I got to go to the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat this year! The first time I found out about it it was too close to the time and I’d never heard of it before. The second year I knew about it, there was some pregnancy complication or something and the next year I had too little a baby or somesuch. There just always seemed to be something that meant I couldn’t go!
Then this year I *could* go, except I forgot about signing up until three days later, so the only class I was interested in was full. Of course. Because Madrona is crazy popular that way. But I put myself on the waiting list and lo and behold, a spot opened up! So I got to go! It was somewhat difficult figuring out the logistics of getting there on just the Sunday with my one car family, but we worked out it and I went very early on, of all days, Valentine’s Day. Isn’t my hubby sweet and forgiving? Yes. Yes he is.
So Madrona was pretty damn cool. The class was great — it was on steeks, one of the few techniques I really want to learn but haven’t worked up the nerves to try — and now I feel like I can steek anything. So that’s good! The teacher, Mary Scott Huff (who incidently has one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen and I want it) was great. She made steek samples for us to cut (cutting someone else’s knitting! SO much easier! Ha!) and had these great printouts for us to keep. Steeking was definitely successful.
So pictured above are all my successful steeks — hand sewn, machine sewn, and a crochet steek. I like the look of the crochet the best but the machine was fastest, and also the most versatile.
The home work was a little shocking (a whole cowl — colorwork no less — in a little over two weeks, since I signed up late!) but otherwise, really good. I don’t think I have a picture of the completed knitting but instead only the steeking process. Here it is marked to be cut:
(Note: Some people did horizontal lines instead of the “bird’s eye” pattern. SO MUCH EASIER to cut because the guides are already there for you!)
And then cutting:
(Also, who was the idiot who went to a steeking class without scissors? That would be ME. Doh. Thankfully Mary had a cute pair she let me borrow. Geez.)
And then all cut! I mean steeked!
After that we cast on for the buttonband which I haven’t finished yet, so no more pictures. When I got home I was in a hurry to finish up some hats for our upcoming snow cabin trip so I still haven’t gotten back to this year. I’m intending to gift it for the holidays, so I guess there’s no hurry.
The marketplace was also good. I think I expected more since I’ve heard such spectacular things about it, but still, very good. Things you can’t find elsewhere. I sort of wish I was more of a spinner, as it seemed more aimed at spinners, but all in good time I ‘spose. I can’t imagine why I don’t have a picture of my purchases, but I don’t. OH but I did make this token Madrona hat!
… made from Leticia yarn at the Blue Moon Fiber Arts booth. (Pattern is the Unoriginal Hat by the Yarn Harlot.) I also bought some gorgeous pink merino fiber from them, and some fiber elsewhere but the name escapes me now. I also got some pink yarn from a new dyer out of Portland whose name also escapes me (great blog post, right? Geez.) just like the purple in the cowl, thinking I could make a pink version as another gift. I love the purple but in all honesty I think the dark color gets lost and pink will stand out more. Hmm was that it? Yes, I believe it was. Fun times 🙂
The best part though? Hanging out at a table full of friends and knitters and spinners at lunchtime. I think next year — or whenever I can go next — I’d like to only take a half day class — if that — and just hang out with some great people. That would really make me happy 🙂
P.S. The other really great thing about Madrona? I wore my new vest, finally finished, and got so many compliments on it! That was really special for me. Also, I just knew so many of the sweaters I saw were handmade and it was really an honor to be around so many talented people with such great taste! Just a great atmosphere. Can’t wait to go back 🙂