So this last weekend I went to The Charlotte Knitting Guild's Winter Retreat. The whole weekend in Hickory NC - with knitting and socializing and learning. Our teacher (and what a fantastic teacher she was!) was Charlene Schurch. A knitting Guru if ever there was one! If you thought all she did was socks, then you're way wrong!! She dyes, spins and knits lace too! Sadly, I didn't get a single picture of the weekend, but some other participants blogged about it and have photos, so you can go take a gander over to their pages if you'd like. Cristi has some photos, and Elizabeth has some as well.
It was wonderful getting to know the 18 other participants (and Charlene!), and having time to sit around and knit, and talk about knitting, and learn about knitting techniques with other people who like to knit too. The time away was nice for me too - it helps to get a breather away from the demands of the kiddos and the hubby and the house every once in a while. Some ME time. I loved that part.
Charlene taught three classes (the third one got shortened by an hour since snow was heading our way!). The first one Saturday morning was Lace 101. The lace samples she had were fabulous! Then Saturday afternoon we did a class on "using that great yarn that you don't know what the heck to do with", or something like that! ;-) Basically, ideas on what to do with the extra-special skein that you only have x amount of yards of. I brought my handspun sockweight yarn, which is just 308 yards. I decided to do a roman stripe scarf, knit lengthwise. I didn't think it through, though, because my cast on number was 268, and the first row you work K1, yo *all the way across*!!! Which then means I then have 536 stitches on the needles!!!!!!! Talk about knitting forever...but then after you purl all those stitches, you work K2tog all the way across. But still.
Anyhoo... then on Sunday we had our Heel Workshop, where we tried out a few different heels. I did the Cuban Heel and a short-row heel. I liked the short row heel technique - get this: NO WRAPS!! It was quite nice. You essentially just turn your work without wrapping, and then when you work the stitches on your turning row, you lift the bar before what would have been your wrapped stitch and knit it with the previous stitch. It's hard to describe, but it ends up tightening the gaps without adding extra yarn (i.e. with a yo or a wrap) to do it.
Overall, a very lovely weekend, with much fellowship and fun conversations, and quite a bit of learning as well! I wish I had taken some pics - but I guess it means I was having too much fun to take the time to pull out the camera!!