24 May 2014

And What Have I Been Doing? part 1

I knew the spring was going to be very busy. It was. Now I'm back home in Atlanta and enjoying the transition from spring to summer. Extra rain and the unusual cooler-than-normal weather means the region is lush and green. The screen porch is ready for regular habitation. And the used knitter's cats seem very happy to see me.

The last weekend of April I was up in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, to teach at Unwind retreat. I believe this was the fourth year for Unwind. Nancy Shroyer of Nancy's Knit Knacks and Sue Homewood do a fantastic job organizing this event.

Unlike a major show, this is a retreat. The whole group stays at the Meadowbrook Inn. There are four teaching slots -- morning and afternoon on Saturday, and morning and afternoon on Sunday. Students sign up for three classes. And teachers teach three classes. Everyone has one free period to just explore the town, soak in the hot tub, hike the mountains, eat ice cream and chocolate for lunch, or just knit or nap. Everyone, even the teachers, leaves with a door prize. Breakfast on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday is included, as is dinner on Saturday and Sunday. There are also extra activities. For example, the last two years Miss Babs' studio about an hour away has been open on Friday so people could stop in and efficiently convert tax refund money into gorgeous hand-dyed yarn. This year an alpaca farm about half an hour away was open for tours. In the evenings there might be a presentation, fashion show, or stash swap. All in all, it is a great weekend, especially if you are someone who does not like noise and crowds. There isn't a market, but the very good local yarn shop Unwound is right on Main Street in Blowing Rock. Nancy and Sue have already announced next year's dates of 10-13 April. Since they only invite four teachers and I've taught two years sequentially, I don't expect to be teaching next year. But with the future of STITCHES South still indeterminate, I hope some of the Southerners will think about Unwind as a lower-stress alternative.
There were a number of excellent items in the Unwind goodie bags this year. There were aromatic votive candles from a local candle maker. There was a wraps per inch tool from Nancy's Knit Knacks. Handy for me, as the one I have resides in the spinning bag. Now I have one in the knitting bag, too. Probably the most popular item was a skein of sock yarn hand dyed by Nancy and Sue. There were two different colorways and I happened to get the purple Mountain Majesty, see above. Others got a bright green Spring on the Mountain colorway. And I purchased the book Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden from Unwound. And, yes, I did eat ice cream for lunch one day. But I had a dang fine cream of crab soup the next day; which raises the question, "Why do I know where to get great crab soup on a mountain in North Carolina, but not where to get it in the lowlands of southern Maryland?"

Tomorrow: On to Maryland!

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