Men’s Knitting Retreat
Male knitters can be few and far between, but our community is strong. Joe Wilcox and Ted Myatt saw the need for greater connection within our community and created the Men’s Knitting Retreat. Originally hosted in New York State, this retreat has gained so much popularity that it can be found in across the United States and even Canada. Read about this great event below and book your spot for this season. You may even see me at the Colorado retreat!
Gus: Tell me about the history of the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat?
Joe: The annual Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat began in 2008 at a retreat center in Upstate New York and was started by Joe Wilcox and Ted Myatt. At that first 3-day retreat, we scheduled the event with a retreat center we both knew about and loved, and initially, we were hoping to get 10 or 12 guys interested enough to spend a long weekend. When 32 guys showed up at our first retreat we realized how important it was for fiber guys to join in community. Each subsequent year, we’ve had about 40-50 guys spending a four-day weekend in Greenwich, NY, reveling in all things fiber.
There was so much excitement about that first event, that eventually, regional retreats sprung up around the country, and Men’s Knitting Retreats have taken place regularly in the Northwest (Seattle area), Rocky Mountains, Southeast and the Great Lakes region and there have even been some retreats over the last ten years in Ontario, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
Gus: Pretend you’re talking to someone who has never been to your retreat, what would you highlight as your “WOW” attractions?
Joe: All of the retreats take place in beautiful venues, and most of them have workshops presented by volunteer-participants who want to share their fiber expertise. There are also local road-trips to farms, mills and/or fiber stores. Imagine sitting on a porch overlooking a mountain lake in Upstate New York, or serenely walking along the Puget Sound with your current sock project. The combination of beautiful settings and men passionate about fiber can be incredible. But primarily what we’ve found that draws the guys to the retreats is an amazing sense of brotherhood and community based on one commonality…the love of working with fiber.
Gus: What are your biggest do’s and don’ts for enjoying your retreat?
Joe: Primarily, we called the events “retreats” for a reason…to give guys the opportunity to retreat from their daily lives and connect with individuals and/or surround themselves with like-minded men. We highly recommend that guys enjoy the pastoral settings of the retreat and commune with both nature and their fellow fiber-men. Biggest “don’t” for me as a coordinator is anything that would disrupt community and/or enjoyment by the participants. Actions that are mean-spirited, or complaining about something to someone that has no power to fix it are examples of behavior we almost never see and address quickly if we do.
Register for upcoming retreats in:
New York State, Washington State, Colorado, and Michigan,
on their website http://www.mensknittingretreat.com/.