Madrona was a blast, as usual. It was great to get away, spend time with your friends, both old and new, and learn something new that is totally unrelated to your every day work life. My work life is completely consumed with computers, so it’s nice to go off line for over a week and interact face to face with people.

What did I do at Madrona? Lots of talking, eating, drinking, and laughing. Oh, and a little bit of learning here and there. My biggest accomplishment? I finished these:

Cai and Cael Sweaters

What does this have to do with Madrona? Nothing, except I have really, really good friends. These 2 sweaters are for my new grand nephews (I think that’s the right term — they are Martin’s niece’s new twins). I bought yarn back in September to make two of the sweaters on the right. It’s a Debbie Bliss baby sweater pattern (sweater on the right). It’s adorable. It’s garter stitch. It’s baby sized. How difficult can it be? But I lost interest in the sweater by the time I got to the arm pits. Not that it was boring. It’s only a baby sweater after all. Boredom will last only so long. No. It’s these that gave me nightmares. All those fiddly little ends.

When I first hit the roadblock, I whined to my friend Penny, who said that she loved to weave in ends, and she’ll help me with these ends. Upon seeing the finished garment, pre-weaving and seaming, she claimed that she must have been weak with some illness or another and she really didn’t mean it. So, I was left with 4 days before I first see my grand-nephew, all these ends, and a second sweater to be made.

I quickly switched tacks and casted on for Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Baby Surprise Sweater (the sweater on the left). This sweater zipped right along. There were only color changes when I felt like it.

What do friends have to do with this? I didn’t finish weaving the ends by the time I saw Cai and Cael for the first time. But since I was passing through their house on both ends of the trip, I availed myself to the grim reality that I will be spending all of my free time at Madrona weaving in these stupid ends.

While at Madrona, Eva sat down with me and helped weave in ends for a bit every evening. Kathleen made us cocktails and brought us wine while the weaving and swearing continued. This continued every night until the last evening, when I finished sewing on the buttons.

Oh, you wanted to hear about the classes. I didn’t take many pictures of those, but I took 3 classes: Weaving With a Stick and a Handful of Stones (warp weighted loom), Two Color Patterns of Marta Stina, and Scottish Wools. First class was with Judith MacKenzie McCuin, and the second 2 were with Carol Rhoades. They were all wonderful classes. I leave you with some pictures. Click to enlarge.

Warp Weighted Loom - Warp tie up
Warp tied on to a dowel. The ladies in the background are tieing up little packages of aquarium rocks for the warp weights. The yarn is my own handspun — shetland and silk, I think.

Warp Weighted Loom - Weights
Warp weights — these are little pouches of aquarium rock wrapped in plastic wrap and tied up with yarn. I only tied up my warp in pairs. Most people chose to tie up each warp separately. I was too impatient (surprise!) to get started. When we ran out of aquarium rocks, peanuts from the gift shop were put into service. And when we ran out of that, I saw someone using rock salt.

Warp Weighted Loom - Weaving
Mid-weaving. Morning of the second day. I did finish weaving the scarf, but I haven’t woven in all the ends yet (the story of my life). It’s not the best weaving job I’ve ever done, but I’m still happy with the results.