West Coast Knitting and Weaving Retreat
Visitors and residents came together at the Black Rock Oceanfront Resort in Ucluelet this past fall for two-days of knitting fun! Nestled at the end of an active surge channel, the group enjoyed spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean coastline while they learned two-stranded knitting with colour-work expert Faye Kennington, tried a new craft with local cedar weavers Rose and Brian Wilson, and enjoyed a walk on the scenic Wild Pacific Trail with naturalist Tanya Nestoruk.
The retreat opened with an introduction to the knitting project – a bright and beautiful two-stranded hat - designed by Faye herself and recently released on the popular online knitting site Ravelry. (To keep up with Faye’s projects and new designs follow her at @UkeeKnits on Instagram.) Next came an in-depth exploration into the colour wheel and the process for selecting inspired colour combinations, before participants selected their custom-dyed Polka Dot Sheep yarns for the project. The group worked through the hat pattern, learned new ways to make pom-poms, and shared many knitting tips and tricks amongst themselves as they crafted their new hats.
Everyone gathered for a delicious lunch at the resort’s Fetch restaurant. Perched high on the rocks, the restaurant’s floor-to-ceiling glass windows were perfect for viewing the stormy seas below while discussing current and future knitting projects and plans for the afternoon on the West Coast. While some retreat participants dove deep into their knitting, others ventured out to explore beaches, the spa, and local shops for the remainder of day one.
Day two began as Rose and son Brian Wilson shared the art and skill of weaving cedar. Rose is both self taught and has the traditional teachings from her Yuułuʔiłʔatḥ First Nation elders in processing materials and creating traditional works of art. She is very passionate about teaching the craft to others! Working as a team, Rose and Brian guided the group through the steps of weaving cedar strips around a block shape to create a small basket. Clearly challenging and fun, Faye reflected back on the cedar weaving workshop,
“My little grey cells got a work out this morning! If you’re a knitwear designer and you forget how hard it is to be a beginner, try a new craft. It was laughable how easily my brain melted trying to “bind off” this Cedar basket. Thank goodness for the lovely Rose and Brian Wilson, local weavers, that were kind and patient enough to hold my hand. In the end, we all did it!”
Time to stretch the legs, the group met up with Tanya for a guided walk on the Wild Pacific Trail. While enjoying amazing seascape views they learned myths, stories and truths about a fascinating apex predator – the coastal wolf!
After lunch Faye led a follow-up workshop to answer questions and add pom poms before the group shared final creations and said goodbye. A good-time had by all! Here’s what some participants had to say about the retreat:
"It was nice to put a face to the name I know from Instagram. Faye was great. Loved learning about colour. The cedar weaving workshop was a great component :) Brian and Rose are very passionate and it was inspiring. The nature walk was a nice touch. Overall a great weekend. Thank you!" – Janet
"Loved the knitting project. The colour work and yarn was perfect. This was such a great start to weaving. It was so much fun and the instructors are lovely people - so helpful. Overall the retreat was a great balance of art, craft, and exercise. I love the Wild Pacific trail." – Sheena
"The knitting project was well designed with helpful tips. Wool supplied was good, and the nature walk was fabulous." – Heather
"Fantastic course, excellent project choice. Excellent Instructors! Loved the flow, food, instructors and the walk all together." – Laura
Thanks again to Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, Faye Kennington, Rose Wilson, Brian Wilson, Tanya Nestoruk, and the Wild Pacific Trail Society for working with us to create a great retreat! We are busy planning for the upcoming 2019 retreat and hope you can join us. Stay tuned for more information soon!
Photo credits: 1. Black Rock Oceanfront Resort, 2&3 Ukee Knits, 4-6 West Coast NEST