quite a few weekends ago now, i packed up my suitcase and headed off to the yarra valley for the third year of the craft sessions.
i was really REALLY excited to be heading there, a) because i missed out last year, and b) because of the family stuff i had going on at the time.
knowing what i knew about the weekend from my last visit, it would be the perfect remedy for my scattered and grief-stricken brain.
and it did NOT disappoint.
the food, the accommodation, the refreshments, the atmosphere, the PEOPLE!
i feel this year, more so than the first, i got to know a lot more people, a lot better.
there were faces i recognised from year one, and from the past 10 months working in the wool shop, that i connected with a little better, and i tried very hard to not be so painfully shy. quite difficult for a total introvert!
the other reason i was super excited to be heading to the craft sessions was obviously, the workshops!
i picked the most perfect list of workshops this year and was very keen to get stuck in!
first cab off the rank was darning with jules.
i took one of her workshops at the first retreat and loved her manner of teaching, so knew this would be a workshop i would get a whole lot out of.
jules showed us a whole range of darning techniques, to fix a whole range of issues.
strengthening areas of knitting, repairing holes or nicks, even fixing pulled threads. all covered!
being woefully unprepared for my classes, i didn't have the requisite swatches knitted to darn on, so i brought along a couple of pairs of socks that desperately needed some repairs done.
though it made my job a little harder, bb now has a much more functional pair of socks, yippee!
the next workshop i had scheduled was the spinning class on saturday morning.
spinning is something i've been thinking and thinking about, ever since i was gifted a spindle (almost two years ago! eep!) but was always a little too scared to take the plunge.
cheers to karen for this picture.
plunge taken. in safe and guiding hands.
kate and judy were our guides into the world of spinning and provided a whole lot of information on preparing fleece, the best fibers for spinning and how to actually get going and get some yarn spun. they were both absolute vaults of knowledge and i could have sat all day flicking locks of goat fleece and listening to them talk on a subject that they were both clearly very passionate about.
saturday afternoon was free time, with little demonstrations being held on a whole range of topics, as well as a mini-market running with a few stalls.
i quickly drove into the nearest town after lunch to pick up some fabric for my class on sunday (WOEFULLY unprepared!) and hurried back to check out a demonstration of some spoon carving.
i've been completely fascinated with spoon carving ever since kate started posting about it, and am trying to convince bb to give it a go. he's not so keen, but maybe i could squeeze in another hobby myself... nope!
i also popped by the mini-market and picked myself up some goodies...
a couple of skeins of wool (ironically, from the shop that i work in) as well as a GORGEOUS harris tweed pouch from jules (she sells them, and other pretties online here).
the yarn is the same that i used for my featherweight cardigan and i have been swooning over this green colour for months. i don't have a pattern in mind, but i envisage it as something beautiful and drapy, perhaps a shawl of some description...
sunday saw an all-day screen-printing workshop happening with leslie.
again, i had taken a workshop (or two) with leslie on my last visit to the craft sessions, so knew i was in for an excellent day with a lady who knew her stuff!
leslie took us through a multitude of techniques that are used for screenprinting, and then brought it back to home. as in, screenprinting that you can do AT home, using inexpensive and simple items to achieve excellent results.
i had a little trouble at the start of this class as i hadn't thought a lot about what i wanted to print, pattern or design wise...
most of what i came up with was way too complex for the process, so after playing around a little with this simple stencil (above) that lorelei designed and cut, i got into my groove.
we both realised we had loved ones who adored all things star wars, so got to cutting out darth vader motifs. you can see the final results of mine here.
after a break for lunch, i really got into things, cutting out and printing (and printing, and printing) a super secret squirrel wedding project. i was one of the last ones printing at the end of the day ha ha!
everyone gathered for a quick bite of afternoon tea, a few photographs and some sad farewells, and then everyone was on their way, back to reality once more.
is it wrong to be looking forward to next year's retreat already?
a big thank you has to go out to felicia and her ace gang of helpers, anna, claire, jen and martine without whom the event would NOT happen.
they do such an ace job and the whole weekend is an absolutely blissful experience.
have you attended the craft sessions too? or something like it in your neck of the woods?