Like most knitters, when I need a quick tutorial on a technique, I’ll watch a video, but there’s really nothing that compares to being in a classroom with fellow knitters. Inevitably, you’ll learn some tip or trick you didn’t count on learning. Plus, it’s good exercise for the brain (and can be social, too!).
|After having taken several workshops with Patty Lyons both in person and online (and reading her book), I came to learn that her way of teaching works well for me and that despite all the knitting courses I’ve been in over the past 20 or so years, there’s plenty still she can teach me. So this year, I signed up for her Affiknity knitting retreat.
The pool complex at Minerals Resort & Spa is apparently world famous!
This year's took place in Vernon, New Jersey, at a lovely resort nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. There were plenty of non-knitting activities to participate in at the resort, such as hiking, swimming, playing in their on-site arcade, or climbing an indoor rock wall. I did none of those things because all I really wanted to do was knit (guilt-free) and hang out with intelligent, talented, friendly knitters--and I was surrounded by exactly that! Everyone I met was wonderful!
The goody bag we got upon arrival was filled with treasures from Vogue Knitting, KnitCompanion, Cocoknits, Modern Daily Knitting, David & Charles Publishing, and DHG Yarns (a company I'd never heard of).
Another evening there was a fashion show. I didn't participate (a little too shy for that), but it was fun to see so many beautiful knits paraded about. Needless to say, my favourites list in Ravelry grew a lot that day! And outside of the fashion show, we also saw a lot of gorgeous shawls, a few summer tops (other than mine--I wore a different one each day), and some sweaters (the classrooms were cold!). Of course, all Patty's designs were on display, too, and a couple of those have moved up my "need to knit" list.
My friend Jane and I had booked all three "guest teacher" workshops, one each day. Patty's classes were all one-hour sessions that we could drop into or not. I attended her seaming class (I think this was the third workshop I've taken to learn this skill--which I need to relearn every time I seam!) and her knit doctor session, where she answered individual questions, including mine about a not-yet-sleeved oversized raglan cardigan that I want to size down the sleeves on. She spent a lot of time on mine and offered a few interesting ideas. Ultimately I've decided to do something a little different (there may be a blog post on that too!), but the discussion was the impetus I needed to get this sweater out of timeout!
|The three-hour sessions were about embellishing our knits with embroidery (with Julia Farwell-Clay), sweater knitting from a template (with the engaging and funny Safiyyah Talley), and all kinds of colourwork knitting (with Kate Atherley, who has taught at our store and will again, we plan!). I got a little something new out of each class, which is all I was hoping for.
There was a marketplace, where, yes, I spent some money on yarn despite owning a yarn shop. I couldn't help it! (If you've ever bought Morehouse Farm non-superwash merino, you already understand! If you haven't, you must someday. And to that end, we're looking into getting them across the border for a trunk show, so keep up to date on goings-on by subscribing to our newsletter at the bottom of this page!)
My favourite part of the retreat was finding comfortable knitting spots, like this one in the hotel lobby, and just enjoying the company of fellow knitters.
The Affiknity tag line is "Knit. Learn. Laugh. Repeat." All in all, I knit some, learned a little (but only because of how many classes I've already taken), and laughed a lot. Repeat? Well, yes, I'd certainly do it all over again!