I can be taught (slowly)

This time I think I’ve got the hang of it. The other day I posted a quick little thing about the Strung Along June Retreat, and my inbox filled up with questions, which is exactly what happened the last time I did that. I ended up writing a post to explain, and that’s what I should have done this time and didn’t, and will from now on. (Slow learner I think. I blame the wool fumes around here.)

So, the next Strung Along retreat is begins the evening of June the 12th, and runs until the evening of June the 15th.  (Question #1: Yes. Most people stay through until the morning of the 16th, and go home then.  Question #2: Yes. I know, that’s the weekend of my birthday. No, I didn’t forget that when I arranged the retreat, it was the weekend the resort had free because of a golf thing. It’s cool, and thanks for remembering I don’t usually work on my Birthday – this is worth breaking the rule.)

cookieplate 2014-06-24

The theme for this retreat is Knit, play, cook, and the teachers are me, Judith MacKenzie, and Dan Ratigan. I’m me, Judith is most decidedly “that Judith” and Dan is the Executive Chef at Port Ludlow, and an all round fun guy. (When you see him, ask him how many children he has. The man is practically made of joy.) I’m teaching a class called “Rare Birds” and it’s going to be about knitting tricks, tips,  techniques and styles that you probably haven’t met before. Super useful stuff, I promise. Dan and his team are going to host a day of cooking classes.

dancooks 2014-06-24 cooking 2014-06-25 saladmade 2014-06-25

Judith was assigned the topic of “Play” and she took it her own way, coming up with a class that has three acts.  First Judith is setting up the dyepots, and you’re bringing yarn that you’ve never really been wild about the colour of, and you’ll work together to overdye that yarn and make it something you adore. (There will be more yarn involved too.) Then, while the dyepots are still fired up, Judith is going to teach you about Shibori.  It’s a traditional resist technique, and Judith is providing the silk scarves for you to dye, and it’s easy, and beautiful. For the last act, you’ll spend a little time stitching on wool, also a pretty decent skill for a knitter to have.

shoppingewe 2014-06-24

(Question #3: Wait, Judith MacKenzie is a spinning teacher, how come she’s not teaching spinning? Good question. Judith isn’t just a spinning teacher, she’s a textile artist, and has worked and learned all the way from the Arctic to Peru and Turkey, and she’s simply one of the best teachers that I’ve ever met in my whole life, and I bet if you read the comments, there will be more than a few people who agree with me.  She’s so good that it’s always broken my heart a little bit that at our retreats, you only get to know her and work with her, and be inspired by her if you are a spinner.  We decided to try this approach for just one retreat, to give the rest of you a chance to see what everyone else is on about.  Trust us. She’s amazing.  Question #4: I don’t know how to do any of those things.  I don’t know how to cook, or do Shibori, or dye anything. Is this for me? Yup. That’s the point of classes.  You don’t need to know how to do things when you come. You can’t be unqualified for a class where you’re coming to learn. If you’re worried about the cooking part, don’t be. Dan will have a variety of stations to work at, and you can start with something as basic as knife skills (I bet you always wanted to be able to chop things the way they do on Top Chef) and moves up to tasks as complex as you want. It’s fun, and the same goes for the other classes. You’ll be fine.  If you can cast on, cast off, knit, purl, increase and decrease, you’re more than equipped for everything that will go on that weekend. You come to learn stuff, not because you already know it.

jenretreats 2014-04-15

Question #5: I don’t know anyone, and I’d be coming alone. Will this still be fun?  Yes. You’ll get to know people very quickly. There’s lots of people (almost all of them) who come by themselves.  You won’t be lonely, or alone. Some people who came alone have ended up with new best friends, or a group of them.  It’s a great thing to do by yourself. The classes are very small, and there’s lots of opportunity to get sorted.

innatnight 2014-04-15

Question #6: How is this different or better than other retreats? Well, that’s hard to say.  I go to a lot of retreats, and they all have their own personality, and so does this one. Some are wacky (ours is not so wacky) some are rustic (ours is not at all rustic) some are big (ours is small) and some are more about being social (ours is a little less so.)  I can’t say ours is best, or that it’s totally your thing, I can tell you what we’re proud of, and what we like about our retreat.   We are proud of our class sizes (small – only about 15 per class) we’re very proud of the calibre of teachers we bring in, and we like that our focus is on teaching and learning. It’s three full days of classes, and evening events that are about learning too.  We think the resort is pretty nice, and we have fireplaces and Jacuzzi tubs in every room. (See? Not at all rustic.) We also think that we’ve got some of the best food you’re ever going to eat at a group event like this. It’s over the top – local, fresh, amazing.  A shocking amount of our budget goes on food. SHOCKING.

bathtub 2014-04-15

Question #7: (Speaking of money.) How much is it? The retreat is $845, and that gets you all of your food, classes, teaching, materials, and evening events. The accommodations are separate, and yours to arrange with the Resort. (They have a special room rate for our retreats, usually around $159 a night, and several rooms can have two beds so you can split with someone. If that’s what you decide to do, you two work it out. The rate stays the same.)

 Question #8: What’s up with all the retreats? I mean, you and everybody are doing them?

ballwinderout 2014-04-17

Well. They’re awesome. That’s all. A retreat is a floating island of knitters. For the few days that the retreat runs (and especially at ours, where we fill the resort) the world is only knitters. Nobody thinks you’re nuts. Nobody thinks you’re strange, and we all support and agree with your passion.  It turns out that feels great.

Any more questions?

(PS. I just thought of another question. How do I sign up?  Read more details here, and send us an email at strungalong@yarnharlot.ca  Me or Debbi will write you back. There’s still some spots, but not very many.)