Hello again, my lovelies. I hope you had a fun fiber-filled weekend and enjoyed the rest of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week. It was great fun to take part again, especially in the week leading up to Into the Wool Fiber Retreat. I got back Sunday night, but as Chris has Mondays off as well we spent yesterday hanging out and watching even more Breaking Bad. Can I ask why people love this show? We're up to season four and I just don't get it. But I will persevere because the more Breaking Bad I watch the more Harry Potter Chris will watch and I refuse to reach our second anniversary still married to a Muggle.
Before I even begin to tell you about the insane amount of fun that was had over the weekend let me take a moment to thank the organizers and sponsors once again. This was my first retreat and Dana, Brittany, and Jess did a wonderful job of keeping it fun, chill, and very welcoming. I love that they went out of their way to be sure everyone won a door prize and goodie bag stuffed to exploding while keeping the emphasis of the retreat on the people, not on the stuff. Thank you ladies for making it such a special weekend for all of us.
So the retreat. I traveled with a group of ladies from North Carolina, including one who lives very close to me. My goal going into this was to meet other knitters, maybe even some from my area because even though I've been here three years I still don't really know anyone outside of work. As soon as I got in the car I realized that I had hit my hope of one new friend and surpassed it. I had three fabulous roommates, four awesome road trip buddies, and tables full of new Ravelry friends to communicate with when I got home. I wish I had taken more pictures, but if you go to Instagram and search with #intothewoolfiberretreat you can get a glimpse of the fun. It was much colder than any of us really expected, so we spent our time huddled together around tables, knitting and laughing and learning from each other.
My other goal was to learn to spin. There is no way I can get a wheel any time soon, but I signed up to take the drop spindling class with Melia from the Yarn Raising podcast. You might remember my sad attempt to teach myself to drop spindle a few years ago -- it did not go well. Clearly this is something that I needed to see in person and have someone guide me through. Melia is a wonderful instructor. It was a mini workshop, only lasting an hour, but she loaned me a teaching spindle to practice with for the weekend. I was hooked.
No one was selling spindles in the vendor market, but Diane of Suburban Stitcher was looking to sell hers so I offered to buy it from her. The morning of the last day she leaned over and handed it to me, saying "Merry Christmas." I was and still am overwhelmed by her generosity.
The kindness of knitters was a recurring theme for the weekend. I have been struggling personally with many things that don't need to be blogged, but top among them has been loneliness. I don't have the kind of friend base I always envisioned for my adult life and that has been hard. Going to this retreat was a complete refresh for my spirit. It was like God reached down and said "Here. You seem a little down lately. Let's see what abundance can feel like." The women I met were all generous and kind. Many people joked that I was unusually lucky in my winnings, but I was not lucky in just material goods. I was already blessed with the opportunity to spend time with amazing women who just happened to share my love of yarn and fiber. And the fact that it happened in the backdrop of gorgeous Lake Frances?
I said before that the emphasis of the weekend was on the people not the stuff, but I would be remiss if I did not share with you some of the other goodies I came home with. First there was the goodie bag.
I mean seriously. The only thing that I paid extra for was the tshirt, everything else was either included in the cost or donated by sponsors. I came home with new patterns, yarn, fiber, and a wealth of coupon codes all generously donated.
I also participated in the sock yarn swap. Again I say, luckiest weekend of my life? I put in a skein of Zen Yarn Garden BFL that I liked but was never going to use. I drew the second to last number, which meant that I waited and waited while everyone drew out lovely and amazing yarn ahead of me. And then it was my turn.
I drew Wollmeise! Evidently I was a sight to see. I opened the bag, realized what I had, and the next thing I knew I had run down to the end of the porch. I've never even seen Wollmeise in person, let alone thought I could own any. Like I said, these woman were beyond generous.
And then there was the vendor market. I didn't shop till I dropped, but I almost did. I hit my budget before I got to all of the vendors, but I plan on doing some online shopping once a few shops are reopened. Here are my goodies from Unwind Yarn Company, Fibro Fibers, Jelby, Suburban Stitcher, and Hiyawasee Creek.
Oh! And my door prize was a gift certificate to Yarn Patch, the nearby LYS, where I picked up a skein of Jilly. I'm pretty sure the retreat attendees bought them out because it was such nice yarn.
Overall I loved this retreat. It was small and fun and full of amazing women. I cannot wait to go back next year. Is it 2015 yet?