Size of the Explore 4 retreats

At the end of the first retreat, the group gathered there looked around the great room at Lakedale and came up with the number of people we thought the space would optimally accommodate (with tools and working space, of course). We came up with a number that means we’ll have a group of a very comfortable size, but small enough that it’s quite possible (even probable) that there will be a waiting list, even though these workshops are publicized mostly by word-of-mouth.


What will you experience?

I think you’ll have fun, learn a lot, and relax! We’ll respond to the fibers we have in hand, and we’ll learn what we need to know in order to play with them in ways that teach us skills that broaden all of our future spinning experiences.

My approach to fibers is eclectic, but I like to go deep in my quest for information and in order to achieve results that please me. While I know a huge number of technical approaches to spinning and making cloth, and I do use them in my teaching, my approach to fiber is more intuitive and experiential than mathematical. In addition to learning a lot about specific fibers, I think you will find that this week nurtures your love of your chosen crafts and that it supports and strengthens your existing ability to experiment, to envision, and to create textiles. The goal is for each of us to take some comfortable steps forward in our understanding of fiber and in our skills and enjoyment.

What will the days be like?

The basic plan is that folks arrive Sunday night and leave Friday morning; the retreat sessions run from Monday through Thursday. Sunday night dinner is either on your own in Friday Harbor, or the group may organize a potluck to be shared as people gather.

After breakfast on Monday morning, at about 9 a.m., we’ll start our adventure together when we gather in the lodge great room to begin our four days of fiber exploration. Ah!

I will teach every morning, giving you background on the fiber we’re focusing on, providing ideas about processing it and using it, and more. This will be both talking and hands-on time: the fibers of the day will be your companions, as much as I will.

Each afternoon, after we’ve visited over our excellent lunch, you are free to continue your explorations of the morning’s fibers (not required, but you might be inspired), to explore the island, or to rest. Sometimes the interisland ferry schedule cooperates and retreat participants may choose to spend an afternoon floating among islands, enjoying spectacular scenery while spinning, knitting, and visiting. For walk-ons, this ferry is free.

There’s nearby hiking, shopping (yarn and bead stores in Friday Harbor, as well as the lavender shop and some good bookstores), and The Whale Museum. Or you can check out Krystal Acres Alpaca Farm, relax in the lodge with your fiber or yarn and some fellow adventurers, or . . . take a nap!

One afternoon, Island Fibers, from nearby Lopez Island, will likely set up shop in the lobby for us. There are a number of interesting wools grown locally. In addition, Island Fibers has unique yarns and prepared fibers, both natural-colored and hand-dyed.

Each evening, after we gather again to enjoy a delicious dinner, we can spin (or knit or crochet or weave) more together, and we can review and I’ll answer more questions about what we covered in the morning. We’ll discover what sorts of insights the afternoon has offered (about fiber or about other activities), I’ll offer as much one-on-one help as is needed or requested, and we’ll 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.

A 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.


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