for my final installment about rhinebeck, i saved the best for last—the one about our second annual rhinebeck after party retreat. while we had a few less participants this year, the experience was no less inspirational. maryanne and dana are mother and daughter from california who share a love for our craft and have joined us both years so far—aren’t they lovely?
i mean, how very cool is it that knitters come from all directions to gather under one roof for a few days of focused study, relaxing work time, fun excursions, and the bonding that only knitting can provide? sheryl was SO excited to be here for the first time (though i know her also from sock summit 2009).
this year we took on color knitting and what a terrific choice it was. (BTW, karen did not knit her sweater before taking my classes—i checked, haha. i was really worried when i saw her wearing it; i’m always intimidated by students who’ve already mastered the subject matter i’m teaching!)
we started off on monday morning with a new yarn voyage class, this one geared toward color knitting. we explored the myriad characteristics of fiber and yarn construction that play a part in creating successful color knit fabrics. which, of course involved poring over many swatches from my library as well as knitting new swatches to understand the material through our own hands.
we all just loved this class.
before we start, we all think we know what is going to happen in this class and then every time we all get our minds blown; it’s fantastic.
then we break for lunch. one of the neat things we built into the RAP is a very long break between sessions, so that participants can go off and enjoy some of the terrific food and sightseeing opportunities the hudson valley has to offer while it’s still light out. this gives everyone a chance to spend time getting to know each other better as well or to have some alone time or even a nice nap.
it’s good—very continental, haha.
after the lunch break, we reconvened for an afternoon of exploring color knitting techniques, from slip stitch knitting to stranded knitting. you can’t cover everything about color knitting technique in just three hours, but we got quite a bit done, sampling something from each major color knitting area.
the project (left) and the swatch (right) were part of a discussion about color dominance (prominence of the foreground or background colors) and how to carry yarn strands to create one effect or the other.
monday was an intense (in a good way) day spent in the classroom with me lecturing for most of it, while participants swatched their way through the material. i was nervous because i am by no means an authority on color knitting—i just love it and i don’t get to do enough of it with all my other design work. that said, i have been looking forward all year to this retreat because of the subject we chose to cover and have been thinking about it a lot.
i wish i had taken more photos that day of all the lightbulbs going off to signal “ah-HA!” moments; it was a wonderful incubator for new experiences and connections. cynthia’s face says it all—she’s a doctor who does very serious work all the time and she approaches her knitting similarly, but at the same time, i see that it relaxes her and that she enjoys it immensely, much the same as i do—i love this woman, she adds so much fun to the mix; i’m so glad she makes the time to come to our retreat!!
on tuesday morning we directed all that we talked about the previous day into a project immersion class. participants could choose between a slip stitch project or a stranded project; the class fee included a full-sized kit with all the yarn needed to knit either piece in undyed yarns. some students provided their own dyed yarns to add to the mix.
this day was more relaxed and casual—giving everyone a chance to digest what they had learned and put it into practice.
we spent the morning in the classroom getting organized, talking a little more about how to arrange colors into compositions, and reviewing technique, as well as familiarizing ourselves with the pattern.
i always encourage students to take on a new challenge in these sessions, so i was excited when almost everyone decided to go with the stranded color work project, the kingston cowl (patterns for both projects to be released very soon).
everyone worked hard, but in a different way from the day before; when i wasn’t talking, i made myself useful by floating around to help out wherever i was needed.
most of the morning was devoted to swatching out ideas for color arrangements that varied from the pattern as well as setting to work on the hem ribbing.
after lunch, most of us were ready to get into the meaty color work portion of the project. we moved the whole show into the lobby, where we could spread out comfortably and chat as we worked. josée passed around photos of her brother eric, who builds suits of armor for a living, to keep everyone’s adrenalin up. lisa was breathless.
i had encouraged everyone to use my pattern as a guide, making any changes to the color sequences they desired to put a personal stamp on their projects; i was really pleased to see that almost everyone was working up a unique variation.
before we knew it, wine o’clock was upon us and time to repair to our rooms to freshen up for the evening events.
(after i got home, i found this card in my bag from jane ann holmes-davis; it’s her original design, isn’t it adorable? thank you janie!)
tuesday knit night is the most fun evening of all, where everyone lets their hair down to really get the laughter underway. we provide the food, door prizes, and atmosphere while everyone pitches in a little make some fun.
for many participants, it is their last evening together, so we like to make the most of it.
this year, in addition to a whole bunch of door prizes, we also held a silent auction for a couple of grander prizes to kick off our red scarf fundraiser a little early. and we did alright—thank you everyone! i will be posting the red scarf fundraiser pattern a little earlier this year along with a special kit—keep your eyes peeled for that in a couple of weeks.
the next day we had a small but wonderful group for our final class, sweater fitness. lucky them; in such a small group we can really talk so that everyone benefits from each other’s work. it was a fantastic class.
that afternoon, we were lucky to indulge in a wonderful lunch at the cozy, award-winning matchbox café, a place i had passed back and forth by several times but had never stopped.
the proud owners do it up quite nicely in a tiny kitchen, from home corned beef to burgers to delectable desserts and cookies. SO going back there next year . . .
i picked up a slice of cake to bring to my mom that evening, because when the RAP came to a close, i headed up to albany to visit with her for a few days.
lucky me, i got to go to one of their monthly “cousins” lunches; i try to make as many of these as i can, especially before everyone goes off to florida for the winter.
aren’t they cute?
my mom and i had a really nice visit for a few days, even though the weather wasn’t so great. we did some shopping, went to the movies and had dinner with my sister’s family. i did some really nice runs as well; i always enjoy running in her area.
in fact, when we go back for thanksgiving, i’ve sign up to run the turkey trot along the river in troy, since i’ll miss the one here at home. anyone care to join me for the 10K at 8 am?
and then last sunday it was back home for me and i’m SO glad to be here.
yesterday, while the twins were elsewhere, i mined the shop, so i took a few hours to move furniture around and re-do some of the the displays.
now it’s even cozier; you really should come!
actually, one of the reasons we moved things around is to prepare for the new menu of classes we are beginning to offer. laura lazaritas will be teaching beginning and intermediate knitting as well as offering fine finishing services for anyone with a project that is long overdue for blocking and seaming. you send us your project pieces and she sends you back a completed garment; what’s not to love?
i finally sat down to knit for a bit at 2:30. i’m working on the cashmere lining for my kingston cowl and this time, i made sure to take photos all along the way so i can bring you a tutorial in the next few days about how to add your own cashmere lining to a cowl or hat.
i believe we’re going to have a pattern and/or yarn release tomorrow, but after that, i should be ready to present the lining tutorial.
and now it’s 2 am, so i’m going to close with a weird and wonderful thing i saw today while shopping with beckie
yes, you are seeing right—that’s an iris in full bloom. in november. after a frost last night.
and not only that, but there was a whole clump of them. and they are gigantic—really, like hothouse specimens.
neither of us had ever heard of this before; with all those fall leaves surrounding them, it was a bit of a science fiction moment, you know? hunh.
now if it’s as cold where you are as it has gotten here, you might enjoy the wovember blogs—a cozy tribute to all things wooly and woven.