One wild and wooly weekend after another

Good morning and happy Saturday! Last weekend I attended my seventh Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat. The spring retreat, now in its ninth year, was the first of the men’s knitting retreats and now there are several that take place at various times throughout the year in various places around the country. The first men’s knitting retreat in Canada took place earlier this year, and in years past there have been retreats in both the UK and New Zealand.

Each year when I return home from the spring retreat I usually write a blog post about how amazing, inspiring, rejuvenating, energizing, and so utterly magical it is. This year was certainly no exception, and there isn’t really anything I can say about it that I have already said about each of the retreats I have been to for the previous six years. What I will say is that if you or someone you know has never been to a men’s knitting retreat and you’re interested in going, I strongly encourage you to do so. Don’t worry about being a new knitter or how much experience you do or do not have. These retreats are open to all skill levels and at some of the past retreats we have had guys attend who were brand new to knitting. The only requirement for attending a men’s knitting retreat is that you are a man, or at least identify as male. That’s right. Transgendered men are just as welcome at the men’s knitting retreats as cisgendered men, and there is never any fuss about who uses which restroom because that kind of ignorance and intolerance is simply not welcome there.

For more information about men’s knitting retreats including news and notifications about upcoming events, you can send an email to contact@mensknittingretreat.com or visit the Men’s Knitting Retreats website .

As always, I neglect to take as many pictures as I should, so here’s a short gallery of the few pictures I did take.

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For more pictures of this retreat, please check out Queer Joe’s Knitting Blog.

In the coming weeks I will write a bit more about some retreat related projects like the Fiber to Scarf Exchange, Color Challenge, spinning workshops, and the knitting and spinning projects I started while I was there.

It’s Memorial Day Weekend and the unofficial start of summer. Wool might be the last thing on your mind, especially with temperatures in the low 90’s for today and tomorrow, but it is front and center for me this morning. Back in April during the Washington County Fiber Tour I came home with a beautiful black/charcoal colored Romney fleece from Ensign Brook Farm, and from a sheep that had been sheared that very same day. The next day, I laid the fleece out on the kitchen table (yes, the kitchen table) to get a better look at it, and to pick some of it to wash and card myself so I could make some samples. It’s a beautiful fleece, and the little bit that I picked to wash, card, and spin came out beautifully.

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This past weekend, a group of us from the retreat went on a little field trip to Foster Sheep Farm in Schuylerville. We got a tour of the barn, got to meet many of the sheep including a wee little black lamb that was just shy of a week old, and did some shopping at the yarn shop which is right there on the farm. During our expedition I found another beautiful fleece that I couldn’t resist, so into the back of my car it went. This fleece is also from a Romney sheep, or at least a mostly Romney sheep. Some of the locks have curls characteristic of Wensleydale sheep. Since Foster Sheep Farm has both breeds, including some Romney/Wensleydale crosses, and I think the fleece that came home with me last weekend might be one of those crosses. It’s a little smaller than the other Romney fleece but it is absolutely stunning.

Now that I have two raw and unwashed fleeces in the house, it’s beginning to smell a bit sheepy here, especially in my craft room. I don’t mind the smell. In fact, I find it somewhat pleasing. The dogs find it incredibly enticing. However, my dear spouse disagrees with all of us, so I need to get both of these fleeces skirted and ready to go off to the mill for washing and carding. Both fleeces are really clean (not much vegetable or other barnyard matter) and will make beautiful roving. I may not be equipped to do a large amount of washing and carding of fleece here, but rather than toss out the short bits that I am skirting off, I will keep those here to wash and card for my own enjoyment while the bulk of the fleeces are at the mill. This will allow me to figure out whether I want both fleeces combined for processing or kept separate.

We have friends arriving from Maine this afternoon who will be spending the rest weekend with us. One is a knitter and spinner, and has recently picked up tatting. He and I will be heading out to the Massachusetts Sheep and Woolcraft Fair on Sunday while our respective spouses enjoy a day of shopping, playing video games, or watching horror movies all day. Anything but sitting outside in the oppressive heat. If I had spent some time earlier in the month opening the pool so it would be ready for this weekend, being outside might not be so bad. Now I’m regretting my decision to wait, so at some point today, heat or no heat, I do need to get that project started.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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