I love teaching. I love the interaction, the joy when something finally clicks, the sense of community in being together with others who share my passion for crafting, and want to push their skills further. I know it’s a cliché about teaching – but I honestly feel I have learned so much about my craft from teaching.
That’s why I’m so excited about this new project with my dear friend Stephanie Earp: the Skillshare Retreats. Currently virtual for obvious reasons, we have built the model for these retreats around a desire to feel immersed in learning and community. Retreats take us away from our daily lives and allow us to focus on a particular element, with a close group of people who are eager to learn and to be together. We want to recreate this sense of community in the online realm, learning and connecting with you.
In our first retreat, Steph will teach you how to design and write up your first yoke sweater knitting pattern. And I’ll will be learning alongside you! We’ll cover everything from pulling your inspiration together, to wrangling the math, and getting your masterpiece on the needles. Find the schedule and more details on my Etsy page.
Our Virtual Retreat approach goes beyond a virtual workshop, or even a workshop series. While we can’t be together in one space, we can still focus on building that immersive experience together. Sharing meals, sharing stories, getting to know each other, making memories. These are all such essential and treasured parts of in-person retreats.
Steph and I have thought long and hard about how to best get this sense of community and togetherness via Zoom. We are both long-time knitting teachers, and both miss sharing our craft. I’ve done a couple of online Zoom workshops and I always find them great fun to lead. I’ve also attended a couple, and I’m always in such admiration of how well these talented teachers have adapted to a different and detached teaching method.
But it always feels like there’s a little something missing – some connection and camaraderie. We hope that we can make up for that, and so we developed a new model: learn along with us! Rather than watching a teacher lead a muted class on screen, you’ll be learning alongside us and sharing our perspective.
We’ll have a Slack channel for sharing tips, progress, and inspiration. We’ll hang out and get to know each other on Friday night, and stick around for lunch on Saturday. We’ll be there with you all weekend, ready to share the retreat with you to whatever extent you want to participate. Want to keep your video off and just join for the scheduled classes? That’s totally fine too, and we hope you get a lot out of it.
I think the revolution that virtual learning is bringing to the knitting and crafting world has yet to be recognised. Virtual learning has made workshops more accessible than ever – to those in rural areas, to those with mobility limitations, to those who live in a different part of the country, to those who don’t love joining a big group of new people. Virtual workshops are often more financially accessible: certainly, if we were to host this retreat in person, the cost would run to thousands of dollars to cover accommodation and food and transportation. I’m really excited by this!
We have big plans for this retreat series, and we hope to continue it for more editions: both virtual and eventually in-person. We can’t wait to learn with you and, we hope you’ll join us!