Roadtrip recap: The Small Wool Gathering

Things continue to move at breakneck pace here and it's been a whirlwind with Karen's two week visit, which wrapped up this past Saturday. The week before we were fortunate enough to gather with some other P3 alumni and knitting friends in a beautiful country house near Berkeley for a weekend of relaxing, knitting, spinning, and general un-winding.

Want to see some pictures? 

 

Avebury Henge - a delightful yet slightly soggy detour on our way to the retreat!  

Avebury Henge - a delightful yet slightly soggy detour on our way to the retreat! 

  Not quite as big as Stonehenge...

 Not quite as big as Stonehenge...

  ...but plenty big enough!

 ...but plenty big enough!

Our first stop along the way was Avebury - a recommendation of our monthly spinning hostess Caro and it was an excellent one! The henge is quite large and spread out by comparison to Stonehenge (you can see how the village is quite close and even a road runs through part of it!) but with significantly less crowds of visitors. The chilly, blustery day may have also had something to do with it, but it was nice to stretch our legs and wander around the gorgeous serenity of this place.

  A sweet yarn shop tucked away on a cobblestone side street from Bath's centre square.

 A sweet yarn shop tucked away on a cobblestone side street from Bath's centre square.

Our next stop was Bath where we found an adorable yarn shop named Wool - appropriately enough. Maybe next time we'll be able to see a bit more of Bath itself!

And finally we were off to Peddington Manor for the retreat and where I forgot to take any pictures of the venue itself!  Click the link though to see the post with the gorgeous pics that Catherine took earlier in the year to whet our appetite for The Small Wool Gathering.

Class gets underway with the delightful Amy Singer from Knitty  

Class gets underway with the delightful Amy Singer from Knitty 

It was one thing to say (in the face of the cancelled P3 retreat for this fall) that we'd all get together anyway, but quite another to actually organise the logistics for a dozen or so women! Catherine and Jenny did a bang up job and we were happy to be the guinea pigs as they launch this venture in their retirement - how exciting!

Sally was wearing these fab sparkly gloves at the Saturday night dinner where we were encouraged (but not obligated!) to "go a little glam".

Sally was wearing these fab sparkly gloves at the Saturday night dinner where we were encouraged (but not obligated!) to "go a little glam".

  Over the top: I decided to wear the MOH dress from my BFF Lisa's wedding this summer. If you look closely, my left sleeve isn't quite finished. The ball of yarn is in my pocket!

 Over the top: I decided to wear the MOH dress from my BFF Lisa's wedding this summer. If you look closely, my left sleeve isn't quite finished. The ball of yarn is in my pocket!

To their credit, Catherine and Jenny did an amazing job of not only keeping us well fed but also ensuring that things wonderfully low-key and relaxed. Peddington Manor had lots of nooks and crannies for small groups of knitters and spinners to come together, and the workshops on offer from Knitty editor Amy Singer were diverse in their subjects and skills. At the same time, they were also comfortable and without any pressure, which is a unique talent the Amy has for making students in her classes feel at ease.

  Some samples from my experimenting following Amy's Digital Camera Secrets for Knitters class. 

 Some samples from my experimenting following Amy's Digital Camera Secrets for Knitters class. 

  Amy even made new spinners!

 Amy even made new spinners!

After three very full days it was hard to believe that it was time to head for home already. But how nice to do so while feeling refreshed and well rested, inspired with new creativity, and that it was a productive time too! 

Five on Friday

It's getting to be late in the day here but are five fun things from my week:

1. Hanging out with Julie from Knitted Bliss

I met up with Julie and her lovely baby Lila today who are winding up a trip to the UK. It was fun getting to chat about knitting and blogging (I *love* Julie's Modification Mondays - always so inspiring!) and seeing a familiar face from Toronto. And of course, any excuse to introduce someone new to the haberdashery departments at John Lewis and Liberty!

Julie and Lila right before I guided Julie to the splendour that is the 3rd floor of Liberty.
Julie and Lila right before I guided Julie to the splendour that is the 3rd floor of Liberty.

2. A sophisticated skull sweater

Not sure what it is with skulls right now but I've always thought that they were kind of fun, and not in a creepy way. More like a colourful Day of the Dead kind of way. Alexander McQueen's skull print scarf has been a big hit here in London (mine's a knockoff), but I thought this cute sweater modeled by Emily over at Cupcakes and Cashmere was pretty fantastic. I suppose £167 isn't a lot for 100% cashmere, but I'm wondering if I can bash out a version for myself in a more affordable fibre.

3. As if I don't have enough to do in Paris next week...

Speaking of cashmere, Catherine (a fellow P3-er) has been blogging about some awesome cashmere that she has stashed and how she'll be attempting to make a small, short-sleeved pullover. Catherine, do you like skulls? Always an option if you find yourself running out of yarn in the back... Catherine is also going to the L'Aiguille en Fete knitting and stitching show in Paris next week and found this handy blog post someone had done about fabulous yarn and haberdashery places to check out in Paris. Too bad I'm only going for the day!

4. I hope it's as good as Project Runway

Franklin Habit posted on Facebook that he's going to be a guest judge on a new project from Skacel called The Fiber Factor. Right now they're looking for contestants for their competition to find "the next great knitwear designing superstar". In the meantime, he's also started a hilarious Tumblr called Yarn Shaming

5. Oh, the things you can find on Pinterest

In yesterday's post I mentioned "ugly sweaters" and decided for knits and giggles to enter that as a search term on Pinterest. The results are, well, whoa. 

Funnily enough, my brother is the one who first introduced me to the concept of an "ugly sweater". Note: Do not let this man loose in Michaels and then give him a glue gun.
Funnily enough, my brother is the one who first introduced me to the concept of an "ugly sweater". Note: Do not let this man loose in Michaels and then give him a glue gun.

And now, TGIF. What are your knitting plans this weekend?