Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008 (Reception)

On Friday, November 7, I got up early after a restless night of "sleep". I was nervous because it was the first day of the Men's Fall Knitting Retreat 2008. Adding to the stress was the fact that I had never done anything like this before (retreat, knitting or otherwise) and the fact that most of the attendees did not each other beyond Ravelry or Men Who Knit online communities.

Ted (seen here checking out the amazing swag table) came all the way from Owen Sound, Ontario, CANADA to be with us. He and Stephen (seen here replicating the groovy artwork created by Franklin Habit) were my first arrivals on that sunny and warm day. There was very little haze and the temperature was perfect. It seemed to bode well for the weekend.

I was "greeted" by a gathering of quail just in front of the Kiwanis room and I quickly snapped some pics in case our presence was going to spook them (and it did). I made contact with Rochelle (our YMCA rep) and set to unpacking the MOUNTAIN of raffle prizes and goodie bags. While I was doing my merchandising of the goodies, I heard what I thought was Y staffer behind our classroom/meeting room, but it just turned out to be one of the locals.

One by one, the gentlemen arrived and I finally started to feel like the retreat was real. Andy arrived sporting a cute Xmas hat, in spite of the heat... that's a dedicated fiber fiend for you!. The next to show up were Brian (from Seattle and Skacel), Ivar (all the way from Sweden) and Doug (all the way from WeHoSoCal). Then came Michael, Harry, John, and Kenny (MSKR 2008 almnus and token Southern Boy) Chuck and David. After that it was a bit of a blur... literally.

The sun set early and the fog rolled in BIG TIME. I started to get worried because several folks hadn't arrived. But a call from Steve let us know that he was at a "No on Prop 8" protest in downtown SF. Kyle, Darrel and Jonathan showed up a bit later and we were all in.

Our first dinner (cafeteria style) reassured me that we were going to be taken care of. The preparations are simple yet hearty. The Y tries to shop local and organic when possible. We also had coffee and tea service ALL DAY LONG. Believe me, I drank my weight in coffee that first day. It's a miracle I made it to sleep that night. Oh wait, that was due to temazapam. :-)

Our first get to know each other activity was supposed to be a bingo game that used cards containing surprising facts about each attendee. But, since we got off to a late start and since we had a LOT of swag, we did a "lightning round" of group Q&A wherein everyone had a chance to win and then select one of the prizes from our booty table.

Everyone had a chance to check out the Swag from our generous donors:
Article Pract, A Verb for Keeping Warm, Briar Rose Fibers, BrooklynTweed, Danny Oulette Designs, Hansigurumi, HelloYarn, KnitSonya, Knotty Naomi, Oceanwind Knits, Perchance to Knit, Schoolhouse Press, Shelridge Farms, Spinning Loft, Tactile Fiber Arts, Unique Sheep, Wild Geese Fibers, and Yarn Nerd. We're so not worthy!!!

I busted out the two cakes that I brought from Sweet Adeline's, a chocolate ganache devil's food cake, and a lemon curd cheesecake (which Kenny heard me say as "lemon curry cheesecake"... he was in desperate need of an antihistamine). I think they were both a big hit. Jennifer at Sweet A's is a confectionary goddess.

We rounded out the first day by doing a bit of knitting, a bit of spinning and a whole lot of laughing.

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