Monday, April 11, 2011

Wonderful Weekend

This weekend I was one of a very few, very lucky knitters who attended a knitting retreat hosted by Merike Saarniit and Anna Zilboorg.  For those who don't know, Anna has published quite a few wonderful knitting books on her own including Knitting for Anarchists, 45 Fine and Fanciful Hats, Fancy Feet, and Magnificent Mittens and Socks.  She's also contributed to many other books and magazines.  Merike has also written a book - a huge knitting stitch encyclopedia type book but with patterns also.  Only Merike's book hasn't been published yet - sadly.  She's well known for her patterns and for teaching all over the country.  She's a fabulous teacher and her designs are incredible.
We arrived on Thursday evening and knit a bit and had dinner.  Then we knit a bit Friday morning and went to lunch at a nearby winery - Chateau Morisette - the food was wonderful and the wine even better!

This is all of us (but Anna) at lunch.  I had quiche which was to die for.  

These are the the view from behind the winery.  Spectacular!

And, of course there was wine for sale.  We bought a bit.  I just couldn't help myself.  I tasted it first and it was good.  They had several kinds that were all good.  I had plenty of room because I was the only one in the car . . . and some of the wine actually made it all the way home.

This is Anna Zilboorg - yes, THE Anna Zilboorg - modeling a sweater that will hopefully show up in a new book she's writing sometime in the near future.  I didn't get a closeup of this one, but the red stripes you see are embroidered in the twisted stitches.

This is Anna (and Ladybug) sitting on the couch with several other sweaters and vests that will, hopefully, be in that same book.  They are absolutely stunning sweaters and I really want to make them all.

This is Anna wearing one of the hats from 45 Fine and Fanciful hats sitting on the couch with me - and I'm wearing another of the hats.  They are soooo seriously cool in person!  I'm going to make the one she has on her head next.

A closeup of the Stacking hat.

And a closeup of the Pentagon hat.

And this is a hood that Anna made.

Caroline's house in the mountains does not have a refrigerator or freezer - it has a spring cooled trough built to store the food that needs to remain cool.  The water is 50 degrees year round.  

We had lunch by the pond the day we visited Caroline's house.

Ladybug shared Anna's lunch.  Ladybug was very fond of Anna.

It was a glorious day so we all sat out on the front porch and knit.  Caroline and Anna are in an old fashioned glider that is just lovely.  

Then the fog rolled over the ridge and it got chilly so we moved back inside (see ladybug laying on Anna's lap?).  Then it started pouring outside.  Later that night, a tornado hit the area - the town of Pulaski got hit pretty hard and it touched down near Mabry Mill which was very near Caroline's house.

This is Anna with Ladybug (Caroline's dog) and Merike with Sally (her dog).  The dogs were wonderful mascots for the weekend.

Anna teaching Rae and Cynthia how to make a perfect buttonhole.

Anna showed us her blankets this particular day and they were amazing.  I was digging through her box of scrap and leftover yarns and found the small ball in this picture.  It is Anna's own handspun - green, blue, bits of pink and purple - and very lovely.  I said how much I liked it and so she gave me the small ball.  Then she dug further into the box and pulled out the larger ball to go with it - I hadn't seen it.  She insisted I take both and use them to start my own blanket - and that's just what I plan to do with them.  

This is Merike's Ballerina sweater.  Dena and I have both wanted to make this for a while and now I've decided that I must have it and I know which colors I want in my kit.

This is the goodbye lunch.  It was a terrific group of women and a fabulous weekend.  I'd do it again in a heartbeat if the chance ever arose again.  I learned a lot and enjoyed the company even more.

I like this.  A Lot.

Anna's sweaters and vests - not all of them, but several of them.  I can't wait for this book to come out!

Sally inspecting one of Anna's blankets - they are so fabulous.

The other blanket Anna showed us . . . yes, that's Sally's tail.  These blankets are even better close up.

And several of Merike's hats - again they are ever so much more beautiful in person.


Handmade Crafts Done While RVing Blog said...

I am so speechless right now and too busy trying to type through the drool... I can't tell you which part is my favorite and can only imagine what it would of been like to see/hear and touch all that you did. I do however love and really love the homespun yarn. Just learning how to do it now...

Tattingrid said...

It is obvious that you have had a good time (and not just because of the wine!). I particularly like the Merike's hats, your last picture.

Gina said...

What a special event! While knitting was the first needleart I taught myself at the tender age of 12 or 13, I never excelled in the way you and probably any of these women have. It is always a cherished moment to meet and spend time with teachers you admire. I love those hats too!