Deb in Shetland
Photo by Mary Macgregor.

I’ve devoted most of my adult life to the exploration of sheep and their wool, and all the ways we can use these miraculous natural fibers to enrich our lives. Twice a year, I invite a small group of fiber enthusiasts to join me on this exploration—we spend four days digging deep into the world of animal fibers, mostly wools, while allowing ourselves plenty of time to relax and refresh. Each morning we enjoy a fabulous breakfast and then gather in the great room of the Lakedale Resort, where we talk about the fibers—their variety, their history, the science around their form and function, and their applications for knitting, spinning, weaving, and beyond to matters of ecological and cultural impact and of personal delight.

20151110-IMG_3229-web.jpgThis is both talking and hands-on time: the fibers of the day are our companions in this journey. In spring, we investigate one type of animal fiber each day, with the four days balanced for variety; most are wools. In fall, which I call a “wild card” retreat, we consider a single spinning-related topic from multiple angles.

After the morning session, we break for lunch, catered for us by a fabulous chef using the best local ingredients, and then spend the afternoons enjoying our own individual explorations—nature walks around the island, trips to local points of interest, or more spinning and knitting time. Naps and massages can be located, too!

Each evening, after we gather again to enjoy a delicious dinner, we spin (or knit or crochet or weave) more together, and we review and I answer more questions about what we covered in the morning. We discover what sorts of insights the afternoon has offered (about fiber or about other activities), I offer as much one-on-one help as is needed or requested, and we share stories from the fiber world. Sometimes I have located unusual videos or readings related to some of the fibers in the collection, or to more general matters we may want to consider.

20151110-IMG_3243-web.jpgA few people stay up late spinning. Some take advantage of the opportunity to read a novel or go to bed early. Lakedale accommodates both solitude and companionship.

If you’d like to get away and immerse yourself in the craft you love and the fibers that make that craft possible, while in a richly restorative environment and community, join us on our next exploration.

We are currently at waiting-list status for Fall 2017.


Spring in the San Juan Islands is pretty special!
There will be two Explore 4 retreats in Spring 2018—one specifically catering to spinning-for-weaving (using longwools and weft-faced structures; looms supplied), and one in the traditional 4 fibers, 4 days format.

Click here for more information about the spring 2018 events.


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