Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Keeping You in Stitches Retreat

Practicing Magic Loop knitting
Well folks, like my fellow blogger WillyG, I am a bad blogger.  It has been quite a while since my last blog and I have been quite busy with gift projects, a retreat, and a design to be published.  This entry will be about the retreat.  On April 29th and 30th we held the first annual (hopefully) Keeping You in Stitches Retreat.  To say it was a blast would be an understatement.  To prepare for it I have been emailing and writing to some of my Knitting Contacts for several months to get ready.  Claudia Morris of Southern Purls in Ahoskie, was our yarn and notions enabler.  Heather, my wife, and I were the teachers/planners. The Retreat was held at the Barnes House Bed & Breakfast in Murfreesboro.

My wife bought and made crowns for us to wear in honor of the Royal Wedding which took place that morning.  We felt like the princes and princesses of knitting.  I was in my element as knitting teacher.  we began with a Cabled Coffee cozy designed by me.  Click the name to get the pattern.  Some of the attendees had not done cables before, so I chose a stitch pattern which had twists in both directions.  We worked on those for a couple of hours, then retired to the parlor for some sit & stitch time.  Around 11 pm we left for the evening  to get some rest.

Blocking our coffee cozys.

The next morning Craig, our host with the most, treated us to breakfast before our knitting began.  After breakfast we felted our cozys in the washer and set them up to block. Then it was off on a field trip to the Alpaca Farm.  Three Hawk Alpacas is less than 5 miles from Main Street in Murfreesboro.  Anita our host was kind enough to give us a tour, answer questions and let us interact with Callie, the friendliest Alpaca I have met.  (I have blogged about her before when we visited with my kids.  After our Q & A session we visited Anita's shop and several attendees purchased some lovely alpaca fiber to take home and work up.  Claudia even bought a cone of brown &                  natural/white.  We are dying to see this worked up.
Callie enjoying attention.
The afternoon brought us a great lunch from Tavern 125 in Mufreesboro.  We had placed our orders the night before and Heather picked up lunch for us to enjoy after the Alpaca Farm visit.  There were Reubens and Salads, fries and more.  Lunch was wonderful.   After lunch we were joined by another participant and began our Entrelac class.  We began a scarf, Basic Entrelac Scarf, from a pattern by Lisa Shroyer.  She very graciously gave us permission to use her pattern for our retreat.  Everyone caught on quickly and was amazed at the results.  It was a fun class and easy to teach with skilled knitters.

Tom practicing Broomstick Lace.
We took a break from Entrelac and Heather tried her hand at teaching with Broomstick lace.   Again we were making a scarf, in cotton,  with a pattern from Naztazia, Broomstick Lace Scarf.  Check the link for pattern and you tube tutorials.  I decided to try my hand at this technique as well (I can crochet, but prefer knitting).  It is working very well and will be a late Mother's Day Gift for my mom.  We all finished up around 5 pm.  Some had to say good bye for the evening.  Tom, Ilene, and I went to dinner at Napoli's Italian restaurant.  I tried the Portabello Ravioli for the first time.  It was fabulous.  We all knitted until 9 and retired to our homes, agreeing that the first retreat was a success. 
My cousin's wife makes cakes.  Her business is called, "The Icing on the Cake."  Well we had this made for the retreat (we ate on it all weekend).  The icing on our retreat was coming back to the B & B for breakfast with Tom and Craig on Sunday morning before seeing Tom off to the Triangle area of NC.  We are already brainstorming ideas for next year and hope to have more goodies, students, and knitting fun! 

A special thank you goes out to the following Donors for our Retreat: 

Skacel Collection, Inc
Rainy Days and Wooly Dogs -- Goth Socks Yarn
Love of Knitting Magazine
XRX, Inc.
Southern Purls
Yearning for Yarn
Beech Springs Alpacas
Three Hawk Alpacas

Each of the above companies donated prizes, patterns, or other items so that each participant left with a "swag" of items to enjoy their knitting.  Thanks for your donations.  Well, that is my update for now.  I plan to let you know about a new knitting shop and show off some Finished Objects in the next couple of Blogs.  Happy Knitting!