I've been processing my SSK experience for the past several days, thinking about how I could best communicate it to you so that you could get a true feeling for what it was like to be there, and I've come to the conclusion that it probably isn't possible. Well, that's not entirely true -- it might be possible, but I'm guessing it would take me a long time and a lot of words to do it justice, and I highly doubt that most (if not all) of you would want to read that. So I'm going to attempt to keep it as short and sweet as I can, but there are a lot of pictures in this post.
I arrived a little late on Wednesday evening due to a flight delay, but I still managed to be there for most of the opening event and even won a door prize! I went to bed very late, especially considering that I'd gotten up at my normal time to work a half day and because of the time change, so it was great that I had the whole day free on Thursday (both of my classes were scheduled on Friday). I pretty much parked myself in the lobby of the main building and spent most of the day knitting, spindling, and talking to the others (and having surprisingly deep conversations, too!).
Thursday evening was the Tasting Room, with the opportunity to try out all sorts of knitting needles, crochet hooks, spinning wheels, spindles, and fiber prep tools. I tried a bunch of wheels I'd never gotten to try before and absolutely fell in love the the Schacht Flatiron. (And I may or may not have just arranged to buy one, shhh!)
On Friday morning, I took a class with Lee Meredith (aka Leethal) on her Triyang shawl pattern. It was a real mind bender and a lot of fun to knit, but I still have no idea how Lee came up with the idea in the first place! I will say that if you're up for an interesting knit and want to use up all of a skein of yarn, it's a great pattern -- Lee gives you a little worksheet so you can figure out exactly when to move from section to section and maximize your yarn usage. I went into the class expecting Lee to be a really outgoing and creative person based on her online persona, and while she is extremely creative, she was also incredibly shy -- even more so than I am -- but also incredibly nice. The class went by too fast, though I did finish up my little sample piece and am looking forward to knitting a full-size shawl.
On Friday afternoon, I took a spinning class with Jillian Moreno that focused on spinning batts. We received four batts with slightly different preparations to spin different ways as part of the class; I still have partials of them to play with at home.
Jillian was a hoot, very outgoing and funny. I just loved her advice about storing batts at the top of your fiber storage, because squishing them will "squeeze the love out of them."
Friday night was the Try It On Room, with the opportunity to try sweaters, shawls, and some other accessories. I didn't try on very much (mostly because I walked to dinner with some other attendees and was extremely sweaty and hot when we got back), but it was lots of fun to see other people try and to see quite a few shawl patterns in person.
Saturday was the final full day of the retreat, and it was also the hottest day of the whole trip (the high was predicted to be 100 degrees F, with a heat index of 107!). I met up with my new friend Monique to walk over the Nashville Parthenon before breakfast, then ate and got cleaned up for the main event -- the marketplace! I had decided when I first got in to SSK that I would take only cash for the market to avoid spending too much, and while I did do some serious damage to my yarn diet (who am I kidding -- I completely threw the yarn diet out the window!), I'm happy to report that I came back with money leftover.
But enough talking -- I know you want to see the haul! First was the goodie bag that I got when I arrived:
The bag is a soft but sturdy fabric with a water bottle pocket on each side and an adjustable strap so it can be worn cross body as well as over the shoulder. Inside was either yarn or fiber (I chose fiber; it's Falkland from Into the Whirled in a colorway called Tinkerbell's Unmentionables), a mini scale, a measuring tape bracelet, a mini batt from the Classy Squid Fiber Co., an Ann Budd gauge rule, various business cards with discount codes (not shown), and a KnitGirlls measuring tape and pen.
Now here come the purchases and acquisitions. First the project bags:
On the left is one from the Fat Squirrel, Amy Beth, who I was talking a lot with on Thursday without realizing who she was. On the right is the bag I won as a door prize the first night, which I believe was donated by a local yarn shop.
In the tools and notions category, I picked up another Lendrum bobbin and swatch gauge from Akerworks, a set of stitch markers and tin from Jelby, and a sheep stitch marker/progress keeper/zipper pull from WhimzeeStitches.
Because I'd gotten fiber in my goodie bag and had leftover batts from my spinning class, I made only one fiber purchase, and that was this set of organic Polwarth, bamboo, yak, silk, and sparkle "Nightmare" batts from Hobbledehoy. (As a side note, I spent much of Thursday hanging out with Liz and her mom, Jenny -- who you might know better as MarigoldJen -- and they are both the sweetest women. Liz and I discovered that our daughters are almost exactly the same age!)
I picked up exactly one spindle, though I was tempted by some others -- this beautiful rainbow-dyed Turkish from Subterranean Woodwork at the Knitty and Color booth (they're husband and wife).
This spindle weighs about an ounce, so it will be good for spinning something other than frog hair for a change.
Finally there's the yarn:
Left to right: Miss Babs Estrellita in Tennessee Cabin Retreat (the SSK exclusive colorway), Gynx Yarns Glitz Sock in Pure Illusion, Stranded Dyeworks Paradise in Sister, Gale's Art Wonder Sock in a dark charcoal colorway that seems to be unnamed, Twist Fiber Studio Fairview Fingering in Bollywood, and Yarn Carnival High Wire in Road to Magenta that I picked up from the freebie table
The last thing I came home with was an impressive collection of stitch markers from the swap:
I usually use pretty plain markers, so these are sure to add some excitement to my knitting and remind me of the wonderful time I had at SSK!
If you've made it to the end of this post, congratulations! I promise not to be quite so chatty in the next post!