Posts Tagged ‘KRRetreat’

Embraced

November 14, 2012

In the afterglow of the Knitter’s Review Retreat, I sometimes find it difficult to write; never more so than this year.  I’ve said that this four-day respite is my Christmas.  To stretch the metaphor farther, this time I felt mostly like George Bailey, simply overwhelmed by the tidal wave of kindness that swept me through the weekend.  It seemed every time I was alone for a moment, another friend sat down beside me with a thoughtful memento or hug to say that Nutmeg Owl would never really be flying alone.

The shawl-clad snowy owl – he hoots, for real!

From stitch markers to fancy soaps; handmade bags to mittens for Darling Bebe, you showered me until I was nearly speechless and certainly misty-eyed.  It’s no wonder that wherever this group convenes, when it is together, I am home.

Whoooo needs hexi-puffs?

And, for the record, the trendy “hexi-puffs” have NOTHING on these little guys ~ who are part of a complete ju-ju kit for Owl Manor.  (It would have taken me longer to sew on the eyes than to knit them ALL.)

But on to the weekend …

Ann Budd and a magic formula

The teaching draw featured the best battery of instructors we have every had in tandem at KRR:  Ann Budd, who always has a trick to share; Sivia Harding, patroness of lace and beading; Amy Herzog, who helped every person there see the value of the right cut for the right body, and Mary Scott Huff, who left us

Sivia Harding demystifies lace design

laughing so hard we gasped for air and wiped away tears (and I was incapable of taking a single picture without shaking violently).  Whichever teachers you had, you wished you’d had them all.  And every one was generous with her time in and out of the classroom.  This is not a gathering where teachers hide out at special tables away from the plebes.  We are all knitters; we mix and mingle throughout the weekend.

It seemed that the 361 days since we were last together have brought sad times for so many ~ the loss of mothers, spouses and

How many knitters does it take … ?

other close family members.  Perhaps that is what made for the most cohesive gathering anyone can remember.  Time crept rather than sped as we reconnected, updated and helped each other through entanglement.

And helped each other treat ourselves to a bit (or more) of fiber luxury at our

All the pretties …

on-site marketplace with Spirit Trail Fiberworks, Briar Rose, String Theory and newcomers Three Bags Full and longtime Retreat-goer turned vendor PeaceLoveYarn.  The line in the hallway outside looked a lot like Black Friday at midnight ~ or whatever they are now going to call it since the holiday season must now start the day after Halloween, but I digress.

2012 swag bag

I have not even mentioned the swag bag for 2012, including one of the sweetest of children’s books, Extra Yarn, the very useful color grid (that I will use at Owl Manor more than for knitting) and yarn, stitch markers and more.  I do use my KRR coffee mugs judiciously, when I want a special reminder of being with people I love who share something special.

Somehow, in the midst of her constant personal reinvention and multiple projects, Clara Parkes manages to put the right people together, sprinkle yarn-fairy dust and make magic.  Never more so than in 2012.  I am endlessly grateful that she and the others who help behind the scenes do so, and allow me to be a guest at the party.

I am strengthened and humbled and ready to face the next chapter, whatever it might bring.

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Booth’s-eye view

May 8, 2012

Suffice it to say that an unanticipated (but unavoidable) work all-nighter is not the best preparation for an early flight or a weekend stint as Booth Babe at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival.  I don’t recommend it to anyone.   But getting out of Dodge on an early-morning flight before your employer can request demand that you change your plans is highly recommended, no matter the toll on shut-eye.  So it was that I landed at BWI Friday, a bit bleary-eyed, but delighted to be reunited with some of my favorite  fiber friends far away from my real-life responsibilities.

This time, I had an entirely different view of a mega-festival.  The

Our domain for 2 days

work days begin early.  There is only so much set-up you can do ahead of time owing to the unfortunate reality of security and theft.  Which means that each day you must hang samples and displays all over again.  They matter tremendously in selling yarn and as one who knits them, I can attest that they cost more to replace than stolen skeins.  (See that red cardigan in the middle?  That’s the new Skipperdee Cardi designed for STF Verdande.  The pattern was released Friday and sold out fast.)  The show opens, and the traffic does not stop for nine

See the 3rd shopper being devoured by yarn?

hours in a building where temperatures reach well over 80 degrees and shoppers are crammed inside your tiny booth like so many anchovies in a can.

The upside of all this was the opportunity to meet many members of the Spirit Trail Fiberworks group on ravelry in person, as well as some of you.  I so enjoy talking about how each of the yarns performs and answering questions for other knitters.  Plus we had a brand-new yarn to debut: Brigantia, made of 85% Polwarth and 15% silk.  And I was able to visit, however

Daniella of Signature Needle Arts

briefly, with some fabulous folks, like Daniella from Signature Needle Arts, whose company provides some of the most responsive customer service on the planet.  (Not to mention the Lamborghini of needles that help me do what I do at the speed I like to do it!)

It IS all about the sheep

The downside: having to do it all two days in a row.  Even with rubber padding on the floor, feet and back were not especially amused.  And unlike my pleasure-only forays to Rhinebeck, I never really got a sense of the

WHAT do you make with these and how do you hold ’em?

whole festival.  A break here and a break there allowed me to see some usual suspects and other unusual sights.  But I lacked perspective as to the size and scope of MDSW.

Yes, there were giggles galore and belly-laughs, too – that’s to be expected when you put seven or eight unique women who all genuinely like each other into a group with a mission to accomplish.  That’s what made it all worthwhile: the chance to spend time together in May ~ the halfway point before the next Knitter’s Review Retreat.

And did I mention that I brought home some yarn?

* Prize winners coming soon.  Stay tuned.

Secret Squares

February 7, 2012

Updated 2/10 to add FO pix

Sometimes it’s soooooooooo hard to sit on a secret.

Ask more than 100 knitters to sit on a secret and, well, somebody’s sure to spill the beans, right?

NOPE.

With the recent arrival of HappyStasher’s darling twins, now, it can be told.

Secret Square No. 1

It started on a Thursday night in November with this.

A square of garter stitch.  Actually, two of them.  Executed by the two fastest garter knitters I know, Jane and Bullwinkle.  They cast on with the first course, and by the time the guest speaker was finished, so were the base squares.  Let’s call them Secret Squares, shall we?

It looks kind of like a tangled mess of needles on the table, no?

Yep.

But there is a method to the madness.

Follow those fingers!

Four skeins of yarn, four circular needles, four knitters and a boatload of good wishes.  It makes for a lot of intimacy with your fellow knitters at the beginning, loads of laughs, some occasional tangles, weird kinks in the back, and more fun than a game of

In slow motion ...

Twister!  (I think I just dated myself.  Oops.)

Okay, slowing it all down … each knitter has one circular needle and only knits the same row ~ but four skeins of yarn (Briar Rose Fourth of July) travel around the square.  So instead of the knitters moving, the yarn moves in a spiral around the base square.

Secret Square courtesy Amarula

After a weekend of knitting, each blanket has been touched by roughly one hundred aunties and an uncle, some new knitters, some very wise and experienced, still others Knitting Royalty.  A stitch might be twisted here or there, but every stitch carries the love of someone who was wishing our dear HappyStasher well, and missing her at the Knitters Review Retreat.

FO photo courtesy Amarula

The box carrying them arrived at its destination a few days ago.

It’s time she knew the story, and how much she is loved by those who sent her two blue-green woolen baby blankets as our long-distance hugs for her darling bebes.

Timely

January 13, 2012

Just in time for a sudden drop in temperature to what winter is supposed to feel like in these parts, here’s some Friday eye candy.

My Targhee Groves

Pattern:  Grove by Jared Flood / BrooklynTweed

Yarn: Sweet Grass Wool 2-ply Targhee, colorway Brilliant Blue.  Or what’s left of it.  Which is still mighty blue.  Again, a heartfelt thank-you to the knitter who left this in the 2010 Stash Lounge at the Knitter’s Review Retreat!

I thoroughly enjoyed this pattern, other than needing to blow it up about 200% to make it readable.  The only reason these sat forlornly waiting for thumbs was my foreknowledge that I’d have to deal with massive color bleed in finishing.  It was reasoned procrastination.

Project marriage score:  10

Matching up pattern and yarn doesn’t get better than this.   Boy, are my hands glad today!

Packing it in

November 17, 2011

It is deep in the owl-hours.

The car is half-packed with  yarn to destash, tools and class materials for not one but TWO sessions with the delightful legend Ann Budd.

FOs are labeled for those who want to know yarn and pattern details.

Yarn is wound to start something new.

Last year’s New Beginning’s project is packed for “recommitment” or another try in the event I am not distracted by some “shiny” new thing, like the newest Spirit Trail Fiberworks, Briar Rose Fibers or String Theory offerings.

There’s half a case of Diet Coke in there, too.

I have completed an unexpected after-hours project for a client ~ one I neither wanted nor needed tonight ~ because it was the right thing to do.

I have fired off the last eight memos to take care of items dangling in my absence. This will allow me to ignore the dreaded BlackBerry for four whole days at the Knitter’s Review Retreat.

I will try to post from there.

A new location this year, a much longer drive, and some dear friends who won’t be there this time leave me feeling a little jumbled. Or maybe it’s sheer exhaustion.

One thing stands between me and sleep: packing Darling Bebe’s lunch.

In a mere few hours:  Road trip with KnittingKittens.

102 and counting

May 17, 2011

There is an undeniable feeling of celebration every time the Connecticut Sheep, Wool & Fiber Festival rolls around.  Think about it: in its 102nd year, we are talking about a truly enduring industry.  Yarn shops may come and go, but the shepherds, mills and fiber they produce exist far beyond trends.  As the first event of the year in New England, there is an almost-giddiness in the air: winter is over; festival season has started.

I Made It With Wool!

April chose its last day to demonstrate why it is “the cruelest month,” with grey skies and blustery wind.  That said, the whole event seemed a bit subdued.  Several regular vendors were notably absent, and the crowds ~ well, there wasn’t a crowd.  The weather may have encouraged early attendees to scurry home rather than linger listening to music and watching sheep-dog trials.  Or see the adorable contestants in the “I Made It With Wool competition” ~ like the grand prize winner from Still River Mill.  A felted juice box?  Genius.  Don’t look for this Owl to execute anything half as clever come Halloween.

The Painted Sheep painted yarn

Our good friend Kris of The Painted Sheep had a standing-room-only crowd craning necks to hear her demo on dyeing yarn.  Armed with soda bottles of color, she makes it all look so easy … but ask anyone who’s ever tried at home: coming up with harmonious colorways is not for the faint of heart.

Still River Mill Summer Breeze

My “find” of the festival this year came again from Still River Mill.  This local operation spins for scores of small fiber-producers across New England and beyond.  Because of that, they don’t go to a lot of shows, feeling that to do so, they would be “competing” for

What you need on a summer's night

business against their own customers.  But Still River Mill has its own unique fiber blends ~ and this year, they brought an extraordinary new entrant to the market:  Summer Breeze.  This fingering-weight boasts 40% linen, 40% cashmere and 20% seacell.  It fine yet soft and strong and just begs to becoming that all-summer sweater or shawl to ward off the evening chill.

Dirty Water DyeWorks

If I told you that I was somehow seduced yet again by BFL, you regular readers would hardly be surprised.  I can’t keep my hands off the stuff.  It just knits like butter for me.  So when our friends at Dirty Water DyeWorks, who provided us with lovely skeins of their Julia yarn at the KR Retreat, had a bushel of BFL sock yarn in discontinued colors, I was rather ~ ahem ~ powerless to resist.   Frankly, I thought I showed admirable restraint in sticking to two projects’ worth.  And it was discounted.  So there.

Digression: I am noting the absence of a LYS more acutely as the days go by.  There is no browsing, squeezing and sniffing of yarn to be done.  While positive on the pocket book, it is nonetheless missed.

Nubian goat

There were plenty of animal cuties on the grounds, to be sure.  This little Nubian goat was the most charming little flirt … and it seems that every year there is more alpaca of both the live and spun varieties.

Most importantly, I picked up my new copy of the Connecticut Sheep Breeders Association directory, an invaluable resource for locally sourcing breeds of wool for our KBOW wool-along.

The skies opened up to bright sunshine later in the day.  By then, we had decamped for the massive lunch spread at Rein’s Deli.  A wonderful start to a new festival season any way you look at it.

YarnoraMama III

April 18, 2011

It’s somehow not at all surprising that for both Luann and me, our periodic YarnoraMama meet-ups fall during what seem like the worst possible times ~ when the work schedule is out of control, home life is crazy and the last thing it seems one should do is take a day off.

Which is precisely why it is the absolute right time to do so ~ for two working moms to walk away from every responsibility for One. Precious. Day.  (Previous YarnoraMamas are here and here.)

Victoria Station Cafe

Her charge this time: Tell me where to be and I will get there.   “There” in this case, being the charming and friendly Victoria Station Cafe in Putnam, Conn.  Dubbed “The Quiet Corner,” northeastern Connecticut is home to agriculture and tiny towns.  Putnam is a town that has quietly evolved, with new life for old downtown spaces that have one foot in the past and another in the future.  Virtually every menu features gluten-free or vegan fare from in many cases locally raised produce.

Here, the mismatched furniture, exposed brick and original woodwork all make sense.  We parked on a couch in a front window as a steady stream of patrons made their way in for “the usual” or one of the too-tempting selections in the endless display cases.

What more do two gals need?

Funny, but even our food choices were rooted in fiber … The cinnamon rolag at left, being a term for a roll of prepared fiber ready for spinning.  Those are the remnants of a sfogliatelle at right, in the wake of a powdered-sugar explosion, in case you’re wondering.   (Pink boxes of treats left for home in both directions …)

MadelineTosh Pure Silk Lace in Lichen

And birthday presents, too!  Lucy Neatby’s terrific tome on fabulous finishing and a stunning skein of MadelineTosh Pure Silk Lace in the colorway Lichen.  Truly, it is the colors of an heirloom lilac in bloom.  Breathtaking.

It’s been too long since my cyber-sister and I were together ~ last November’s Knitter’s Review Retreat to be precise.  As efficient as online communication is, there is simply no substitute for sitting down, face-to-face, for hours of catching up about the mundane and the life-altering.  Among her many talents, Luann always serves as a (barely) older, wiser sanity check for me at a time when that sanity is in question every third minute.  And that’s before we get to the mommy advice I so sorely need now that we are immersed in the Tyrannical Threes.

How did five hours pass so quickly?

Woolworks

Other than meeting in a place with an endless supply of caffeine, YarnoraMamas must always include a yarny destination.  Woolworks fit that bill.  Tasha (sp?) could not have been more welcoming on the phone or in person.  The knitters inside were warm and friendly, and the reasons this shop has become a local destination were clear.  It made me long for the days when I actually had a local yarn shop in my world.  Sigh.

All too soon, the fact of rush-hour return traffic was all too real.  Time to separate again for our respective homes and uber-busy lives.  But I feel better ~ saner and clearer ~ than I have in a long time.

And that is what YarnoraMama is all about.

Meant to be

January 11, 2011

Yarn destiny?

Perfect project marriage?

M-m-m-m-m-m-m-m-ittens.

Grove mittens by Jared Flood

These are what mittens are supposed to be.  Cushy and warm and a hug for the hands.  It’s the  product of a perfect match of pattern and yarn.  Needles, too.  (More on that in a sec.)

Often over the past year, I have been a lurker during months of the Knitter’s Book of Wool wool-along.  Sometimes it’s been too complicated to source the breed-specific yarn, or things were just too nutso to add another project on anything like a deadline.  Kind of defeats the purpose of knitting for sanity.  So I skipped Targhee back in April.

2-ply mulespun Targhee

But lo and behold, the Stash Lounge at the Knitter’s Review Retreat held three skeins of Montana-grown mule-spun Sweet Grass Wool.  The two-ply is definitely what Clara Parkes describes as having “a dense, doughy quality.”  In a mitten, that’s exactly what you want, especially in New England.

Grove mittens by Jared Flood were originally written for a light-worsted yarn.  Some knitters complained that their results were

A fine fit on long fingers

too small for the average female hand.  I’ve been fascinated by the pattern since I first saw them, and decided that the heavy worsted/aran of the targhee on an appropriate needle might fit the bill.  I have long fingers, so I imagined I might have to adjust near the top.  What looks like a lot of cabling is actually twisted stitches, other than on the cuff, where you can easily learn how to make the traveling rib without a cable needle.

It’s been a long time since I have rated a pattern anything other than “easy.”  I would not call these easy, but they’re not difficult, either.  I think a Knitty classification between “tangy” and “piquant” works.  Not surprisingly, I worked these one at a time.

No pattern modifications whatsoever.  The first one fits perfectly, even without a soak.  I was too excited to wait to post the pair.  As in, giggling with exuberance.

Oh. my. goodness.

En route to a pair

I also worked them one one of the three new sets of Signature Needle Arts circular needles I received for Christmas – Size 6, stiletto tip, to be precise.  (And these needles are ALL about precision, let me tell you.)  They are slick; they are sharp; they are indeed the Porsche of needles for me.  (I can only hope that a birthday will result in the upcoming size 3 and 4 needles, sizes I use constantly.)

As soon as these gift mittens are done, I’ll be casting on another pair for me.

I would dearly love to know which kind knitter donated this yarn so I could send her/him a big soft squeeze.  Preferably while wearing these.

Bring on the blizzard!

Unwound – Pt. II

November 19, 2010

For the previous days’ previous events at the 2010 KR Retreat, see this post.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear.  It wouldn’t have mattered if a hurricane raged outside, for we were all absorbed in fibery pursuits.  It finally felt like we were really “there” at the Knitter’s Review Retreat, not on a day-trip that would end too soon.  Hearing Darling Bebe sobbing for me on the phone and being unable to complete a song for her (because I choked up) the night before sort of made that real.

Ann Budd crunches the designer numbers

We were so delighted to crunch the numbers that result in perfect sweater-fitting with the legendary Ann Budd.  Her Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns lives on my coffee table and I refer to it often when working through a pattern issue or putting something basic on the needles.  Clara always manages to bring the knitterati who are both geniuses AND approachable people.  Ann is no exception.  However, she is exceptional.

Throughout the class, the BlackBerry blinked.

Quince and Co. Tern - Boothbay Blue

Of course, in addition to all of those finds in the Stash Lounge ~ the room devoted to yarns seeking loving new homes ~ the KR Retreat features its very own marketplace from some of our favorite fiber companies.  Pam Allen brought her Quince and Co. brand-new wool-silk blend Tern.  The camera does not do it justice.  I’m hoping I can execute the soon-to-be-released Ann Budd scarf pattern with it.

Where are all the pictures?  There were too many eager knitters and not enough air ~ or room ~ to mess with a camera.  After all, how

Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days - Colorway - Nutmeg?

would I then hold onto this: Briar Rose Glory Days dyed in a colorway just for me. Really.  Or at least that’s the illusion I’m working under.   Chris was soooooo kind.  And I have a swoony kind of weakness for this particular BFL.

Foxfire Cormo/Silk/Alpaca in Great Blue Heron

Foxfire Fiber also joined the other wonderful vendors in the marketplace.  I currently have this yarn, Cormo/Silk/Alpaca on the needles making a LaNovia scarf.  It is soft and drapey at the same time.  There are only two times I year I see Barb Parry, (and she  missed Mass. Sheep and Wool) so I picked these up for the day when inspiration strikes again.

There were a few other yarn purchases we’ll talk about another day from Spirit Trail Fiberworks and String Theory.  And another of Lanea’s sock bags (in a different colorway) not for knitting socks ~ or for knitting at all ~ but for mommy-running-into-store-with-free-hands-necessities-and-toddler.   I committed far less wallet damage than many of my dear friends in that guilt-free zone.  OTOH, there were some skeins of lovely things that Minh “helped” jump into my bag in the Stash Lounge, so I was in no way yarn-deprived.

Instead, we took over the tavern for an afternoon of knitting and conversation about yarn shops, direction of the industry, designers and life in general.  No photos required, though I regrettably failed to document the dozens scores scads of gorgeous creations adorning everyone in the room. I’ll let another friend show you.

Confession:  By this point, the ignored BlackBerry was apoplectic.  So much so, that I felt obligated to send an email up the food chain to inquire whether I was supposed to engage in the discourse that would. not. end.  Response: No.  But the red eye resumed blinking as soon as I locked the keyboard.

BFL headband frpm Wool-along

Evening brought the long-awaited Knitter’s Book of Yarn / Knitter’s Book of Wool / Wool-along Hoe-down to KRR.  Oh, the lovelies we saw.  From headbands to shawls … and oh, the shawls.  There was this show-stoppingly gorgeous Tibetan Clouds designed

Tibetan Clouds in Sundara FSM

by Sivia Harding for KBOY, knitted by Hipparchia in Sundara Fingering Silky Merino with beads.  (Sadly, the camera hated trying to capture the bright, shiny colorway.)

Here, Sweet Jane poses with her peeps who made her design, the Falling Waters Shawl.  (Which,

Falling Waters with its creator, Jane

as was demonstrated, is long enough to cover lap and legs in a cold office.)  Between her Hedgerow Socks, the inspiration for Hedgerow Mitts, and Falling Waters, Jane is the de facto preferred KR designer.

Oh, and we had doorprizes galore!  From “it” yarns of the moment to needles, bags and beads, it seemed like Clara’s doorprize list would not end.

Spirit Trail Saule BFL and a new owlie bag

This is the part where I admit to embarrassing myself.  (It’s a state of affairs that happens too often for comfort, being a complete geek.  Not a geek in a cool way, just a geek.)  Clara rigged the drawing.  She had to have.  Because it’s just a little too coincidental that the BFL from Spirit Trail Fiberworks (called Saule, sportweight) came to me.  Poor KnittingKittens was afraid she’d have to sleep in the lobby while I … nevermind.  Shown here with a lavender/green owl bag from NanciKnits, the fraternal twin of another one I have.

All through this, I did something I’ve not done before at a KRR.

I knitted.

And knitted.

Into the owl hours of the morning.

While my voice disappeared.

And the BlackBerry blinked.

Leading the Yarn Church service ...

Sunday brought “Yarn Church.”  This is a chance to select a project for oneself and start it by having your friends help cast on a few stitches each.  It is a lovely tradition.

Though we were still together, I could feel the weight of home and job pressing from the outside.

Perhaps that is why I discovered nearly an hour down the road, that I had forgotten key items in the room, forcing us to turn back to retrieve them.

I wasn’t ready to leave.

Sleep socks for Darling Bebe

But I did get some actual knitting done.

 

Unwound – Pt. I

November 19, 2010

A mere five days after re-entry to the real world, and the 2010 Knitter’s Review Retreat already seems like months ago.  It elicits a wistful Casablanca, “We’ll always have Williamstown …”  So now I commit it to writing to try to recapture some of its magic.

Loaded

And it is magic.  How many events do alleged adults plan four months in advance, then count down the days, weeding through stash, preparing presents and endlessly packing for?  On departure, the Owl and the Pussycat (KnittingKittens) did a fair job at filling a small SUV.  For 2010, we had given ourselves a special gift: the Thursday extension ~ four days and three nights unplugged and unwound.

My talisman

Then, the pleasant drive over rivers and hills, through the Berkshires.  KnittingKittens and I take periodic day-trips hither and yarn, so it didn’t yet feel as if we were going away.  Until we reached my personal milestone, the signal that we are quite near.  There’s something endlessly cosmic about it.

The 2010 KRR SwagBag

On arrival at the Williams Inn, well, it all started to sink in.  The hugs.  The smiles.  The how-do-we-get-all-this-to-the-room?  The goodie bags.  Yes, there is swag that for knitters, rivals the old Oscar presenter presents.  Inside:  A Schulana pattern book; Clara’s beautiful KR notecards; a stitch marker; a skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock (which I have never knitted with before); Filatura DiCrosa Zara and Berroco Blackstone Tweed.  Indie dyer Dirty Water Dye Works Julia, too.

The official swag

And dear to me, as you’ll

Limited edition

hear later, a special commemorative button from Briar Rose Fibers.  We had checked in early, then scooted to a nearby grill for a bite of lunch, not surprised at all to encounter longtime KRR friends already seated.

The BlackBerry, set to “vibrate,” began to dance.  Took work call, returned to lunch.

An early Christmas

As cars filled the lot, the presents — less important than the presence — began to appear.  Notepads and sachets, stitchmarkers and project bags.  Each will remind me of the giver in the months ahead.

We gathered, and under the watchful eye of Lanea, whipped the Stash Lounge into submission for all to enjoy.

2AAT tutoring

Friday, the day began with an intensive, speed-dating version of Melissa Morgan-Oakes‘ Two-at-a-Time From the Toe Up class.  Melissa is a very talented instructor, one who is able to communicate a concept in as many ways as it takes to help a student understand, and uses subtle tools to allow those who are behind a chance to catch up without pressure.  I use her 2AAT technique all the time, and prefer socks from the toe up (in those very rare instances that I knit contemplate knitting

Metaphor Yarns hit the sweet spot

socks).  Even with the whole day before us, Melissa condensed a seven-hour class into five, taking us through gussets and heel turns until everyone had something to show.  Of course, we were aided by these pretty little packages from Metaphor Yarns – fresh chocolate!

Jackie, fitted to perfection

By the time class ended, the number of retreaters had begun to swell.

And the BlackBerry danced.  And danced.

The gorgeous knits began to come out, like this perfectly fitted and executed Jackie in Briar Rose Fibers Fourth of July.  I think this version is much prettier than the original.

Fearless Leader Clara Parkes

There was Bullwinkle and Rosi and our dear Sweet Jane (whose name cannot be disentangled from that utterly apt adjective); Marfa, Purlewe, HappyStasher, Ripko and NanciKnits to name a few aside from my own cyber-sister, Luann.  Called together from the proverbial four corners by the woman known as The Yarn Whisperer, Clara Parkes, we assembled together for an evening of introductions.  (Note: Will some designer deconstruct that store-bought cardigan, please?)

And what a crowd we were!  From

Here a knitter, there a knitter ...

Arizona to Oregon to Maine and Florida … college students to retirees … new moms and grandmas … each with enthusiasm and the desire to create something from sticks and string.

The BlackBerry was reset to “Silent.”  Its red eye blinked.

Rather than the usual “who/where” introductions, we were asked to talk about our favorite fibers.  I shall refrain from repeating the racy terminology that followed so as to keep the spammers at bay. Suffice it to say, it was, ummmm, tactile.  There was little professed monogamy 😉  If you are wondering, I extolled the virtues of BFL – my yarn BFF ~ specifically Briar Rose Fibers Glory Days, which I’ve babbled raved displayed here before.  It was ~ yarnographic. ‘Nuff said.

Read on for Pt. II


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