Thursday, May 10, 2012

First Annual KazooYarnies Fiber Retreat - Fabulous!

We didn't really know what to expect at our first annual KazooYarnies Fiber Retreat. After all, we'd never done anything like this before. But a dozen of us got together for a fun weekend at the Miracle Camp in Lawton, Michigan, on beautiful Bankson Lake.

Friday night started with a potluck supper, with everyone bringing something to share. It was an evening of relaxation and getting to know each other, and then we settled in to watch a presentation on Ravelry on the big screen set up by the Miracle Camp just for us. We used that screen throughout the weekend to watch movies too, and to share some other fiber info from the Internet. We had our own private meeting room for the entire weekend, just steps away from our private rooms. The staff had brought in comfy rockers for us, and we just kicked back and gabbed the night away.

Saturday brought Jill June, of Studio June Yarn - and she came ready for us, filling five 8 foot tables with her wonderfully hand-dyed yarn. This is Jill below setting up her bounty for us - it took her a full hour to get it all out. (And we did our best to put a serious dent in her inventory...)

 Jill brought knitted samples so we could see how her yarn worked up - here's Carolyn modeling one of Jill's shawls. 

Carolyn and her sister Mary (in blue) didn't waste any time finding goodies - and this was just their first go-around! 

After a quick lunch, we enjoyed an afternoon with instructor Kelly Jensen, of Your Local Yarn Shop in Battle Creek. She brought along a sample shawl showing her mosaic knitting technique, and then taught us all how to do it. Her course was specifically designed for beginning knitters (for which I will be forever thankful, since I'd never learned how to read a chart before). It was an excellent experience, and we learned that this technique can be used both for flat knitting and in the round too.

Instructor Kelly Jensen, showing us her just finished shawl with a Mosaic border.
This is an example of Mosaic Knitting, done in two directions.
Kelly's sample shawl showing a mosaic border.

Then we were off to zipline! A few brave souls gave it a try, and others came to give moral support. We had a blast, once we got past that first step...

It was a long walk up those stairs, and then three flights up to the top of the tower.
Here's Janet getting hooked up...
and here's Janet flying!!
This is me zipping and smiling - and screaming all the way down!
Gloria did it twice - this was her second trip, where she was free-styling in lay-out position!     

Saturday evening we relaxed with our Silent Auction. Nearly everything started at $1, and several of them sold for $5 or less - lucky bidders ended up with some wonderful bargains. These were all items donated by KazooYarnies this past year.
Swift -  $6

Big Book of Kids' Knits - $3

10 balls of Ceres yarn for $17
Hip Knits - $4

two skeins of Paton's Mohair plus the cute basket - just $1 !!

Kids' Knitted Sweaters - another $1 bargain!

10 skeins of SoySilk - just $10

4 skeins Nashua wool-alpaca mix - $9 

Sunday was sunny with a cool wind, and we went on the hunt with Janet "WeedWalkWoman" Clawson, who showed us a wide variety of edible wild foods - young poke berry shoots, wild strawberries, mint, and lots more. Foraging is fun!

Gloria showing Val something wild and yummy....
Such a pretty place, the Miracle Camp. Here we were finding wild goodies just a few steps away from the martin house, right between the Lodge and Bankson Lake.
Yup, we were sniffiing Autum Olive bushes - they smell so sweet in the Spring. But the real treat is in the fall, as their berries are delicious!   >>>

Janet fearlessly eating something...

I don't remember what we found at the base of this tree, but it was edible. Everyone had borrowed a book from Janet's vast collection on foraging and edibles, and we were having such fun finding things we never knew existed!

Janet showing me another edible - maybe mint??

We had our own private dining room, with direct access to the lake. Chef Matt came in to check on us regularly - his food was wonderful! We had a full salad bar at lunch and dinner (even yogurt was available), plus for breakfast we had french toast, sausage and bacon, oatmeal, donuts, fresh fruit and more. Just some of the offerings at lunch and dinner - grilled cheese sandwiches, lasagna, veggies, many desserts, plus all the juice, milk, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate you wanted. Nobody went hungry!

The best part of our retreat was that no one had to participate in anything if they didn't want to. Some went for a walk outside, some went for some quiet knitting or tv watching in the lobby, some took an afternoon nap. It was a successful weekend - everyone did what they wanted to, and we all had fun.

On Sunday after the retreat, I took a leisurely drive through the country on the way home, and found these beautiful wild trillium - what a great way to end the weekend. 

And now - already making plans for next year's retreat!