Life

A Little R and R – Feeding Your Creative Soul

Like most of us, I work hard all week-long. When it comes to the weekend, I’m ready for some quality R & R.  Kicking back and relaxing and having some fun.  And for me that means knitting or something related to yarn.

So, what do you call a three-day weekend spent away from home with 48 other knitters?  Much-needed rest and relaxation, that’s what.  This year my local knitters invited me to a yearly retreat at Kerr Lake, Va, called Knitting at the Lake (KATL for short).

Here’s the view of Kerr Lake from our balcony.  It was way too cold to sit outside since the temperatures were in the 20s, but as pretty as it was in winter, I can imagine spring, summer and fall would be stunning.  It was relaxing just looking out of the window.  Peaceful, serene.  And don’t all of us need some peace and serenity in our busy lives?

As writers, it is imperative that we find ways to feed our soul and refill our creative wells.  Knitting and knitters do that for me.  If you don’t have an addiction a hobby or interest that does that for you, I urge you to find one.  You’ll be so happy you did.

But back to the KATL retreat.

Kerr Lake is in Clarksville, VA about two hours from where I live. We had knitters from all over Virginia and North Carolina in attendance, plus a few from as far away as Ohio.  I love getting to meet and know new people.   Everyone at the KATL retreat was so friendly, supportive and welcoming.

Clarksville is a quaint town filled with lovely old homes and many unique shops.  Friday night we ate in an old Victorian home that had been converted to a restaurant.  I highly recommend The Lake House for dining if you’re ever in the area. Great food, reasonably priced with excellent and friendly service.

I had an awesome roommate.  She was adverse to having her picture taken though.  I can’t understand why.  She’s a beautiful lady.  Try as hard as I could, this was about par for the weekend with my photography.

She’s an excellent knitter and a delight to be around.  Her Ravelry nickname is Frequent Frogger because it seems she is always pulling her knitting out.  In her defense, I have to say that when you go to a retreat, you need simple projects because there is so much talking and laughter that you simply can’t concentrate on lacy or intricate patterns.  I may be frogging my work, too.  Seems one of my cables is twisted in the wrong direction.

While I was at the retreat one of my local knitting peeps, Nelda, taught a workshop to a select few of us on correcting mistakes.  Before I frog my piece, I’m going to try what I learned in her workshop.

Nelda is an accomplished knitter.  Here are a few of her finished objects.  The first is an amazing red sweater.  My camera washed out the color.  But it is stunning.

And this is a table runner that Nelda made and dyed all of the yarn in the project.  She brought along a color card and I was absolutely amazed at her work.  I want to be Nelda in my knitting life when I grow up.

The Knitting Sisters, a yarn shop from Williamsburg, VA brings just about the whole shop to the retreat and sets up for our shopping pleasure.  You cannot imagine how hard these ladies work!  They let you run a tab all weekend long.  At first I thought this was a good thing.  By Sunday morning, I wasn’t so sure.  But I did get some beautiful yarn, a shawl pin and some knitting related earrings.  Not that I needed anything.

Then Saturday night we had a chance to destash yarns, books, bags and other knitting related items with our fellow KATL attendees.  I was no shrinking violet in this either.  I may have gotten a bit of a head start by shopping in my roommates stash sale in the room.  But I came home with lots of new yarns and 2 two totes that needed a loving home.   : )

Here’s one shawl that I will not be making.  It is probably the most gorgeous shawl I’ve ever seen in person.  The workmanship was excellent.  The color perfect.

You can’t see the beading in the picture, but all of those swirls have beads to highlight them.  This was done by our northern VA knitter Nancy.  And it is truly a work of art.  I wish you could have heard the oohs and ahhs as this was held up.

The weekend was over way too soon and we packed and headed back to our homes.  But not before we made our reservations for next year.  What a great way to start the year off.  What a wonderful way to feed my creative soul.

So what do you do for relaxation?  And how do you feed your creative soul?

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Big October

October was a huge month for my family and me.  All treats, no tricks.

First, our darling son Michael became engaged to his sweet lady love, Jenna.

And then, the first book in my River City Mystery Series was released.  I’m so proud of this series and of this first offering, too.  It’s entitled Your Eight O’Clock Is Dead and is available on Amazon.com in Kindle format, Barnes and Noble for Nook and on Smashwords in various formats.

I had an extremely talented cover artist, Jessie Gemmer, and I’m just thrilled with the job she did.  I wanted something that conveyed that this is a light-hearted mystery and that also got the elements of the story into the cover and Jessie was able to do just this.

She’s hard at work on covers for books 2 and 3 in the series, Your Time Is Up and Your Lights Are Out.  And I’m hard at work writing them.

I’m also at work plotting new adventures for Becca, Max, Ryder and Marty to get into.

This last week I may have been celebrating all of the good news.  Now it’s back to work.