Thursday, August 11, 2016

SSK 2016 Recap

SSK stands for the Super Summer Knitogether.  And it was my first ever knitting retreat.

And WOW!

It was awesome.  Overwhelming.  Exhausting.  A blast!

So many things.  I am hoping to take some time to recap it.

I think for sanity sake, I will go day by day.  But will probably add general thoughts at the end.


First thing, never get a layover for flights!  I spent way too much time on planes & in airports.  More than was needed...

But on the plus side, the Atlanta airport was beautiful with tons of food choices.  I really liked it. 

I got to take the shuttle with Jessica who have been on some of the Knit Girlll podcasts.  So I recognized her.  She was terrific. 

There were two others as well.  Becky was on the same flight from Atlanta to Nashville.  When I was walking to my seat, she said "see you there!"  She knew I was a knitter by my shawl.  *laugh*  The other woman was named Elizabeth.  But I can't recall either of their Rav names.

I arrived at Scarritt Bennett about 1:30 or so.  I couldn't check in until 3.  So I hung out, knit & chatted with some people. 

It was the first time at SSK for some many other knitters too. So that was great.  I wish I could recall all their names.  The tricky part was we didn't have name tags yet.  So I didn't recall all their names.  But I was one of about five first timers at the table with about 10-11 people.  Wow.

As I had been told, people were very friendly & welcoming.  It was really terrific.  Everyone was great about talking and getting to know others.  It was kinda amazing.

I checked in & got my goodie bag.  Totally awesome stuff! 

I had decided to get both yarn & fiber.  The fiber was by the lovely Lindey at The First Draft.  It is a colorway called Road Trip.  (Which reminds me, I need to take some pics of it! I didn't at SSK.  Though I took pics of my market place yarns!)

The yarn...again...embarrassed to admit, I forgot to take pics.  It is by Turtlepurl Yarns in her Striped Turtle Toes base. It is self-striping yarn by a Canadian vendor.  I remember she is Canadian because Laura of the Knit Girllls was talking about the issues when the Canadian Post might strike!  They were really worried it wouldn't get there in time.  But it did.  I can't wait to see how it knits up.  They are matching skeins so makes for easy knitting for folks like me who knit two socks at a time!

There were a ton of other goodies in the bag.  Again.  Should have taken pics!  *laugh*

I was just feeling kinda beat with all the travel.  I had to get up at 5:30.  And had spent at least 6 hours in transit.  So I decided to go out solo for dinner.  I also figured it would mean I had time to get back for the reception.

My brother-in-law Devin grew up in the Nashville area.  Of course, being me, I put together a list of recommendations!  He mentioned Elliston Place Soda Shop.  It was 0.8 walk from SB.

It was such a fun place.  Old time soda fountain with burgers & such.  I had looked at the menu online & knew I needed to get the Nashville Party Platter.  I have a serious thing for fried bologna.  My dad made it when I was a kid.  I still make it with low-fat bologna, which definitely isn't the same!!

That was terrific.  It also had pimento cheese which was tasty.  As was the sausage.  I could have just gotten that and been completely stuffed!

Nashville Party Platter at Elliston Place Soda Shop

The shake & burger were also tasty.  But I couldn't finish them.  And sad to say, I couldn't fit any dessert.  Though I did take a piece of pecan pie back to my room.  It was tasty.

I decided to wander back through the Vanderbilt campus.  Given it was summer, the campus was super quiet.  Loads of lovely buildings, sculptures & landscaping. 

I took a number of pics there & during SSK:

The first night was the opening reception.   Leslie & Laura were great at the opening ceremony.  They said part of the reason they host this is because it is tough to make new friends as adults.  It is definitely true.  They also pointed out that they have the evenings open for dinner so you can get to know people. And to ask if you can join a group.  They had never seen anyone say no. That we all shared a common love of fibery goodness.  It was good to know that it was okay to ask.  Not saying I excelled at it.  But I did sometime later take their advice.

I got tickets for the KALs I did as well as some random ones in the goodie bags.  Luckily, I was warned that there was a second drawing for more door prizes on Saturday.  So I kept about half of my tickets for Saturday night.

I put about 20 tickets on an Awesome Granny bag with books on it.  But I didn't win anything.  But then again, I didn't figure I would.  *laugh*  I arrived early so I did get to browse the stuff more leisurely as they were putting it out which was nice.

The rooms at Scarritt Bennett were as described.  Basic.  But they were a room of one's own. 

The bathroom is shared with another person.  Because it was my first time, I didn't really know anyone.  I had exchanged mail with one of the vendors.  But she had attended before.  So I figured she already had a roomie. 

I didn't actually meet my roomie until late night Thursday!  More on that later.


One of the amazing parts is that breakfast & lunch are included in the cost for Thursday-Saturday & breakfast on Sunday.  And Scarritt Bennett makes amazing food.  Including making their own yogurt with Laura mentioned the night before.

Breakfast was awesome!  As was all the food at SB!

And every morning they had


2016-07-21 08.09.05

Yum yum yum!  They were amazing. 

Only complaint.  THE SIZE OF THE COFFEE CUPS!!  I had to go back for at least three cups of coffee for my one at home.  *laugh*  But other than that, everything was great.

Thursday morning was free for me.  So I went down to the area & knit for a while. There were some terrific people there.  There was a woman named Kristy (I think) who had a beautiful wheel.  She was really great. 

I got to meet Lindey from The First Draft.  She & I have been exchanging messages on Ravelry since I joined the Dresden Club.  It was really awesome to meet her.  She was a sweetheart and even gave me a hug.  It was good getting to meet her. 

She also gave me the last shipment for this round of the Dresden Club!  It was a great yarn & an awesome bag!!  I can't wait to knit up the yarn.  It is slef-striping with these really bright colors.  I think with the black, orange & bright green, they need to be some Halloween socks! 

I used the bag for the rest of the time at SSK and have been using it ever since.  I love it.  I am in awe of how well she did with it.  She said she hadn't used a sewing machine in years!  Didn't show at all. The bag is beautifully made.

The First Draft Twain Sock in  Tyrannosaur Bob Colorway with Awesome Matching Bag

Laura of the Knit Girllls was sitting near me.  She's a natural storyteller.  So it was really interesting getting to hear about things.  And I like that she talked about why they host SSK.  She says they like to keep it fresh & interesting.  And also have it be a mix of people.  There are people who have been to all five SSKs.  And others, like me, were total newbs.  

In the afternoon, I had a short row class with Mercedes Tarasovich.  It was super interesting & I learned a lot.  Though I also need to practice it more.  There are some really interesting techniques.  Really glad I took the class.

Laura's mom was in the short row class at the same table.  She was such a sweet woman.  She really seems like an amazing woman.  And I love that she has been knitting so long but still taking classes & learning with the rest of us.  So down-to-earth.

I was happy I was able to catch the breakout section about apps.  It was taught by the lovely Librariankate.  She was great about going through apps.  I could tell she is a trainer at work as she was so well organized & showed so much.  It was great to find out about some new apps.

When I went back to the room, I found a pressie from my roomie left in the bathroom.  I still hadn't met her!  It is a beautiful skein of Rocks That Rock in the Morticia colorway.  It is black & purple.  So my colors.  After a bad first experience with STR, I confess that I haven't bought any more of it.  So it was pretty cool to get some more to see if maybe I just had a bad batch.

I felt bad because I should have brought something for my roomie.  I had looked at the boards & it seemed to be that some people brought pressies & others didn't.  And a lot of people said they brought things that were local to their hometown.  I kept trying to think of something and not having a clue what to do.  She is also a spinner, so handspun seemed silly.  I regret that I didn't bring something...  But I also hate giving someone something and them, feeling obligated...  Ah well.  Should I get to go again, I would do it differently...

I had plans to see a former coworker that night.  Mary Ann was a sales rep who retired.  She is an amazing woman who was so sweet.  She offered to take me out to dinner & gave me some options.  Acme Feed & Seed was mentioned by another rep who was local as new style Southern.  So I figured it would be great. 

Ummm...  Yah.  It was great if you are in your 20s & want to drink a lot.  I saw two women with Bride sashes.  And another with a Just Turned 21.  *shudders*  There were two other college aged girls with sashes I couldn't read...  Yikes. 

It was really loud which made talking a challenge.  But it was quieter on the second floor.  So we went up there.  The food was good.  And the company was amazing.  It was so great getting to catch up with Mary Ann.  She is so delightful.

And because she is awesome that way, she gave me some homemade jam & a Random Penguins mug.  *smile*  I had brought some handspun alpaca yarn.  She wants to get back to knitting.  She is hoping to take classes.  Though I told her she really should find a local knit night.  Knitters are only too happy to teach others to knit.  *smile*  Her mom taught her ages ago.

Mary Ann realized that sending me home with breakables might not have been the best idea.  So she very kindly offered to mail them to me.  And said if I had anything else to let her know.  She was coming back for the afternoon market on Saturday.  So I could just hand things off to her to mail.  See what I mean about super sweet!  Such a lovely woman.

I really enjoyed getting to spend time with her.  So I got back later than I had planned to SSK. 

Thursday night was the Tasting Room.  It is really awesome as they bring all sorts of fiber related goodies.  On the both plus & minus side, I didn't get back until 10. And the room closed at 10:30.  So things were winding down when I arrived.

The minus was that I really didn't get to play with much.  I tried out some knitting needles as I do want a new set someday. 

On the plus, I didn't fall in love with some pricey piece of equipment.  There was a *WHOLE LOT* of spinning wheels...  Including the Schacht Flatiron wheel which wasn't being released until August!  (More on that Friday...*grin*)  There were also blending boards & drum carders....  *sigh* I am a bit sad about not trying a blending board as I really do think I want one of them sometime.  But I have been drooling over drum carders. And it is so much more healthy that I didn't try one out & fall in love.  *laugh*

Lindey of the First Draft was still in the tasting room, so I got to spend a bit of time with her which was nice.  It was also terrific as she gave me a description of my roomie.  I had seen pics on Ravelry, but my idea about her & the description were different.  So it was good.

As luck would have it, I saw my roomie when I headed back to the room.  So I was able to thank her in person for the yarn.  I had sent her a message on Ravelry.  But it was good to do it in person.  


Friday was my two class day.  I had spinning classes with the amazing Maggie Casey!

The morning session was Playing with Color.  It was so enlightening seeing the differences in the way color came together.  The effects of pre-draft or not on the color.  I really didn't think it would make that much of a difference, but it really does!  It is good to know given I like really saturated colors. 

It was really awesome.  I feel like I learned so much in the class.  And it did show how important sampling can be.  Not sure I will do it.  *laugh*  But good to know that it can really help when you have a certain idea in mind. *smile*  I tend to be too freeform with spinning to do it.  *chuckle*

The afternoon was Spinning Lace.  It was amazing!  I was surprised by how thin I could spin. 

I was struggling with the wheel a lot though.  And the super awesome Maggie Casey came and took a look at the wheel.  She said something was up with it.  Laura's mom said that Laura had been having some issues with the wheel.  It was good to hear it wasn't something I did! 

So Maggie told me to go try the Schacht Flatiron!  Didn't have to tell me twice to try the amazing new wheel.  *laugh* 

For the record, the Flatiron was amazing to spin on.  I really liked it.  It is a modern style Saxony wheel.

Man...I shouldn't have looked at the price!!  I thought it would be closer to the Matchless in price, but it is less expensive than the Sidekick!!  Wow.

Maggie was amazing.  She swapped out the brake spring with an elastic.  She is definitely the Wheel Whisperer!  She said she works on wheels all the time at the shop she works at...  It shows that she knows how to work with anything.

I confess that I felt bad that she was working on the wheel while she should have been teaching.  But it was amazing how she was able to do both.  She would talk while working and keep the class moving forward.

I was shocked by how thin I was able to spin.  It was amazing. 

Of course, I forget the fibers!!  Yikes.  I should have written them down right after class.  I think the first was Polwarth.  The second was Merino.  I think the third was Cormo.  And last was a Merino/Silk blend. 

Because of the wheel struggles, I didn't get to try all the fibers.  I did some Polwarth & Merino.  But I didn't get to try the Cormo & the blend.  I just ran out of time.  But I have the fiber to try.  I really should spend some time working on spinning lace weight. 

I am so glad I took the classes with her.  I learned so much.  She is such an amazing woman & a terrific teacher.  She was great about working with people in the class.  It was the best experience I have had.  I would suggest if you ever have a chance, take a class with her.  She is great.

I also went the breakout session on the Kiss Fish Lip Heel.  I really wanted to get the template done.  Though in hind sight, I probably should have skipped it as my brain was leaking out of my ears already. *laugh*  But I am glad I went.

As awesome as it all was, I needed some down time to process everything.  So I decided to venture off on my own for dinner.  Someone mentioned how great Taco Mamacita was.  They had tequila flights which sounded like an excellent idea!!  However, it was a Friday night.  So when I got there, there were people out the door.  I just couldn't deal with that many people. 

So I checked what was close in Google Maps.  A place called Edgehill Cafe was right across the street.  Though thank *heavens* for the pics on Google Maps.  I never would have found the place.  The front of the place doesn't have any signage.  There is some letters on the door.  But that was kinda hard to see. 

It was kinda perfect as it was pretty empty.  So I was able to get good quickly.  And also got to talk with Paul & the Littles.  It was a nice place.  I had some shrimp & grits that was pretty tasty.

The Try It On Room was Friday night.  I was a bit disappointed that there was only one mirror.  So it made seeing how things look a bit challenging. But I can understand bringing mirrors has to be a huge challenge!

I didn't find any sweaters in my size.  I had figured I wouldn't as I am not a petite woman.  But when I saw that there were many people there who were my size, I had some hope that there might be some sweaters.  If there were, I didn't see them listed on the tags.  Ah well.

I did get to see some shawls that I had considered making which was great.  And it did make me really want to knit an Evenstar and/or a Shipwreck shawl.  Both were beautiful.  Though I come back to I would want to do them as half circles.  It always feels to me like a waste to knit a circular shawl when you fold it over and don't see half of it!  *laugh*

It was pretty busy.  And I was still kinda worn out so I just decided to head back to my room to get some sleep!


Saturday was the Vendor Market.  I was really happy.  A lot of people were just hanging out & knitting instead of lining up.  There were some people who had lined up. But as a few people said, unless you really wanted one of the hot items, you didn't need to be first on line.  And they were absolutely right.

It was really great.  There were so many amazing vendors there.  I did a once around to scope things out before deciding what I really wanted.

My first purchase was with Gusler Designs.

It was her Bury Me With My Yarn shirt!

She was great about the sizes.  I really wanted the V neck.  But that is a women's tight fit which doesn't work with me.  Not that small.  Glad she suggested holding it up.  She is Laura's sister.  Such a talented woman!

Next purchase was a bobbin from Akerworks.  It would have been first if I hadn't missed the bobbins first time around!!  But I only saw the spindles & orifice threaders.  Both beautiful.  But not what I wanted.

I got a lovely Red Lacy Ladybug bobbin that works with my Woolee Winder.  I really need to get it on my wheel!! 

Next was Michelle's Assortment.  I have been looking at her shawl pins on Etsy for ages.  I was so glad to finally pic up a couple.  She also had this awesome deal that she would throw in a prize if you purchase two or more pins.

I also had the pleasure of sitting with her at lunch.  She was so nice and a pleasure to talk to. 

Next up was KnittyAndColor.  I saw her for the first time at Maryland S&W.  I bought a skein of her yarn then.  And I couldn't resist some more!  I got a skein of yarn & some fiber.

KnittyandColor Acoustic Sock in the Dark Passenger Colorway 2

Should have taken pics out of the bag!
KnittyandColor Merino-Silk Fiber in the Crush Crush Crush Coloway - In Bag Back

Of course I wanted many things at Marigold Jen & Hobbleyhoy's booth.  But I had hit their booth hard at Maryland S&W.  So I avoid it!  It was so funny.  I had the pleasure of speaking with Marigoldjen.  I had on a shawl I had knit with her yarn.  I didn't realize it was her.  I was raving about the yarn & her stuff.  *laugh*  I really wasn't trying to be a suck up. 

I saved the best of last & hit Lindey's booth for The First Draft!

I was super excited to see her new bases.  And I had to have the Shelley!  It is a *MASSIVE* skein of 3-ply Polwarth DK weight yarn at 720 yards!  I love the Countess Euthanasia colorway.  It is a semi-solid. 

The First Draft Shelley in the Countess Euthanasia Colorway - Bottom

I am soooo glad I wound the yarn at SSK.  There was a lovely swift & ballwinder set up.  So I was able to wind this bad girl in no time.  So awesome.

I really wanted a double sock blank from Gale's Art.  But I didn't see any the first time around.  But I swung by once more & spotted the Clockwork one in the double!  SCORE!!  I really loved it so I was so thrilled to see it.

Gale's Art Double Sock Blank in Brass Octopus

The market was open from 10-12 only for the SSK participants.  It was open again in the afternoon to anyone else from 1-4. 

Mary Ann came back in the afternoon.  It was good to see her again.  I got to walk around with her.  She was worried that she was pulling me away from other things.  But it was good to get to show her things.  I really enjoyed my time with her again.

It was really funny.  I was walking around with Mary Ann.  One of the guys at Leading Men Fiber Arts yelled "You!  I've been looking for you!"  I am looking around to see who he was talking to.  Turns out it was me!  *laugh*  Lindey had told him about me.  *laugh*  I had on my "Keep Calm and Ask Bob" shirt.  It was a Dresden Files reference.  Turns out they have a Winter Knight colorway!!  I soooooo want it.

I really need to order if from them!  I was all out of money I could spend.  But I really need to get it!

One of the people at SSK was interested in craft beer.  I found her & talked to her.  But she was interested in going out after the Farewell Reception that night.  I was really thinking beer with dinner. 

Luckily, Lindey allowed me to tag along with her, Stephanie & Ashley for dinner.  I was really grateful to have a chance to talk with them.  They were great.  Wicked senses of humor which was terrific. 

We went to a place close by called SomeWhere SOS.  It said BBQ on the signs, but it wasn't.  It was mostly a bar with food.  They had some local brews on tap which was good.  Of course, I didn't think to log them into Untapped.  Ah well. 

It got us back in time for the Farewell Reception.  I got to sit with them which was good.  It seems their good luck rubbed off on me!!  I actually won some fiber from 2 Guys Yarn Company!  It is some lovely Targhee which I have never spun.  Lindey, Stephanie & Ashley all scored some awesome stuff.  Stephanie got both an amazing batt produced by nuns (I swear that is what she said) as well as a beautiful Jeri Brock spindle she wanted.  I love that Ashley won two braids of Lindey's SSK colorway.  *smile*  That was terrific.

After that, I went with them to play Cards Against Humanity.  I had never played.  But it was a blast.  There is a knitting set too called Knitters Against Swatches!  *laugh*  They were hilarious!


Sunday was breakfast & then heading to the airport.  I had to leave on the 10:30 shuttle for my 1:10 flight.  Then there was more travel & time in airports.  I had a layover in Detroit.  I confess.  I was surprised about how cool the airport was in Detroit.  Including an overhead monorail!!

Detroit Airport Monorail

It was sooo good that my hubby & Littles picked me up at the airport.  It was great getting to see them after the long trip.

General Thoughts

Scarritt Bennett is so beautiful!  The whole area is amazing.  I loved just walking around it.  And as I know I already mentioned, the food was amazing.  Yum!

It is tough as an introvert.  While I adored the people at SSK, I also really needed time to recharge.  It is part of the reason I ate alone twice. 

I think if I had know people before arriving, it wouldn't have been as bad.  Lindey & I had exchanged messages for ages.  So it was amazing getting to meet her.  But I didn't want to be a nuisance. 

Though as I have said, people were really friendly and nice.  I wish I recalled all the people I met.  There were so many.

I *love* the stitch marker swap!  It was a great way to get to meet people.  And I have awesome stitch markers from amazing people to remember them by.

Three classes was too many I think.  Should I get to go again, two might be my cap...  I really enjoyed the classes a lot.  But I was completely fried by the end of the day on Friday.  It was tough...

I also think I would bring my wheel if I am taking spinning classes.  Either I would drive or I would find a way to bring it with me.  I am not sure how.  But having a loaner wheel was not as good as I had hoped.

I confess, I joined Instagram just to see the lovely pics that people posted there:

All in all, it was an amazing experience.  I would *love* to go again.  I am sorely tempted to toss my hat in for the 2017 lottery.  But given that we are taking a vacation in November that I am still working on paying off...I don't know if I should even enter the lottery this year.  We will see what I think when the time comes. *laugh* 

Oh dear.  I just checked.  The initial payment for this time was due 11/15.  If it is the same this year, that is *after* my Nov. trip...  Ooooh...  I might have to take a shot.  But we will see... 

Of course, my hubby & kids are asking if there isn't a closer retreat!  *laugh*  And I am sure there are. But there is also something super special about SSK.  Not to say I wouldn't be interested in finding something closer!  I should do some looking. 

One of the SSK vendors, Ross Farms, runs a DISNEY WORLD RETREAT!  I am sure my family would point out that isn't closer... But if they got to come too...  *laugh*

All in all, it was an amazing experience.  I hope to get to go again sometime.  It was definitely a great experience.