Friday, March 1, 2013

Super tired Sunday....

Hampton Inn, West Yarmouth, MA
This week has been jammed with work and family demands, appointments and daily drudgery. I had expected to get it posted by Sunday night, but a week has passed since this experience. I hope the delayed descriptions will still entice you to consider doing a knit retreat when you see one near you.
I am still recuperating from an overload of fiber, new friends, and hanging out in person with my knitting buddy Julie. We "met" over two years ago, (the parentheses are to denote that it was a virtual meeting). We got to know each other through blogging, knitting and Ravelry. She and I are fiber aficionados, we email at least twice daily; we have Skyped, and had many phone and text conversations, but this was our first time to hang out in person.

About a month ago, we made reservations and transportation arrangements. When the weekend finally arrived,  I headed south to the Cape, wondering what was in store. Julie met me at the bus depot and we headed off to lunch and the "getting to know you" portion of the day. Our conversation flowed easily, and because we are both moms, teachers and creatively driven, there were no awkward moments. It is such a pleasure to be in the company of someone compatible, it was as if we had always hung out together, perhaps we are long lost sisters?

29 Pleasant Street, Northampton, MA, 413-586-4331
The impetus to finally meet and spend time together came in an email from Northampton Wools, a wonderful yarn shop in that town. (Can I urge you to seek it out when you happen to stop by on your pilgrimage to WEBS?  Please do!) 

Linda Daniels, the owner of the shop, plans a yearly Knitting Escape trip; this was her sixth. When I got the email, I floated the possibility to Julie and she agreed, we needed to go. The weekend promised classes, yarn tasting, meeting other knitters, martinis, facial treatments and yoga.

The Cape Escape retreat was such fun. We stayed at Hampton Inn in West Yarmouth and shared the enthusiastic company of about 25 other knitters. From Friday through Sunday, Linda engaged us in events, activities and fun. Yarn tasting and martini sipping, snacks and stories, such great way to spend a weekend.

Some of the samples of Shibui yarn
Friday: Shibui Yarn tasting and getting into the "Mix"
Shibui, which means elegant with a touch of bitterness, is a line of yarn based in Portland Oregon. The company began business with Knit Purl,  a yarn shop, and then branched into the production of yarns and patterns. Friday evening's event focused on learning about the "Shibui Mix".

Mix #5, by Kristin Ford
Mix #4, by Kristin Spurkland

S.C. #1, by Allison Brookbanks
M.A.1, by Antonia Shankland
The Shibui line is made up of eight yarns, each available in the same colorway, allowing you to combine yarn weights in one color to create exciting results. The concept of "mix" is this, using the guide we received during the yarn tasting, I learned that a variety of yarns can be held together to create the weight needed for patterns.  Do you fall in love with lace or fingering weight, but have difficulty knitting at the thinner gauge? Then consider looking at the Shibui line, you can hold a number of yarns together to knit a garment that looks new and innovative. 

We were given a "cheat sheet", a martini glass full of mini samples, and then we matched the yarn to its properties on the cheat sheet. This may be hard to understand but the thing that excites me so over this concept is that you can combine a laceweight with a fingering weight, and then knit a project that has bloom, depth of color, is knit on size 7-9 needles and a unique look.

Saturday consisted of breakfast in the hotel, and then a moebius basket lesson with Linda. She taught us how to cast on in a new way to create a moebius or twisted loop. The twisted loop becomes the handle for the basket. We were all using size 11 needles and a worsted weight yarn that would lend it self to felting. Felting is when you knit an item, larger than you need it to be and then through the magic of hot water and agitation, your knitted item shrinks and tightens up.

These are the baskets Linda brought to inspire the class.





Baskets before felting, mine is the off white one.
Class projects after felting
Saturday continued, lunch at Panera and a visit to Tumbleweed Quilts in West Barnstable. I plan to write a brief description of our visit but here is one photo of the shop.

Tumbleweed Quilts, West Barnstable, MA
Saturday afternoon, more knitting on the baskets and then yoga and a skin care class. I am sorry to say I missed these, I was feeling under the weather and retreated to my room to recharge. Julie and I ordered dinner in and continued to work on our baskets and conversations. We rejoined the knit group later in the evening, for knitting, drinks and felting of baskets. I narrowed down my many swoons over the Shibui Mix patterns and ordered supplies to make this in the colorway UV.

Mix No 3, in Stacatto and Silk Cloud
Sunday, we woke up and had breakfast in the hotel. The weekend seemed to just fly and the hours wound down to a close. I know that this evening, one week later, I am dreaming of the fun and freedom to knit, nap and converse with friends wistfully. I am planning to go again next year. Will you join me? I promise to give you enough advance notice to make plans, better yet, sign up for the Northampton Wools email list or join the Northampton Wools Ravelry forum page and stay in the know that way.


1 comment:

Kris said...

Nothing recharges my creative process like a knitting retreat weekend. This one sounds positively wonderful.