The Midwest Men’s Knitting Retreat, Or My Big Gay Summer Camp
A few weeks ago I went to the Midwest Men’s Knitting Retreat.
It all started with the first snowfall for this winter in Kalamazoo. We went to a local yarn store, Stitching Memories, in Kalamazoo for homemade lasagne, drinks, shopping, fellowship, and, of course, knitting. While not everyone was here, we kicked off the weekend with a knitted bang. We talked about untold stories of the ER and what to do for fun in rural West Virginia. Needless to say these stories carried over throughout the weekend.
I hosted a fellow knitter Thursday night. On Friday morning he invited me to take a little road trip with him to Howell, Michigan to see his friend from The Spinning Loft. This was a great trip, but a problem arose. I-now-need-to-learn-to-spin. I became fascinated with this process. After some good chinese food, we drove to Circle Pines in Delton, Michigan for a weekend of knitting.
Circle Pines is a community-based retreat facility. We helped set the table, clean up, and do dishes for every meal. The food was all organic and local. It was amazing. At times during the weekend, I wondered if I was there for the food or for the knitting.
Even though this was a knitting retreat, I did a lot of embroidery on this trip. Although I cannot share with you, loyal reader, because it is a Christmas gift.
After meeting everyone on Friday, we took a field trip! That’s right. We went to Circle R Ranch and met some lovely alpacas. There were baby alpacas, too. I looked around at the other men and it was quite hysterical. All of their eyes glazed over and popped out of their heads. In each of their eyes, you could see sweaters, scarfs, and socks as a stream of drool fell to the ground.
I want an alpaca, too.
We also took a trip to Briar Rose, a hand-painted yarn supplier. I wanted to buy everything there, but I think my needles and talents are too inferior to the beautiful yarn Briar Rose makes.
Finally we returned to the camp and settled in for a night of knitting and fun. This retreat really was like gay summer camp. There were really fun guys and the only thing you had to do was arts and crafts. You did not have to go to the lake. You did not have to go on nature walks. It was arts and crafts time all the time.
I’m so glad that I went and can’t wait for next year. I am really looking forward to hanging out with these men again. If I was not a poor graduate student, I would certainly go to the “big one” in New York—where it all began. But I’m okay looking forward to next November.
I met some great men that I consider near and dear friends now. I’m amazed at their knitting and thankful for their fellowship. I had a blast learning about their histories and knitting-lives. I loved getting to know these (mostly gay) men of different generations and tastes that have helped me to gain an appreciation of the gay men that have come before me. It truly was a magical weekend. As the weekend came to a close and we said good-bye until next time. It really did feel like gay summer camp—the part where you hold back tears and realize that the magical weekend is ending but the magic continues…