From Winter to… Winter

It’s that time of the year when we head “down south” (which is Alaskan for “anywhere in the Lower 48”) for a knitting retreat (for me) and to do some exploring with the RV (for both of us). It’s a good time of the year to escape winter for a bit because this is what it looks like at home…

…but when we got to Seattle, it was worse!

Seattle was in the midst of “snowmageddon” – it’s rare to get snow in this very hilly town, and the city has very little equipment to deal with it. Flights were cancelled left and right, and neighborhoods were snowed in for days.

Regardless, the knitting must go on… and the knitters (and spinners) gathered one last time for Madrona – a knitting and spinning retreat that has been going on for 20 years. This is my fourth year attending “graduate school for knitters”, as Jim calls it. Classes, demonstrations, the Teacher Talent Show to raise money (serious money) for charities, lectures, and knitting or spinning by the fireplace are all great ways to experience Madrona. Sadly, this is the last year in its current incarnation, but two new people are taking over the same date and location starting next year for a similar event – Red Alder – and I can’t wait!

Sip Sip Knit

Spinning in the bar…

…demonstrations of antique sock knitting machines…

…asking a lady to pose with her knitted sheep doll (Dolores – a real character – in a custom designed mermaid outfit (just one of a growing collection)…

Now, you may think we knitters and spinners are all nut-cases, but really we just love fiber and making things and being creative. And being kind to one another. It’s a Big Thing with crafty people, which is what makes being around so many of them at one time pretty awesome.

Everyone admires everyone else’s knitted things. It may not be the colors or style you’d choose for yourself, but you can see the workmanship and pride in every shawl, sweater or hat and appreciate it. And the most fun is to take a class from one of the outstanding teachers and come back a year later wearing something you made based on that class. I’ve never been a “fan girl” about anything, until I met knitting teachers. I have a few favorites… Beth Brown-Reinsel, who wrote the book about Ganseys and is a traditional knitting maven, posing with Jim in his custom Gansey…

…and Fair Isle color wizard Janine Bajus, posing with me wearing two of her designs – the Helsinki sweater and the Cordova hat.

I took a day-long Knitted Tessellations class with another very favorite teacher – Franklin Habit – and as much as I detest to be in photographs, I just had to get a fan girl picture with him (and my tessellated swatch). (A tessellation is an arrangement of shapes closely fitted together in a repeated pattern without gaps or overlapping. It involves math and rules, but it’s really cool!)

You too can tessellate!

I wrapped up my glorious long weekend of knitting with a class about Danish star motifs and the history of their traditional damask garments from a knitter/historian – Vivian Hoxbro. She told us that the Danes think of the stars as holes in the sky that give you a little view of Paradise, hence the significance of the many star motifs on their garments. Suffice it to say that I’ve already ordered her book!

So here ends my annual Blog About Knitting, and now I promise to return to our normal kinds of adventures.

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