This past weekend I attending the Mindful Knitting Retreat with Tara Jon Manning in Greensboro, VT. THIS RETREAT WAS SO AWESOME. I'm so glad I had the opportunity to go. It far surpassed all of my expectations and I honestly don't think I could have had a better time. The retreat was at the Highland Lodge in Greensboro which is a small inn right on a bunch of cross-country ski trails. The Lodge also has a WONDERFUL restaurant that serves amazing food made from local ingredients.
My friend, Jessica, and I drove up to Greensboro last Thursday just in time for the opening dinner.
We stayed in this awesome cottage that overlooked Lake Caspian and had its own little gas fireplace stove thing which kept the cottage nice and toasty. One of the best things about this place was that there were no TV's, phones, or cell service in any of the rooms. The Lodge had a phone in the office, but that was it. It was great, because everyone there was very relaxed and focused on our activities.
Friday and Saturday were filled with awesome activities. We had a couple of mindful meditation and knitting workshops that were great. I had never really used my knitting has a way to disconnect and relax for a little bit, but I totally see its benefits. I want to keep up with a little bit of a routine meditation practice. I think it would help me a lot in all aspects of my life. We also had restorative yoga classes, and our teacher played her flute for us while were in savasana. In the afternoons we had more teaching workshops. One of the coolest workshops was on Friday where Tara tricked us all into learning double fisted fair isle knitting. She didn't tell us we would be learning this until we started! This lesson was doubled with a charity project where everyone would knit a child's hat out of donated O Wool which would be donated to a local women's shelter. First, she made us knit a bunch of plain rounds in the opposite way we usually knit. I am an English/American knitter, so I had to begin this hat using the Continental knitting technique. BLECH. It sucked, no one was enjoying themselves at this point. Then, Tara passed out the pattern, and we saw there were simple colorwork charts on it and it clicked! We were going to be knitting our hats in lots of colors using two hands and BOTH techniques. How cool!! Everyone was so psyched to be able to do this, and we didn't even know we'd be learning this cool new thing! Also, the yarn was wound into fist sized balls, and we had to pick our colors by closing our eyes and reaching into the basket! You had to work with what you got, it was so cool.
Margaret Klein Wilson who owns Mostly Merino was also there. She was so cool to hang out with and I loved listening to her stories. She brought a ton of yarn and patterns and set up a mini yarn store for us. I did treat myself and bought three skeins of her singles yarn in three different colors.
On Saturday, Margaret lead a workshop where we broke into small groups and learned or taught something to our peers. In this we celebrated the oral tradition of passing down knitting knowledge and techniques. It was really cool.
Of course here's the obligatory group photo. You can see all of the photos I took this weekend here. I would HIGHLY recommend this retreat to anyone who is thinking about going. It is more than worth and price and the travel time. The Highland Lodge is a really special space, and the food is AMAZING (seriously, like I can't even explain how good it is). I'm so glad I got to go to this while I am still a resonable distance away. I feel very rested and recharged to really take control of my life and be as happy as possible.