the whole group

Connecting Community:
Notes from the 2009 Knitter's Review Retreat

The weekend before Thanksgiving, I and 110 of North America's finest knitters gathered at a warm inn at the edge of the Berkshires for what has become a beloved tradition since its inception eight years ago.

Each year's gathering marks the passage of time in a bright but friendly light. Women who were once pregnant now swap photos of toddlers. A recent mother-in-law now shows off tiny baby sweaters. A bare scalp that was tenderly wrapped in silk last year returns, this year, covered with a fresh crown of new, healthy growth.

New connections are made, even among those who've met here for years. Like the moment Laurie realized she was sitting next to her childhood summer camp counselor. Or when Amy realized that Linda's children probably grew up playing with her husband. Multiply this times 110 people and you start to get a sense of the power of the weekend.

hanging out
From the beginning, this gathering was conceived of as a retreat, an occasion when we willingly step away from our daily obligations, away from the cell phones and laptops and buzz of the outside world, and sink into a safe, relaxed parallel universe where laughter, learning, and connections prevail. The gathering is brief, just Friday to Sunday, and yet our connections have an uncanny way of enduring.

Telling the Story in Pictures
Want to know more about what we actually did? Here's a retreat photo album; you can see for yourself.

Also, here are more goodies from the Retreat:
Read the wedding vows we recited to our projects
Read the poem Terry Winer wrote for this year's gathering
See the mittens and read the poem on Valerie McPherson's extraordinary mittens (poem written by her daughter Sally Bittner Bonn)

And finally, I encourage you to seek out a community of knitters wherever you live. Check with your local guild or yarn stores to see what kinds of gatherings they offer. Also be sure to check out our calendar of upcoming events to locate a festival, gathering, or retreat near you. The kinship of knitters is a beautiful thing.