It’s been almost two weeks since the Gourmet Retreat in Port Ludlow and I’m still ranting and raving about it to anyone who will listen.  It was a great change of pace to be surrounded by so many people that truly understand your passion for the fiber arts.

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and wine flights) were accompanied with and followed by knitting.  No one thinks twice when you pull your knitting project out at the dinner table.  No one thinks it’s odd at all to photograph your knitting.  No one interrupts you when you’re counting and recounting your cast on stitches.  Because they really get it.

I’ve been reading Stephanie’s (aka The Yarn Harlot) blog since before telling people you read knitting blogs was a cool thing (it’s totally cool) and to finally be in one of her classes was, well… let’s just say I could barely contain myself.  Like my college days, I was there early to snag the best seat possible (the one closest to the teacher) because, well, I’m a nerd and DUH(!) it’s Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I tried talking to her that day, but I was definitely suffering from crazy-fan-girl-syndrome.  Side effects include: extreme stuttering, excessive smiling, redness in the face, and profuse sweating.  I think she tried to back out of a few conversations with me because I was probably foaming at the mouth.  In any case, she gave us some lovely stuff to knit with while she talked fiber.

From bottom to top, left to right (in the order they were received): 100% Cashmere; 65% Cashmere, 35% Silk blend; 100% Bombyx Silk; 80% French Angora, 20% Superfine Merino blend; 50% Alpaca, 30% Merino, 20% Silk blend; 100% Qiviut (musk ox); 50% Qiviut, 50% Bombyx Silk blend; 100% Bison; 50% Bison, 50% Merino blend; 40% Guanaco, 40% Superfine Merino, 20% Silk blend; 100% Vicuna; 80% Merino, 10% Cashmere, 10% Nylon blend.

Together, they will create the most expensive (not to mention, softest) cowl in my wardrobe.  I will not share it with anyone and I will most likely cry with sheer joy every time I wear it.  It’s one of those things that just can’t be helped.

After learning all about luxury yarns, we got to try our hands at dyeing some yarn with Tina.  I look like a mad scientist in this picture… and I have a ridiculously high pony tail, which I think, accentuates the madness.

I had not a clue what I was doing, but Tina was great.  She reassured us that there is no way we could mess up and there was no way we’d be going home with a skein of yarn that we didn’t like.  She’s so smart; I love all the yarns I dyed!

When I came home, I had two bags full of yarn, a bag of retreat goodies, some new friends, a huge cramp in my left hand from knitting for three days straight, and a re-affirmation that this is really something that I love doing.

The last day, Stephanie and Tina managed to look past my crazy fan girl eyes and agreed to have their picture taken with me.  They are both so awesome and I can’t wait to do another one of these retreats again.  And who knows, maybe next time, I won’t stutter as much.

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