Vermont in the Spring

There are some places that as you are leaving you think “I’ll probably never make it back here again” and there are some places where you know, without a doubt, you will be back (NYC, Paris for me).  Vermont was on the first list.  My family came here a number of years ago and I enjoyed it but never really had it on my “return to” radar.  That was until I found out about a knitting/writing retreat being held in the mountains of Vermont.  And, if you’re going to attend a knitting/writing retreat I feel like Vermont is where it should be.

I arrived yesterday after one of the best flying days I’ve had in awhile (good weather and strong tail winds are a huge help).  The retreat is being held is a really old, converted dairy farm.  The floors in this place are amazing!  The stairs are another story and clearly not built to be used more than once a day.  And, there is still some pretty big snow piles up in these parts!  Early spring is not Vermont’s best season but I do hear we can buy some fresh maple syrup – can’t wait for Sunday’s field trip!!

The retreat is being led by two published authors, Shannon Okey and Cheryl Potter.  The really nice part is there are only six participants so everyone gets some quality time to explore their ideas.  As we sat around this morning and introduced ourselves and talked about our goals it was amazing to hear all the different directions people were going in.  We are all knitters and we all want to write about the craft we love so much and we all want to do that in unique and individual ways.  Even those who are more interested in pattern design and pattern books were all headed in different directions.  Pattern design is not my skill, probably never will be and that’s okay.  Like my blog, I have more of an interest in telling the stories of knitting.  I was also surprised when throwing ideas out there how far other people can take them.  It was definitely to places I had not thought of.  Already, after only one morning I have so much floating around in my head.  Right now, we are having “free writing time” so I wanted to get a quick post done and then spend some time playing with some of the ideas we tossed around this morning.

Every 4th Row

So I wrote this post once and somehow WordPress lost it so here it goes again…

Many of us at my LYS (shout out to River Colors!!) are obsessed with Kauni wool.  If you’ve never seen it – check it out.  It’s a very rough wool in very color varigations.  There are a number of patterns out there for Kauni (check Ravelry)  Many of us had done an Oakland Shawl, I finished mine last year.  And then, our LYS got in some new colorways and ever though  I swore I would never knit with it again  (the balls have a ton of yardage) I found myself falling love  with the colors and everyone else was buying new colorways.  Peer pressure at the yarn store is the worst!  Three of us ended with new colors and started the Wiggle Wrap in early fall.  We all ended up putting it in time out when Christmas knitting sprouted up on our needles.

It was a great project to pull out this month and I took it on my ill-fated business trip early this month.  When we were finally all able to go to Thursday knitting I brought it with me.  I worked on it and complained the entire time.  I was finding it very tedious and the pattern row was a pain with all it’s K2tog and KFB.  As I was complaining my friend Rosie made a passing comment about how it was only every 4th row.  What?  I stopped dead and looked at my wrap.  I had been doing the pattern row ever other row so it was really wonky and it was determined it needed to be ripped out.  Luckily I was not far because I found it so annoying to knit.

As we tore it out (that’s what knitting friends are for) I told them how this had happened.  The pattern is quite simple so I had never printed it out.  When I picked it back up I looked it at on my computer, made note and then started knitting.  I failed to scroll down and see it was a 4 row pattern and not a 2 row pattern.  I started laughing because sometimes it’s just weird how the universe works.

The day before I had received a belated Christmas card from my junior high English teacher.  The first story I always tell about her is the time she switched the directions on our weekly spelling test.  It was the week that the scores would determine who went to the spelling bee so I was ready to rock that test.  I whipped through it and started planning my spelling bee strategy.  You can imagine my surprise when my test was returned and I had a 50% or “F”.  I argued my case but still ended up missing that spelling bee.  I still instill instruction reading in the kids I babysit because of this.  And, yet, somehow I’m still not reading directions completely through!

I ended up having lunch with my teacher this week.  Once I was a little older I realized she wasn’t mean, she was a good teacher.  I started volunteering for her when she would take her class to environmental camp and then our roles were reversed when she called me for help with her school law homework while I was in law school.  We’ve stayed in contact all these years and she is retired now.  When she came to breakfast she brought a surprise for me – a project I had done in her class all those years ago.


It was clearly a project and alliteration and she admitted I had done a good job.  I was impressed with my drawing skills which seem to have left me at some point.  I loved to write, even back then.  And, I can write because I had teachers who encouraged us with fun, creative projects.  I told her the story about the knitting and she remembered the test change and admitted she was mean!  We had a good laugh.

Anyway, my Wiggle Wrap is about half done due to having the correct directions and the large amount of snow and horrible cold that we have had this month which have kept me home bound with nothing but a DVR and my knitting.  I just got an e-mail from my LYS that a new shipment of Kauni came in and I saw the hot pink colorway I’ve been drooling over…

When the universe hits you over the head…

all you can do is wake up and listen!  This is how I felt yesterday.  I had spent the morning in court arguing about matters that involved some very serious issues.  I felt like we were filming a scene out of Rainmaker by John Grisham and I’m not the right side of that case…  We had a break between court and a deposition in one of the cases that we had been discussing in court.  My very dear friend and I stopped to grab lunch between and our conversation went a little like this: 

Friend: I kept thinking I can’t this is my life

Me: That’s funny I kept thinking #fml and how people use that way too liberally.  Spend one day with us and you will know what that means!

We made it to our deposition and I proceeded to starting surfing the net.  I had not been on Facebook all day and I had a lot of time which led me to scroll way, way down.  One of the items that appeared in my news feed was telling me that the owner of my LYS had liked a post so I read the post.  The post read:

If you’ve ever wanted to write your own book, let me help you in person next April at this retreat!

And had this link attached –  And so I clicked on this link and was utterly amazed.  If I could’ve dreamed up the perfect event this would be it.  I had posted awhile back about my goals with knitting and blogging and I just don’t know how to take the next step.  This retreat provided the direction that would help down the path.  It was in Vermont, in the spring and it sounded a little like heaven, especially in that moment as I sat there with #fml running through my head.

I was so intrigued I e-mailed for more info.  I’m a Libra so it takes me awhile to make decisions.  I was concerned about the price (although very reasonable) and taking time off from the day job (especially with a planned week long vacation the month before and a profession that frowns upon vacations)  I don’t usually invest this much money in my “hobby” but if I have any hope of turning this into a profession this could be just the first step I need to take.  And, what do they say??  You just have to jump and go after your dreams and nothing will happen if you do nothing.

I went right from work to my side job of babysitting (the “babies” are all very much kids now) and thought more about it.  When I got home late last night I sent in the down payment.  If there is one thing that will get me to move is knowing there is a limited number of spots so I jumped and took the opportunity.

Part of the reason I did it was because I could not help but to think the universe was slapping me in the face and I didn’t feel I could sit and do nothing.  A look at the number of events that came together for me to learn about the retreat.

1. Super long morning in court with limited access to internet and thus Facebook.

2. A particularly awful day.

3. My LYS owner is not on Facebook that often and the post she liked was from Oct. 29

4. Her liking of that post showed up in my news feed.  We all know how random Facebook is with what shows up in one’s news feed.  I can flip over now and flip over in five minutes and have different stories in the feed.

5. There was still space – they do limit the number of participants due to the nature of the classes.

I’m super excited about the retreat and learning how to further my writing and enjoying Vermont in the spring!!  So, thanks universe for the call to action – I will take full advantage of it!