Thursday, June 30, 2011

How does one keep up??

I know I'm rather delinquent in my blogging, but I have excuses. And besides, if your blog reading has been anything like mine, it's nice to have a break to catch up on other posts.

My biggest excuse is that I just moved - merely across town, but it's a significant change, and one that leaves me trying to find underwear in boxes because I didn't manage to wash the past couple days' clothing. Another excuse is that I've been a little more sociable than most of the past year, which mostly means less time knitting, and especially less time in which to concentrate enough to blog. Another excuse is... well, one and two should be enough. (There's a little movie reference for you.)

As it is, I'm eeking this one out during my lunch break, so pardon my brevity.

Now's gotta be as good a time as any to sate you with my finished Transatlantic from my MSKR travels.

I'm rather fond of the reverse side of the shawl, so again I consider my project to be reversible.

I omitted the buttonholes because I loved what the colors were doing and didn't want to take away from that.  I did add a little stripe at the bottom, and I love it.  The greyish yarn is dyed by Beatka at Hedgehog Fibres, and I'm a fan.  I would love a sweater's worth of her sock yarn in this colorway.

In other news, I'm gearing up for Tour de Fleece, which begins this weekend!  I'll be up in the mountains, and am looking forward to the chance to share my limited knowledge on spinning (yarn) with one or more newbies.  Woot!  I gave a spindle spinning demonstration for the ladies at the home today, and they seemed to enjoy seeing and feeling the yarn at different stages.  It's funny how spinning yarn seemed to skip the older generation and is now coming back.  At least in my neck of the woods.

Time is up, so here's to a great weekend, and I'll try to catch up with you when I can!  Happy knitting (and spinning)!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

MSKR Part 3: The part where I talk about the actual retreat!

I entered the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat feeling overwhelmed--partly because I was still pumping with the adrenaline of the Westknits workshop the night before, but also because I was finally attending the retreat after years of merely wishing I could go.

Stoppin' at Stewie's
Breakfast on the trip to Easton Mountain!

Before the official retreat began, a number of guys met early to take a field trip to Green Mountain Spinnery.  Here’s a couple photos from the tour we received, where we got to see how machines are used (with a lot of love and attention) to turn raw fleece into the stuff I am so fond of: yarn.
Green Mountain Spinnery

We also stopped for an excellent lunch at the Front Porch cafe, and then packed back into the cars for the trek back to the retreat center.  I loved the company in the car, and am ever so grateful for the chance to really get to know a few of the attendees before facing about forty men all at once.  

Golden hour at Easton
Golden hour at Easton Mountain
Impressions from the retreat itself...

Earth and Wind and Sky  
I thoroughly enjoyed the ever-changing weather that swept through our tiny corner of the earth.  I spent a lazy afternoon on a bench swing, I frolicked in a cloudburst, and I drank in the scent of the lilacs, all within sight of the pond that became like a steady friend.  Many conversations were held on the porch, knitting and spinning to the view of the clouds chasing the sun across the water, only to find the sun taking the pursuit in return.  

Rain showers
Rain showers.  Ahhh!

Thunderstormy golden hour at Easton Mountain
I'm late for dinner but lovin' it!
I was delighted to see laid out all in one place the delectables I had been spending the past months requesting.  We had a wonderful bunch of generous donors who contributed door prizes to the retreat; we got to ogle their handiwork all weekend, ending with drawings and duels for beautiful and unique yarns and other goodies. To me, these gifts represent the good will of fiber artists and authors toward the sometimes overlooked male demographic in the knitting world.  And to them, I give my hearty thanks.

Food, Folks, and Fun
I loved the food, which was far more healthful and delicious than the usual fare I find in my neighborhood.  But the company was delightful.  I found myself uncommonly at ease as I joined conversations with a variety of the guys attending the retreat.  In a few words, I found them to be interesting, talented, amiable, generous, and just as crazy about fiber craft as I am.  With these guys, I felt like I had a niche.  They didn’t mind my antics, and as time went by I became comfortable in my own skin.  

Knitting on the porch
Notice the shoes.  Socks make for a great knitting atmosphere.

Whether it was in casual conversation or in a workshop, I was often awed by the level of talent represented at the retreat.  While some guys were just newbies to knitting, a good number of the men turned out to be quite accomplished in a particular area of knitting, spinning, or even sewing.  It was like having a long weekend to chum around with rock stars.  One of the most amazing moments was during show and tell.  Astounding. You’ll have to take my word for it, since it’s kinda one of those “had to be there” moments.    During down times, there was a wonderful exchange of knowledge going on, without a sense of having to be something in particular.  

Leaving the retreat was difficult, and I know that many of the men felt a sense of loss as he gave his farewells to the others.  I was grateful that I had a day in New York to look forward to on the trip back.  But I’ll save that for later.