Bergere De France Talk

A couple of weeks ago I attended a talk at Rockin’ Beads given by Colin Chawner Head of Bergere de France in the UK.

Rockin Beads Okehampton

Bergere de France is a family owned knitting yarn company based in the Lorraine region of France. They are a design driven brand who have been selling yarn in the UK for the last seven years.

The majority of their yarns are blends, but their range spans from 100% acrylic to 95% cashmere. Fleeces for their yarn are sourced from Uruguay and processed from start to finish in their factory in France.

Colin explained that their marketing policy is to work with a smaller number of specialist stores in the UK who stock a greater range of their products.  I think this is an interesting idea. All too often shops only stock the basic/best selling yarns from a range and the more unusual yarns can only be purchased online where you can’t squish them and the colours on screen are rarely accurate.

20150917_160459

Bergere also want to reach out and connect with their customers through talks and workshops, rather than just sending yarn out to stores to sell.  I confess, having knitted for 40 years, I was at a loss to say what I’d personally like covered in a manufacturer’s workshop. If I want to learn a new stitch pattern or technique, I’ll check a book or YouTube. If I want to make something I’ve never made before I’ll buy a pattern. If I’m struggling with something I’d want 1-2-1 with the piece I’m working on, not a workshop. What would draw me to a workshop would be the person taking the workshop, their style or passions, their experience in a certain area or with a certain type of yarn. What would you want from a knitting workshop, beyond getting together with other knitters?

Each of us was given a catalogue with pictures of the entire 2015/2016 range and yarn samples.  If you register an online account you can get one of these free. I think this is a great idea, but I’d still want to touch a whole ball of yarn before I bought it.

Berge de France catalogue

There are no patterns in the catalogue, but we were also give a separate book – that retails for £12 – with all the catalogue’s patterns in it. Bergere de France also produce some themed magazines and individual patterns can also be found in some knitting and crochet magazines.

Berge de France Pattern Book

While the magazine was unquestionably good value for money, and they do have some lovely designs, personally I’d rather have individual patterns. Partly because I like making up my own designs – partly because there’s so much out there to chose from I’m unlikely to knit more than one from the same book – partly because it wastes far less paper. Also I don’t want to have to carry round a book when I could just carry round a sheet of paper. How do you feel about this? Do you like a good value book or individual patterns?

One hugely annoying thing that Bergere have got covered, is that all the accessories, such as buttons, that you see on their patterns can be bought from them. How often do you see a complimentary finishing touch making huge difference, but not know where it came from?

Bergere also sell kits and knitting and sewing accessories. However what I was drawn to were these…

Bergere de France Slippers

I’ve not see anything like them elsewhere. They aren’t cheap at £10.20, but nice to have hand knitted slippers and they’ll make nice presents.  My old slippers have absolutely had it, so I’m in immediate need of a new pair. I look forward to showing you when I’ve knitted them.

Hope you’re having creative week.

Bekki Hill

19 thoughts on “Bergere De France Talk

  1. Great write up. Thanks Bekki. We think it was very well received. Certainly everyone asked lots of questions and enjoyed being able to handle so many sample garments. I know I was won over to one particular line simply because of the sample garment. I don’t mind loose or books of patterns as I always photocopy to work from and I love to keep looking through books.

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    1. Thanks Donna. Good to hear it went down well. I agree it was great to see sample garments. I too like to keep looking through the books, but I guess I prefer the catalogue with the yarn in it for that.

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  2. I love this post Bekki. My local shop is a patchwork shop that sells a very small section of yarns so I often have to rely on online shopping but as you say the colours aren’t always great on screen (hence the green yarn!!) and yarn NEEDS to be squished 🙂 If I use a pattern from a book I also photocopy the pages I need to work from but I usually download online. I think if I went to a workshop I would like them to talk through all the various yarns, what to look for if you want something hardwearing/warm/soft etc . What to choose for jumpers or socks, what is best for bags or babies!! I have some slipper soles similar to yours that I bought online some time ago but have never got around to using them. Mine are made by ‘Boye’. I shall be interested to see the slippers when they are done, mine will be crocheted and I am debating whether or not do my own pattern 🙂 x

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  3. I do actually have a local stockist 10 minutes down the road which is not so weird considering I’m in France but unusual as there aren’t too many craft type shops near me. Bergère de France do have some interesting pattern designs but I find the yarn a bit ‘meh’ personally. My knitting French friend finds their patterns aren’t written too well and I have only tackled one which was a jumper made with a cotton yarn (the recommended one) which kept stretching completely out of shape – and that was while it was still on the needles – so I frogged it and put the yarn in my stash in case I should ever need something like a string shopping bag 😦 They do have those slipper soles in the shop though and the time I can wear my Birkenstocks as slippers around the house will soon be coming to an end (cold toes!) so that might be a fun project.
    If I buy a pattern book, I want to know that there are at least two – probably three – patterns that I will want to make out of it. These are rare beasts and the last time I found one was Kim Hargreaves’ Storm book which contains 21 patterns – almost all of which I would like to knit.

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    1. Interesting to hear about the yarn – I’ve yet to try it, apart from my colour block jumper and I’m finding that quite splity when I knit. At the moment I’m mostly either using super cheap stuff – ive mostly inherited – to experiment with or British wool – or UK indie dyed yarn – which have far more character.

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  4. I love cashmere yarn, and have been looking to find a supplier for some time, so thank you for the heads up. The wool samples look like a great idea.

    As for books.. well I have a whole library of books, covering various aspects of craft, I adore books. I find them inspirational and I love having them around. If I am using a pattern though I actually have to type it out, so I can tick off the rows etc as I go, otherwise I get lost.

    Interesting post, you don’t seem to be all that convinced, but those slippers look very interesting.

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    1. Glad to have helped you in your search for cashmere. I think you’re right – I’m not convinced – I think the yarn range may be too middle ground for me. I think they’re practical, but what I’m growing more and more in love with are Indie dyed yarns and British wools with all their individual personalities that come from the fleece. I also think the de Bergere designs for this year aren’t anywhere near as good as last year.

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  5. I want to crochet some slipper boots with soles like these but can’t find a single pattern I like. I love the ethos behind a few shops stocking a huge range as I prefer to have a good feel before I buy, too. I’m happy with a book because I just photocopy the pages I’m working on as I tend to cross out rows as I do them.It saves marking the original for another time.

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