Chris’s Guest Blog: Rocky Mountain Ply

Below is a guest-blog from my best knitting friend ever and test-knitter extraordinaire, Chris. I couldn’t travel with her (my work schedule, not any unwillingness on her part to share the pleasure), so I at least made her promise to write about her adventure when she got back.

I recently had the opportunity to attend knitting camp. It was actually called “Make 1 Yarn’s Fall Fiber Retreat,” but all the non-knitters I know seemed to think it was funny that I was going on a “fiber retreat”!

Canadian Rockies
The retreat was put on by Amy and Sandra of Make 1 Yarn in Calgary, Alberta, Canada and took place in the awesome Canadian Rockies.

Amy and Sandra put together a magical four-day weekend with ninety knitters, five world-class instructors, and more knitting fun than should be allowed.

The only hard part of the weekend was choosing just three classes from the five instructors. I had to choose between Cookie A’s Top-Down Sock Design; her Toe-Up Sock Design; Stefanie Japel’s Anatomy of a Top-Down Sweater; her Custom-Fitting Your Knits; Stephanie Pearl McPhee’s Knitting for Speed and Efficiency; Amy Singer’s Non-Sheep Fibers; her Plug-and-Play Shawl Design; Nancy Bush’s Estonian Lace; or her Traditionally Knit Haapsalu Sall (Hop-saw-lou Sall). After debating the merits of each class with both myself and fellow knitters (not to mention absolutely begging to be in Amy Singer’s Shawl Design class) I ended up with the Haapsalu Sall, Shawl Design (there may be no crying in baseball, but it works in knitting!), and Custom Fitting.

Lace of Estonia book cover
Nancy’s class corresponds with her new book—and if you don’t have it, please go get it. I learned so many things from Nancy that I could have gone home happy after just her class.

She brought all sorts of samples of Estonian knitting to the class.
Estonian Shawls

She also brought all the projects from her book! (She knit every one of them herself.)
Lace of Estonia project samples

We even got to try them on.
Wearing Estonian lace shawls

Stefanie Japel’s class was really about our body shapes. She has given me the courage to knit different sizes from the same pattern to make my sweaters fit me!

My final class was with Amy Singer and about shawl design. I’d been having trouble taking the pictures in my head, putting them on paper, and then working up an actual shawl. Amy was wonderful and spent a lot of one-on-one time with me.
Shawl Design Class
With her help and a lot of swatching, I had an epiphany and can’t wait to design my first shawl.

Besides the amazing classes, the setting, the lodge, and the fellowship of other knitters was unbelievable. I know we all have our friends, family, and life in the “real world,” but being isolated in a wintry paradise with ninety other like-minded people is an experience every knitter should have: people who “get” you, a place where you are expected to knit at the dinner table, and encouragement and inspiration everywhere you turn.

If you ever have the opportunity to do something like this, please, please do so! It was one of the best experiences of my knitting life.

3 Replies to “Chris’s Guest Blog: Rocky Mountain Ply”

  1. I just bought this book, and I am totally in love. I can’t wait for work to settle down and my Holiday gifts to be finished so I can cast on one of those gorgeous lacey things. At least I have some time to decide….

  2. Hi Chris! Sounds like you had a great time. When you said “more knitting fun than should be allowed” – you hit the nail on the head. When I 1st started taking craft workshops (sorry – not knitting) a few years ago, that was my exact same thought: This is SO MUCH FUN! Can it be legal? I so encourage everyone to “just do it”, even if you go alone. Because once you get there, you realize you are not alone – everyone there is in the same place mentally & the excitement & energy is palpable. I’ve never had a bad (or even sub-par) workshop. So sign up & GO! 🙂

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