I’ve been in Vermont since Thursday afternoon and have left this retreat house once, on Friday to make a Diet Coke run. We have been quite busy learning about writing in and for the fiber world. We’ve also been busy doing our own writing, and eating and eating some more. If there is one thing I’ve learned from attending various knitting retreats it is that we are always well fed. The baked goods on this trip have caused one participant who was not eating flour or sugar to cave and one gluten-free participant to chance eating the cheese part off the top of a piece of cheesecake. I will be stopping at the caterer’s bakery in the morning and filling my suitcase, screw Vermont maple syrup I need more of these baked goods. There’s no going cold turkey!
But today we got to escape! I felt we had found the golden ticket. Agenda for the day: general store in town, alpaca farm for alpaca shearing, pub for some local adult beverages and the studio of our instructor. So much yarn, so little time!
First stop was Currier’s Quality Market. This was an old fashioned general store. We are the middle of nowhere Vermont so the general store is still alive and well. The number of different items you could buy was remarkable. Also in the store is Cold Spring Kitchen, the bakery owned by the woman catering the retreat. But the most unique thing about the store is the amount of taxidermy adorning the walls. There are animals everywhere! There are also pictures of people with their various catches all over the walls. The collection included a full sized moose and every other animal you can find in the woods in Vermont. As luck would have it you can also bring your catch in and have it butchered – yum!
Our next stop was at Log Cabin Farm. This weekend they were shearing their alpaca and we were able to watch one of the guys get sheared. We were greeted by the farm owner who gave us a brief history of alpaca and we saw the guys who were waiting their turn to be sheared.
Then it was time to go and see the shearing. It was a very interesting process and the shearer was very talented. The guy we watched was so calm and so naked afterwards. They wait until spring has really arrived so they do not get too cold without their heavy thick coats.
They sell the yarns from the fleece and they sell single animal skeins so you are buying one animal’s fleece. We all ended up leaving with some delightfully soft yarn.
Next we stopped at a restaurant/lounge called Parker House. They have several local microbrews and local hard ciders on tap and a little store area to buy syrup and such. Bonus of being in New England – hockey on the tv in the bar!! Now we’re talking my language! I tried the Hill Farmstead Citra. It was the brew recommended by the slightly gruffy but very cute bartender who had already played one game of hockey this morning. A lovely afternoon break.
Last stop was at Cherry Tree Hill Yarn. The owner, Cheryl Potter is one of the leaders of the retreat. Our other leader is Shannon Okey who is from my neck of the woods. Cheryl sells hand dyed yarn and is an author of a number of knitting books. As we toured her studio I felt like we had won the golden ticket to see Willie Wonka’s factory. Because, let’s face it, for knitters going to the studio of an indie yarn dyer is essentially the same. I bought some wonderful yarn and am excited to use some of it to do a pattern written by one of our wonderful participants. I can’t wait to start!
I’ve learned so much about writing this weekend. Some of it good, some of it not so good but all very informative. I came with a few ideas in mind and am leaving headed in a totally different direction. I hope to share details soon but there are still some details to work out. You just never know why you are put in a certain place at a certain time. Finger crossed for some exciting things to come! I also got to meet some amazing people from all over the country. And as I find in knitting, while we all have knitting in common we have such varied interests within knitting. Tomorrow I hope to hit some local sights as I head back to Burlington for my flight home.