Monday, November 23, 2009

A Bus Full Of Knitters

We just returned from a fun and refreshing getaway in Niagara Region this past weekend. Only a few hours away from Muskoka, and yet a much different climate, with green grass, a few golden leaves still on the trees, and, oh yes, we craned our necks to spot a handful of grapes on the vine. The first stop on our Fall Knitters Tour was in the village of Jordan, where we spent a few hours browsing through charming antique and gift shops, in converted homes dating back to the 1800's.

Jocelyn at Stitch welcomed us with ginger tea and fresh baked goodies. Stepping through the front door of her shop, was like stepping back in time, a warm inviting place for knitters and quilters to gather. We browsed through two lovely rooms, taking in the inspiring displays of natural fibre yarns and handknit designs.

Here we gather around Jocelyn as she tells us a bit about her shop and the history of the home.

Our next stop was The Fibre Garden, where owners, John and Alan gave us a demonstration in the art of spinning. We watched John at his wheel, mesmerized by his swift and steady hands as he turned a brightly citrus coloured fibre into a smooth strand of fingering weight yarn. A few were eager to try their hand at the drop spindle, a small wooden disc on a pole, also used to spin fibre into beautiful strands of yarn. As we realized quickly, its a bit like rubbing your stomach while patting your head.

Baskets of colourful fibres and one of a kind yarns filled every nook and cranny of the shop, some with zany names, to conjure up an image in nature, enticing knitters to grab a pair of needles and start their next project.

Later in the afternoon at our hotel, we gathered together for a workshop with a local instructor to try our hand at Swiss Embroidery. Each of us worked on a snowflake design, embroidering it on the front of a knitted sachet to use as a gift bag or ornament. To finish it off, we worked in pairs to make twisted cords.
After dinner, a tour of the Festival of Lights, a five kilometre stretch of spectacular Christmas displays with the Falls bathed in colourful lights as a backdrop. Without a hint of snow, we were still able to get into the Christmas mood.

The next day our tour continued along the Niagara River, through scenic wine country, a stop in at a lavender farm, where owners, Melissa and Rob greeted us with tea and lavender scones, then a special tour through their greenhouse and distillery. Here we learned about the many varieties of lavender and how to trim and maintain the plant. The aromatic scents lingered on our journey through Niagara On The Lake, a stopover for lunch at a charming restaurant, a quick game of knitters scrabble, and then a final stop at Rose's Fine Yarns. Here we wandered through a maze of rooms, discovering interesting patterns to knit and yarns of every description. Soon it was time to head north again, with our busload of knitters, needles clicking away, sharing stories and laughter one stitch at a time.

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