Back home from Madrona.  How to describe it?  The last time I attended the full retreat, it was still held at Gig Harbor. The Murano in Tacoma is a few steps up in terms of hotel venue. It was like one big glass art gallery– everywhere you turned there was beauty,  captured in glass.

Thursday and Friday I had my first experience as a Jean Wong student. With this delightful woman as our guide, we each created a customized pattern for a round neck pullover with set-in sleeves. After taking accurate measurements, we drafted our full-size patterns for front, back and sleeve onto engineering graph paper, and then, using the gauge of the swatch we had prepared prior to our class, we figured increases and decreases for the curves of armholes, sleeves, and front and back necklines.

We didn’t knit a stitch!

At breaks and mealtimes it was a delight to encounter many old friends, and in classes and gatherings to make many new friends, too. The market this year was phenomenal and though I tried to restrain myself I did find some precious materials I could not resist. Heidi, of The Artful Ewe, creates hand-dyed fiber blends for spinning and yarns for knitting that are incredibly rich and beautiful. I relieved her of some of each. Sweetgrass Wools had the most exquisite over-dyed black alpaca/silk that wooed me. Blue Moon Fibers had created a bruise-like colorway in Blue-Faced Leicester that jumped into my arms and nuzzled me affectionately. And I was the first customer in the wonderful Marilyn King’s Blackwater Abbey booth, claiming some of the new jumperweight yarn.

All day Saturday and again Sunday morning I spent time spinning with Judith Mackenzie-McCuin, always a delight. I spun several types of “Down” fleece (Down breeds originated from the Downs regions of England; examples include Suffolk and Dorset) on Saturday and Icelandic fleece Sunday.

Finally, I spent Sunday afternoon with Linda Gettman as she taught kumihimo braiding for the purpose of creating necklaces. She was an excellent teacher, and her creations are gorgeous.

Brian drove down to meet me on Saturday evening so that we could be together for at least part of Valentine’s day. I was able to buy an extra ticket to the banquet, and instructed him to wear anything but jeans. When I met him in the lobby, he was dressed perfectly: he was wearing the Nagano sweater I knit for him a couple of years ago, with a pair of beige slacks.

I had asked my friends Nancy and Michelle to save seats for us, as we were running a little late. As we approached the table, they took one look at Brian and burst out laughing. “We found another man for Brian to sit by and you’re not going to believe this,” they said. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words (taken from Brian’s Droid, the quality isn’t superb)


(The new guy was wearing beige slacks, too!)  They hit it off immediately, eventually discovering that they have similar ancestral history of Norwegian and German, and escaped from the banquet together to carry on their conversation for the duration of the banquet. Too, too funny. We hope to see him and his wife (the knitter!) again in the future.

As I was sitting there marveling at coincidence, two other people arrived at our table. Karen, whom I had met a couple of evenings before, waved across the table, and then, who should sit beside her but my dear, beautiful friend Dolores, former owner of Skeins, Ltd in Bellevue.  I had not seen her in the five years since she moved to California!

Good times.

2 thoughts on “Priceless

  1. Loved hearing of Madrona and the patterns you made custom fit to your size. How handy those will be and now you will no longer make big sweaters to give away to lucky women! ha! I loved the photo of the husbands in their handknit sweaters too! Great times!

  2. Oh how I laughed at the picture of the two dutiful husbands. You’ve got to love those guys!!! This was a great blog entry!!!

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