A retreat – food for the soul!

Hello dear Yarn-lovers. On Monday morning I woke up feeling joyful, remembering that, at that moment just a week before, I was on the I Love Yarn Retreat. And feeling grateful in so many ways, to so many people, for that amazing weekend and experience. A feast for the soul! I was on the Knit & Breathe retreat earlier this year and absolutely loved it. It was such a fabulous weekend. So I was looking forward to this one immensely, and it exceeded all my expectations… 

The gist of it, in one paragraph

There were about thirty attendees – a big group of uber-talented ladies. We chilled, we chatted and laughed, knitted and crocheted, learned along the way and were spoilt rotten! The weekend was incredibly well organised, and yet so relaxed and unpressured. So much so, that I completely forgot to take photos 😱. I chilled so much, my brain was in a near-comatose state. Thanks to everyone who shared their pics 😘.

The Venue – Shangri-La Country Hotel & Spa

The food and service at Shangri-La was fantastic. It has a beautiful outdoor deck and a terrace where we spent much of our time. But the indoor air-conditioning was irresistible when mid-day temps got into the mid to late thirties.

Enjoying the shade on the terrace.

The spa treatments were divine and I got the best foot scrub and massage from Rachel.

I can’t remember when last I saw a Ginger Square on a drinks menu, so I couldn’t resist having one. I love anything with ginger, mint, or citrus. It was as divine as it looks…

Workshop with Marita Steyn

We were free to choose whether or not we wanted to participate in everything on offer, including the workshop. I didn’t plan on immediately starting the cardigan that Marita presented in her workshop, but I was keen to hear how the unusual construction worked, and any technique tips that she shared.

She is such a talented designer and the pattern is one that she got permission to customise. It’s based on the Adult Surprise Jacket. Marita’s version is one that I’ll definitely make at some point. But I have a few others that I’ve been desperate to start for quite a while. Those who did start theirs at the retreat were such an inspiration. So it’s in the queue. Watch this space. But don’t hold your breath, just yet!

Goodie bags and give-aways

Every day was filled with spoils. The first goodie bag we got was filled with some truly awesome yarns as well as a number of knitting and crochet related items.

A huge thanks to the sponsors for all these lovely treats – African ExpressionsBe Inspired (Scheepjes), I Love Yarn, Karoo Moon, KnitPro, Miss la Motte Yarns, MoYa Yarns, Nurturing Fibres and Vinnis Colours. It was the perfect way to end our first day.

Elaine and Zonja spoiled us with so much more throughout the rest of the weekend…

Another goodie bag the next day! It felt like being 5 years old and having two Christmas days in a row! We had a choice between two gorgeous bags designed by Elaine’s talented mom, Ingrid Zouteriks, and beautifully sewn by Zonja. 

Stunning bag designs by Ingrid Zouteriks, and made by Zonja van Dyk

It was filled with goodies from I Love Yarn, a scarf pattern and a gorgeous set of four (!!) cakes of 100% wool 4-ply yarn, hand-dyed by Elaine herself.

We spent a bit of the second evening entertained by a game & quiz, with ample chance for everyone to win at least one prize. Prizes included some gorgeous yarns, a set of stitch-markers, T-pins and more. On the last evening, we got to enter a WIP or FO into a competition, with one overall prize-winner. There were so many stunning items, with many joking-threats about them suddenly changing ownership. 

Well done to Ida. We all loved (and wanted) her dancing skeletons scarf! 

Ida, her dancing skeletons scarf and Be Inspired/Scheepjes prize.

I was thrilled that the very first knitting project I did in 2015 won a prize as one of the “Special Mention” items. It’s the Winter is Coming Shawl, designed by Sally Cameron/Pink Hair Girl. The yarn is Hartlam Clarens Sock, a gorgeous combination of Blue-faced Leiscester and Silk.

Our knitting group made it as part of the Winter is Coming KAL. It would be an understatement to say that it was a challenging start to knitting, but it allowed me to believe that if I could do that, I could do anything. I’m absolutely thrilled with the prize I won – Pierrot silk yarn, African Expressions Hope and matching buttons. Thank you to the judges. It’s still one of my favourites!

The Gift

In the end, I decided to wrap the gift myself and got some ideas from trusty Google. But I forgot to take a pic of it or its contents 😩… Four cakes of Nurturing Fibres Lush Bamboo in spring-ish colours. Liezel-with-the-broken-leg, I’d love to see what you make with them! Here’s a pic of everyone’s all together and mine is the circled one. To give you a better idea, I combined the following two tutorials – woven yarn and a tissue paper flower

Gifts galore! Christmas three days in a row!

I loved how we each ended up with our final gift – a process that caused unhappiness for a few, laughs for others and full-out cackling for the sadists in the group (you know who you are! 😆). Let’s just say it’s not a game you’d play with kids, for fear of extreme violence and probable loss of life. I loved my gift and was so glad that I got to keep it!

Stretching, meditation & mindfulness

I loved the stretching, meditation and mindfulness we did on the first morning. Sam did the meditation and mindfulness with us after her daughter, Ryanne, took us through the stretching. Unfortunately, I missed the last morning because I overslept so badly.

Luckily it made enough of an impact for me to be able to share it at home. The caption at the bottom of the image on the right captures the essence, for me. It’s something I’ve decided we need to focus on and that my girls, especially, would benefit from learning to start their day with. Every day.

Thanks for sharing that, Sam & Ryanne! And thanks (again) to Elaine and Zonja for everything – it was truly superb!

If you haven’t been on a retreat before and wonder whether you should, I’d highly recommend it. In fact, I don’t think I’ve met anyone who went on a retreat and regretted it. A sisterhood of yarn-crafting! So much to inspire and feed your soul 😊. What’s not to love? Details of upcoming retreats and other events can be found here.

As an aside…

It was great sitting at The Yarn Tree in Parktown yesterday morning, taking the opportunity to write this and share it with you while my girls enjoyed their Kids Beginners Crochet Workshop with Gill. Thank you so much ladies… They had a blast and I’m grateful for the workspace you shared. They’re still crocheting this morning!

Keep an eye out for details about The Yarn Tree’s end of year retreat coming up in November. 

Happy yarn- & fibre-crafting ‘til next time ☺️.


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