Saturday, October 04, 2014

The Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat 2014 ~ Recap

photo by Barbara ~ ravblb on Instagram

Hi, Knitters,
A week has passed and I think I have finally recovered from the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat 2014. I had the best time ever! Paula, in the photo above, is a fantastic host and retreat coordinator. She has just released her podcast reviewing the retreat. Paula has a gift for bringing people together and for fostering friendships. She hosts three Knitting Pipeline retreats throughout the year. The three retreats are all very different. Two of the retreats are hosted in Washington, Illinois, her hometown, and then she hosts the Maine retreat. This was her second annual Maine Retreat. If you are interested in attending any of Paula's retreats you'll need to start following her on Ravelry and her Knitting Pipeline Podcast. All of these retreats fill up incredibly fast and there are always waiting lists to get in.

photo by Susan Wilkins of Fresh Air Photography

Do my eyes deceive me or do I actually look tall in this photo? Trick photography!

Here is the entire group of wonderful, knitterly women. Everyone is holding a pair of mittens that were donated to the Maine Mitten Project. It was so much fun to meet everyone and to have these fun knitters in my classes. Their enthusiasm for knitting was contagious. I'll never forget the Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat for so many reasons. First, Paula let me teach and then she let me enjoy the retreat as an attendee for a couple of days. I didn't have to work the entire time which was such a gift. I took full advantage and loved every minute of it, soaking in the setting and the knitters. Second, it was my first (of hopefully many) trips to Maine and I feel as if I could live there I loved it so much. Last, meeting all of these talented, fun, spirited knitters is something that will stay with me for years to come.

One more last, I got to meet Pam Allen from Quince & Co. in person for the first time. I have emailed and talked on the phone with Pam but we have never met face to face. This was a true highlight of the trip for me. Pam is one of my main role models in the knitting industry. She is honest, easy to work with, hard working, and so talented, everything she does is spot on. I met Pam when she came to share her gorgeous Maine Quince & Co. yarns for all of the knitters. Everyone went crazy for the yarn and the purchases were flying. It was super fun to see.

The Quince crew including Jerusha and Dawn along with Pam, came back the next day with the orders for the attendees. This time I got to sneak away with Pam for a coffee and a macaron and a chat for an hour or so. I loved this time together so much. We have a few more projects together coming up soon! 

Thank you, Paula, for this life-changing retreat!

Linda Healey was the perfect tour guide because she lives right in Kennebunk, Maine. Linda and Barbara picked me up from the airport, took me out for lunch, gave me a grand tour of the area, and then delivered me to the retreat center. Linda's knowledge of the area is impressive to say the least. She knew so much history and all sorts of facts. I loved it. Linda helped me plan out my running route for my stay in Kennebunk. I appreciated that because I have a horrible sense of direction and can get lost very easily. I stayed right on track when running because it was so simple to run along the ocean. Thanks to Linda for all of her help.

Click here for Linda's Instagram feed! She has gorgeous photos of Maine, knitting and spinning. She's a good one to follow.

Click here for Barbara's Instagram feed!  Barbara takes great photos, too! Another good one to follow.

Barbara is a talented photographer and knitter and she has some great photos from the retreat. I bought a skein of Barbara's beautiful hand dyed yarn from her line called Eggy Johnson (no online shop is available) that I'll share later. Thank you, Barbara for the welcome and for your photos.

At the end of the retreat Linda also took me back to the airport in Portland the following Thursday and we went out for lunch at Becky's Diner in Portland. I had some fantastic chowdah (that's Maine talk for chowder) that I won't forget anytime soon. We stopped by Port Fiber and I got to meet the energetic owner, Casey, and I purchased a couple of her hand dyed braids of Maine fiber. Housed in the same building is A Gathering of Stitches, a workshop space owned by Samantha. I hope I get to teach there someday! 

Here are a few photos of my first day in Portland:

The following photos are of my stay in Kennebunk for the retreat:

The setting of my first early morning run on Gooch's Beach. Not too shabby. I ran every day while in Maine. I was in heaven.

I'm obsessed with the jagged rocks all along the beach.

We stayed at the Franciscan Guest House in Kennebunk. It was the perfect setting for the retreat. Kennebunk's main street was a few blocks to the right and the ocean was a few blocks to the left. Everything was incredibly scenic and convenient. There was so much to do and see and the venue was perfect for just hanging out and knitting together. There were outdoor and indoor spots that were comfortable for everyone.

The President and Mrs. Bush were staying at their house in Kennebunkport while we were there. The photo above is of their home. It is huge and gated and heavily secured. It is an impressive sight. A few knitters saw Barbara Bush a couple of different times walking with her walker and dogs on the beach, secret service in tow of course. One of the retreat knitters, Pam, actually talked to Mrs. Bush about her dogs while she was walking on the beach. Pam was so funny recalling the story.

I ate my first award winning lobstah (that's Maine talk for lobster) roll at the Crab Shack. Paula and I shared this order I am showing. We each had a sandwich and a bit of coleslaw on the side. It was delicious. Each one of those sandwiches cost $18 and they were not big.

I'm wearing my Hyla Brook shawl, a design Paula did for Quince & Co. I love this shawl so much and wore it for the entire retreat. It is the perfect size. Click here for the pattern information for Hyla Brook. I made mine in the Storm colorway of Finch from Quince & Co. I added beads to the bind off edge. 

Photo by Paula Emons-Fuessle on Walker Beach

This was the setting for dinner one night. The water was like glass and the colors were so vibrant. Maine is just breathtaking. Plus, I had one of the best fish dinners I've ever had. The food was so good in Maine.

This is the little restaurant where we had dinner. I can't remember the name of it.

Running on the beach! What a treat.

My buddies Kriste and Kelly, a mom and daughter duo from Texas, kept me company throughout the retreat. I just love these two and have met them before in person. Kriste does a lot of test knitting for me, she is such a talent. I consider her a good friend and now her mom falls into this category, too. Her mom Kelly is so much fun and a great knitter, too. I love their matching stature (very tall) and gorgeous red hair. They are a stunning pair. The two of them together are fun, warm, welcoming and the retreat would not have been the same for me without them. Thank you, Kriste and Kelly!

One afternoon we snuck away to Ogunquit, which was about 30 minutes from Kennebunk, and we went for a long and scenic walk along the oceanfront. Every turn on the path was more beautiful than the last. 

I wanted to make sure I stuck my feet in the ocean before leaving. It was freezing and rocky.

I found out that two of my favorite podcasters Mary of the Knitting Dish (left) and Grace of Juniper Grace have secret nose spoon talents at dinner. Who knew? Grace didn't really drink all of that but someone thought it added to the photo. I kind of agree. These two are a hoot. I love both of their podcasts so be sure to check them out.

I taught the Sock Yarn Bunny Workshop! There were a few finished bunnies, many almost finished bunnies and many in progress bunnies. We put the bunnies in their various states on the table and took a photo. It was fun to see how many knitters kept working on their bunnies after the class. I have received a few messages from people who have finished their bunnies now at home.

Mary's finished sweetheart!

Twinset Jan's finished mini sock yarn bunny is so cute! I purchased some of Jan's farm alpaca yarn that I will share later. Jan has a wonderful podcast that I've mentioned before, Twinset Designs. I highly recommend it.

Bunnies together forever!

Paula, Louise and Lisa (from left to right) are checking out Paula's photo! 

You may recognize Louise from the Caithness Craft Collective podcast. I've listened for years and you should definitely check this podcast out. Louise and her mother came all the way from Scotland to attend Paula's retreat. It was incredible to meet them. What a fun pair! There were people from all over the country in attendance and from Scotland and Canada. That's such a credit to Paula that people will travel so far to come to her retreats.

Click here for Louise's Etsy Shop! She sells Tartan knitting project bags that are adorable.

While at the retreat I designed and knit this tiny little sheep that I am using for a new workshop I am developing for The Knitter's Review Retreat in November and for Vogue Knitting Live in NYC! The Vogue Knitting Live class sign-ups just opened if you are interested. I think the class is called 3 Wee Sheep! Let me know if you are coming to class with me.

I gave this little guy (it's about 2-inches tall) to Linda Healey as a thank you for driving me all around and taking me out to lunch. I have already made another for my class sample. It's a fun, one-piece bottom up knit. The pattern is currently only available for my classes. 

Thanks to Paula and all of the attendees for making my first Knitting Pipeline Maine Retreat a fond memory. I hope to go back again and again either as a teacher or just as an attendee! I don't want this to be my one and only time at this retreat so I'll make sure this wish comes true.

xo ~ susan
p.s. Paula debuted her new shawl design and kit release in coordination with Little Skein at the retreat. The kits and Paula's Balsam Hollow shawl are a HUGE hit. You can order your own Anne of Green Gables inspired kits right here on Little Skein. I will be talking about the kit and the #annealong very soon.