Escape to the Cape with Northampton Wools

Each year, Linda Daniels, owner of Northampton Wools, hosts a knitting retreat on Cape Cod. Last year I went, and met in person my previously virtual friend Julie/Inky077. Since then, Julie and I have traveled to and enjoyed a number of knitting retreats. On this trip, we stayed at the Hampton Inn in West Yarmouth, MA and learned some color theory and double knitting. Here a long view of the hallway, I do so love staying in hotels!

A view down the long hotel hallway. I do love the repetition!
On the agenda for the weekend were classes with Gail Callahan on color theory using her Color Grid tool.  We also worked on the technique of double knitting with Linda on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday Gail had a large array of yarns displayed from her Poet Seat collection. This yarn is a 50/50 superwash merino/silk blend. The merino fiber lends softness and the silk allows for the saturation of deep hues. Also on display were a number of accessories Linda had knit up in the Poet Seat fiber, with copies of the patterns for us to take.

Fingerless Mittens by Petra Strickt
Gale Callahan lives in Western Massachusetts and dyes for her own company Kangaroo Dyer, as well as for WEBS. (Here is a link to the Etsy shop). Her Poet Seat line of yarn is a palette of saturated jewel tones, the skeins are variegated with hues that create a pop of color excitement.

Kangaroo Dyer's Poet Seat Yarn
More Poet Seat Yarn
The first night was an evening of snacks, beverages. There were tables displayed with Kangaroo Dyer yarns and hand dyed silk scarves. There were also Color Grid pamphlets displayed; I got one to use for the color theory lesson that Gale was going to talk about.

Age of Brass and Steam Shawl and the Color Grid
The discussion of color included first memories of color and the effects of color on mood. As we learned more about the color theory, Gail had us create a line of circles that we colored in according to a formula that gave us the blended hues of the rainbow. We used watercolor paper and pencils that when sketched with and dampened, created a controlled watercolor.

The notations of numbers and letters equaled how many quarters of the circle were filled with color.
This is the same grid after water was painted over the circles. The diamond was made by using all primary colors.
Some of my classmates seemed surprised or puzzled by the exercise, I was eager to hear more about Gail's dyeing techniques and where she finds inspiration. There is a short video that tells a bit about the growth of the Gail's dyeing adventures. Gail will be teaching two classes in fiber dyeing in Greenfield, MA this June and August, go here to read more.

So, maybe you are wondering how the color theory has affected me in my knitting planning? I do have some long range plans to look through my stash, and using the Color Grid theory, make Ann Weaver's Alber's Cowl. Alber's Cowl is a play with color sort of pattern, easy garter stitch but with the potential to become a favorite accessory.

Alber's Cowl by Ann Weaver
I had never tried double knitting before, though I knew of its potential, thanks to Alasdair Post-Quinn's designs. Alasdair is the former president of Common Cod Fiber Guild and he has shared with us the evolution of his designs at meetings and through classes. One of my favorite designs might be within reach if I practice the skills I learned at the retreat. Corvus is a free pattern and one of Alasdair's most popular, it is a long scarf featuring a raven.

Here is the sample of my work. I wished I had chosen different yarn, but I did learn a new technique and color work at the same time! I will try again!

Narrow cowl with a flower motif, not my best work. =/
For those of you interested in reading more about double knitting, check out Alasdair's book, Extreme Double Knitting or his Craftsy class.

So again I implore you to consider going to a knitting retreat, bring a friend or meet new friends. I have been on four different trips and each time I come home feeling bereft of the company of knitters and those people who can relate to my need to knit All The Things.

Poet Seat, Golden Crest
Poet Seat, Atlantis
Another fun part of retreats would be the stash enhancement! Here are photos of my Poet Seat fiber. I am in search of the best pattern, probably a shawl or a cowl. I think I will use them together, they compliment each other so well, don't you think?


Looks like a great retreat. I once went to a presentation by Kathy Merrick, she wrote Crochet in Color, it was an excellent presentation and I learned a lot...I'll probably take a trip to Northampton in two weeks during spring break....the Hubs and I love the town and haven't been in quite awhile...
Alicia Landi said…
Poet Seat looks like a gorgeous yarn! I'll have to try to find some.

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