On Thursday night, I was up until 4 a.m. working on a project for a deadline. I finished it in time to get it in the mail on Friday, but instead of sleeping in, I had to get up on Saturday at 6 a.m. and head out for the Destination Knits retreat where Laurie and I were teaching fair isle. I remembered from all-nighters in college that sometimes the following day is harder than the morning after you stay up late, but it turned out I was fine. Fueled by lots of earl grey and excitement about the day, I was off.

I got to the hotel first. The room was already set up and it’s beautiful. Big and full of light with comfortable couches. Laurie tells a great story about the first year of the retreat where one of the participants said–“I just love this hotel… We stayed here on my wedding night in this very room–everything is the same, the walls, the ceiling…” After she said ceiling, she blushed terribly and stopped talking.

A few minutes after me, the gals I’m calling the “Noro Twins” arrived. They’re best friends and they made a weekend of the event–they left their kids and husbands and went to a hotel in town shopped and went sightseeing.

The rest of the folks trickled in and we got started around 9 a.m. Everyone did a fantastic job learning fair isle, working with 2 circular needles and a bit of crochet, all in the space of 3 hours!

After a break for lunch, we wrapped ourselves in our scarves and hats, and then realized it had warmed up considerably. A beautiful fall day. We all piled into the mini-bus and headed to StitchDC for a “yarn tasting” by store owner Marie Connely.

Marie is 8 1/2 months pregnant, and she thought that maybe even though we’d just had lunch we might need a snack (she did!) so she served mini burgers and donuts along with tiny balls of yarn arranged on the table as “appetizers” (fine gauge mohair and sock yarn) “main course”–worsted and bulky yarns, and desert… Qiviut, cashmere, silk…

Ingrid–one of our participants–was wearing this super shrug-y vest that everyone wanted. Here she is showing us all the yarn we should use to make it.

Back on the bus, and back to the hotel, for snacks, wine, cheese, massages and a visit from knitting mystery author Maggie Sefton. Maggie read an excerpt from her books, and she signed copies and chatted with us about how she brings her characters to life.

Corita is a local hand-dyer who provided the yarn for our projects today. She came to the hotel in the afternoon for a trunk show… and even though we had just been at a yarn store, well… nobody could resist her beautiful yarns. I bought a bulky and a laceweight firey red colorway with no purpose that I can imagine (which goes against my usual restrained demeanor around yarn, really.) All I can say is, it will match my coat. Corita is just getting started in her business, but she promises that any second she will have her luscious yarns and roving! available on her web site for sale.

A DC Fall Day…