Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Knitting Pipeline Retreat in Review

Hi, Knitters,
The winners for the Knit Red and Sew Red books have been randomly selected and contacted through Ravelry! The winner of Sew Red is pawsandknit (rav id) and the winner of Knit Red is gussek (rav id). Thanks to all for entering and I'll have another giveaway very soon.

For today you can find all related links at the end of the post.

Last weekend I attended The Knitting Pipeline Retreat in Washington, Illinois. I was a guest of Paula Emons-Fuessle, the host of both the retreat and the podcast of the same name, Knitting Pipeline. Not only did I get to attend the event but Paula invited me to stay overnight in her beautiful home. Paula's house is open and welcoming. Her husband, Bob, is friendly and helpful. I enjoyed being in her home so much. I even got to sit for a bit in her famous knitting spot which is a room off her kitchen that overlooks a creek and woods. Paula sits in here to write the Nature Notes section of her podcast and I can see why she does it from here. The huge windows and breathtaking view would inspire any nature lover. Her bird feeders were buzzing with action in the morning. That was fun to see. 

Paula's a keen knitter so it was a joy to see her knitting sprinkled throughout the house. I found the stack of knits above on a bench by the stairs. This stack includes a cloche found in Botanical Knits by Alana Dakos (a gift for her daughter-in-law) and a bunch of shawlettes. Paula's house is filled with furniture built and crafted by her dad, including a gorgeous rustic wooden mantle. I loved seeing the personal and meaningful items in her house.

Here is the view that has inspired many a Nature Note topic. The creek is visible from the window.

Paula asked her husband to take a few photos of us before we left for the retreat on Saturday morning. It was quite comical. Apparently, when taking family photos Bob has the reputation for snapping  photos at the wrong time, either too soon or more often too late. By the time he takes the photo people are telling him to hurry up and then the photo isn't the best. The same thing happened here as you can see above. I wasn't quite ready. I loved the banter between Paula and Bob and Paula's directives. It was cute. I guess Bob is available to hire for weddings or other events if anyone is looking for a photographer who takes interesting photos.

Here we are! It was incredibly nice to meet Paula in person. (You can see the mantle above.) We have corresponded off and on for awhile now. A funny note, I often have the experience of people meeting me for the first time and they are surprised how small I am. For some reason people think I am a lot taller than I am. I hear this all of the time. In fact, the first four people I met at the retreat were taken aback by how tiny I am in person. I always think this is funny. For the record, I am definitely petite.

Well, just look at who is my exact same size? Miss Paula and I look eye-to-eye. Paula threw on her Quaker Ridge Shawlette, which is my design, and I have to say that I love her rustic, tweedy version of this shawl. I would like one like that. She is also wearing her newly knit favorite cardigan, Acer by Amy Christophers.

I asked her if I could try on her Acer because I have this pattern waiting to be knit up at home and I wanted to check out the sizing. She tried on my Calligraphy Cardigan by Hannah Fettig. It looks great on Paula. We switched and wore each other's cardigans for awhile on Saturday.

I am also wearing my My Hope Shawlette by Laura Linneman knit up in Cakewalk Yarns. I think I was asked about 30 times about the shawlette I was wearing. It is wonderful yarn and a fun pattern. 

Paula looks stunning in her Quaker Ridge Shawlette! This is my favorite photo of the event. Paula is beautiful. I love how Paula created such an easy atmosphere for the retreat. Everyone had free time to do what they liked which was mainly meet new people, chat and knit. There were break-out classes like continental knitting (taught by the lovely Brigitte of Klose Knit), darning socks (taught by Paula), beaded bracelet making (by Ewe-nique Yarns), a lecture about sheep, felted ball making (by Knit4together - a yarn shop), and a master shawl knitter's display and chat (by Cindy, TalesofYarn on rav). There was even belly dancing (really!).  I didn't belly dance in case you were wondering but I did watch a bit of a performance. The belly dancer is Liby from the Multicraftual podcast. She's cute.

Malia, who sat at my table, is a fantastic spinner. She had a drop spindle going but then on Saturday I noticed she pulled out this interesting thing. It is called a Charkha and this is a pretty slick way to spin on the go. You can see she has one bobbin filled and resting and is working on a second. It was fun to see her get this going and she was creating the cutest tiny skeins of plied yarn. You can kind of see the skeins on the right side of the photo. I was intrigued.

Malia is spinning long draw from a rolag from Unwind Yarn. That's my buddy Kathy (kally on rav) on the right from the Itty-Bitty Knits group. I loved spending time with her. 

Amy Beth from The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast was there and I loved meeting her and getting to talk to her a little bit. I love her video podcast. She is smart AND funny, a great combination. She is genuine to the core. Everyone under the sun is talking about and participating in her upcoming Orange Knitalong. Amy Beth is wearing the Watercourse Cardigan and it looked great on her.  

Paula is still wearing my Calligraphy in this photo, too. She buttoned it up in this shot.

I signed a lot of books and I had the trunk show for my newest book, Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys on display for the weekend. The knitters enjoyed reversing the toys to see what was on the other side. That is always fun to watch! 

The highlight of the retreat was easily getting to see Paula and her bandmates, Heather and Bob, playing the bagpipes for the group. They played a few songs as the retreat was winding down. 

There was something so moving about it. I got a little teary-eyed while watching and listening. It was beautiful.

Paula is talented at so many different and interesting things and I think that is what adds to her appeal. She has a huge and enamored following. People adore her and hang on her every word. It was universal at the retreat.

Here is the beaded bracelet I knit on Saturday. It was a kit from Ewe-nique Yarns, a local yarn shop vending at the event.

I got to meet Rose (on the right) from Cakewalk Yarns! She is that talented dyer I have been talking about non-stop for over a year now. She is wonderful and fun and cheerful. I got a few more skeins of her yarn at the retreat. More socks and shawls to come in Cakewalk. I'll photograph my new Cakewalk Yarns and share soon.

I was thrilled to see my buddy Ruth again, along with her local to me sister, Sylvia. I have met Ruth a few times now and I was happy to get to spend more time chatting with her. Usually I have seen her in a class or something so I don't get as much down time with her. She is fun and delightful, as always. Ruth knit the Milk Cow (my design) that Rose is holding. I helped her stitch the head onto the body correctly and securely. Ruth loved that.

Amy Beth vended her hot, hot, hot wares. She has started a Fat Squirrel line of hand sewn project bags and dyed yarns and she created a mob scene when the vending opened up. I got one of those beautiful bags and a couple skeins of her yarn. I'll photograph and share more on that later.

I also purchased an adorable smaller snap-open project bag (I'll show a photo later) and some tags from Jennie (javajennie on rav). Jennie lives close to me and she let me tag along in her car for the 3 hour drive to Washington, Illinois for the retreat. Jennie was a vendor at the retreat, as well. Her shop is called, {kitchen counter crafter}, which is adorable. Thanks again for the ride!

Also at the table to my right was the lovely (and tall) Jo Anna Spring of the Knit Spin Farm video podcast. I loved meeting her so much as I watch and enjoy every episode of her podcast. She had a brand new family of sheep waiting for her when she got home. I saw a couple of photos and she was excited about it. Jo Anna gave me a sweet little hand-crafted cardinal stitch marker which I will photograph and share later. It is so cute.

All in all, for my first ever retreat and/or event where I wasn't working the whole time, I had the best time ever. Paula was a welcoming and organized host. She created an excellent and relaxing atmosphere along with her friends and helpers, Bronwyn and Sarah. Both Bronwyn and Sarah were fun to meet in person as well. They frequent Paula's podcast which are some of my favorite episodes.

Paula's audio podcast, The Knitting Pipeline, is my favorite listen as I run and walk everyday. I constantly go back and listen to old episodes. I have probably listened to every episode more than once and some more times than that and there are well over 100 episodes. If you are not listening to this podcast, you really should. You can listen right on your computer from her website by simply clicking play or you can find it on iTunes.

Thank you, Paula, for a memorable knitting experience. I will never forget my weekend in Washington, Illinois with you!

Link time:
The Knitting Pipeline Podcast
Quaker Ridge Shawlette
Acer Cardigan
Calligraphy Cardigan
Topsy-Turvy Inside-Out Knit Toys
Unwind Yarn Company
Java Jennie's {kitchen counter crafter} shop
Knit Spin Farm Podcast
The Fat Squirrel Podcast (shop link is on the website)
Cakewalk Yarns
My Hope Shawlette
Paula's Botanical Knits Cloche (in the first photo)
Multicraftual Podcast
Milk Cow pattern

Alright! I think that should do it. I'll be back soon with more. I am going to be in Alexandria, Virginia on Friday, May 3rd at the Fibre Space yarn shop!! I am having a workshop and meet and greet/book signing there on Friday night from 5-9pm. I hope to see you there if you are in the area.
best, susie
p.s. One more important thing, there is a blanket drive going on in my ravelry group (click here) in honor of the Boston Marathon runners/families affected by the bombing. Here is the information if you are interested in donating:
The Boston Children’s Hospital baby blanket project was conceived in response to the horrific bomb explosion at the 2013 Boston Marathon that claimed several lives, including that of an 8 year old boy, Martin Richard. Small baby blankets (and hats, too) are being collected in his memory and given to the patients of the ICU units of BCH. Please contact pamelajd (rav id) if you’d like to contribute a hat or a blanket.