Thursday, 9 November 2017

Needler's Retreat 2017

Barb, Jen1, and I headed off again this weekend on another road trip - this time to the Needler's Retreat at a lovely resort on the Ivy Lea Parkway in the Thousand Islands area at the east end of Lake Ontario.

En route we stopped at Cozy Quilts in Port Hope, Andjareena's Place in Trenton, Fun with Stitches in Belleville, and Kraft Village in Belleville. We bought a few stitching supplies and a little bit of fabric. After lunch of shawarma at Cedar Nights in Belleville, we popped into the Magnotta wine store near Quinte Mall then drove the rest of the way to the retreat.

We arrived at about 4 - having taken 7 hours to make the 2.5 hour trip. It's really true when they say, "half the fun is getting there".

After checking in, we went down to the bar area to sign up for our class groups. The three of us plus Mary Pat, Jen2, and her daughter Mackenzie signed up together. After a delicious prime rib dinner, we congregated upstairs for the 'fashion show' where people showcased some of their favourite projects. I showed off Skip's two sweaters:

Dale of Norway St. Moritz
I also took notes which I distributed to the others in my group so we could later look up the patterns on Ravelry and plan for future projects.

After breakfast the next morning, the 60 of us split into two groups. Our first class was Steeking with Janine Bajus. For homework we prepared a swatch with 3 steek columns - two with vertical colums and one with a checkerboard steek.

We learned how to properly execute a crocheted steek to secure the stitches before cutting the tube of fabric open. Janine explained it very well and provided a good handout on the subject.
Vertical column of steeks
I used contrasting (green) yarn so I could really see where to cut. It looks like knitting but is actually crocheted through half of the centre stitch and half of the stitch beside it. This technique firmly locks the two stitches together making horizontal unraveling next to impossible.

Ever the overachiever, I picked up the stitches and added a ribbed band, picking up 3 stitches and skipping the 4th. I think in this case, I could have picked up all the stitches as the ribbing looks like it is too gathered. Blocking could solve the problem, too.

Janine showed us a lot of the sweaters she has knit and many which appear in her book, "The Joy of Color: Fair Isle Knitting Your Way", including the Yellow Island Jacket on the cover.
After lunch, Josée Labrie showed us how to make thrummed mittens. Our homework was to knit the ribbed cuff so we could jump right in and start thrumming. I picked yarn thicker than worsted and decided to stagger my thrums. I got several rows of thrums done in the class and knit obsessively back in the room after the rafflles.

I finished the first mitten the other night and have cast on the second.
It is very big and puffy but will be perfect on a cold wintery day if I have to go outside.

After supper was the vendor marketplace and raffles. I didn't win anything but Jen1 and Barb did. I donated one of my zipped bags. Enough money was raised to fund scholarships for 3 people for next year's retreat.

At the Sheeps Ahoy table, I bought a Janine Bajus kit for the Starry Night Cardigan with Spindrift yarn.
My goal is to have it knit by next year's retreat so I can purchase the kit for the Yellow Island Jacket. I bought the pattern for Starry Night online when I got home. It has some lovely details including a double i-cord edging with gaps for buttons between the two i-cords on the right front. I look forward to swatching so I can get this project started. I have to decide how much positive ease I want to knit it with to accommodate a long-sleeved t-shirt or blouse underneath.

The next morning, we had a class with Francine Hébert on knitting a sock yarn blanket. Her pattern used 2.5mm needles and an even number of stitches. I preferred my 41 stitch pattern with 3.25mm needles as I prefer larger squares and 'drapier' fabric. She had good ideas on starting the blanket. I got about 3 squares done during the class and have been working on my blanket since I got home. I now have 20 squares done.
When I got home, I wound all my sock yarns neatly and put them in a bin. It's handy to just reach in and grab a new colour.

We drove home on Sunday in pouring rain, dropping Jen2 off in Kingston en route. We all had a great time but it was nice to get home.

That's it for my major knitting/stitching events for this year. I now have several projects I want to do.

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