Tuesday, October 11, 2011


On Saturday I had my first "One Day Retreat" with a group of knitters from the Saratoga, NY area. This was a first time for a one day retreat and I really liked the format. We could get in depth on the subject but the class was small and very intimate. It is really nice to get to know the individual students. I have taught many, many 3 hour classes at different knitting venues (yarn stores, Stitches, and VK Live - which by the way has just announced their January 2012 class lineup in NYC). Those classes are fine but they have a minimum of 15 people in them and it is really hard for me to help each knitter individually and give each person the time that they deserve. It's just a fact of life at those big events that I won't be able to make every student happy, no matter how hard I try. I always feel like I could have done a better job. They are what they are. You can't beat the energy of so many knitters in one place - I think that is the most special part of the big events. Everyone leaves with a huge amount of energy, even if they are completed exhausted.

The difficulty in getting to each student at those big events was one reason I decided  three years ago to start running the small retreats here on our farm. I probably didn't totally think the idea through in a logical manner and definitely didn't realize all the extra work it would be for me to have the classes here. Nor how hard it would be to get the word out into the general knitting public - that is beyond those of you who read my blog. Much less that I am asking people to travel to western Massachusetts. Every class, I learn a little more and try something new the next time. It has been a learning experience for my whole family.

I am going to keep the "Getting Stitched On The Farm" Classes going next year and am now in the planning stages for what classes and subjects I will teaching. I have a lot of students who want to come back here so I have to develop some new course materials. I want to expand the reach of the classes beyond knitters, including some decorative painting and more embroidery techniques. It's all preliminary planning - basically in the mulling it all around in my brain as I take a shower or do errands.

One thing I do want to do is have more of the One Day Retreats. If you are interested in putting a group together for an outing to our farm for you and your knitting friends, send me an email with the dates you would like to come (After November 6th, I don't have much planned.) Last Saturday's class was just that - a group of knitting friends who were here to learn more about color and embroidery. I have a One Day Fair Isle and Steeking Class here at the farm on Friday (the day before Rhinebeck). There is still space available if anyone is up for a last minute trip!

Columbus Day Weekend was gorgeous here - nice weather and magically the leaves on our hill began to turn.

The weather is a bit warm. There is color all around. I keep bringing in the fading flowers and plopping them in vases but they don't last long. They look tired and shrivelly even after one day.

It is so sad to see them all fade away.


No more zinnias until next year..... I will really miss their cheerful colors. For the rest of the winter, I'll have to find my flower joy on the jugs and vases that seem to litter my shelves. Gotta get that pattern and texture love somehow.

Julia and I ended the weekend by going to a butchering class at Bistro Les Gras in Northampton. I know - you all are really jealous, aren't you? Bistro Le Gras holds an annual Cochon Wine Dinner where they use an entire pig (October 16 for all you locals - it will be great!). It's quite an event and this year Chef Daniel held a butchering demo for all those interested. Being a farmer, I have had to cut up a few sheep in my time and I have always improvised. Here was a chance to actually see someone do it who knew what he was doing. I couldn't wait! Dan was assisted by Pete from Mockingbird Farm, a fellow Farmers' Market Vendor.

After watching and listening, I have decided that I have been doing it right all along, if mostly on instinct. I did learn a bunch and wouldn't mind doing something like this again if the opportunity ever comes along. Next time I have to cut up a sheep, at least I will know that I am doing it correctly. Thank you Chef Daniel.


Paula said...

The butchering class does look interesting even though I am a vegetarian. I guess my interest comes from the times I had to dissect animals for my former research life on muscle proteins.

I was very tempted by the Fair Isle and Steeking class, but with 3 trips in October for work and personal reasons, I just couldn't add another trip. I hope the class fills.

Elaine said...

I'm so happy that you're moving on in your fiber life with great new ideas, plans and exciting stuff running through your head. We all need inspiration and sometimes just the opening of a little crack in the door can bring out a whole flood off ideas. Yaaaay!!
The "girls" look so happy and peaceful in the field.
Our leaves will probably be at peak next week if the wind doesn't blow them all away!!

gherlashdawn said...

I was astonished by the beauty of the area in western massachusetts. the trail went through. Visa a document showing that a person is authorized to enter the territory for which it was issued. And there’s one highlight I’ll never forget, the wild blueberries. They were yummy.