Lucia’s Eastern Jewels Workshop at Poppy’s

When we were given the opportunity to attend a workshop by Lucia of Lucia’s Fig Tree, we jumped at the chance. Little did we know that it would be in the most perfect setting.

On Saturday 18th of November, we set off to a place only 5 minutes away from the mill, ideal. We were heading to Poppy’s, a yarn shop with a difference. This was no ordinary workshop, this was a retreat.

We pulled up at a rural farmhouse with magnificent views. We had a boot full of Stylecraft goodie bags for the other participants and headed into the kitchen where were greeted by Helen, who runs Poppy’s, with her husband Peter.

After a warm welcome and a little tour around, we could see this was going to be like no other workshop. We all met in the dining room for coffee and an introduction where we were told to make ourselves at home. We all introduced ourselves and Lucia told us what we would be doing over the next two days.

Lucia has become a crochet sensation after recolouring some of Jane Crowfoot’s designs, most recently recolouring Persian Tiles into Eastern Jewels. She is also a wiz with designing blankets and working with colour and texture.

We then piled into the living room where the fire was lit and Lucia’s blankets were piled high.

Along with the Stylecraft goodie bags, we also had a Poppy’s goodie bag which was most exciting! We really were spoilt! There were baskets of yarn and boxes with yarn wraps strewn all around us making us feel very at home.

Then it was time to begin. Lucia started by showing us her blankets and talking about border and joining shades and how it can have a huge impact in the feel of the blanket. She advised us to think carefully about the tone and shades – Alpaca yarn has a more muted shade, whereas Special is more solid and defined.

Lucia trained as an architect and has worked in interior design for many years, so choosing colours and texture is second nature to her. She brought some mood boards which she had made for a client to show us how she pics out shades, tones and textures which was very interesting. She had also brought along her scrapbook which showed us her ideas and how she plans a blanket. She showed us a blanket she had made for her bedroom by picking out colours in her curtains. You can clearly see how the blanket and curtain ties coordinate.

Lucia referred to the book ‘Around the Corner’ by Edie Eckman for great borders to use. She also suggested learning to read crochet graphs which enables you to read international patterns with ease. After the talk on choosing colours, we all began working on our Eastern Jewels blanket, surprisingly, there were not many of us who had started the blanket so many of us were new to the octagon. This kept us quiet and in deep concentration for the next half an hour or so.

Then, it was time for lunch! We headed to the dining room for a feast of sandwiches, quiche, salad and soup followed by all kinds of delicious cakes. After much chatting, it was time to get back to crocheting where many of us got sidetracked and wandered off into the amazing shop.

Poppy’s is a farmhouse which has had an extension built to hold crochet retreats, so although you feel like you are in someone’s home, it is purpose built, just for comfort and crochet. There is also a shop, but this is no ordinary shop. People who attend the retreats can use it as a normal shop but with the added bonus of being able to make many visits and swap things as you go, paying for it at the end of your visit. Although this shop is not open to the public, it is just as well organised and displayed. There is, however, an online shop which sells all of the wonderful things in the shop, and more, which you can find here.

The darkness set in and it was time to retire. The other ladies had another day of workshopping, lunching and crocheting, but unfortunately Stylecraft could not attend, but don’t worry, we got the lowdown and what Sunday had in store for them.

We asked the ladies to sum up Sunday and the overwhelming response was ‘Understanding the power of colour, making it pop.’

Lucia shared her design from her blog for November which she is making. Hygge is a blanket that was inspired by IKEA designs for clean living and the current craze for a natural palette. The girls then learnt how to get balance across the whole blanket and how to select the next colours for each square.

The lunch break as was a traditional Yorkshire steak pie and peas with mint sauce which was a great success.

The afternoon was a session that looked at different joining stitches; how to join the Eastern Jewels and how to join another of the patterns from Stylecraft the Batik Elements pattern by Annelies Baes that a number of the ladies were working on. It was concluded that the best description of how to do this came from another Stylecraft Blogstar, Heather from Patchwork Heart, a friend of Poppy’s and someone who had created a number of the pieces displayed in the shop.

Throughout the day there were plenty of one on one consultations in the shop with Lucia and Helen, to help select the wool for their next projects, here there was a real interest in learning to mix different wool types together.

Another successful day and a reluctant set of ladies leaving at the end of the day with bags of inspiration and wool to start their new projects.

The quote of the day came from one of the ladies, Louise, who said she felt inspired and empowered to be confident on her own with colours and shapes as there are no rules.