the Knitter's Review Retreat

Report from the
2010 Knitter's Review Retreat
Williamstown, MA
November 12-14, 2010

For the last nine years, a group of Knitter's Review readers has gathered each November to make our virtual connections real ones. We began in Virginia, then we migrated to New York, and for the last four years we've been in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.

Our size has grown and our program has expanded, but the fundamental principles remain the same: It's a gathering of diverse but like-minded knitters for a weekend of yarn play. This year's group numbered well over 120, with knitters coming from as far away as Oregon and as close as the house next door.

We were taught by Cat Bordhi, Ann Budd, Melissa Morgan-Oakes, and yours truly.
When not sending her students into Melissa's classroom to pilfer people, Cat also taught Ann teaching

When not pilfering materials from Cat's class, Melissa also taught materials for my Yarn 101 workshop

And in the remaining hours, we taught impromptu how-to sessions whenever we spotted someone doing something we didn't know how to do.

showing one another how to do things Terry shows us how to use her knitting machine

beautiful hats that shall go to radiation, chemotherapy, and oncology centers in southern Maine
We collected a bounty of hats for the Hats with Hugs program. These hats will be distributed to cancer patients in radiation, chemotherapy, and oncology centers throughout Southern Maine.

the Stash Lounge commandments
This year we had two guest rooms dedicated to the exchange of yarns, books, magazines, and tools that we no longer need. It was such an elegant and well-stocked stash lounge that I was sorely tempted to rename it Stash Fifth Avenue.

The room even had its own set of commandments that helped keep the space orderly and attractive to all. Among my favorites, "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's yarn, and attempt to grab it from her hands." Words to live by.

a small corner of the stash lounge magazines in the stash lounge

At the end of the weekend, more than 30 boxes of items were packed and shipped to knitters in Afghanistan, with even more tubs of yarn set aside for school knitting programs here in the U.S.

the line for the marketplace
Not all the yarn was free, though. On Saturday afternoon, we waited for the marketplace to open so that we could peruse...

Briar Rose

Briar Rose

String Theory yarns

String Theory

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

Spirit Trail Fiberworks

Foxfire Fiber

Foxfire Fiber

Quince and Company

Quince and Company

Kathryn Alexander's gorgeous rainbow of yarns

Kathryn Alexander Designs

Adrienne Martini's sweater that launched a quest
And we even got to see the finished sweater that inspired Adrienne Martini's book, Sweater Quest (whose steeks had been cut at this very same retreat a few years ago).

On Saturday night, we listened to a bedtime story from Cat and then witnessed a parade of projects from The Knitter's Book of Yarn, The Knitter's Book of Wool, and the Knitter's Book of Wool woolalong on Ravelry (which is ongoing and to which you are most sincerely invited).

Sweetfern Mitts Falling Waters on parade, with the designer Jane in the center

We saw Sweetfern Mitts and Falling Waters shawls, sweaters and scarves and socks galore, and we even touched Targhee and Cormo, Shetland and California Variegated Mutant and many more breeds in between.

inside a KR Retreat goody bag
In our spare time, we devoured the contents of our goody bags, which were generously stocked by Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Skacel, Berroco, Tahki Stacy Charles, Knitifacts, Soak, Briar Rose, Lorna's Laces, Quince & Co., Metaphor Yarns, Webs, Signature Needle Arts, Dirty Water Dyeworks, and Knitter's Review.

Rosi's pignolis Nanci's rugelach

To renew our strength, we feasted on Rosi's pignolis and Nanci's rugelach, we nibbled away on Susan's homemade toffee and a host of other treats that people had brought for the group.

But mostly? Mostly we spread out, we relaxed, we talked with one another, we listened.

Eva listens intently Cat teaches Ann the Norwegian purl

a happy sprawl More happy sprawl

We strengthened friendships and made new ones. We exchanged tips and ideas, we laughed and got goofy, we gave hugs and sympathy, and we even launched all-out campaigns to pilfer items and even people from one-another's classrooms—Cat and Melissa being the main instigators.

Cat and Melissa Nanci and Peggy

We talked quite a bit about our favorite yarns. We honored the animals whose fibers made up our favorite skeins, even mentioning them by name—Don Quixote, Amazing Grace, and Teaberry.

friends more happy talk

We laughed at our willingness to shift alliances when we can't be with the yarn we love, instead loving the yarn we're with. We understood how exciting it is to reach the thin spot in thick/thin yarns, we praised the person who invented self-patterning yarns.

the sprawl even extended into the bar Nanci and Nancy, an inevitable friendship

We swapped labels and URLs, we honored the crunchy yarns as well as the soft and colorful ones, and we remembered the discontinued yarns of years past. We saw colors named after a beloved grandmother and grandfather, joined together in the stripes of a soft and nurturing scarf. We coveted, we teased, and we nodded in understanding.

This was, first and foremost, a gathering of people who love yarn. And we are many.

The 2010 Knitter's Review Retreat group

everybody dutifully writing away
Finally, on Sunday morning we paused to reflect on where we want our lives—knitting and otherwise—to go in the coming year. I sealed those reflections in a box and set them aside until we gather again in 2011.

We then exchanged vows with new projects for the coming year, cast-on our first stitches, and headed back out into the world, all too quickly.

the inn bids us farewell for another year

Would you like to join us next year? Subscribe—or stay subscribed—to Knitter's Review and you'll find out when registration details are available. If you'd like to receive these details at the same time but in a separate email, you can also subscribe to the advanced notification email list by filling in the fields below. Either way, I hope to see you next year!

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And, as always, I encourage you to seek out a community of knitters wherever you may 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.

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