I just had the most amazing experience. I spent four days happily submerged in the world of fiber delight. Four days of knitting, spinning, and dyeing, and hanging out with lots of cool knitters, spinner, and dyers. And all in the midst of the beauty that is Port Ludlow, Washington. It was unbelievable.
I am going to attempt to explain it all as best I can, along with the pictures, but there are a LOT of pictures, and even with words, I cannot convey how spectacular this entire trip was.
So, first, a few pictures from the flight in.
It might be kind of hard to see, but there are peaks and valleys down there, as we fly over the Cascade Mountain Range.
This big peak popped out at me. Not sure if it's just a random peak or a named mountain. I am thinking it might be Mount Rainier. Can anyone confirm this?
I loved that SeaTac Airport has art displayed in it. Philadelphia International doesn't have that.
I was picked up from the airport by the amazing Sarah, who then drove me on a route that took us across a ferry. I have been on a small ferry before, going from New Jersey to New York City. But that only held people. This was a large ferry, carrying cars. A new experience for me.
This is a rather boring shot, but it shows the cars loading onto the ferry.
Here is a shot from the upper deck. Pictures can't capture the beauty of the land/seascape.
This is a shot off the bow, as we are moving across Puget Sound, from Edmonds to Kingston.
Another ferry passing us by.
The view on the other side.
Along the way we came to the logging town of Port Gamble and stopped for a bit.
The Artful Ewe yarn shop was the main reason we stopped.
Check out the amazing layout of this shop! Isn't it so cozy?! Yarn and fiber were draped so artfully everywhere. Skeins here, roving there, accessories everywhere.
There was even a beautiful dog mixed in (her name is Grace).
The view from Port Gamble was amazing as well.
Call me a suburban gal, but I found this sign amusing. Don't have any log stackers where I live.
Finally we reached our destination...the Resort at Port Ludlow, Washington. A serene and cozy place tucked away, with gorgeous views.
This is my room, with it's comfy bed and chairs.
This is my view out the window. Not sure why I didn't get up closer and take a better "view" picture. While it wasn't the stunning view that the rooms at the southern end of the build had, I loved seeing the cute houses and the water beyond.
The room had a fireplace as well.
And a jacuzzi with cute frosted windows and a view into the room.
(doesn't that look inviting?)
I didn't wait too long before I took a walk around outside, trying to capture the beauty of the place.
There was an eye-catching totem pole.
Coming from the East Coast where the Atlantic Ocean is gray and cloudy, I was amazed to see how clear the water was.
I just had to capture this ship sculpture for my son, who is into pirates. He loved it.
Here is another shot of those cute houses.
I am not sure what this building is/was, but it added to the charm.
And finally, the fun starts. This begins the three (and some) days of amazing fun during the Knot Hysteria Retreat.
DAY 1 - Spinning with Judith
First, our schedule. Looked at all the fun. (I was in Group 2)
Before the classes, I slipped back outside to take pictures of the stunning views. The sun was out and the mountains were revealed in their splendor. I actually teared up.
Here is a closer shot of the Olympic Mountains.
On my way back to the Resort, I spotted this starfish hanging out in the water.
I started off with spinning, taught by the amazing Judith McKenzie. Here she has fiber laid out in the color wheel.
And tons more beautiful fiber and such covering a table.
Now, I am an extremely new spinner. I have only used a drop spindle and not very much with that. I practiced enough before the retreat so that I wouldn't be completely lost, and so that I would know how to ply. I felt a little awkward to be sitting there with my little spindle, while everyone was setting up their spinning wheels. But then Judith appeared in front of me, and when she found out I didn't have a wheel, she whisked one in front of me and assured me I would be fine.
This is not the wheel I actually ended up using (which was a Lendrum), but it was the first wheel placed in front of me.
Here Judith is showing us how to ply a single back on itself to see the color combinations that it makes. She makes it seem so easy.
She is beautiful to watch.
She showed us how to comb fibers together...
...and then pull them through a diz to form a multi-colored blended top.
Here is the beautiful finished product (which I got to take home!).
Here she showed us how to spin directly from the blended fibers on the comb.
Everyone is concentrating on spinning their fibers.
By the end of the class, I actually had something that resembled yarn. And of course I fell in love with using a spinning wheel in the process. *sigh* Now if I could just come into $600 or so, so that I can get myself a wheel. Oh, and quit my job so that I have time to spin.
I am becoming so addicted that I bought myself fiber while there. BFL and Tussah (Blue faced Leicester and silk), in a colorway called "The Kraken".
During one of our breaks, I took a walk along the beach, trying to get far enough to see Mount Baker. That didn't happen, but it was still a beautiful walk.
Couldn't help but snapping a shot of these large houses with a great view (water is behind me). Lucky rich people.
These are the squares that I knit for Judith's blanket. For those not in the know, Judith's studio burned down on October 29th and with it a good portion of her life's work. As a way to show our love and respect for her (besides donating to her cause), we knitters knit squares to form a blanket for her. These are my contribution.
The blanket is in the planning stages, as the squares start rolling in.
More squares are in progress.
The dining room was decorated in many colors (did I mention that the theme of the retreat was Color?).
And our artwork from lunch adorned the windows.
After dinner, we made batts on the carders. Out in the hall, there was much fiber laid out to choose from.
Judith showed us how to use the carders and, as always, it was wonderful to hear her teach.
I made two batts (not on the same night, though). This larger purple-rainbow one was my first, and the smaller monochromatic (with some green hints) was my second (made with my husband in mind).
DAY 2 - Knitting with Stephanie
In Stephanie's room, there were little tidy balls laid out in a different color wheel.
With neutrals in their own little pile.
Stephanie showed us several woven and knit items that featured color variations.
This is the sweater she knit for the Olympics, called Whistler. I love it.
This was a sweater that she knit for one of her daughters, featuring night and day. (BTW, Stephanie is just as funny in person as on her blog. I love her.)
Finally we got down to business, charting a Fair Isle pattern and working it. I didn't design this pattern, I knicked it from an image online, but I have loved this particular Fair Isle pattern. This shows my finished swatch, which isn't half bad. I should have made the orange part of the background so that it wouldn't get lost with the red.
Though there was a lot of discussion and knitting of swatches, I don't have any other pictures from Stephanie's class. Well, that isn't true. I have many of her talking and holding knitted objects, but the thing about taking pictures of people as they talk is that, often, their faces are distorted oddly. I didn't think Stephanie would appreciate pictures of her with her eyes half closed and her mouth hanging open.
In the evening, after dinner, Sarah showed off some of her amazing work. All of her pieces featured tessellations. This large blanket needed an 8-foot ladder to be displayed properly and is made out of many hexagons.
This blanket also used hexagons. I love the colors that are swirled into it.
I think this one was my favorite, though, due to the fun colors and shapes.
And finally there was a shawl that was done with swirl hexagons.
(I feel belittled...in a good way)
On the way up to bed, I noticed more yarn bombings appearing (as the squares were finished, the yarn bombings increased). This one is sporting swatches from Stephanie's class.
DAY 3 - Dyeing with Tina
The morning dawned grey and cloudy, so the mountains couldn't be seen. BUT an eagle graced us with it's presence, first eating it's breakfast on top of the totem pole, and then sitting regally on one of the wingspans (which is an eagle, by the way). These are not the best pictures given that I only had an iPhone, but I tried.
I tried zooming in for a better look. If you enlarge it you can see the eagle better, but not much. Regardless, it was a beautiful sight.
I didn't take a lot of pictures during the dyeing class, since dye is messy and is not iPhone-friendly. But it was very enjoyable and I actually created some beautiful skeins that I can't wait to knit up. Even the skeins that I wasn't thrilled about are starting to grow on me a bit.
The dyeing room is set up and waiting for inspired knitters to take over.
Tina shows us her awesome skills with dyeing, turning plain skeins into works of art.
These are my finished skeins from the morning half of the class. The skein on the left is actually three mini-skeins of sock yarn and is probably my least favorite (though it is starting to grow on me a little bit). I am not thrilled about the slate grey color...clashes a bit more than I like with the copper brown color. Tina loved it though...apparently it's her "happy place". We had to make three skeins that would complement each other, since one is not enough to knit a pair of socks. The skein on the right is one where we started with a color we did NOT like (I went with a dingy mustardy yellow), and then added more colors to make it better. It lighted up from what I had dyed it and became more neon/tropical, but I like it.
These are my dyed skeins from the afternoon half of the class. I love these a lot more. The top is the mohair boucle and it drifts from black through purple then blue and finally into green. The middle is again three mini-skeins of sock yarn. Again, they needed to match/complement each other, but we had to draw our inspiration from something...a picture or memory we had. I drew mine from autumn leaves. They turned out a lot more orange than expected, but I like orange, so that's fine. And the bottom...oh, the bottom. THAT was a skein of Socks That Rock yarn that was dyed incorrectly. We had to overdye it and make it something we wanted. While some already liked the way it looked, I did NOT. It went from dark blue to green/teal and then suddenly lavender (ick) and then back to teal green and then to a periwinkle color. The lavender and periwinkle just weren't doing it for me, at least with those other colors in there. So I killed the lavender with some mustard yellow and rust brown and a little military green, and did about the same with the periwinkle....and it's lovely!
After class, there was more action on Judith's blanket, as we rushed to complete it for that night's show and tell.
Here it is all sewn together, before blocking and having the edge put on.
It's finally being blocked...almost there.
And then four busy bees, who also knew how to crochet, put an edge on it. (and then it was hidden away)
I couldn't resist taking a picture of this knitter's shirt as we sat in the dining room for show and tell. It's from a Sock Summit shirt (or maybe it was Sock Camp...can't remember now), and I found it amusing.
I was so distracted by all the beautiful items being shown that I didn't remember to take pictures until several items later. I am not going to mention names, since I don't remember all of them, so I don't want to offend by putting some and not others.
My show and tell was yarn that I spun up in Judith's, lightly skeined to show it off (on the right). Normally it would be plied with itself or another single to strengthen it, but I really just want to display it. Since it's my first spun fiber on a wheel, I will probably only ever display it. And the skein to the right is spun silk that was then plied loosely with a tighter single thin yarn, to form "art yarn" or a boucle of sorts. It was crazy looking, but sort of appealing. I showed it off because it is what made me cross over to wanting to be a spinner as much as I can be. (and wanting a wheel, damnit)
This was two lovely canvas paintings that I would LOVE to have in my home.
This was an amazing quilt.
Someone did a piece that was themed on the beach.
Gail (okay, one name) showed off her qiviut sweater vest and knitters enjoyed fondling her..er, the vest. (it was soft)
Someone brought a lovely silk scarf...
...and it was displayed appropriately by a tall knitter.
Hard to see, but a lovely striped sock, for a large boyfriend's foot.
This is totally too small to see, but this tam features the fair isle patterns that the knitter had created at the last Knot Hysteria Retreat.
And finally the moment came, to present Judith with her blanket made lovingly by knitters.
She was very touched by the gift.
After the last amazing day came to a close, and I was heading back towards my room, I couldn't resist taking a picture of a few more yarn bombings that had appeared (or moved).
These pumpkins were everywhere in the Inn and a cluster of them appeared.
This rod got a cozy little finish.
A colorful little flower on the shade pull.
A small bit of something wound into a lamp (hmmm...is that MY yarn? *whistles*)
(I totally have plans for next year. I have notes and pictures and a reminder in my iPhone. heh)
This final picture is all my yarn drying in the bathroom. The lighting is horrible, but you kind of get an idea of the colors.
Again, mountains in the distance. Again, they look way better in person. *sigh*
More peaks and valleys from the sky.
And then the sun setting.
Forming that rainbow stripe on the horizon (was SO much better in person).
Which stayed until the very end, when darkness finally took over.
So, let's do a final assessment on all the goodies that I brought home. I was amazed by just how much stuff I had.
First up, the batts that I made.
My first batt, comprised of many different fibers. I am calling the colorway "The Seagoat Nebula". Which, BTW, Judith said she coveted, and commented on several more times during the retreat. Maybe I should have gifted it to her.
The second batt (also many fibers) I am calling "Witches Hair" (was suggested to me). (for some reason, it looks like there is a purplish color in it...that's some trick of the lighting...it's not actually there)
Here are all my dyed skeins of yarn, laid out together. So pretty!
The autumn leaves mini-skeins, which I am calling "Autumn Orange", although I am also liking "Autumn Leaves" as well. The top was splotched with orange and red and yellow and brown, but the dye kind of spread out a bit and there is less undyed natural color than planned. The middle was a gradient from orange to undyed cream. And the bottom was a blend from reds to oranges to yellows, with brown splotches (like you see in turning autumn leaves). The browns kind of mellowed out so they are very subtle, but I am still happy with it.
This was my least favorite set due to the blueish tone of the grey. I dyed one of these in a spiral and another in thirds, so those colors ended up in a and odd order to me (oh, and these got a bit tangled and messy). As per a suggestion, I am calling the colorway "Port Ludlow".
I am calling this skein "Sour Starburst". I am kind of liking it, bright though it is.
And then my boucle...which I haven't figured out a colorway name for yet. Any suggestions?
And finally, the overdyed yarn, which I really like. I am calling this one "Peacock".
This was the only thing I bought at the Retreat. I wasn't supposed to buy anything, so I am pretty proud of myself. I just couldn't resist this, and since I like spinning with the BFL on the wheel, I wanted to have more of it to try.
Again, my first machine-spun singles and art-yarn.
My swatches from Stephanie's class (I am really digging the purple and yellow columns at the bottom).
And finally, all the stuff from my goody bag. Yes, the goody bag. We got so much stuff. Patterns, fiber, yarn, project bags, and cute little accessories/tools. There was a lot of trading going on, but I am happy with what I ended up with.