Wanting what you get

I’m writing this post from high up in the air, as my flight goes from Seattle to Vancouver – I’ll hit post when we land.  I’m looking down on the San Juan Islands and mountains, and planning my knitting for the five hour flight that comes after this one.  Over all, I’m in a pretty happy place.  I’m totally out the other side of the Gourmet retreat, and do you know, I think that crazy idea worked?   For three great evenings,  knitters knit gourmet fibres, dyed gourmet yarns, and cooked and ate gourmet foods. 

I don’t know what went on in Tina’s class (because we always teach at the same time) but saw gorgeous yarns come out of there all day…  and in my class we worked on a little cowl that would become a sampler for all the delicious yarns we tried – it was like a wine tasting, only with yarn, and the flight was twelve exquisite specialties. 


Bison, silk, vicuna, guanaco, qivuit – really interesting and delicious stuff – and a lot of fun to talk about.  Most of these fibres are expensive, as they should be for a variety of reasons, so it was really fun to lay them all out.



Tina and I are just us though, and the real story was the cooking class.  For three days, knitters went to cooking classes, visited a working farm/cidery, cooked for each other, served each other and ate with each other, and from peeling the fava beans to searing chicken, they had it going on. 


Each dinners meal was paired with a wine flight, and James, the Wine Steward, walked us through all of them.  It was pretty fantastic for me, and I was working, so I hope it was even better for all the knitters.  We aim to please, and this felt like it really worked.


It’s one of my favourite feelings, what happens when a space is occupied only by knitters, and for three days that’s just what happened.  Every room in that Inn (plus a couple) had a knitter in it… every activity was knitter friendly,  yarn and needles sprouted on every surface, and the yarn bombing? I can’t even talk about how good it was.  It’s elevated to art now. That’s for sure.

In short, it was perfect, and I’m really, really grateful to the knitters who made it possible.  I’m ever so lucky that you let me do this stuff. 

(PS. Yeah, I know. I’m posting five minutes before midnight.  What can I say. I was determined to post today, and had technical difficulties. Yeah, I’m looking at you laptop.  You know what you did.)

(PPS. Thanks to Tamara. I stole a couple of her great pictures of the cooking class. Regretfully, I was teaching when it went down.)

70 thoughts on “Wanting what you get

  1. So hard to capture the experience in pictures, huh? Such a FABULOUS retreat!!! The day of cooking was awesome!!
    Yes….Tina and you and just Tina and You, but that is what makes the retreat so special….you two!! Hope I can continue to make each and every one because they do something for my soul….and that’s a good thing.
    Oh…..and Tina….if you’re reading this……you were RIGHT!!!! 🙂
    Tamara

  2. It really was amazing. So grateful I was able to come and experience it all!! I love how concerned Aaron (was it Aaron?! The lovely chef who brought me risotto) looks as I’m stirring the pan. Steven and I rocked that risotto.
    p.s. The knitters are really, really grateful to you and Tina for putting these on.

  3. Please please please have this Retreat again! I couldn’t come this time (kiddos on summer break) but I want to come to the next one ….

  4. I do like being around lots of knitters…the joy of it all pervades the air. Thank you all for doing the work to create these delicious events.

  5. You aimed to please and boy was I ever pleased. This past weekend was such a joy to be a part of thanks to the many efforts of you, Tina and the staff at Port Ludlow. I think you have a new repeat offender on your hands 🙂

  6. Thank you so much Stephanie! This retreat would have been wonderful at any time, but you and Tina know just how important it was to me at this particular time. Loved all the classes and the staff at the Inn are just amazing. Definitely going to have to figure out how I can do this again.

  7. I can’t believe Finn River liqueurs made it in someone’s photos – their cider is very good.
    So glad you had a good time – and the yarns look yummy too. 🙂

  8. that’s me! and sam! making the risotto!
    we had to take turns stirring. that much risotto is heavy.
    had a great time. as always, you made my head explode with knowledge in your knitting class. but, you know, in a good way.

  9. It WAS completely perfect. Imagine going to summer sleepaway camp except you get a real bed to sleep in, all the other campers are super nice and there’s gourmet food. I mean, it’s pretty darn wonderful …before you add yarn!
    After yarn? Transcendental. Yes the cooking class was nice but Tina and Stephanie are what we went for and boy did they deliver! They are exactly the smart, funny fiber art EXPERTS you expect them to be. I would pretty much listen to either of them read the phone book so you can imagine how much nicer it was to hear them talk about yarn.
    When I left all I could think was “Don’t I owe them more money? Surely that was never enough…”. Everything was WAY more than I expected. We dyed 6 (SIX) skeins of yarn and a silk hanky. I think the variety in my yarn stash doubled from that alone, before I got a dozen samples of rare yarns from Stephanie.
    One of my favorite things was the show-n-tell on the last night. I can’t even tell you how many exquisite fiber projects I got to see and touch that night. It was like a lace orgy.
    I’m definitely going back, even if I have to do the dreaded spinning session.

  10. By noon there’s going to be a really unhealthy level of envy a-boilin’ out here in the knitting world. If, as I assume, you’re going to be in the ICU recovering from your current level of activity, it might be good to sign in under an as.)sumed name. (Nifty idea of what to do with tiny amounts of goodness, though.)

  11. I thought I wanted to go to a Sock Summit, but I was wrong.. THIS is what I want to go to.

  12. Some day one of these retreats is going to be a perfect fit for me and I AM going to get there. Thank you for the photos

  13. A retreat like this is going on my bucket list! Thanks for the great pictures!

  14. Gorgeous photos. I just finished breakfast and now I’m hungry again! The yarn looks yummy too. SOMEDAY I plan to attend one of these fabulous events. In the meantime…living vicariously…

  15. I want to go to this someday (especially with the cooking). I’m glad that it worked, because you might do it again (and hopefully I will have planned ahead, so I can join in). It looks amazing!

  16. How long would it take to put together the pattern for that cowl? Good health and safety on that training ride!

  17. When is the next one? This time next year, my son will be almost 1.5 and I will feel more comfortable leaving him for more than a day and can’t wait to attend.

  18. Love the idea of a retreat – one day I will make this happen for myself! From the comments it looks like you have an inexhaustible market for your “product”!

  19. Wow, looks like a totally awesome event!!! And I totally missed out 🙁

  20. Were I a tiny faerie I would have a roll on that lovely little swatch. “Roll roll roll”

  21. Wow what a beautiful looking retreat. I hope to one day be able to attend. Congrats!

  22. You went to FinnRiver! When you announced this retreat, I admit I had to quash my instincts to send a pile of unsolicited opinions, and the top of the list was, “you HAVE to visit FinnRiver.” We’re really proud of the food culture in this little corner of the woods, and they show it off brilliantly.
    PS. How about the Chimacum Corner store? Have you found it yet? I now consider it criminal to travel without provisioning there first. They’re a whole lot more, but seriously – travel food art.

  23. I just wish these marvelous events weren’t always on the west coast. Surely there’s a lovely inn somewhere in Vermont that would just love to host an event like this. Surely there’s a hotel in Burlington that would love to host a Sock Summit East.

  24. Oh my! The food, the yarn, the fiber. Oh how I wish I could have gone! Please tell me you are going to plan another one sometime in the future!

  25. This looks like the ultimate sybaritic pleasure. What a brilliant idea, and what looks like brilliant execution by you and Tina (because I’m sure there was a young ton of paperwork and logistical planning going on behind the scenes).

  26. Do you know how bad I want to be at one of these gatherings? This looks like a few days of perfection!!

  27. Love Finn River. We love their cider and they’ve always been great when we showed up to taste.
    Mmmm.. Now I need to plan a drive out that way to buy more cider. 🙂

  28. I love that cowl! I don’t have anything fancy in the fibre stash, but I do have some experimental things. Might try the same. 🙂 I don’t suppose there is an official pattern, or is it just some feather and fan?

  29. It was a fantastic experience. My husband and I agreed that it needs to be an annual one for me, so I guess I’ll be learning to spin at my LYS this year! I’m with you Kathy — I’ve resisted so far, but if Stephanie tells you to learn to spin, you learn to spin 🙂
    The cooking was fun, the knitting fascinating, and the dyeing creative and powerful. But the best part was just BEING with all of you wonderful people!

  30. The retreat was everything I imagined it would be and then some. I have read with envy about past retreats and hoped that someday I would get to join in. It was so much fun, so much information, so many great people to meet and knit with, what more could one hope for, maybe attending another retreat!

  31. Would anyone be thinking of turning that lovely cowl into a kit and selling it? Just wondering . . .

  32. Dear Stephanie, Soooo wish I could have been there…will you do this one again? Hope so cuz It sounds so wonderful. Glad you had a good time even tho you were working! Blessings, Love, Josie

  33. Stephanie, you always have a place to stay in Seattle if you need one. Comfy house full of yarn in a sweet Seattle neighborhood. Wine, beer, vegetarian food. Glad you get to come to the Pacific Northwest as often as you do.

  34. I can almost feel those fabulous fibers in the sample and the cowl right through my keyboard. Pattern, please.

  35. Oh…this just sounds heavenly; the yarn, the gourmet cooking, the wine….wish I’d been there!

  36. That looks absolutely lovely. Do you allow non-knitters to participate? I think I could almost convince my boyfriend to do the cooking classes while I played with fiber.

  37. Dear Stephanie,
    I am going to be just like you when I grow up.
    Your work is very meaningful for the community of knitters and are much appreciated.
    nparis

  38. Looks like a wonderful time was had by all. Wonder why it takes so long for your posts to be available? Is it just me? 11:29 yesterday, just here at 3:43 on the 29th. Oh, the anticipation! Like kids waiting for the ice cream truck to toodle thru the neighborhood.

  39. I am beyond pea-green with envy. You MUST do it again at a time when I can go. Note that down please.
    Thank you.

  40. wonderful just doesn’t serve it justice! from every aspect the retreat was just that, a retreat from the norm into the gourmet…loved being in the midst of all that talent…hoping that some of it will rub off on me…the show and tell was right out of a lace museum! Wow!!! I am so looking forward to next time! Made some great friends too! Thank you Stephanie and Tina, you surely know how put all my favorite things together… Barb

  41. I really, really want to come to a retreat like this. Please, will it happen again ? (ohplease,ohplease)

  42. I can’t even imagine how it would feel to be surrounded by that many knitters. A cooling draught of knitterly affection amidst my days of toiling among the Philistines.
    I was just told this past Tuesday that by knitting in a restaurant while waiting for my meal, I was “proving that I was a senior citizen so I could have ordered from the Seniors’ menu after all”. This was said by our waiter, who up to that point had charmed us all. I was so stunned I entirely failed to come up with a suitable riposte.
    People like that just don’t deserve to have socks or mittens, EVER.
    Would LOVE to go on a knitting retreat – but one without cooking. As a professional cook, I can get lots of that any time thanks.

  43. I’m so glad you got to do this – and share it with us! It warms my heart to know that my peeps are out there making statements in the world and their lives about the craft that we all love.

  44. I feel so honored to have spent time with Stephanie (incredible knowledge, talent and humor), Tina (Kind, funny and see’s beautiful color everywhere) and all of the new knitter friends.
    Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  45. Please do one of these on the east coast. Please? Pretty please? Pretty pretty please with all sorts of yummies on top? You can have it at my house even (not a great venue but I’m sincere in my wishes). I wanna go!

  46. One of these days I’d love to go to a knitting retreat, but I’d like one locally to start with. Start small, I say 🙂 (for me anyways). sounds like you had a blast.
    I have made a whole lace shawl out of 100% qiviuk. Love the feeling of it. It is super soft and warm. Cost me a fortune ($275!!!!!)……and I would never do it again. When it was finished and blocked I discovered a huge hole in it where the yarn had come apart. I was devasted and it took me a couple of weeks to get over it. Then I sat down took some matching thread (yes sewing thread) and sewed up the hole as best as I could. I can’t even find it any more, I did such a good job. Then a week ago, another hole materialized. Again,out came the thread. At this rate, soon I will have a “sewn”lace shawl. Hence I would never use it again, only in combination with silk ( which they sell). It’s much cheaper and sturdier than the pure version. (although with all the problems, I still love my shawl).
    Liane

  47. Oh my goodness, PLEASE run another Gourmet retreat in 3 years when I might conceivably leave my babies with their dad for 4 days. (Still nursing one at press time)

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