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On Thursday morning, after another night of snow and little sleep fretting about whether I would be able to leave, I put my little CRV in low and crept up the drive and road in about 6 inches of new snow, not knowing what the paved road down the mountain would reveal.  I left more than an hour before I was to pick up my friend who was riding with me, just in case I had trouble.

The paved road was covered in snow with only tracks from a couple of vehicles but it was drive-able and when I safely reached the main road into town, they had pretreated it the day before and it was wet but not covered.  Since I had time, I stopped at a local coffee shop and bought a bagel sandwich and a cup of coffee to go and made my way to her house.  Though my friend’s address is a town address and she lives on a street with suburban type lots lining both sides, the lots are large and the street surrounded by farm fields, so the road to her was similar to ours snow covered, but flatter.  Friend was retrieved, suitcases, her product to vend and spinning wheels loaded and off we went to the retreat that is in a lodge in a state park near the New River Gorge in West Virginia.  We had stopped and lunched at Tamarack, a cafe run by the Greenbrier Hotel in a large ring shaped building around snow covered gardens with hand made crafts and food items displayed throughout.  A great place to eat and browse for gifts and crafts.  As I had walked out and left my tea mug on the counter at home, I indulged in the purchase of a pottery mug to take with me.

imageOur room on the 4th floor looked down on the frozen snow coated section of the New River.  The retreat is held in the Lodge conference room and lobby.  It is a gathering of fiber artists, spinners, knitters, weavers, and crocheters.  Many are vendors as well as participants with displays of fibers to buy, jams and jellies, jewelry, and hand made woven or knitted articles for sale.


Spinners, weavers and knitters, socializing and making yarn.


Roving from an abandoned flock of sheep, rescued and 20% of the price of the sale goes back to the rescuer to help her feed and have them sheered. This one in daughter preferred colors, so purchased to spin into yarn for her to knit.


Felted wool dryer balls from one vendor at a good price, so added to our collection.

The Lodge provides us with a complimentary breakfast, specials at a good price for lunch and dinner and even made Red Velvet cupcakes and coffee as a mid day snack at a low price.

We visit, watch each other spin for new techniques, shop at the vendors, chat, eat and have a nightly cocktail party catered by delicious food offerings from each retreat participant.  As many folks leave on Saturday, the door prizes, donated by the vendors and some participants and a gift exchange drawing occur around check out time. I won two bags of coordinated roving to spin and received two skeins of beautiful sock weight yarn to knit.  Wonderful prizes and gifts.  Some folks come for a day, others for a couple and some for the three days.

I have made new friends at the two retreats I have attended, come home with new recipes, fiber to spin that came from the farms of some of the participants or from the door prize drawing.  My big purchase at this retreat was a pound and a half of Coopsworth over dyed roving, enough for me to spin into yarn to make myself a sweater, the first time I will have enough to make a significant project spun and knit by me.  I will share photos of it when I have daylight and begin to spin it.  It took me both days there to fill a bobbin with 4 ounces of fine Dorset Lamb that I bought last retreat and now home, I will spin the other half to ply.  It is natural creamy white and may become my first dyeing project.

I miss my family when away, but the retreat refreshes and rejuvenates me so I come back relaxed and renewed to them.  As a treat, I also returned to a clean refrigerator and a vacuumed and dusted house and clean kitchen, thanks to my daughter.  Glad I bought her the gift.

My friend and I reserved our room for the fall retreat before we left today.