Monday, May 30, 2016

Men's Knitting Retreat Show & Tell

One of the highlights of the retreat each year is the Show & Tell portion, where the guys get to display some of their handiwork to the cheers of the group.

Amazing Talent

Most of you know there are some incredibly talented and creative men who knit, so I always love getting to see what they come up with.  New knitters are wildly encouraged and long-time knitters get to have their work oohed and ahhed over.

One of the more challenging aspects of the retreat to photograph, given that it's at night and the lighting isn't optimal, the following are about ten percent of all the photos I took during show & tell.

Getting a good photo of the garment and the person that made it in such dim light has its challenges.  Hopefully despite the bad photography, you get a sense about the joy and pride we have in our work.  And while I wasn't able to photograph myself on the runway, I did end up showing and telling my murse and the niece blanket.

Current Knitting

I only took one project with me to the retreat and got very little done (and only on the days prior to the official retreat).

This is Noro Silk Garden Sock using my toe-up sock recipe.  I'm just about to "turn the heel" on the second sock, so I'll soon have a new pair of colorful socks to wear.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Retreat Activities

The original idea for the first Men's Spring Knitting Retreat was really just supposed to be a handful of guys at Easton Mountain with their yarn and fiber and tools just socially hanging out on the mountain relaxing.

Shit Got Real

Getting together with a few guys requires virtually no planning whatsoever.  But when Easton Mountain told us we had registered over 20 guys into the first men's knitting retreat (nine years ago), Ted and I realized we needed to establish activities and an agenda.

We quickly decided to set up workshops, letting the participants volunteer any expertise they had to lead the workshops.  And we also needed a road trip, so we started that tradition as well to visit a local farm or mill or yarn store.

This year's retreat had a total of 15 workshops offered, led by 9 volunteer/participants and we also visited a local sheep farm (with a yarn store on-premises of course!).

Here are some photos of the things that kept the guys busy this year.

Tom teaching some advanced beginner techniques

Michael teaching basket weaving

More basket weaving

Alasdair presenting his expertise in double-knitting

More double-knitting

Guys learning how to spin on drop-spindles

More drop-spindle newbies

A reverent place to learn spinning on a wheel

Aaron teaching beginning spinning

New spinners absorbing it all

Dave teaching introduction to weaving

Needle tatting with Kirk

More needle tatting

Two Toe-Up Socks on Magic Loop

There were also workshops on sweater repair and revision, measuring and shaping sweater design for a better fit, basic cables, reading your knitting, knitting on DPN's and beginner's crochet.

The expertise and the generosity to share that expertise at the retreat was amazing this it has been each year.

We also had the chance to visit Foster Sheep Farm in Schuylerville, NY. 

I'm not sure why, but the sheep at this farm are by far the most photogenic sheep I've ever seen.

I could envision this little lambkin watching over the baby Jesus' manger.

Current Knitting

With all the unpacking, re-organizing, finalizing finances...etc., etc., etc., I still haven't done much knitting.

But I was able to pick up some of the Foster Sheep Farm wool in PREPARATION for knitting at some time in the future.

This is from Carole Foster's own sheep and it's a blend of Romney and Wensleydale.  It's a DK weight and I plan on adding one more color and making a simple striped pullover.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Retreating Again

The annual Men's Spring Knitting Retreat has turned into a week-long event for me for the past few years, and this past retreat was no exception.

Back At Easton Mountain

Last week, I was back at Easton Mountain Retreat Center, three days in advance of the 2016 Men's Knitting Retreat.

It's fantastic to be able to just kick back and relax for a few days before all the guys arrived.  I also took the opportunity to snap some photos of the exceptional venue where we hold this retreat each year.

The back deck filled with men who knit.

The view of the Guest Lodge

The view from outside my lodging.

Yes, Spring did arrive while we were there!

Next blog entry, I'll post photos of some of the things that happen at the retreat.

Suffice it to say, that this year was again an amazing time, spent with some amazing guys.

Current Knitting
As many of you know, despite how counter-intuitive it might sound, I usually take time off from knitting while I'm at the Men's Spring Knitting Retreat.

I therefore have  no knitting progress photos to show.