On Thursday I drove a couple of hours to reach a beautiful resort in southeastern Minnesota where I met 14 other women, all of whom share an interest in knitting. I toyed with the idea of posting this under needlecraft but the retreat was about so much more than knitting.
The women attending ranged in age from about 30 to around 65 or so and came from a multitude of backgrounds, faiths, political beliefs, and so on. It was a delightfully mixed group. What was amazing was how friendly everyone was. It went beyond being respectful to true friendship. There were no TVs or radios though everyone had a cell phone or iPad so that we could look up and share patterns and yarns of interest. There were no awkward moments when someone said something that offended someone else. For four days it was like most of the problems of the world ceased to exist. We each shared about our lives but in ways that didn't cause our regular lives to intrude.
One of the group members loves to plan the retreats (this was the fourth but my first) and another loves to cook so a lot of the load was carried by them but we all chipped in by bringing food and drink and doing the cleaning. Last night, to cap the event off, we had a fashion show with categories for things like favorite finished product, favorite project to work on, least favorite but still completed project and so on. We had a red carpeted runway and all of the women (except me) strutted down the runway to show off their knitwear. The garments were stunning! Several are intended to be entered in the state fair later this year and the knitters have already garnered blue ribbons in the past so I'm sure I was seeing blue ribbon material last night. I didn't enter because I have yet to knit a sweater but I was not looked down upon in the least for that. Instead, I received a ton of encouragement and advice for how to go about making my first sweater - something I've longed to do.
Oh, and just to give an idea of how diverse our backgrounds were, there were two women from farms - one cattle and the other dairy, one woman is a doctor, another was a grade school music teacher before turning to business and now works in HR for IBM, and one woman digs up bodies in an effort to obtain DNA for identification! While they all face challenges like anyone else, they love what they do. It was a powerful experience with a powerful group of women. I feel very fortunate to have been in their presence this weekend!