The last weekend of Jan’s Colorado visit was the Longmont Yarn Shop Spring Renewal Retreat. This was the event that we had actually planned Jan’s whole visit around. This was my first yarn themed retreat and I was really looking forward to some relaxing with yarn and fiber loving friends. People who understand when you say, “I have to pet this yarn.” or “The yarn was calling to me.”
Jan and I were also excited about getting some nice walks in. Jan wears a pedometer and is always good about getting me to go for walks when we get together. I got a pedometer too, in preparation for her visit, and am getting into the habit of paying attention to the number of steps I do each day. 10,000 minimum is the goal.
Friday, March 13th we loaded up the car and were on our way by 9:30 that morning. We had decided, since the retreat was in Loveland, we would make a trip a bit further north and stop by the Lambspun yarn shop in Ft. Collins.
There is a wonderful little restaurant that shares the building with the yarn shop. We had our lunch there, then spent a lovely couple of hours exploring the shop and seeing if there was any yarn we needed to adopt.
Jan was actually shopping for yarn in large amounts for a couple of projects on her “to-do” list. She doesn’t have easy access to any yarn shops near her home. Partly because she works some long hours at her day job and can’t really drive at night. She was having a great time exploring the options, and we had fun searching for the perfect yarn.
For some reason we both kept being attracted to linen yarns. Blends and 100% linen. I got the 2 different yarns above to experiment with and Jan purchased some other yarn that was an interesting blend of linen and rayon. I was trying to be good about not purchasing yarn that I wouldn’t have time to work with this year.
Shirley, the shop owner, was working on a felting project using a blending board that really piqued my interest. I considered purchasing my own blending board but the price was a little out of the budget for this trip. I may put it on my list for Christmas this year as I think I would have a great time playing with it.
Finally we tore ourselves away and headed off to the Sunrise Ranch for our retreat.
I use the GPS on my phone thru Google Maps to navigate when traveling. There was an update not too long ago and the voice is now very robot like. Jan and I had been calling my GPS gal, Gina, last summer when we did our road-trip to Chain-Link. We decided Gina now sounds like she has become assimilated by the Borg (from Star Trek Next Generation). Fortunately, Borg Gina directed us to the ranch without any problems.
The Sunrise Ranch is nestled in a beautiful valley with a lake to the south, gorgeous colorful red bluffs to the east and lots of wonderful options for hiking. We got checked in and did a little exploring and a short walk before dinner that evening.
After dinner was the welcome meeting followed by a White Elephant yarn exchange. At the welcome meeting Gail and Jane from LYS distributed “goodie” bags with a water bottle, a bumper sticker, a needle/hook inventory card (that has our shop dog “Kit” on it), and a little felt zipper bag.
The bags were identified with our name tags for the retreat and most everyone made yarn “necklaces” to wear their name tag on. Jan and I took photos of ours.
The other event for the evening was a White Elephant yarn exchange. I’d never participated in one before and it was great fun. My ribs were tender from laughing so hard. I ended up with some Yak yarn that I’d never seen before, so that will be fun to play with.
Saturday, March 14th was the first full day of the retreat and it was Pi-Day! That morning started bright and early with a yummy breakfast. Then Jan and I decided to go for a walk. My fellow teacher from the shop, Gretchen Hofer (whom I took my lace knitting class with), joined us.
It was a beautiful morning and we all took lots of photographs. The one above was my favorite shot of the lake, it was so calm the water looked like a mirror.
Since it was Pi-day I was wearing my new T-shirt, Gretchen made sure we got a photo of me at 9:26 a.m. This Pi-day was extra special because the date allowed for more of the decimal places to be included. Normally for simple geometries you just use the first 2 places after the decimal: 3.14. There are of course many more decimal places to be expressed in Pi.
We all had fun on the walk, saw a pheasant take flight and even spotted a snake trail in the frost (though fortunately didn’t meet the snake). By the time we had returned to our room I had gotten my 10,000 steps in for the day already.
After lunch, everyone got together for Show and Tell. I brought my finished lace scarflette to show, as well as a cloche hat that I have been experimenting with. It was wonderful to see all the projects the other attendees brought to show and to hear the stories behind them.
After dinner that evening we all gathered in the big Living Room area of the main building (called the Pavillion). Everyone had various projects they were working on, so folks had even brought their spinning wheels and looms.
Gail was working on a very interesting weaving piece that would be felted after she finished the weaving. It had big open spaces in it. It came out really neat. I may have to drag out my Cricket loom and give it a try.
Sunday, March 15th I was very excited because the morning activity was Needle felting and trying out the Zoom Looms.
For the needle felting we were using the little felt bags that were in our goodie bags from the shop. Jan wasn’t going to the morning activity so she gave me her little felt bag to play with. I decided I would make a design on it and give it back to her.
It had been awhile since I had done any needle felting. I had forgotten how much I love playing with fiber this way. Gail and Jane had provided a wide assortment of yarns and roving in a variety of colors, so it was almost like painting.
I was also excited to try out the Zoom Looms. These are pin looms and I hadn’t ever worked with one before. I had seen them all over the place at TNNA a year ago and had wanted to play with one. So this was my chance. I really liked how quick it was to weave my little square. I’d been good about not getting a blending board, so I decided that I would be purchasing a Zoom Loom before the weekend was over.
After lunch was the Vendor sale. I purchased a Zoom Loom, some lovely handspun from our LYS spinning teacher, cute project bag and a beautiful shawl “stick”. Once Jan and I had finished our retail therapy we went for a photo walk near the Pavilion building.
We had both wanted to get a photo of the sculpture pond and when we got over there we spotted a brick labyrinth path in the lawn just past it.
We decided to walk the labyrinth and then finished our photography. It was an unusually hot day for March, somewhere in the mid-80s, so we decided we would save our big walk for the evening once it had cooled off a little.
Jan, Gretchen and I went for our walk after dinner. We got some good photos of the valley and saw a wonderful noisy little creek while on the walk. Afterward we hung out in the Living Room visiting and playing with yarn for a little while, but we were both pretty tired so headed to our room.
Monday, March 16th was the last morning at the retreat. We got ourselves packed up and loaded the car right after breakfast. Our usual group went out for one last hike around the ranch. Then snuck in a little time crocheting and visiting with the other retreat attendees before it was time to leave.
Jan and I decided we had enjoyed having someone else plan and prepare meals, as well as doing the dishes, that we would make our re-entry to “real” life gentler by having lunch in Loveland at PF Changs. Borg Gina got us to the restaurant fine, but we had a little argument with her when it was time to drive back to Boulder.
Fortunately I knew most of the way I wanted to take and we headed home via the scenic route. When we got to Longmont we decided to go back up the mountain via the road thru Lyons, another town I haven’t been to since the flood. There were signs of the damage from the flood, but the canyon was still beautiful and Jan really enjoyed the drive.
Once we hauled all the stuff up from the car at the house, we ran a couple loads of laundry and played with our yarn and goodies from the retreat. We also started talking about what we would do for our “visit” trip next year.
Funny thing about the retreat weekend. I spent most of my crocheting time working on a very large experiment swatch. Unfortunately, after we got back home, I realized I really wasn’t happy with how it was working out. So I spent most of the evening unraveling the swatch and winding up the yarn. Such is the life of a designer.