Counting is hard

Last night I sat down to accomplish the 30 rounds I needed to do in order to meet my sweater deadline.  I was pretty tired, and the work’s going slowly, and I have, as Quiltyknitwit (I love your names) pointed out in the comments yesterday, lost my will on this one a little bit.  I’ve apparently also lost my ability to count (not an unusual state for a knitter) because while I was plodding towards the daily finish line, a little bell rang in the back of my mind.  It said “30? Will that work?” I took another sip of my glass of wine (because wine is a well known aid to problem solving) and thought “of course it will. Shut up brain, you’re no help.”

minnisleeve2 2014-10-08

Five minutes later, my intellect had caught up with me.  There are 120 rounds in the sleeve. If I do 30 each night for four nights, that’s it done. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Saturday I do the bands (except that’s two days work, but let’s gloss that over) and then bingo. Done for Sunday.   Except for this… Sunday is Thanksgiving. We’re celebrating two days in a row, once for each family, but that means that Saturday can’t be a big knitting day, it will be a day for shopping and cooking and roasting pumpkin and that means it will be a small knitting day, and so that won’t work.  I very intelligently thought that through, and upped the number of rounds to 40.  40 for each night, and then I’m done on Thursday, and I can do the bands Friday and Saturday, and I’m still done in time.  I patted myself for being so clever, and stayed up late to do 10 more.  I trundled off to bed, and lay there plotting out the next few days and realized two things. Thursday I have meetings that will take up some time – 40 rounds though, that should still be cake. I reminded myself to get wrapping paper, and then I remembered.  Blocking. I’ll have to block the sweater, and weave in the ends, and it will need at least 24 hours to dry (damn you damp weather) and that means… I almost got up and did 10 more rounds.  I didn’t, but today I’m going to have to pick up the pace.

In other news, a few spots (and we do mean a few) have opened up for the retreat that Debbi and I are hosting at Port Ludlow in November, and we’d love to fill them. The classes are tiny and intimate, the nicest way to learn (only about 14 or 15 people per class) and our theme this time is “Emergency 911”.  I’ll be teaching knitting rescue and repair. We’ll focus on mistakes and getting out of them, and on fixing damage to finished knitted stuff.  You’re more than welcome to bring damaged goods, and we’ll have a go.  I’ll also be more than happy to take a look at your knitting style, and see if it could be streamlined, and made more efficient and quick.  We’ll be joined by our good friend Judith MacKenzie, spinning teacher of considerable fame.   She says this about her class.

judith 2014-10-08

(That’s Judith at one of our other retreats, talking about how that there can be used for dye, and finding a rather large slug.)

“Does your wheel seem a little under the weather? Cold chills, a bit sluggish? Bring it in for a tune-up and a little tweaking. All spinning implements welcome. I have a few magic remedies that might be just what you need for good wheel health.
Does your long draw falter? Is your worsted a little the worse for wear? We’ll diagnose the problems and put you back on the road to recovery.
And do you have fiber that seems terminally unspinnable? Bring it along and we’ll see if it can be resuscitated!
Bring along your spinning implements – wheels or spindles. Bring any problem fibers. I’ll have spinning treats and fibers lovely enough to bring any wheel back from the dead!”

Sound good? Yes. I thought so too.  (This is another one of those times that I wish I wasn’t teaching so I could take that class.  My worsted is definitely a little the worse for wear.)  Also with us this time, a special treat, Carson Demers is coming.

carson 2014-10-08

Carson’s a knitter, spinner and a physiotherapist, and he specializes in ergonomics for knitters and spinners.  In the morning, his class will deal with the basics of ergonomics, and the ideas around injury prevention when it comes to knitting, and in the afternoon, Ergonomics for Spinners. He says “Time seems suspended when you’re at your spinning wheel.  Hours melt away but stress and strain can be accumulating in your body. Spinning shouldn’t hurt! In this class you’ll learn what ergonomic risk factors are, and where the exist in spinning at a wheel.  Most importantly, you’ll learn what to do to minimize them, and early warning signs that could prevent an injusry.  Safer strategies for seating,  balancing your pinning work, and of course, stretches will all be taught.”

I know, it sounds great, right? There’s more though. We’ll have little surprises and bonus stuff, and every room at the Resort at Port Ludlow has a fireplace, and a Jacuzzi tub to rest in, and of course, our signature attention to food. (If you’re running away from home, shouldn’t the food be as delicious as the time away?)

dinner 2014-10-08

Chef Dan has a lovely menu planned for us, and you’ll be served up three spectacular meals a day, and have the option to add on wine flights, paired to the meals by the sommelier at the resort.  (Just at dinner. We haven’t gone completely mad yet.)  The retreat is a spectacular, lovely treat, and it costs $845. (USD) That price includes all your meals, the three six-hour classes, and all materials. (Accommodation at the resort and the wine flights are on you. There’s nothing we can do about the price of wine, but the resort has special knitter pricing on rooms.) The retreat begins with your arrival the evening of November 14th, classes are on the 15th, 16th and 17th, and most people go home Tuesday morning, the 18th.  (I say most people, because some sneak away the evening of the 17th, after dinner and our gathering.)

portludlow 2014-10-08

If you’re interested, send us an email at, and we’ll get right back to you. Like I said, we’ve really only got a few spots left, but we’re proud of these retreats, and we think you’d love it. It’s a special thing, and a great opportunity to learn how to save your knitting, spinning, body and (depending on what you get away from when you take this break) your mind.

Now, if you’ll excuse me – I have a sleeve waiting for me. (Sigh.)

PS: Apologies, and in response to a question or two, YES. This retreat is perfectly good for beginning spinners and knitters. Only basic knitting skills are required (cast on, off, increase, decrease, knit and purl) and beginning spinners will do just fine.  If you can spin a continuous thread (of any type) you’ll be just fine. Judith has a special way with new spinners, and getting to work with Carson while you’re new can keep you from growing bad habits.

44 thoughts on “Counting is hard

  1. Pingback: Counting is hard | Yarn Buyer

  2. Someday I’ll show up if you’re still doing this retreat in 2-3 years. When the 2+ year old grandson’s mother–a wonderful mother, mind you–needs less respite.

  3. Perhaps I’ll come in another couple of years; the yarn-travel income isn’t quite there yet, but I’d love to attend one of these retreats sometime!

  4. I’m hoping that next year I’ll be able to attend the Port Ludlow retreat. The hubby’s promotion (and salary increase) at work didn’t come through in time. Sounds like heaven!

  5. It seems as if I’m not the only one planning for another year, when finances are different and little people have grown up a bit. The retreat sounds amazing!!

  6. My bucket list (I turned 60 this yr) includes Rhinebeck and a Harlot retreat. However, I’m moving to Boise in a month and the finances are shot to h*#l…..I’ll join the crew that’s going next year – and I’ll be closer distance wise too…yay!

    Any news on the lost knits?

  7. Why are all these great retreats and festivals on the other side of the world from me? I am soooo envious.

    On the other hand, my bank balance is soooo grateful.

  8. I took Carson Demers’ class in knitting ergonomics last year at the Knitter’s Review retreat, and it’s definitely worthwhile! He’s got lots of good tips for finding times to stretch or switch things up – we even practice some knitting while walking, for a totally different position 🙂

  9. Happy Thanksgiving — twice!
    As for drying the sweater, prop it at a slight angle and turn a fan on it for a few hours. As a bonus, you’ll humidify your house a wee bit. This works best when blocking on a mesh sweater drying rack (OXO makes a great one), but I’ve also made it work with foam mats. (I’d suggest putting it near a heat duct, but I’m sure you haven’t surrendered in Furnace Wars ’14.)

  10. I’m now an academic secretary at a university. We’re on Fall Break. For years, we’ve all wondered about the timing of this event; it’s too early in the semester to be the halfway point, so why is it always in early October?

    My theory was that if it were any later, we’d have too much time off in the few weeks before finals. Today, with your post, I believe I’ve found the truth.

    I did a bit of digging when the lightbulb went off, and sure enough–our Fall Breaks have always coincided with Canadian Thanksgiving, and are allotted the same amount of time off as for our USA Thanksgiving.

    Given our proximity to Canada (less than two hours from Windsor), it all suddenly makes sense. That’s Stephanie for ya–solving problems even of the non-knitterly kind with a single post. 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving, Stephanie!

  11. You know, on these crunchy deadline days it would be perfectly acceptable to post “Can’t post! Knitting!!!” and be done with it. We would ALL understand.

    The retreat, oh, I so want to go, but that is just as the semester ends and the busiest time at work. This seems to happen with every retreat. And I am SO in need of a retreat and inspiration!

  12. I saved that Liliput pattern when it first came out. I even started it once. And gave up. Then I had two grandchildren. I had no courage. Now a third grandchild is on the way. I have already knit some stuff. Will I try this impossibly cute and actually really traditional (in Switzerland!) jacket?!! If even you are struggling…? and every other cute pattern I’ve seen is garter stitch, too… SIGH!

  13. I did a retreat with you a few years ago and it was terrific. I would love to do another but I have zero interest in spinning. Maybe you could do a knitting/weaving retreat. That I would be interested in!

  14. Question….As wonderful as the classes sound at the retreat, I am still holding out hope for another type of Sock Summit. At the time of the Summit, I was not yet available to attend. And the Port Ludlow location looks just amazing and would love to have the opportunity to see it for myself, but with sock classes? Maybe? Just putting some ideas into your head. Thanks for listening:)

  15. I don’t have a bucket list, but a Harlot retreat would be on it if I did. I would love to meet you in person– I am also an east cost advocate. Ever consider Ocean City Maryland–we have a beach!
    Happy Thanksgiving! I miss Thanksgiving in October, November is just too long to wait!

  16. re damp weather and blocking…what i’ve found to be helpful is to get a box fan, and put two chairs far enough apart that you can balance the fan horizontally on the seats, with about one inch overlap on each chair. set it so that it blows on the floor. place a thin cotton cloth, larger than the item to be blocked on the fan. put the item on the cloth after it has been rolled in a towel so that it doesn’t drip. set fan on high. it isn’t as quick as putting the item in the dryer, but that would defeat the purpose of blocking. it is faster than waiting for nature to dry it.

  17. I wish I could go, so Carson could tell me why my middle finger and/or thumb of my left hand hurt. Sigh.

    The retreat sounds amazing.

    Good luck on the sweater! Thank God it’s not for an adult.

  18. Counting is hard, but not–apparently–as hard as correctly copying a pattern. I just tinked and reknit line 16 of my pattern about four times before it occurred to me to look at the original. Yeah…TWO typos. My husband said this was a situation that called for cursing, but I opted for chocolate instead.

  19. I thought you said there were 130 rows for the sleeve. Did you already have 10 rows done for this one making the remainder 120 rows or did I miss something?

    “Now I’ve got one sleeve done, and I need to do 130 rounds for the other sleeve”

  20. I really wish I could travel to a retreat like this one. As a Physio I know how important seating position and moving around while crafting can be.

  21. Just so you know you are not alone, I have a baby blanket — it’s just a tiny one, but it’s in cotton. I’ve finished the booties, hat and cardigan.

    And this blankie is staring at me. It’s got eyes, and I’m not very far along. But the BABY is far along and my deadline is about 3 weeks away.

    Arrrrrrrrrrgh!!!!!! Wish I could just plan on having a spot at your retreat and letting all the fiber “take me away” but alas, not this time.

    Back to the blankie…

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