Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe Retreat!

This past weekend, I attended a day retreat sponsored by one of my local yarn shops, Hillcreek Yarn Shoppe. What fun we had! The retreat was held at Les Bourgeois, a local vineyard, and I was just blown away by their beautiful grounds! We had a casual get-together with food, wine, and knitting, and we all enjoyed ourselves immensely. I even won the grand prize in the door prize giveaways! Scroll through for a bit of a photo recap:

The drive to the bistro takes you right past the vineyards
I hear the A-frame is a great place to picnic!

Getting to the bistro requires a lovely stroll down a scenic outlook hill.

The view from our attic room!

Hillcreek's owner, Karen Cox, and I took a moment to enjoy the view from the sunny porch

The gang's all here, and knitting away!

 I've never seen such a fancy presentation for french fries before! The burger was delicious.
I won the grand door prize with this lovely Nantucket Bagg filled with goodies!

All in all I had a great time and was definitely glad I was able to go. I hear Rocheport also has a terribily cute downtown with restaurants and antique shops, so I'm planning another trip out that way very soon!


Craftsy Course Review: Rigid Heddle Weaving

Angela Tong's Craftsy class has changed the way I weave!

Have I told you I own a loom? Weaving isn't something I've talked about a lot, mostly because I don't have a whole lot of time to actually weave. A little over a year ago, I was able to purchase a used, 18" Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom from a fellow patron of my LYS. Now when I say "used", what I really mean is that she had warped the loom and never, ever used it. In fact, when I bought it from her, the first project I made was a lovely little novelty yarn scarf with the warp that was still on the loom:

Diane's Scarf - woven with fuschia mohair

I won't tell you how much I paid for the loom and extra heddle, because it would make you sick. Let's just say that I DID pay for it, and it was not free, but I don't think it could have been much cheaper without her just deciding to gift it to me. Anyway, I digress. So, I've had this loom for about a year, and I've woven maybe five scarves on it, but haven't invested the tiniest bit of effort into actually learning how to do the thing properly.

One of my more recent efforts, and the only scarf I've woven for myself

I've had the usual problems that beginning weavers have, mostly struggles with keeping the edges straight and how to keep the warp evenly taut so the middle doesn't go all screwy. And then along came Angela, with her lovely class on rigid heddle weaving over at Craftsy.com! Just what I needed. All of the information I'd been missing about how weaving works, right in one place, from beginning to end? I was all over it. And let me tell you - this class was AWESOME. Not only did I learn how to get my edges straight (it's easier than you think!), I also learned how to properly wind yarn onto my shuttle, how to keep my warp ends evenly taut, how to change colors, how to properly weave in all my ends, how to hemstitch, and how to weave multiple projects (like dishtowels or placemats) without having to rewarp the loom. Basically, I was taught how to weave by a professional, in the comfort of my own home, on my own timetable (I think I took this class at 2 in the morning one night). Genius, right? As someone who has been involved in all types of craftsy things for almost 20 years, it's not often that I get to see things through the eyes of a beginner. Weaving was a horse of a different color for me, and while I was able to muddle through on my own with decent results, I am incredibly happy I sat through this class. I am really looking forward to getting my next project on the loom so I can implement all of the things Angela taught me here! I think the difference is going to be night and day.

This project was a nightmare! Angela will explain why you should never warp with hairy novelty yarn, and boy is she right!

If you're brand new to weaving, or think you might be interested in learning more, I'd highly recommend this class. If you've been weaving for a few years and worked out some of these kinks on your own, this class might be a bit beneath your skill level. I'm really hoping that Angela will have the opportunity to teach a more advanced weaving class, because I'd be interested in learning how to do some things like patterning and multiple-heddle weaving. In the meantime, if you want to enroll in this class, you can take the course for HALF OFF when you click on the banner at the top of the post or this link. That makes this class just $30 for almost 3 hours of video included in the course! If that isn't enough for you, the platform allows you to ask Angela a question at any time throughout the course. She's super speedy with those replies, too! 

So, I'm curious to hear from you. Are you a weaver, as well? Have any nightmare stories about projects you attempted after teaching yourself the basics?