunday lunch.  Day guests can stay at any of a number of local hotels or B&Bs

What will you get for your money?  Well firstly you will still get to spend up to two and a half days at the beautiful Peddington Manor

The food will be delicious - and will include cake and biscuits at every snack opportunity and wine with your meals, served in this rather impressive dinning room

AND your tutor for the whole weekend will be the lovely (and knitterly talented) Amy Singer, editor of Knitty magazine where we all go to find fab patterns and spinning and knitting advice.  

I met Amy at the first knitting retreat I ever went to, it was such a wonderful experience that I went again the next year.  Sadly Amy and her friend Brenda Dayne (of the brilliant knitting podcast Cast-On and the new book Welsh for Rainbow)  cannot continue to run knitting retreats for the time being and this is how The Small Wool Gathering was born.

So what happens at The Small Wool Gathering?  This is how we will fill our days

Friday 11 October 2013
6pm - arrive and settle in
7.15  - drinks and surprises
8pm - dinner
after dinner - knitting 'show and tell', tell all about a wooly triumph or disaster

9am - Breakfast (residents only)
10.30 - Amy's first class (Auto pilot socks - there is homework, learn Judy's magic cast-on before you come and bring with you your chosen sock yarn and needles, circular or DPNs)
1pm - lunch
2.30 Amy's second class (Digital camera secrets for knitters, no homework but bring your camera and its manual and something knitted to photograph)
Free time between classes and dinner
8pm - Dinner (dress code wear something glamorous you have knitted)

my choice of yarn for glamour but will I knit it up in time?

9am - Breakfast (residents only)
10.30 Amy's last class (Silk spindling, all materials supplied)
1pm - lunch
the afternoon is free to enjoy beautiful local walks, explore nearby Berkley village and its castle or relax at the Manor with your knitting (or spinning)
8pm - Dinner

8.30 - Breakfast (Residents only)
10.30 - depart :-(

Where can you stay?

Firstly I have to say I have not personally tested out these hotels.

The nearest hotel is The Gables, only a five minute drive from the Manor.  It is modern and comfortable but likely to lack much character.  It is one of a chain of hotels that are all generally of a good standard. Although I have not been inside these hotels are all pretty much the same and are ideal for a place to crash when there is something good to go on to (as with The Small Wool Gathering)

In the very pretty village of Berkley, slightly further away (about a 10 minute drive) are a couple of very good looking hotel/pubs which also do B&B including The Malt House which looks comfortable with beamed ceilings in the bedrooms and all food cooked freshly to order.

There are many other hotels and guest houses in the area this page has a list, I see there is even a castle about 10 miles away from Peddington!

There are local taxi companies who can be booked to take day guests who don't have cars to and from the Manor 

More information on Amy's classes please!

Please watch this space, the next blog post will have lots more information and pictures!

Amy teaching how to work with silk hankies at last year's Gwlana retreat

If you would like to book one of the last 5 places at The Small Wool Gathering or would like more information, please e mail Catherine (chopkins2013 [at] or Alli (Allison.thistlewood [at]

The closing date for booking is 29 September

Hope to see some of you at The Manor on the 11th!!



Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Directions and something tasty

Hello again!  We are working hard on lots of lovely things for you to enjoy in October at our first Small Wool Gathering.  Alli has brought back a few surprises from her long summer holiday in Canada and despite a case of serious over work on The Great London Yarn Crawl with Rachel, she is also working on something with Kathleen to cause utterances of delight soon after you arrive at Peddington.  Kathleen and I are also working together on a separate project so if you feel like a little more knitting (or knitting something little) hop over to Kathleen's blog, or mine (or both) and find out about a KAL using the fabulous Spud & Chloe Sweater yarn (don't you love the name?)

no connection with TSWG!  Just because S&C is so pretty!

We are trying to keep some of the things we will do secret so that you can have the fun of surprises on our weekend away.  But it's hard when you have been tasked to blog about the weekend not to give little hints and tease a bit.  So if you feel this is leaving you a little too much in suspense do pass swiftly on to the end of this post where you will find directions to Peddington Manor and other practical stuff for your reference.  Although Jenny has e mailed you we thought you might find it convenient for all the information about the weekend to be in one place... And that is right here!

At the moment Jenny and I are working on the food.  Jenny has devised the main menu with vegetarian options and I am adapting this for those with special dietary needs.  My family is a little over provided with cakes at the moment and find them selves handed a plate of some new cake or biscuit and demands from me to provide an opinion.  We have also discovered another way of testing menus... Parties and dinners!  Last Saturday was my un-birthday party (I was 60 earlier in the month EEK!) one of the meat dishes went down very well and will be served to you for dinner one night at Peddington.  Tonight JTH and I are having dinner at Jenny's house where the entire meal follows the proposed menu for the first night of The Gathering.  So you can see we are having fun getting things just right for you all.

this one's a little ugly, but tasted OK and is GF

Now for some practical stuff.   One of our classes with Amy will involve some spinning and, although all the equipment and materials you need for all the classes will be provided, it would be fun if you also brought your wheels and or spindles.  This is of course assuming you either have the equipment, are coming by car or have the inclination to add a large unwieldy wooden item to your packing.

There will be plenty of free time between classes and a free Sunday afternoon so lots of time to sit and spin together (and learn from each other) if you would like.  There are also good walks and places to visit nearby but more of that another time.

Finally here are the instructions for driving to the Manor.

Arriving by Car

Take the M5 to Junction 14.  Leave the motorway at Junction 14 and follow signs for A38.  At the A38 T-Junction turn right signed Berkeley.  Follow the A38 into the village of Stone.  Pass the left turn to Lower Stone then take the left turn signed Ham, passing a primary school on your left.  Follow this road a short distance into the countryside and you will arrive at Pedington Manor on your right.  It is a large three storey house next to a small brick cottage, with the entrance on the right between the Manor and the Manor Cottage.  Follow the drive around to the right and enter through the back door, on your right as you park.

Much love


PS - Don't forget, if you are travelling by train, to let Jenny know what time you arrive at Cam & Dursley station  so we can arrange to pick you up.  

PPS - We have had a few enquiries about day tickets but please continue to spread the word the cost of a day ticket is £350 each or £225 for those who prefer to arrive Saturday morning and depart after Sunday lunch

Saturday, 17 August 2013

THE SMALL Wool Gathering 11 - 14 October 2011 - First Sight

Yesterday Jenny and I went to look over the lovely Peddington Manor, the venue for our first Small Wool Gathering.  The house is super easy to find, only about 4 miles from junction 14 of the M5.  This is the view of the house as you drive down the lane, although you will have to imagine a hedge and a bend in the road between you and the house!

Drive just past the house and pull into the drive and you will find plenty of parking, enter by the kitchen door (you can just see it on the left in the picture)

We have some pretty amazing menus planned so were very pleased to see how well equipped the kitchen is - not just an Aga but a second oven in the scullery behind, two dishwashers and plenty of matching crockery, cutlery and wine glasses! 

It's my guess that either this house was once two or three houses or it is very ancient with rooms built on at random.  There are lots of interconnecting corridors -


and down

winding stair cases

and an arrow slit window or two

But there are also comfy bedrooms

Several bathrooms (this one's the biggest)

Sitting rooms

and quiet corners

The formal dining room is huge.  Not just for meals but where we will sit around the table and learn from our knitting expert and editor of magazine, Amy Singer

When it comes to eating and sleeping our youngest guest (who attended her first knitting retreat when aged only 3 months!) is also provided for, with high chair, cot and through the garden gate...

a playing field!

The gardens surround the house (this is the gate to the front lawn)

Despite driving all the way there in the rain the weather was perfect when we arrived, I wonder if we shall be as lucky in October?  The evenings will be drawing in by then but if the sun shines we could have elevenses and tea in the garden

Beside the old well

or if chilly beside the Aga

Lastly we met the neighbours, although they found us rather disappointing.  Next time we will remember to bring polo mints!

We'll post more here as we get nearer the date, if you have already booked we hope you are as excited as we are!

Don't forget that after dinner on Friday we are planning to have a knitting 'Show-And-Tell' (triumphs and disasters) and at Saturday dinner the dress code is 'wear something woolly and glamorous'.  Alli and Kathleen (or was it Alli or Kathleen?) suggested we might have a yarn swap too.  If  you have stash yarn you would like to swap post details on Ravelry  (Forum - Gwlana - Small Wool Gathering Chat) of what yarn you have to swap and see what offers you get!

If you have not booked and are interested we are sorry that all the rooms in the manor are booked but about 2 miles down the road is a Best Great Western Hotel which charges £50  for bed and breakfast and we have six day tickets still for sale, you get to join in everything except the B&B!

If you are interested in a day ticket (this is for the whole weekend we cannot sell tickets for individual days) please e mail Catherine (chopkins2011 [at] gmail [dot] com ) and we will send you details.

Looking forward to seeing you all on October 11th


Catherine (and Jenny)

PS If I don't get my needles out I shall be wearing this skein of fab Tilly Thomas symphony lace with beads unknitted around my neck to Saturday night's dinner!