Wednesday, 8 May 2013

First Annual Guild Retreat

April 26th, 27th, and 28th marked the first annual guild retreat for the Crocus Country Fibre Arts Guild.  The majority of guild members were able to attend and we had a great venue given that we were able to spend the weekend at the beautiful North Bow Lodge.  The lodge overlooks the Bow River and is located just outside of Calgary, AB.  The owners Michele and Stu Wheeler were fabulous hosts providing us with comfortable beds, a homey atmosphere, and wonderful food.  Our guild had the entire place to ourselves for the weekend with the freedom to engage in any crafty endeavors that appealed to us.   The weather over the weekend was windy but was also warm and sunny and we were able to take the opportunity to go on some really nice walks along the river with deer wandering nearby, and a variety of birds as well.

Folks brought spinning wheels, weaving supplies, knitting, dye supplies, blending board, drum carders, swifts, ball winders, rug hook supplies and of course projects in varying stages of completion.  Friday evening we all picked out our bedrooms, set up shop and enjoyed a yummy supper prepared by Michele.  Lenora was kind enough to bring a selection of non alcohol and alcohol based wines and gave us a fun and informative wine tasting lesson.  We got to learn about food pairing and tried out some lovely red and white wines.

Saturday morning we woke up at our leisure and enjoyed our coffees.  We had a nice continental breakfast and had a great time visiting and working on various fibre arts throughout the day.  Dianne brought a blending board and a wonderful bag of merino fibre contributed by Cal from Shuttleworks. Lots of us took the opportunity to try it out, and I was able to produce a small skein of yarn as a result.

 Susan had her daughter Cori come down to instruct an outdoor yoga class to work out our kinks, and she was able to join us for a couple meals and some cross stitch too!  Christa & Lenora brought dye supplies and we were able to do some dyeing with acid dyes as well as some natural dye products.  I had the chance to dye up some finn fibre that I brought with me and ended up with a very pretty light yellow from tree moss and a light fawn colour achieved from walnut husks.  I ended up blending the two together to create some really beautiful batts that I'm looking forward to spinning up!

 It was wonderful to have so many activities to choose from and so many wonderful and talented ladies to share knowledge and ideas with.  Theresa got to expand her knowledge and skill when she was given a spinning lesson by Christa and Cheryl.  Unfortunately she decided that this was not her cup of tea but did later discover that she really enjoyed needle felting and joined Dianne as both of them worked on felted creatures!

I also ended up completing two projects I had in the works, one of which was a gradient yarn that I spun from a Bullseye Bump from Steph of Loop on etsy.  Steph makes beautiful centre pull fibre bumps that I love spinning and I am so happy with the finished yarn.

 I also completed a small shawlette that I was working on called Age of Brass and Steam which is a free download on Ravelry for anyone who is interested.   It is knit up from some of my handspun that came from a gorgeous braid from one of my favorite dyers Julie Spins.  A very easy pattern that results in a great shawlette that can be any size you want it to be!

 Sunday morning arrived and we again had a wonderfully lazy morning and were later treated to a delicious hot breakfast.  Some of us completed projects while others had to pack up and leave early.  Most of us were packed up by early afternoon, and sadly the weekend came to a close.  Overall, I found the weekend to be a wonderful experience which I thoroughly enjoyed.  Much thanks and appreciation to all who helped to arrange the weekend, especially Alice who picked the location and made most of the arrangements for us.  I look forward to next year!