Explore 4, Traditional Format (“Four-by-four”)

February 26 – March 1, 2018

Friday Harbor, Washington

Join me for my traditional “four fibers in four days” Explore 4 format, held in the spring of 2018.

Retreat participants gathered in the Lakedale great room
Retreat participants gathered in the Lakedale great room

These retreats are designed to provide an in-depth exploration of four fibers, 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.

This is both talking and hands-on time: the fibers of the day are our companions in this journey. 

Fiber note as of January 12, 2018—The line-up for this session will be:

  • Cotswold (an ancient English longwool)
  • Targhee (a U.S.-origin fine wool)
  • Zwartbles (a dark-fleeced Dutch breed)
  • Dorset Down (one of the classic English Down wools, well suited for washable items because of a reluctance to felt—and the fleeces I’ve got are gorgeous)

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!

One of the views from English Camp, San Juan Island
One of the views from English Camp, San Juan Island

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.

A few people stay up late spinning. Many take advantage of the peaceful environment 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.


The Details:

When: February 26 – March 1, 2018 (arrive February 25; depart March 2)

Where: Lakedale Resort, Friday Harbor, Washington (click here to visit their website)

Who: This event accommodates both new and experienced spinners. If you can spin a singles yarn and ply it, you’ll be able to keep up with our exploration without any difficulty. There will also be time to play with the yarn we spin in whatever fiber craft medium you prefer (knitting, crochet, weaving, etc.).

This retreat will follow my standard Explore 4 “Four-by-four” format: 4 fibers, 4 days. With each fiber, we’ll have multiple samples to suggest the range of what that breed or animal offers. When possible, I announce the fibers in advance—but because of the need to acquire variety (not just one fleece for each day, but three or more alternatives), I often don’t know far in advance what fibers will be featured in the spring—because spring events don’t repeat fibers covered in previous spring “Four-by-fours.”

For Spring 2018, I have Cotswold and I’m working on six other potential fibers, of which three will make the deadline. . . .


  • $125 deposit/materials fee, due as soon as possible in order to hold your spot
  • $425 retreat fee, due about 1 month out from the event
  • Food: $220, payable to our caterer about 1 month out from the event
  • Lodging: At Lakedale Resort, about $385–$775 for the 2017 rates, depending on the options you choose (prices subject to change for 2018); this includes breakfast

Click here to register for the Spring 2018 Explore 4 “Four-by-four” Retreat.


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