Sunday, 9 November 2014

Getting Inspired

My knitting and stitching friend, Jennifer, and I have been planning to attend the Needler's (Knitting) Retreat since last May. The weekend finally came and we piled into my car and bombed over to the far end of Lake Ontario to The Glen House Resort. This was the view from our room just after sunrise.

It was the 25th anniversary retreat and several originals still attend.

The first night there was a 'show and tell' event.
Jen showing and telling us about her Susanna IC beaded lace shawl

Jen and I took lots of notes so we could look up the patterns at some opportune time. We were either so busy or the Wifi was so bad we really didn't have a chance to look stuff up all weekend.

These Ottawa knitters had participated in a KAL (knit-along) of the Peloton Shawl, Natalie Servant's design for the 2014 Tour de France.
Here, Natalie and Jen are staving off thirst as we wait to be called for dinner.

One of our two classes on Saturday had us knitting with silk hankies with Francine Hébert, who also created beautiful shawl pins that both Jennifer and I own.
Francine Hébert
This is a very organic activity where we were to draft out the hand-dyed raw silk then knit it into a little neck warmer. I decided instead to just experiment with some pattern on my swatch.

Jen and I with our silk hankie bundles. 

During our class, several participants demonstrated how far they could stretch a 9" square silk hankie before drafting the fibre so far it separated. Each 'hankie' is the fibre from one mulberry silkworm cocoon that has been soaked then opened out and stretched onto a wooden frame.

Silk hankie swatches
I think I will frog the sample and spin the fibre and then knit it into something lovely. I also have 1/2 oz. of hand-painted blue/purple silk hankies that I could use for some type of silk spinning then knitting project.

This was the view from our upstairs classroom.

The other class was knitting a top down cardigan using a baby cardigan pattern as the sample with Deb Gemmell. There was a lot of information for Deb to share with the three levels of abilities in our class but she got through everything OK and got us started on our respective projects.
Deb shared with us that the front and sleeve of a top-down cardigan are constructed like a triangular shawl. Basically any triangular shawl lace pattern can be used. For our purposes we did stocking stitch on the back but lace could also be incorporated on it as well.

After dinner we assembled for the raffle. Participants donated prizes then purchased raffle tickets. Then participants selected specific prizes they wanted to win and deposited any number of their tickets into the little bag attached to the respective prize.

I won yarn! From Riverside Studio!!
One 378yd skein of 50/50 superwash merino/silk sock yarn. in a beautiful cerise colourway. I had purchased a 420yd skein of her 80/20 superwash merino/nylon sock yarn earlier in the evening. I also won two skeins totalling 968yd of 100% superwash merino lace in a green colourway. I came away with over a mile of yarn.

This morning, Jen and I attended a workshop on Combined Continental knitting. It is a method of Continental knitting where the purl stitch is done by wrapping the yarn the other way on the needle to minimize left hand movement. The stitch is then oriented differently on the knitting needle with the left leg front (instead of the right leg) but in the next knit row, the needle is inserted between the legs and when knit, the stitch gets oriented correctly. It makes for easy ssks but a bit of fiddling is required for k2togs. Overall, though, it certainly makes purling much easier when knitting using the continental method.

The food was great - the company very inspiring. Last night we saw the Soumak Scarf Wrap being knit. It seems like the perfect project to use up my KnitPicks Palette and some sock yarns. I started knitting a little swatch tonight and aside from the mistake I made, It will make a very fine scarf indeed.
I had to make a spreadsheet to keep track of what colour to do on what row, but I think it will be a very enjoyable project which will use up some of my stash yarn and some other bits. 

After this weekend I have tons of other patterns to look up and put on my to-do list. I also need to figure out what patterns would be perfect for the yarn I brought home with me.

Jen and I are already planning to attend Rhinebeck 2015 and we met another Jennifer at the retreat who would very much like to join us. She lives in Kingston, ON so it would be very easy for us just to swing by and pick her up on the way. 

And now for the BIG NEWS I alluded to at the end of my last post...

Last weekend, Skip and I drove to the greater NYC area where I attended a training session. I have been selected to teach knitting on the cruise ship, Crystal Serenity. So far I am scheduled for a Caribbean cruise in the not-to-distant future. Unless I get in on a cancellation in 2015, I probably won't get the opportunity to sail again and teach aboard a Crystal Cruises ship until 2016. It's a pretty exciting prospect to combine two of my favourite things - teaching knitting and sail on a luxury cruise line.  I met several of the other ladies at the training session and some of us are already planning to share information about how the cruises go, etc. 

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