Last weekend, I spent an incredible few days on Solomons Island in the company of several wonderful fellow knitters and the very knowledgeable and entertaining Wendy (on left with me). She has authored two fabulous books - "Wendy Knits" and "Socks from the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits".
Many thanks to our hostess, Marie(on right with Wendy), who provided the lovely location and the fabulous food for the weekend.
The workshops were held in Marie's beautiful Victorian home that overlooks the Cheasapeake. There are spectacular views from the very comfortable front porch - it's hard not to linger there and just stare out at the water. It's so peaceful...you feel like you're in another world.
Marie provided a fabulous spread of food for breakfasts and lunches. We went out for seafood on Saturday night at the the Pier Restaurant. The entire day had been overcast and became a bit stormy in the mid-afternoon. The evening graced us with heavily overcast skies as well. The clouds did manage to part for literally a minute or two - just long enough for us to get a glimpse of what a full sunset would look like.
Now, on to the knitting....
Wendy laid out samples of all the socks contained in her book. Wow! The socks were so much more beautiful in person! Imagine all these lovelies resting in your sock drawer...waiting patiently to adorn your feet. A sock drawer full of gorgeous hand knit socks...that must be the definition of heaven!
The Sandvik Faroese Shawl that Wendy has been working on was finished just prior to our weekend. All of us in attendance at the workshops got to "see it first"! Awesome - the debut of Wendy's latest creation! Vicki, one of the girls in our group, modeled it and is featured on the pattern. It's a gorgeous shawl...and a must knit! Check it out on Wendy's blog - Wendy Knits
- and look at the August 26 post. (Vicki has been trying to convince her to publish a shawl book. We've all got our fingers crossed, but so far, Wendy has declined.)
The weekend included three sets of classes all focused on the creation of toe up socks. There are so many ways to cast on and do the heel. It was wonderful to try some of them out and compare both the techniques involved as well as the resulting appearance. After all, part of the appeal for specific techniques is the resultant appearance and the ease with which the garment or sock is constructed!
First, we explored the "toes". We learned "Judy's Magic Cast On" as well as the "Easy Toe" which uses a provisional cast on. I liked the "Judy's Magic Cast On" the best...and I think this may help me "over the hump" and convince me to try my hand at toe up socks. (I'm a die hard top-down sock knitter...at least for the moment!)
Next, we moved on to the heels. We all groaned at the thoughts of picking up the wraps and turns of the short row heel, so we skipped that one. Instead, we concentrated on the gusseted heel and the slipped stitch heel. I really like the gusseted heel - MUCH easier than the short row heel...and it has a much nicer appearance!
Lastly, we spent Sunday learning about sock design. We had a preview of the socks that will be in Wendy's next book. There were no socks, but she had the sample swatches of the designs that were crafted into her next series of socks. We tried our hand at designing a sock as well. We completed (or nearly completed) the sample swatch. The next step is to take the swatch and craft it into a sock.
I learned so much and have been so inspired - both by Wendy and my fellow knitters! Wendy was an absolute delight to chat with and has a killer sense of humor. We laughed so much this weekend that our cheeks hurt! We hated for the weekend to end.
I must confess, I didn't ONLY knit this weekend. I did manage to work in some spinning as well - primarily in the evenings and early mornings. It's so much easier to chat with people while spinning - I have to concentrate too much when I'm knitting and tend to miss out on much of the converstations! Early morning spinning allowed me to catch a nice view of the water shortly after sunrise. I reveled in the quiet morning and was blessed with a gorgeous view.
The evening spinning was done in a room next to the dining room. It has a fireplace and a lovely pressed tin ceiling. Here, you can see how the flue of the fireplace flowed into the ceiling. Such an elegant design! I just love the ornate ceilings that were the standard in Victorian homes.
I spun up some lovely natural, purpley-pink, and green roving that I'd received from my Ravelry Birthday Swap partner. I believe she said it was BFL. I decided to make a two ply skein as the colors would blend nicely without real obvious "barber poling". It's LOVELY! The resultant yarn is so soft - I think I'll make myself an elegant neck scarf for the winter - perhaps a lacy design?
Sadly, the weekend had to come to an end. BUT....we managed to delay the inevitable end just a bit by stopping at "Crazy for Ewe" - a lovely yarn shop in Leonardtown, MD. I love the painted exterior of the shop! Ellen, the owner, graciously opened the store for us on Sunday...her day off. I think we made it well worth her while - you know how knitters are in yarn shops! I managed to pick up some angora/merino on sale and a treasure trove of Louisa Harding pattern books - a wonderful find.
After the long drive home, it was back to the rat race. The weekend was over. I still have my memories...and now, an autographed copy of Wendy's book. I wish the weekend could have lasted forever. Sigh...