Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sweet Little Mini-Retreat

Hi Knitters,
First things first, the winner of Custom Knits 2 has been randomly selected and contacted. Congratulations to MonkeyButtBabies (rav id) or Jessica who has already contacted me with her address. I promptly sent the information off to the publisher to send out the book. Done deal! I have a big stack of books lined up to review and give so enter again if you are interested. Thanks to everyone for participating.
Last weekend was the Knit Circus Mini-Retreat and I had the best time. The retreat was held in the founder of Knit Circus, Jaala Spiro's, parents' home. It is a gorgeous little house nestled in one of my favorite Madison neighborhoods. The house was bright and cheerful and artistic and cozy. I just loved being there and knitting in this lovely treasure box of a house. Jaala called her mom's house a treasure box and I thought it was so fitting. The house from the outside looks like any other nice house on the block but when you are inside you are met by bursts of color and pattern and homemade goodness. You want to stay forever.
Jaala's dad is a talented woodworker. He made the dining table and the mantle amongst other things in the house. I got to sit in front of the fireplace the entire day.

My students worked on tiny knit fairies and all made good progress. Most finished the body and head and arms and legs. It was a chatty group as many of the knitters knew each other from other places and the Sow's Ear (a knit shop in Verona, WI).
The knitters were so much fun. The group in these photos are from Amy Detjen's colorwork class.
Amy is a fantastic teacher with so much experience and unending tips for improvement. I learned two new things from Amy, a new way to do a kfb and a clever way to trap floats while doing colorwork. The class was last Saturday and I have already used both of these new techniques since then. I call that a success.
I made this simple two-handed colorwork hat during the class that Amy is stretching here as she gave us some blocking tips. I almost finished the hat during the class but didn't quite make it. I finished the hat quickly that night by basically putting the top of the hat on, weaving in the ends, giving the hat a good hearty steam, and lastly, adding a couple of twisted ropes at the top. I've already worn it on a couple of walks. It's a good one. I am still using up the leftover Brooklyn Tweed Shelter yarn I have from a couple of book projects. I love this yarn so much.
Many of the students stayed all day which was fun, a few came and went. Pat (above) was a pleasant and fun all day attendee. She sat in front of the most colorful bookshelf I have seen. Each shelf was painted a different color and had matching shades of books inside. It was so well done and interesting.
Jaala's mom recently went to Paris and came home with these tiny winged cups. The house belongs in a magazine and my photos don't do it justice by any means. Everything was sweet and heartfelt and colorful.
See what I mean? My stove never looked so cute.
I love the dropped basin sink, the teal floor, the white glass cabinets, the beautiful light fixture that looks like folded paper, the handmade curtains.....
Amy brought her suitcase of her spectacularly impressive colorwork garments that included a couple of Alice Starmore creations. Wow, did I enjoy that and everyone oohed and aahed as she pulled the items out to share.
I have never tackled something so intricate but I would love to someday.Here is my finished hat from the retreat. It is like a fun memory hat for the day. The knitters I taught were sweet and fun and oh-so talented. It was the easiest group I've ever taught. They were all so accomplished and didn't need much help from me. I actually for the first time ever got to knit right along with them during the class. The day was like a giant knitting circle and I've never experienced anything like that before. I loved everything about the day.
The simplicity of my sweet checkerboard hat is the perfect representation of the day, colorful, warm, cozy, skillful and easygoing.

If you ever have the opportunity to attend a mini-retreat in Jaala's parents' home, DO IT! If you ever have the opportunity to take a class with the delightful and funny Amy Detjen, DO IT! You will laugh and learn at the same time. Amy is teaching at the upcoming Vogue Knitting Live in NYC so go sign up for her classes if you are able. You will have a great time.

Have a sweet, warm and cozy holiday weekend, Knitters. I am thankful to have you, the talented knitters, and knitting in my everyday life. I am so lucky.
best, susie