Retreat, Recharge…


Charlotte Wolfe is wearing a handspun, handknitted Fair Isle vest by Elizabeth Matthews. Photos: Kate Larson. 
The Michigan spinning contingent: (from left) Ernestine Bains, Pat Kreiling, and Shirley Wigman

Like many spinners, I love retreats. Spending a weekend away from home surrounded by friends and fiber always leaves me feeling refreshed, with my creative batteries charged. In following guilds and spinning groups all over the world, I see that some retreats are more structured with classes and events, while others are relaxed and unscheduled. I also love reading about fiber folks who, when unable to find a local fiber retreat, create their own. Jan Smiley, organizer of the Carolina Fiber Frolic, founded the event in 2010 because she saw a need for an annual gathering in western North Carolina.  Jan and her community now gather in both spring and fall for fiber weekends in the mountains. Interested in finding a retreat in your area or connecting with other spinners? Check out the Guild Directory here on


The winter fiber retreat that I attend in northern Indiana each year was founded by Peggy Coffey, who wrote Spin-Off's Spinner's Connection column and blog for fifteen years. Peggy continues to teach spinning and weaving workshops at MoonTree Studios in Donaldson, Indiana, where our retreat is held. Always welcoming of newcomers, the group is made up of about thirty people from around Indiana, Illinois, and Michigan. It is a simple gathering consisting mostly of humming spinning wheels and plenty of chocolate! It's a great time to see what projects everyone has been working on in the last year and to start scheming about what we will be spinning next. I left with new spinning inspirations and a fresh energy for 2015thank you, friends! Spinner Debbie Squire shared a bit about the retreat on the Swift Indiana blog.


Do you have a spinners' retreat that you would like to share? Tell us about it on Spinner's Connection! Contact Kate at 


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