Monday, April 28, 2014

Dayton Knitting Guild Retreat & a winner!

Hi, Knitters,
I have randomly picked a winner of a copy of the book, Knitting Gifts for Baby by Mel Clark. The winner is...... duffysmum on Ravelry!! Congratulations. Thanks for entering and I'll host another giveaway very soon. 

By the way, Mel Clark's wonderful blog is back in action so if you missed it, please check it out again. It's worth your while.

Well, last night I returned from the Dayton, Ohio Knitting Guild Retreat that was held at the Bergamo Center (the photo above was the view from the nature hike path). This was a three day knitting retreat for 53 guild members. There were many members that came from different states like Michigan, Kentucky, New York, Indiana and more. The president and vice president of the guild, and other members, too, were annual attendees of Meg Swansen's Knitting Camp in Wisconsin and they have  modeled their retreat after the older version of Meg's camp when Elizabeth Zimmermann was still around.

All of the knitters stay together at the Bergamo Center which you can find out about right here. There were private rooms and baths, a small vendors' market which was lovely, all meals served right at the facility, a spacious gathering room/classroom with good lighting and big windows, and most of all lots of wonderful knitters. 

The weather was gorgeous. There were leaves and blooming trees and flowers. To me it felt like summertime. I got in one long run after the pm class and one short run before morning class. I am glad I could get outside a little bit to enjoy the beauty of the center. There was a nature path that looped behind the retreat center. 

The event organizer, Kay, and Heather who is the future event organizer, picked me up at the airport and took me on a fantastic tour of Dayton before we went to the retreat center. Kay is a historian and a smart and knowledgable tour guide. I learned so much from her and I certainly didn't know very much about Dayton before this trip. I enjoyed the historical tour so much because I often don't get to see the cities where I am teaching. 

Here was my big group of students. I've never taught 53 students at a time but this group made it so much fun. The projector screen and camera worked well (with a little bump at first) and I became more comfortable with it by the end of the weekend. The camera and projector was used for projecting my technique demonstrations on a large screen at the front of the classroom. That was a really good experience for me and I am glad I got to try that out. 

We worked on the projects the Egg to Turtle, a Fair Isle Hat, the Opal Sock Yarn Bunny and the String-a-Long Toys. These are all project-based workshops that are packed full of skill builders and tips and techniques. Don't be fooled by the cute titles, we covered some serious skills in these workshops.

Here are some of the skills we covered:
-working in the round on dpns on small numbers of stitches
-face embroidery skills
-how to pick up stitches and knit onto your toy in several different ways
-afterthought techniques
-increases and decreases
-stuffing tips
-gauge tips
-corrugated rib
-two-handed two color knitting
-the Latvian Braid
-reading charts
-pom-pom making techniques and tips
-twisty tie making
-weaving in end tips
-floats and tension for color work 
-trapping or weaving in floats as you work
-making bobbles
-how to make an I-cord
-kitchener stitch
-different types of toy-construction

And I'm sure much more! The students worked hard, helped each other out along the way, asked terrific questions, stretched their skills and hopefully learned a few new things. I so enjoyed this teaching experience.

Here are some of the Egg to Turtle reversible toys we worked on, some are finished and some are in-progress. Aren't they fun? The students kept commenting on the varying sizes of the turtles (it's all about gauge as always). They are all cute!

Kay, the vice president of the guild and event organizer, has an energetic granddaughter, named Pamela, who attended the event. She is a really good knitter. At show and tell she shared her Star Wars finger puppets and I just had to get a photo of them to share with all of you. 

I kept telling Pamela that she should write up her patterns. The finger puppets and designs are so good and they are immediately identifiable. She is quite a talent. She assured me if she ever does write up her patterns she will let me know so I can share them with you.

Here she is with her puppets! She's adorable and smart, and she's an attorney, too.

Two of my students brought their Not so Itty-Bitty Giraffes to class with them. They had these hand-sewn bags that the giraffes hung out of when they carried them around. It was so cute. Both Mary and Carol (I hope I am remembering those names correctly....) took my Craftsy Class for the Not so Itty-Bitty Giraffe and loved the online class and the resulting giraffes. I really enjoyed these two fun ladies. They were both so positive and upbeat. They made class fun.

Here are the faces behind the giraffes, Mary on the left and Carol on the right. (Again, I am hoping these names are correct, please let me know if I'm wrong.) I think this is such a cute photo. 

I had so many interesting students with fascinating stories and ideas. This group had such a good energy. They were helpful with each other and so willing to share. It was quite a social atmosphere with knitters who have been attending the retreat for years and years. They had a lot of catching up to do. The love of knitting and each other was inspiring. These ladies know how to create fellowship.

The woman on the right front table was so sweet. Her name is Mary. She shared that she is in her upper-80s. I enjoyed her so much and she worked really hard in class. I hope I can still knit and learn when I am in my upper-80s.

And to finish off, meet Valerie, the fastest knitter in Ohio (or at least the retreat)! Valerie was a bright-spot all weekend long. She is an incredibly fast and good knitter. She had her String-a-Long Frog done in a snap, well before the class was over. All weekend she whipped through projects easily and with a good sense of humor.

Thank you to the Dayton Knitting Guild, especially Kay Wolff who invited me and took care of me all weekend. Kay is a gracious host and so supportive. She made my weekend go off without a hitch. Anyone can join the guild if you are interested. They invite people to join and attend their lovely retreat.

As a side note, Amy Detjen was the instructor at the last retreat and boy do these knitters love her. I got to hear about the beloved Amy all weekend long and I loved every minute of it. There are never enough good Amy Detjen stories as far as I'm concerned.

I'll be back soon with more! I hope you are all off to a good start this week.
best, susie