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.
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.
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.
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.
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.