Warning!  Super-duper picture heavy post!

I’m back from Squam, thoroughly relaxed, despite the massively long flight from the east coast.  The trip out had some major airport snafus.  I almost had a minor meltdown at one point in the Houston airport when they told me I was going to miss my flight to Manchester and have to spend the night in Newark, NJ.  I managed to get re-routed and only got to Manchester a couple of hours late, but my luggage did not and I did not get it until a couple of days later.  It’s not like I needed that clean underwear or anything, right?  Luckily, I packed everything super important (i.e. yarn) in my carry-on bag as well as a pair of jeans, an extra t-shirt, and tennis shoes.  My great cabin mates helped out with deodorant and toothpaste and I was good to go, for the most part.  I will never fly Continental again, though.  Really bad customer service.

Phew.  I did make it to Squam, though, and it was WONDERFUL.  Words really can’t describe but I’ll try my best.  My camera broke halfway through the trip as well so I only had about a dozen pics, so major thanks to my super-duper-generous new friend Melanie for letting me steal some of hers.  (The pics here are about half mine and half Mel’s.)

So, here’s the lowdown on Squam:

Squam Art Workshops is a five day retreat at the beautiful Rockywold-Deephaven Camps on Squam Lake in New Hampshire.  Ever seen “On Golden Pond?”  That place.

You stay in comfy cabins, enjoy meals prepared by the great RDC staff, take classes with amazing and well known teachers, get together for fantastic music and speakers in the evening, and enjoy nature and the beauty of your surroundings.

The food was amazing.

This is Melanie’s yummy waffle from Sunday morning.  I also took part of the great waffle bar, but chose to do the more traditional slather-in-butter-and-syrup style.  Lunches and dinners were similarly yummy, with tons of options to choose from and ice cream all of the time (yay!).

Rockywold dining lodge outside

Rockywold dining lodge inside during lunch

The first night we had a lovely and super inspiring speaker (Jenny Doh) and then music from Jonatha Brooke (awesome!).  No pics – I was exhausted.

Thursday morning, my first class was yoga at the beautiful Dragonfly Yoga Barn with the lovely Michelle Smith.

It was perfect after a long day of traveling the day before.  I centered myself and loved the guided meditation and relaxation (remembering why I came on this trip), as well as getting my body moving and stretching after all of the airport and plane time.

The view from the barn was amazing, as well as the renovated 250-year old barn/studio itself.

The playhouse where all of our evening activities were, as well as my spinning class

My Thursday afternoon class was Beginner Spindle Spinning.  I forgot to take pictures, plus its kind of hard when you’re hands are so busy.  Check out Jenny Doh’s site if you want to see what it was like – she has a good post.

Thursday evening Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (the Yarn Harlot herself) spoke.  She was funny, as expected, but it was weird being around a “knitting celebrity.”  How are you supposed to act around her?!  I probably made a total idiot out of myself, but I did what I do with normal celebrities I meet and just act like myself whenever I talked to her around camp.  Plus, in the “real” world, there are no “knitting celebrities.”  Their just normal people.  Anyways, this sweater she was wearing is amazing.  Anyone know the pattern?  It looks so familiar but I can’t remember what it is.

At the end, the talk turned to some of our favorite blog posts from her and she shared one of my all time favorites (Fallen and Can’t Get Up – I dare you to read it and not roll on the floor laughing – leave me a comment when you do) and a hilarious account of her trip to Memphis years ago (this post doesn’t do it justice – just the tip of the funny iceberg).

Friday I took Twined Fingerless Mitts with Beth Brown-Reinsel all day, and again, I didn’t take any knitting pictures.  But Melanie caught me untwisting my yarn (a side effect of twined knitting) on the dock that afternoon after class, so, there you go.

More shots from the dock:

Our dock

View from the dock

My cabin mate Willow swimming (I wish I had brought my suit)

Dangling toes

Our cabin (Cliffside).  Those big windows are the screened in porch, rocking chairs and all.

Saturday we woke up to a pretty big thunderstorm and buckets of rain, but it started clearing up after breakfast and didn’t rain again until Sunday.

Saturday morning my class was Girasole.  This is a blanket/shawl I’ve been wanting to do for ages but it has a couple of pretty intimidating techniques, so I’ve been putting it off.  The class went over them all.

Melanie’s crazy cast-on sitting on her crochet hook.  That’s me casting on in the background.

Our great teacher Jared with his beautiful original blanket.

The beginnings of my Girasole blanket.

Saturday afternoon we had off to relax and explore as we pleased.  I had heard about a relatively easy hike with a great view of the lake and Melanie and I decided to try it out.

We went left, up the Pasture Trail to the summit of West Rattlesnake

It looks so easy!  It was not.  A mile up a really steep path (we apparently did not take the “easy” route) and a mile back down.

A newt (I think it might be a Red-Spotted one)

Me at the top.  Totally overheated and exhausted, but worth it.  Check out that view.

Saturday evening was the Ravelry Revelry and Squam Art Fair.

Goodies at the Lettuce Knit booth.

I came home with the perfect amount of “stuff.”  Some roving, some patterns, a shirt or two, no cash in my wallet.  Just right.

And, finally, after the fair, all of my cabin hung out in our “living” room and crafted and talked the night away.  Well, maybe just half the night for me.

Words cannot describe how great my cabin mates were.  Eleven women and one shower with no scheduling and no problems.  Knitters, crafters, and artists are a special group of people.  The perfect kind of people to go to a retreat with.

Thank you for the great week, Cliffside cabin.  You all were wonderful.  I feel like I came home with a whole new family.

For more photos and write-ups from SAW, check out the blogs listed on this page, as well as our SAW June 2010 Flickr group.  And my generous friend Melanie’s Flickr set, including more shots from the top of Rattlesnake and our cabins old-fashioned ice box, complete with lake ice (a la Farmer Boy).  Oh, and I’ve got a couple more pics in my Flickr set as well.

Goodbye Squam.  Hope to see you next year.