Sunday, July 17, 2011

Reason #8,572,961 Why I Love the Monhegan Knit Retreat!

We are just a little over two months away from BEING THERE again! And I am counting the seconds. This week I'm thinking about yet another thing I love about the retreat: sharing. Sharing the jokes, sharing the stories, and sharing the lessons learned. I got to thinking about this because I taught my niece to knit a couple of years ago. Now she's getting ready to tackle her first sweater. I am SO proud of her-- I'm actually going to buy her all the supplies. I love sharing my knitting knowledge with her. And as I'm giving her pointers, mostly via email, I'm realizing how much I've learned on the knitting retreats about teaching and learning. Susan's patience, in particular, has helped me progress to places I never dreamed I'd be as a knitter. And paying attention to her teaching techniques has helped me better teach my niece and all the other folks I teach each year. So YAY for added retreat bonuses. Oh I am SO PSYCHED to be there already!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Roving AND Roving

Well, my spinning class was delayed by several weeks, but I'm happy to report that finally I had my first lesson this week. It was great. I displayed my usual lack of coordination, which is always the case when I try out a new activity that involves muscle memory. I had no idea the wheel could spin both ways and that you sort of have to just train yourself to make it go the way you want. In my version of things, I decided that by silently cussing at the wheel I could make it do my will. Let me save you some time here and report that this method does not actually seem to work. Still, after a couple of hours of trying, I at least understood the basic concept, to the point that-- who could ever have guessed it would come to this-- I want to get a spinning wheel. Really, I do. What next? A bonnet and a butter churn? (Probably not.)

As most of you likely know, the cleaned, fuzzy, combed fleece you use to spin is called roving. As many of you know, I am a wordsmith fond of puns and double meanings. And so, with the lightest of segues, let me say that I am hoping to do some roving for roving while I'm up in Maine. Which brings me to my next point-- a little suggestion for you if you have the time.

I think this will be my fourth trip to Monhegan Island-- or is it fifth? (All the trips blend into a big happy memory blur in my mind). Every year I come back and tell Ori that he has got to come up with me one year. He usually declines, citing that probably since he's a guy and a non-knitter that his excitement would be far less than mine. Of course, he hasn't hiked the hikes, looked out over the cliffs, or built majestic fairy houses. Another deterrent has been that often his birthday falls right during the retreat and he says something about not wanting to spend his birthday knitting. (I know, I know, what's wrong with him?) But this year, the trip is post-birthday and so I have convinced him to fly up just as our retreat is winding down. He'll spend a day meeting you people who I love so much and talk about through the year. Then we'll spend an extra day or two on the island before a road trip around Maine.

I know a lot of you will go with Lisa to Swans Island. For those of you with other plans, might I suggest that if you are able you should spend a few extra days in Maine. I cannot possibly explain how gorgeous the state is. Last year our van driver swore to us that if you could straighten out the curvy coastline it would equal 2,000 miles of straight driving. I'm planning on exploring a lot of it and, as I go, stopping at farms and yarn shops acquiring roving for my new spinning wheel.

Besides all the great fiber opportunities, there is, of course, the promise of changing leaves. Since the trip ends at the start of October, there's a really good chance the leaves will be in full flaming glory by then. Honestly, it is breathtaking.

So there you go, my advice-- if you can prolong your trip to Maine after the retreat, by all means do so. It is such a fabulous state. I'm getting all excited again just thinking about it.