Friday, May 3, 2013

Knitting Retreat

Over the weekend of April 26 & 27, I got to attend a knitting retreat that was put together by Paula, famous podcaster and the voice of the Knitting Pipeline.    I am totally spoiled because Paula lives in my neck of the woods, and this retreat is close enough for me to sleep in my own bed rather than having to rent a hotel room for the night!

The retreat kicked off with a yarn crawl on Thursday afternoon and dinner at a local restaurant, but I already had a commitment that day, so I didn't get in on the action until Friday afternoon.  I also missed the farm visit that a lot of people went on Friday morning....they got to cuddle baby lambs and kittens and take photos with them.  It's just as well.  I would have had a very hard time leaving the farm without a kitten in my pocket.

So my excitement for to start mid-afternoon on Friday.  Once the kids were home from school, I packed up my knitting bag and drove up to the church that allowed Paula and her 100+ guests to use their space for the weekend.  I couldn't believe that the place was already packed.  I was expecting that a lot of people would come after work, but apparently everyone took some time off to make sure they were there as soon as the doors opened.  One of the organizers told me that people were actually sneaking in a little bit before the official start time!

I found a table with other locals that I know from my knit nights down at the Fiber Universe.  We enjoyed chatting and knitting and looking at the yarns & accessories that a few local yarn shops had brought to the church to sell.  There was a yummy dinner served and a few workshops to choose from on Friday evening...I remember one was on sock repair, one on continental knitting, and one on belly dancing.  That's right.  Why not??

I think I got home around 11pm on Friday night, spent a little while trying to wind down so I could get to sleep and wake up early on Saturday.  I wasn't that successful....I don't think I actually closed my eyes until 1 am, so I scooted my alarm back a bit thinking that if I was back up at the church by 10, I'd be ok with that.

Saturday was a lot of fun as well.  I got quite a bit done on a top I was working on over the course of the weekend.  I was smart enough this year to bring something that didn't require any thinking harder than "increase every 3 rows".  There were more workshops on Saturday, and after lunch, about 10 independent vendors set up tables.  I found a few things that just had to come home with me.....

The top picture is the two skeins of Quince & Company "finch" that Paula put in each attendee's souvieneer Knitting Pipeline tote bag.  The color is much, much lighter than it appears in this photo....the rest of the pictures are pretty true-to-color, so I'm not sure what happened there!

The second photo is "Double Dutch Sock Yarn" from Ogle Designs.  Like I said in my last post....I'm a sucker for blue!

This third photo is to "big girl" skeins of Fat Squirrel Fiber's sock yarn.  I love, love, love tonal yarn, and the depth of these two colors is really lovely.  The dyer is Amy Beth, who you may know from the Fat Squirrel Videocast.

This last picture is a couple bags of fiber I bought to make "surprise balls"!  It was a little make-it-and-take-it craft that one of the yarn shops put together.  Basically you repetitively wet, wring, and roll the fiber until it becomes a dense ball of wool.  After letting it dry completely overnight, you cut it into discs, which you can then make into magnets, a decorative pin, or buttons.  I think I'll save these for sometime when I want to do a craft with the kids.

I always wish that I had taken pictures when I go to events like this, but I was enjoying the actual moments so much that I didn't want to ruin it by getting out a camera.  So, I regret that I have no photos to share.  If you want to see photos taken by other attendees though, there is a Ravelry thread here where people are sharing them.

It's always fun to get to talk to other knitters at the retreat, and to meet new people who share the interest.  I had an unexpected surprise when Julie from "Happy-Go-Lucky yarns" sat down next to me and said, "Can I have a hug?"  I had no idea who she was, but she seemed harmless enough, so I said, "Sure!"  She showed me a picture on her iPad of a sample sweater I knit last fall (pattern forthcoming....maybe fall 2013?) using some of the yarn she dyes and sells in the Chicago area.  It made me happy to see that I had made another indie fiber artist happy just by using her yarn for a pattern.

If you have ever wanted to visit Central Illinois in the springtime, I highly recommend coming for the Knitting Pipeline retreat!  A good time was had by all!


  1. Heather (hermitlibrarian)May 3, 2013 at 12:55 PM

    What pattern is on the cute baby? It looks so comfy. :)

    I'm glad you had a great time at the yarn crawl/festival.

    1. I'm glad you like it, Heather! It actually doesn't have a name yet. Notes are handwritten in a notebook right now, so it still has a way to go before it's even ready for testers. But I did get really adorable photos of it thanks to this cute baby!