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The first ever (and hopefully annual!) TKGA Grand Retreat took place last week on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  The setting was the beautiful Grand Hotel, best known for having the longest porch in the world and as the location for the filming of This Time For Keeps (1947) and Somewhere in Time (1980).  It is also notorious for fabulous accommodations, unending buffets, and over-the-top room service breakfasts!

We took the two-day fair isle sweater class with Beth Brown-Reinsel, knitting a miniature sweater with front and sleeve steeks over the course of the retreat.  It was Jen’s first-ever steeking adventure (she lived, and loved it!), and I picked up some wonderful finishing tips and important considerations for future designs.  Beth is an incredible instructor, providing excellent directions and demonstrations for all styles of knitters — something neither of us has ever seen before!  Whether you are strictly Continental, English, or can use both hands, Beth has you covered.  Incredible teaching prowess to aspire to, for sure!  I’m hoping to master tensioning both yarns in my left hand, as I think it will speed up my double knitting.

We also had the chance to meet so many of the guild members we know online, and some who knew us!  Hooray for the cocktail hour!  Charles Gandy, who recently finished Level 3 and published The Embellished Sock: Knitted Art for the Foot graciously humored my avid hellos; Mary from Michigan had really lovely things to say about my ravelry projects (!!!); we got to meet the incredible designer/instructor Arenda Holladay. . . the list goes on and on!  The mad geniuses at TKGA also added a few vendors to the cocktail hour, which made things even more fun.  Hellos and thanks go out to Melanie Hagenbaugh of Alford’s M&M Knitting, and Dorea Tomlinson from Coloratura Yarns — it was wonderful to meet you!

Finally, many thanks to Penny Sitler, Executive Director of TKGA, for her charming kindness and an excellent retreat.  We had a wonderful time!