Archives for posts with tag: Retreat

Fact: I’m way overdue on this post.

Fact: I’m way overdue on lots of other things (see my ever increasing library fine).

Fact: I’m dealing with it by consuming large amounts of beer and holiday cookies.

Fact: I’m not drinking and blogging… much.

There was a reason why I signed up for this retreat again.  And now that it’s said and done, I can add another reason why I’ll probably do it again: Spinning pretty much rules; Judith McKenzie pretty much rules.  This retreat was all about color, how we view it, how we use it, which ones we love, which ones we hate, and even learning how to like the ones we hate.  I still dislike pink, but that’s not for lack of trying.

Stephanie got us designing and charting fair isle.  She taught us about hues and values and how to put colors together in a sensible fashion.  Tina, the color genius, got us to sort of embrace our most hated color by using it as a base in at least one of our skeins.  Turns out pink isn’t so bad when you combine it with other colors.  And Judith showed us how to make batts on drum carders and how to combine colors when we spin.  My first attempt at plying at home before the retreat produced some really ugly shit.  But I swear, there’s something about spinning and plying in the presence of Judith.  All of a sudden your skills transcend into another dimension and you start churning out boucle and other amazing yarns.  Also, I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t totally excited that she touched my wheel.  Yup.  I said it.  Well, at least I didn’t stutter and act all crazy fan girl like I did last time…maybe.

It’s hard to convey in words what it feels like to be around so many like-minded people.  The weekend goes by so fast, too, that it’s hard to even register half the things that are going on.  Maybe it gets easier the more you go, but I can’t imagine that it does.

I thought I had taken more pictures, but turns out I didn’t.  I posted the rest of them on my flickr page.  The photo of me dyeing was taken by Tamara (who if you remember, gifted me some luscious silk at the last retreat).  She was also a more diligent photographer and you can see more retreat photos from her here.

This is a story.  A story about the generosity of knitters….and how procrastination pays off.

About a month ago, I found myself attending a knitting retreat for the first time ever.  I was excited to meet people who, like myself, really love yarn.  I don’t usually participate in big group knit-a-longs and I don’t spend a lot of time on ravelry forums chatting with strangers, but when I signed up for the retreat, I did.  I wanted to meet and talk to the people that I would be interacting with for three whole days and I wanted to really get involved.  So when Steven suggested that we all do a KAL with Blue Moon Fiber Arts yarn, I jumped on the opportunity.  And when I say I “jumped”, what I really mean is that after initially agreeing, I then proceeded to procrastinate with said purchase of yarn and pattern.  Because, procrastination really is the only thing that I do well….consistently.

A few days before I was all set to leave for the retreat, I order the yarn and pattern.  Of course, my yarn showed up on my doorstep the day after I left.  So there I was, at the Gourmet Retreat, yarn-less for the KAL.  We were all gathered together in the sun room, introducing ourselves whilst happily knitting away on our own projects (many were casting on for the KAL, I shamefully worked on some other lame project that I’ve probably frogged since).  The woman sitting next to me, Tamara, was working on her cowl and I mentioned that my yarn didn’t arrive in time.  Of course I left out the part where I procrastinated, because I wanted to make a good impression and whatever.  She just looks at me and without a second’s pause says, “Well, I have an extra skein.  I’ll go get it for you right now.”  She got up so swiftly that I didn’t even have time to register what had happened.  Did a complete stranger really offer to give me her skein of yarn?  Just like that?  What kind of weird alternate universe have I stepped into?  Did I really get rewarded with a free skein of 100% silk yarn because I procrastinated?!  Well, I guess that’s one way to instill bad habits.

Tamara asked for nothing in return.  We spent three glorious days together cooking, knitting, and dyeing.  I got to know her pretty well during this time, and I have to say, she is without a doubt, a most generous and kind person.  She didn’t even scold me for procrastinating.

I was able to participate in the KAL and finish knitting my cowl before the end of the retreat all because of the selflessness of a wonderful knitter.  So, this FO post is a shout out to you, Tamara.  Thanks for making my first knitting retreat a memorable one!

Why am I posting this FO a month after I finished knitting the cowl?  Didn’t you guys learn anything?  I’m a procrastinator, and honestly, Tamara really shouldn’t have rewarded me for my bad behavior.  But I’m sure glad she did!

Pattern Details

Pattern: aCute Angle by Samantha Roshak
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Luscious Silk in My Blue Heaven
Needles: US7 [4.5mm] circular
Modifications: Absolutely none
Recommend: Absolutely yes!
Notes: Silky smooth yarn, fun simple lace pattern that’s easy to remember…what’s not to like?

See what other (and most likely, non-procrastinating) knitters have made at Tami’s blog.

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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