Whew!

It has been a whirlwind 3 weeks (for me, Julie, at least). So  I will go backwards in time…

THE RETREAT!

We just had our little retreat in Wakefield (first weekend in May). It was a blast. There were 16 of us, 12 participants and 4 worker bees. We hold it at “The Barn”, which used to be somebody’s very funky home but is now rented out for events of all kinds:

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8714931231_cd6afeae2d_z (2)You can see why it is called the Barn. Despite a bad cold, Maureen cooked up a storm, with help from her daughter (and Kathryn). Although I’m not sure that we had enough food, I mean sometimes an entire half hour went by when we didn’t have something to eat.

8716056788_3ca5576111_z (2)Although it was a beautiful sunny weekend we spent a lot of it inside knitting… A few keeners, concentrating hard…

2013_05050030There was lots of sharing, and all I can say is thank god for iPads and free wifi! I might have to get one…. When we weren’t knitting, we were scrolling.

2013_05050031There was also some relaxation and lots of laughs. Although as you can see, some people can NEVER put down their knitting needles.

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I gave a class on two-handed stranded knitting and another on yarn substitution, Kathryn gave a dyeing class. Here is some yarn steaming and simmering on the stove (conveniently located outside).

8714946167_98c5c47347_z (2)And drying on the line, yarn couldn’t have a prettier place to hang out and dry.

8716063654_f7c2398fc3_c (2)There were also oodles of Kathryn’s yarns for purchase:

8716061996_5003525f2c_z (2)Because every knitter knows, you CAN’T have too much yarn, despite what other people might say (who know NOTHING, by the way).

On our final day we took a group shot, unfortunately two of our participants had already left, but they have their yarn and memories…

8716052482_2e313feb93_b (2)We think everyone had a good time (at least they tell us they did) and that some new things were learned and shared, including lots of food and probably a few extra pounds (if I could share those, I would!)

And one of our participants, Josée, sent me this picture just after the retreat, well on her way knitting her stranded mittens!

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Before the retreat, I went to visit my daughter and grandson in Cape Cod. First time I met the little guy (who was 2.5 months when I arrived and 3 when I left). I came prepared with all kinds of knits (which will surely humiliate him later in life). Every baby needs an octopus hat.

1Mother and son in knits, knit by me. I know, I know, it’s not always about ME (knitting) but actually this blog sort of is. Note the Peter Rabbit buttons…

3He is a very happy baby:

2013_04290026And we managed to spend a bit of time at the ocean, windy but nice. The baby just slept through it all, he’ll have years and years of ocean fun ahead of him (with more crazy sea creature hats, I’m sure).

IMG_0745 (2)And despite some worrying and a desperate search for lower-back painkillers, it turns out that walking a lot and carrying a 12 lb baby around for 2 weeks actually does wonders for the back. For mine at least. Maybe when I go back to my cubicle-rat job, I should periodically rock a 12 lb bag of flour at my desk. If nothing else, maybe I can get myself forced out for mental health issues? I’ll have to dress it in an octopus hat…

I even managed to pump out a Cape Cod sweater (a tradition I seem to have started with myself). I didn’t think I’d have time, but I knit this up in one weekend. Norah Gaughan’s Route 1, knit in Berroco’s Remix. It took less than 4 balls!

1 (2)Just before I left for Cape Cod, this was the weather here:

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But while I was gone, my little Magnolia tree actually blossomed! I received this last year from my son for my birthday and I didn’t kill it!

2013_05070019And a moment of magnolia zen for Frankie:

2013_05060010Which lasted until he noticed this visitor, up a tree:

pA chubby porcupine! I love porcupines, they are like Dr. Seuss characters come alive. Frankie has yet to be quilled and he couldn’t get near this guy (yay fence!) but I think he would learn his lesson if he ever did (he would just want to play, no aggression in this guy).

I’ll leave you with some human cuteness this time:

photo (31)Might Finn be thinking: “where’s my Canadian Grandma??” But more than likely he’s working on a fart (a few which, by the way, I have on video) – kids these days have no idea of their future torment with every burp, fart and sneeze digitally captured.

Are we there yet?

Well Kathryn did send me her pictures of our little road trip, so I will continue the narrative…

We stayed with Maureen’s sister and her hubby (lovely and gracious hosts) at Rideau Ferry. Me and Maureen enjoying the view:

Although I already posted some pics of Windblest Farm, here are a few more. You can never have too many pictures of sheep, can you? or adorable farm dogs?

(we were seriously connecting)

(sheepy goodness)

And now for something completely different…

We visited an “antique” store outside of Perth. I am using quotations marks for a reason, unlike the postings on Unnecessary Quotation Marks, plenty of irony intended here.

Can you spot me and Maureen? That hallway was so tight I wasn’t sure I could make it out the other end, so I did a u-ie but, really, almost had to just back out.

Bottles and jars! You want bottles and jars?

Or silver and glass and china and other stuff in plastic bags… Don’t eat that second slice of cake, cause you will never fit through that hallway. And maybe don’t grow higher than 5’8″, otherwise you might brain yourself on some silver or glass or china or other stuff in plastic bags hanging from the ceiling!

Howsabout rusted metal? Plenty of that!

There is a door in that “entrance”. (See above for explanation on usage of quotation marks).

Maybe I’ve been wrong about the whole thing. Maybe this is really an art installation. Or an “art” installation?

More projects than you can shake a stick at

New projects just keep piling up! What’s a girl to do??

1. I must finish birthday knitting for my sister, which at this point is almost a month late. In my defense, this project has decided to become difficult and I had to figure out a way to tame it into submission before I threw it across the room to the cats. I have it figured out, but now I have to finish it. The cats are disappointed.

2. I’m going to be a grandma! (which really should be in first place on my list but I have till January to get all the baby knitting done). I have already completed a baby blanket, a variation on Sunbreak, and am working on a pseudo-matching sweater (matching only in yarn):

3. I want to knit virtually everything in these two books (this will be one well-dressed baby):

Despite having an enormous stash, I ordered machine washable yarn from KnitPicks. It’s always great when you have a legitimate reason to order more yarn. Guilt-free yarn, how is that even possible!

4. These are two shawl/shawlettes I am knitting with Kathryn’s beautiful yarn. The pattern is mostly written up but I have to finish the red shawl, block the shawls and revise the pattern. Hopefully it will be finished this month. (oh, and a sock pattern and a pair of sample socks with her yarn).

5. I am itching to get to work on a longer-term project. I have many beautiful pillowcases from Hungary embroidered by my grand-mother many many years ago with different Hungarian motifs. They were well loved in my family (read used and abused) and so are now quite fragile. I plan on reinterpreting these designs into double-knitting patterns. I even found some Hungarian embroidery books for sale at our library for 50 cents each!

And to make all this knitting even more fun (how is that possible you ask?), I’ve accumulated a stash of stitch markers from Francine, leaves, owls and citrus fruit.

Of course I have other projects on the go, but admitting one’s insanity is always best done in baby steps, I say.

More retreat treats

I had a great time at our little retreat. Everyone laughed a lot, they were pretty game to sleep with strangers (some rooms had 6 beds) but earplugs helped.  As to actual knitting and dyeing, we split the class up on Saturday, so half dyed yarn and half worked on double knitting. And then we switched it up in the afternoon. This worked well as everyone was able to get individual attention. Here are a few more pictures from the retreat.

Knitters concentrating on their double knitting:

Close-up of some double knitting, you can see a few errant bars across the stitches but those were soon fixed. Everyone did a great job!

Kathryn‘s beautiful yarn, and Francine‘s beautiful shawl pins (and stitch markers) for sale:

And thematic cookies for everyone, made by my baker-daughter (who I may have mentioned in this blog, once or twice, or maybe three times, but whose counting.)

Lastly, Henry bids you adieu (with a little blue and green double knitting poking out from behind him), and says, thanks for the yarn, baby, just try to take it away, come on, try.