Sound the Retreat

I have only ever been on one knitting retreat, about 15 years ago. It was fun, but there were quite a few glitches and the beds were awful. For years the Yarnery folks have talked about hosting a retreat, and Sarah finally took the knitting bag by the handles and made it so. (She is a geek and will like that reference.)

We spent a wonderful weekend at Superior Shores on the, yes, shore of Lake Superior.

That’s a photo from their web site. For us, it was cold, raining and windy. (When we cracked the bedroom window it felt like a episode of Sgt. Preston.) All in all, a lovely May weekend to stay inside and knit. We started out Friday night with cocktails and snacks as a getting-to-know-you opportunity. Throw in the dice game for swapping yarn along with the cocktails and you could say the ice was broken. It turned out to be a really fun group of knitters. Experience ranged from a former yarn shop owner (with warped sense of humor) to a brave newbie who had just finished her first hat.

Theresa and I roomed together. The beds were comfy, but the twenty something couple next door felt obliged to have a drunken quarrel at 3 am. “But you’re my girlfriend, I love you!” Drink and dial cell phone activity. You get the picture.

Apparently they made up the next night, but mercifully I slept through that. Over the course of the weekend, we looked at every couple that came into the dining room and muttered   “Think that’s Jimmy?”

The morning class was color theory/colorwork with Peggy Lexau teaching. That was the class that used my ugly blanket as the bad example. Best take away there – tips on finding value when choosing colors, from the low tech red/green plastic viewer, to taking a photo with your camera and making it black and white, to my newly purchased value viewer app for the iphone/ipad.  Look at the yarn I bought at Yarn Harbor in Duluth when we stopped by for a book signing. (Lots of fun, great snacks and yarn!)

The colors, intended as a striped sweater for the lovely Miss Minerva’s (red- haired dark-eyed) First Birthday this fall:

With Value Viewer:

I think the combo will be fine for stripes, but the values are too close in two of those colors for any significant contrast in stranded colorwork.

In the afternoon class, Theresa taught crochet for knitters. It is fun to see how knitters respond when they see how quickly a border can get crocheted onto a knitted square. I was originally going to do a ‘short rows three ways class*’, but we decided that an extra teacher’s aide would be more useful. I think it was. With a group of 20, extra eyes and assistance came in handy.

The rest of the time was eating, drinking, hanging out and knitting. It was a treat to get to know so many new knitting buddies. Also, I hadn’t been north of Duluth for quite a while. Here’s my little photo essay on how you know you are ‘Up North’ as they say here in Minnesota:

They take their politics very seriously:

Lots of taxidermy –

Sarah was quite taken with the bear.

Things I wouldn’t eat on a bet:

Interesting community activities:

Candy store with a portrait of the knitting namesake:

And, on the way out of town, a car with Illinois plates where the driver honks AND flips the bird to a couple of middle-aged women crossing the street when he felt entitled to be turning right. (No photos of that episode.) Ahhhh, up North indeed.

I hope there will be more retreats.

*I will be teaching that at Fiber College of Maine in September.

10 responses to “Sound the Retreat

  1. Will the retreat be an annual affair? I would love to go — it would be the perfect way to celebrate the end of tax season.
    I discovered Yarn Harbor last month when Elder Son was there for a one-month family practice rotation. What a great store! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that he does his residency in Duluth; more opportunities to shop there 😉

  2. Excellent post! Such a retreat sounds like my ideal weekend but I just cackled at the harsh bursts of reality you interjected into the rosy picture. Ahh Jimmy; you have become a mini celebrity in the knitting world.


  3. Nice post!!! I’m coming along too!!

  4. Great roundup! It was almost like being there, drunk Jimmy and his lady and all. Seriously sounds like a do-it-again.

  5. Thanks for a great weekend – definitely the beginning of an excellent new tradition!

  6. Sounds fun, except for the Jimmy thing. Why does there always have to be one of those in every hotel? I think I’d give my left arm to go to that retreat in Maine. Maine. In Sept. Must win the lottery. Wait, on second thought, I might have problems staying indoors in Maine in Sept. It would be difficult to balance going for walks and knitting.

  7. travellersyarn

    So jealous – sounds wonderful (apart from the couple next door!).

  8. Sounds like fun – and maybe next time you’ll have better weather so you can knit outside! 🙂

  9. It was a wonderful weekend! We had such a great time (our neighbors were very quiet, thank goodness).

  10. You tell such a great story. Between the picture of the room and the tale of Jimmy, I could almost imagine being there. I followed your link to the Maine thing. You picked a great topic: Introduction to Japanese Patterns. Very cool!

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