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.)

59 thoughts on “I can be taught (slowly)

  1. It would be nice if you could do a retreat in the mid Atlantic region of the East Coast of the US. Are you going to be teaching anywhere near here?

  2. Question #9 — Any way you can give us a heads up in advance of the next retreat? Like say, months in advance? I work for a stodgy bank, and all our vacation time has to be planned by February. So even though I got the money, I don’t got the time.

  3. Oh, how I wish I could justify this!!! We just returned from a rather costly family trip (which was completely worth it) and so I just can’t at the moment. However, I am writing to beg that you continue to offer retreats like this that are not one-third spinning. While I respect and admire spinning (and will likely take it up one day) I am not keen on attending a retreat where a significant portion of the focus is on spinning. I would, however, love, love, love to learn all the things you outlined are happening at this retreat. I think there may be others like me, so just hoping to put a bug in your ear that this all sounds so fabulous. Please keep doing it. I am hoping for next year (my 40th birthday year…and your April retreat nearly always falls around my birthday…in case you were wondering 🙂

  4. Stephanie is right about all of this! I attend this retreat twice a year and the teachers are excellent, food is outstanding, hotel is luxurious and I make more friends each time! It’s the best!

  5. I love this combination you’ve chosen!
    But there’s no way I can attend this year.
    … or next year, either, for that matter.
    But the year after!! Please offer this again spring of 2017??? Pretty Please!!!

  6. This is exactly the retreat I want to attend but cannot make it this year. I second the request for a repeat of this one in 2017! What a blessing retreats – in their many variations – are!

  7. This retreat sounds like an awesome one. I wish I could go but my budget won’t allow that much. It would be nice sometime but a little out of my range. So glad everyone had a great time. Food looks yummy too.

  8. I don”t tweet, but just want to point out that if you stop dying your gray, you’ll have more time to knit!

  9. Sigh…in my dreams.
    What makes this even harder is that I live in the Seattle area and getting to Port Ludlow would be so easy. Someday…..:)

  10. ooooohhhhhh. I hate to cook and I STILL want to come to this one after the description of the classes this time… I suppose I could just eat my way through the cooking class 🙂

  11. One last question:
    Would you please take plenty of pictures?
    This is bucket list stuff for me, but I like to live vicariously!
    P.S. I just finished knitting my very first sock using your pattern form Knitting Rules, and it looks like a sock! I am thrilled beyond words.

  12. Just a thought – any hope of ever getting a retreat a little closer to Toronto? Justifying a knitting weekend is hard enough for some of us without adding airfare to the mix.

  13. I would really love to go to one of those fabulous retreats you often describe. Being from Europe is unfortunately often a problem time and budget-wise.

    I wish everyone who is going, lots of fun! Enjoy it a bit for me too? 😉

  14. That sounds heavenly. I wish I could come, that’s on the top of my “if I had a million dollars” list. One day. I’ll be home with a newborn though, which is a different kind of heavenly. 🙂

  15. No retreat questions, but I do have a Cladonia question: how is it going? I love the idea of doing that pattern in that yarn. I’m dying to see what color the shawl ends on.
    M in m

  16. Supremely pissed at myself over this one. I booked travel to Seattle the week before for vacation. Wahhh!!!! Vacation will be fun anyway, and I’d already arranged to send goodies as a vendor to the participants. Maybe next year.

  17. What a wonderful retreat you all have planned.
    Just wish I had loads of money to take advantage of this retreat. You all wouldn’t happen to need an extra hand or two to help out (smile).
    I guess I’ll just have to settle for your blog post after the retreat – which isn’t all that bad either. So don’t forget to take tons of photo’s for us that have to stay home.

  18. I attended the retreat last June and it was an amazing, wonderful experience! I had read about the previous retreats and considered it a pipe dream but decided to make a personal dream come true and I am so thrilled that I did. I had every apprehension you can think of, but I am eternally grateful that I didn’t chicken out. I encourage anyone who can to attend to do so, I hope to return for another one someday.

  19. That’s my hand in the pasta picture! And that brings back memories of a great time! The retreat was such fun, such a great learning experience and I wish, wish, wish I could do it again. Someday…..

  20. In a couple years, my house, barely a mile from the resort, will be built at Port Ludlow. Then, you bet, I’m gonna be there!

    • Alyson-get cots for the garage and deck. Fire up the barbeque-we are all coming to camp at your place retreat weekend! Don’t worry. We cook, can bring wine and I’m sure some yarn will get left behind for you!

  21. I guess I am with everyone else…. Dreaming about someday being there!!! How about a retreat in Southern CA? We have lovely weather, the ocean and I swear I’d help you organize it- your own minion! Think of the potential here… : ) PS are your daughters in the rally this year? Could you post a link about sending money (umm there’s probably a better way to word that…)

  22. I went with my sister to the last retreat — it was just fab. Really well done in every way and I learned a lot more than I expected. I’m still looking at my notes! I can’t recommend it highly enough.

  23. Th retreat sounds wonderful and I wish I could go. I wish all who get to attend lots of fun and, like others have said, post lots of pics. I love your pictures of the retreats. You’re very artistic as a knitter and photographer! Are the translucent ovals on the beach possibly butterfly chrysalises?

  24. I’d love to come to one of your retreats, because I know how much fun they are, but I’ve already blown my retreat budget this year. A small very rustic one in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a small one a friend and I put on, also in Michigan, and Med Swanson’s Knitting Camp, which is a fantastic collection of knitting people from all over the place, and has been going for 43 years as of this year. So I’ll continue to buy lottery tickets!!

  25. I’m sure it’s already been asked, but: American $845? Not so long ago we Canadians could afford to be shockingly casual about that difference, but not these days…

  26. I don’t tweet, but your translucent ovals look like little beasts called by-the-wind sailors. They are relatives of jellyfish, and often wash ashore in shockingly large numbers. = )

  27. I know there are retreats in other places…but how come you seem to do so many out west? What’s wrong with Ontario? I seem to hear of only guild-specific type retreats 🙁

  28. Excited that my friend talked me into coming. I think the 3 days sound so fun and love the creative ideas for the 3rd day!

  29. Would you please update your scheduled appearances section to include retreats (with as much advance notice as possible to budget ahead) and all those places you’ve been recently? Your appearances section is blank-woefully blank-for a very long time…yet…you’ve been traveling traveling traveling everywhere….wait…are you invisible at these places?
    For those of us that travel long stretches and have to land somewhere in between, it would be nice to know that it might be worth a 8 hour layover in Minneapolis if I could take a class with you while I’m there!

  30. Someday I’ll find myself at a retreat. They all sound so lovely. Of course now that I might be able to scrounge up the money I have no idea where I would find the time! Haha, that’s the way it usually goes I think. I think one that is focused on learning is exactly the type I would want to go to though.

  31. And is it not worldwide knit in public day on 13th June?
    Did they make that your birthday weekend on purpose or was it just meant to be. 🙂

  32. I have yarn & knitting needles, but still have to look up knit vs purl. If I had the funds, time, and passport could I still come?

    has the MSF amount been updated lately?

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