Like The Queen
Whatever happens to strike my fancy, but surely some sort of fiber content.


So very well described photographed and described. It's so nice to read different viewpoints of the weekend. They all come together to form a more complete picture, I think.

By Blogger Mary, at 6:22 PM  

Brava Bess! Oh, you make me feel like I'm getting a big hug.

Back at you, sweet one.

By Blogger Jane, at 8:06 PM  

Dearest Bess,
Ah, what a lovely & love-filled KR Retreat post.
Thanks for taking me back to the fabulous week-end - it was terrific.
XOXO to you.

By Blogger Martha, at 8:30 PM, I'm here losing my mind at work and you're there doing all that. We must make up for this at MDS&W. As for getting drunk at MDS&W, I'm set on going and on scooping up Sue Woo in Charleston, and we will arrive ready to party.

By Blogger Catherine, at 8:31 PM  

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Thursday, November 16, 2006  

Be careful what you wish for - for you might get it!

I'm back from the 5th KRRetreat and this time I had a digital camera - and I'm so tempted to just show you photos instead of painting word pictures. Like this one - an example of what helpless knitters do when they have to put their needles down and get some fresh air.

Or this - when they stumble down the mountain for a morning cup of coffee:

I mean - how good does it get? Knitting at breakfast!

I had thought I'd do something of a photo tale - with pictures of what it looked like as I drove away from home, of the beautiful house J and husband are building, of the snakey mountain roads out of Virgina and the busy cities along I95. But though I took a lot of pictures - they don't quite tell the whole story. Perhaps that's just as well - it will take a gazillion minutes to load as it is.

BD - of princely demeanor – drove me up to J’s house on Wednesday and promptly drove off with my coat – so I was particularly grateful for the wonderful weather we had all weekend. Mostly it was 65 and even the rain that fell on Sunday was brief. We took J’s papa out for dinner to celebrate his birthday plus 1 at a darling little restaurant in Sperryville, VA. Cuteness in 3-D; that’s what Sperryville is.

J was the grownup in the car, driving and handling that big trailer like a Radio Flyer wagon, allowing me relax and [try to] knit. I had the blue sock and the KipFee sweater sleeve and after I’d made 3 mistakes on that sleeve it went back into the bag except for show’n’tell moments. That's how most of my knitting was throughout the weekend. Sporadic, error-filled, mindless. Happily - it's what I'd expected - no surprises.

We got to Jeronimo just a little before dinner and were welcomed by all the extension students. I suspect we were the last to arrive – though. Certainly we were if the swap lounge was anything to go by. There were fabulous yarns and stacks of books and patterns laid out by Thursday night and the stash only grew over the next few days.

The Swap Lounge after much picking over.

The freebee yarn'n'books was surpassed only by the Dulan knitted gifts. I'm not a charity knitter but man - look at this haul!

Dinner and chatting filled the evening, with a brief intro by Cat Bordhi, who gave us a demo of the mobius cast-on. I’ll confess. I’d already figured out the cast-on – it was that first row of knitting that had me stumped – in spite of the very good photographs in the Second treasury of magical mobius knitting

I slept like a baby Thursday night and was up bright and early – but not as early as Jane – who beat me to the balcony, armed with camera in an effort to catch the sunrise.

We were visited by this fellow:

Batman is his name. He is just a neighbor, but he stopped by to test J's bed and I heard later that he delivered room service breakfasts of mice to some of the other retreaters. Breakfast was at 8:30 but you could go down around 7:30 and get coffee – a welcome routine for those of us dawn prowlers.

That mobius class was really really fun. I fell in love with Cat’s 3 twist mobius knitting bowl when I visited the Knitting Sister’s shop in Williamsburg a year ago. It was lust at first sight and I right away bought the book, yarn and needles to make my own. As I said – the cast on wasn’t my problem, and in fact, I could have figured out the first row if I’d just sat down and done it – but I just couldn’t seem to discipline myself last year to act like a Nike ad and Just Do It!

What a treat to have Cat walk me through the steps – steps that make perfect sense once you’ve taken them.

The afternoon was free time, and swap lounge shopping time and take a walk time. I wish I’d taken the camera with me, for there were some pretty photo ops of tumbling streams and turn of the century farmhouses. While I was gone the weekenders were arriving, adding to the swap table, registering for rooms. Mary drove up with two knitting sisters from Richmond. Dinner was a buffet, after which we gathered at the big meeting building, ostensibly to introduce ourselves but also to knit and chatter and spin and ….. do those things we do when we do what we do.

I'm just sorry I didn't photograph some of the outstanding works of art that people had knit and then brought to share with us. Just check out Clara's report in the Knitters Review Newsletter

Saturday was a repeat of Friday's breakfast - good sturdy food, lots of coffee, dreadful skim milk instead of cream. That was my only serious complaint about the food. There was no cream, half'n'half, evaporated milk ... something that made your coffee the right color, the right taste. Fair compensation for the insipid coffee was some of the AB-So-Lute-Ly best lasagna I've ever tasted. So good I had seconds of lasagna instead of Real New York Cheescake.

Teva Durham taught the Saturday class on short row shaping. There were about 40 people in each class on Saturday and I can tell you – that’s a big group of people to teach anything to. The first part of the class she discussed things you could do with short row shaping; things she’d discovered; things she’d tried. She had samples to show us too – of those slanted short row Fair Isle stripes or what looked like dragon skin along the side of a swatch that could be a sweater too. I wish the whole class had just been her talking about all the “What if’s” she’d explored as a knitting engineer. But there you have it. I am a process knitter and don’t have to produce something at the end of the class. I am glad enough to experiment around with a fiddly little bit to see if it does what I think it might. Others aren’t so happy with that and want something to take home. For them was a pattern for a pillow top or, if you only cared to knit part of the pattern, a soon-to-be felted bag. There were a number of them by the end of the weeken; proof that Not All Of Us Are Alike. Thank goodness, hmmm?

After another carb-filled lunch we had a chance to shop at the marketplace. J had skipped the Saturday class and with S and M’s help had her Spirit Trail booth up and ready for business by 1:30. Also present were Moorhouse Merino and ….. dear me. I forget the name of the shop that also set up for business and I’m too lazy to go look them up. Besides, I bought some gorgeous rosewood circular needles with delicate pointy tips and smooth (for wooden needles) joins, from them. That’s what counts.

Where I got those fabulous needles

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

True to my No Fiber Vow, I just peeked inside the sale room and then left. It broke my heart to pass on the hand dyed lace weight in the basket at the Moorhouse table or to shrug nonchalantly at J’s new border Leicester blends. Sigh. I did get some great shots of other colorful purchases, both on Saturday and Sunday.

Saturday afternoon people scattered about the resort in small intimate groups. New friends were made. Old ones were reunited.

That night was a more relaxed gathering at the main building where S gave a spinning lecture and those not inclined towards learning the craft could knit or chat softly or look at their purchases or contemplate their mobius or short row project or just soak up the fun.

Sunday, after an even richer breakfast we gathered once again to ponder and contemplate our knitting future. Those of us who were present last year had written a letter to ourselves, stating our hopes, dreams, plans for the coming year. I remembered that I had written something pretty silly, but I hadn't thought it was as goofy as it actually was. Among my goals were:

Get drunk at Maryland Sheep and Wool
Lose 15 lbs of stash before I lost 15 lbs of weight.
(funny, I did neither!)

This year I was a little more thoughtful. I have also already forgotten what I wrote, except that I'd like to spin one sweater's worth of wool and knit it into said sweater.

Another Sunday tradition is the New Beginnings project. It's to be something new. Something for you. The idea is to invite your new friends to cast-on or knit a stitch into your project, adding their energy and love to your knitting. I had a sort of project last year which I never did get around to - other things intruded. And this year I am still not dealing with "new" very well. I figure I'll have an Old Ending project instead - for I intend to finish The KipFee before next fall.

The crowd began to thin out a bit as some folk had to leave for early flights, though the main group lingered for lunch and that magical moment when you get that Second Chance to Shop. I got the biggest kick out of people and their natural inclination to gravitate to the colors they’ve chosen in the past!
We love what we love, no?
Oh Orange and Green Girls – here are our Thanksgiving Table colors!

Oh Blue and Lavender Ones – come love our wintry sunsets.

But even the best weekends are subject to that grand master – TIME. A flurry of good-bye hugs, promises to write, to read, to stay in touch, and the 2006 Knitters Review Retreat was a sweet memory.

J and I stayed an extra night because hauling that trailer through the Virginia mountainside in the dark was not something even the intrepid J was willing to tackle. Bright and early Monday morning we revved up and drove off … to Montgomery Mills!

Here's Jen standing outside the mill shop.
This riverfront factory is a supplier and reskeiner for wholesalers, Henry’s Attic among them.

They also have a retail show room, and though J offered to buy me anything my heart truly sung to, I’m glad to say I stayed true to my vow. Nothing came home to Champlain other than these photos.

And so. I’m back, surrounded by the home family of dogs and darlings. Cozy grey skies are spilling streams of rain onto the leaf strewn lawns. Everything savors of that End of Autumn time – the last breath before holiday frenzy closes in. How wonderful that the KRRetreat can linger, fresh in my memory, to remind me that calm awaits, and knitting is always in the basket.

posted by Bess | 5:07 PM