Monday, February 20, 2012

What I Like About Madrona

Every year, on the President's Day Weekend in mid-February, the Madrona Fiber Arts Retreat is held at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, Washington. This was my fourth year at Madrona, and it was the best one yet.

Here are the things I like about Madrona:

1.  The classes. I was in an airplane when registration opened in mid-November, so my friend Nancy registered for me after she registered for her own classes. I had given her four class possibilities, and only two were still open, both taught by Amy Detjen, Meg Swanson's assistant, and tech editor extraordinaire. I was a little bummed not to have more variety, but the two classes, Bavarian and Austrian Twisted Stitches on Thursday, and Double Knitting on Friday, were both excellent. I loved Amy, and I would take another class from her in a heartbeat. I feel like I actually can do both techniques now, and I fully intend to finish my double knitting project. Here is what it looked like at the end of class:

2. Everyone's hand-knitted garments. As you can imagine, there were lots of beautiful shawls, scarves, sweaters, socks and all sorts of other hand-knit items worn and carried by retreat participants. I only caught two with my camera, both knitted by Abbott Smith, an amazing local knitter, designer and instructor. Coincidentally, both are double knit scarves.

3. The Market. Madrona has a small but excellent marketplace, with free admission for everyone. There are some wonderful vendors, Blue Moon Fiber Arts, Blackwater Abbey, Tactile Fiber Arts, and Toots LeBlanc, to name just a few. My goal in shopping this year was to not buy any fingering weight yarn—if you could see how much I already have, you'd know why—and I was successful in this shopping goal. I was actually pretty moderate in my shopping this year.  Here are my purchases:

Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock Mediumweight in the Atomic #6 colorway

Dancing Sheep project bag, Malabrigo Arroyo in the Jupiter  colorway and the 
Hermosa shawlette pattern, a kit that I purchased from the Fiber Gallery

4. The Hotel Murano. Take a look at the photos below. Need I say more?

5. Friends. It is always fun to meet up with new friends, like designer Elizabeth Doherty, whom I first met at Sock Summit last summer. On Thursday, Nancy and I had lunch with Elizabeth and another knitter (whose name I forget, unfortunately), and we were able to see Elizabeth's latest pattern, the Ebbtide shawl, up close. It's beautiful, and is on my list to knit very soon.

Madrona also provides a chance to hang out with my long-time friends from Ravelry who don't live locally. This year I shared a room with my dear friend, Angela, who came up on the train from Portland. On Friday night, our Minnesota friend, Sarah, who was in town visiting her parents, came to shop in the market with her two sisters, and they then joined Nancy, Angela, Nancy's friend Michelle and me for a wonderful Japanese dinner. The photo below isn't the greatest, but I think you can tell that we had a great time!

As always, Madrona was over much too soon, and I'm already looking forward to next year. If you have never attended, think about Madrona 2013—I'd love to see you there!


  1. What an amazing retreat. I can see why you love it so much.
    I am completely drooling over that sheep bag and the Malabrigo!

    1. How about Madrona next year, Andi?

  2. Knitting & photography... hello! Thanks for joining my flickr group. You must be from around here! I'm in Graham. I've never been to Madrona, but a bunch of my kittin' friends go every year. :)

    1. Knitting & photography, indeed! I just found your blog, Michelle, and I love your photographs!

      I'm from the Seattle area, so only an hour away from Madrona. Definitely worth the trip!

  3. Lucky you! Thank you for the nice review.