Taos Knitting Retreat

Good afternoon Everyone! I hope y'all had as good a weekend as we did! 
My God, where to start. This past long weekend ended up being so much more than I ever expected it to be. It was absolutely magical! If you haven't been to Taos before, I highly recommend it. If you're from  out of state, I recommend it that much more. 

Me, Mom, Aunt Betty and our dear friend Frankie (who now lives in CA and we are all very sad about that) left on Thursday and came back on Monday. Margaret met up with us on Friday evening and stayed through Sunday. Its been the longest time the four of have spent in Taos before. Normally we go for the Wool Festival but we opted to miss that one this year and go afterward. Our own private Taos Knitting Retreat...no crowds, no people aquariums, and we'd have Mooncat Fiber, the best yarn shop in Taos, all to ourselves. What could possibly be bad about this? 

I took a great load of pictures on trip, the weather was absolutely spectacular. Clear skies with wispy clouds. Every single day. The elevation is higher there...about 7000 ft, and we were all feeling it this time. My asthma has kicked into high gear with my allergies lately so that was greatly affecting me this trip. None of it stopped me from taking pictures though. Nothing ever stops me from taking pictures. If I wasn't a knitter, I'd be way into photography. By no means am I saying I'm all that good about the photos I take, but I do try to use care when I take them. I can't show you every photo I took, but I will show you a lot of them. There are just so many. Let me first start with a pic showing you what we came home with. For me...


The yarn on the left is from Zia Woolz and is FABULOUS. I didn't haven anything quite this color and it screamed at me to take it home. the Yarn on the right, the solid skein is Zen Garden Yarns Serenity in a colorway dyed special for the shop called Apache Sage. I had been staring and eyeing it all weekend. It was until the last day we were there that the Zauberball Crazy from Schoppel jumped off the shelf and landed in my arms. I went tearing over to where the Apache Sage was, grabbed a skein and slammed them on the table together in front of Cathy, the owner, and said "Check THAT out!" They too had to come home with me. I have an asymmetrical shawl in mind to design with those two skeins. The mug is simply marvelous. Cathy had a very similar one that she drank out of all weekend and I loved it. When I popped my head into his shop later during the weekend, I realized that's where she had gotten here. I had to have one. They were all so unique and different. Stunning pieces of art each one of them. This awesome shop next-door to Mooncat belongs to John Hutson, a painter, potter, and folk artist. This is his website! Go check him out! Better yet, go visit him at his Taos shop just off Bent Street! I bought another Zia Woolz skein that is not in this picture because it went home with Dilshani last night. I do have a separate pic of it though. Here's what I brought home for her...


Dilshani's favorite colors are green. This is Zia Woolz Sugarloaf which is 550 yards of fingering weight yarn in a colorway called "Camping In The Woods." She loved it! I am so glad she did too, it was tough to choose but I really thought this one was special. 
For that matter, here's a better pic of my mug...


I'm getting a little ahead of myself here. If you follow me on IG or Facebook than you have already seen some of these photos and heard about some of our trip. Let me go back a little bit...

By the time we had gotten in to town Thursday evening and checked into the room it was pretty much dinner time. That evening we went to the Guadalajara Grille. An absolute gem of authentic Mexican cuisine. I ordered a quesadilla that ended being the size of head plus a half. Out of six pieces, I ate two. And they were huge. We didn't really have an effective way to keep leftovers on this trip so I chased down the wait staff to let the know that, yes it was AWESOME, I just cannot finish it nor could I take the rest with me. I couldn't stand the thought of someone thinking I didn't like what I had ordered. On the way back to the room, I snapped this outside along the walkway of some of the other rooms to the hotel. I thought I would lose the color of the leaves but I didn't really...



When we woke up Friday morning, we headed to Bent Street Cafe, where we always go for breakfast when we're in town. They have, hands down, the BEST breakfast in town. They always offer specials, their food is organic, locally sourced where possible and always fantastic. Here are some of the pic taken that morning...





Our awesome server Marla who waits on us every single year we have been in Taos!


After breakfast, We walked down to Mooncat Fiber, just a couple shops down from the cafe. We walked in and I said hello to Cathy and she looked up at me and said..."Oh my God! Hello!!" We were greeted with hugs, excitement, and more hugs. I had brought along my two newest shawls to show her and she was so excited to see them! Mooncat Fibers is this fantastic little shop. Every square inch is stuffed full of spectacular yarns, with an emphasis on local New Mexico dyers. She carries a little something for everyone. She can meet the needs of knitters, crocheters, weavers and needle felters. Accessories galore fill every inch on every shelf and hang from every hook. Her husband, Wayne Book, is her silversmith and makes the most amazing shawl pins and jewelry, she has something that will appeal to everyone. She gifted me with one of Wayne's pennanular shawl pins made of solid sterling silver to accent my shawls with. I will take pics of it on my shawls and provide a link on Ravelry back to Mooncat so people know where to find them! Here is a pic of the shawl pin...


We all knitted, hung out together, greeted customers and talked to customers for at least a few hours. In the afternoon Cathy went down to a local chocolatier and got us all some Venezuelan Chocolate Mousse to nosh on. It was the best chocolate mousse I've ever had. Oh so good!



Mom and Cathy, the owner of Mooncat Fiber. This pictures captures Cathy's spirit so well! 



Aunt Betty and her gems!


Margaret arrived around 2:30 and we met back up at our hotel room. We hung out and just relaxed until we went to dinner at Doc Martin's, the restaurant inside the Historic Taos Inn where we stay when we are in Taos. Great food, great people, great ambiance. It was lovely.  The rest of the night was spent knitting, laughing and telling stories and talking about everything under the sun. It was exactly what we all had waited for and wanted for this trip. 

Saturday morning was brisk and sunny as we headed back to Bent Street for breakfast. We headed back to Mooncat after that. Margaret did some shopping as she had not been there yet. We spent hours more talking to customers, meeting new people, and meeting some of the regular locals that knit at Mooncat Fibers. Mooncat is such a welcoming place to be, whether you are a fiber artist or not. I meet Sally and Susan, and Susan's very well trained Australian Pup Sadie. Cathy keeps organic treats at the ready for every dog that comes into her shop. When you sit down and spend some time there it really is easy to see what a community Taos really is. Wonderful people that care about one another. Cathy emphasized that Taos is a SMALL town. And generally what you get with a small town is everyone knows everyone and everyone knows everything about you! LOL. It was wonderful. That afternoon we had lunch at Manzanita Market. This was a fantastic little place at the end of the row of shops. What a treat their place was. All of their food is organic, locally sourced and super fresh. Nothing is processed and they use nothing processed. Lunch was divine...





Everything here you see is organic and grown and sourced locally. On the left was Moms lunch. On the left is Moms turkey and fig jam, mine is on the right, a pepperoni and pickled cucumber with gruyere and chèvre cheeses. Both of us had pear and pinion salads too that were AMAZING, Aunt Betty's in the back was grilled cheese and some of the BEST tomato bisque I have ever had in my life. All were grilled  handmade breads. OMG! And to top it off....Zia Root Beer with all proceeds going to help locals in Santa Fe. After lunch we headed back to the room for some rest and knitting because we were headed to Love Apple for dinner that evening. During each Taos trip we have a nice dinner out (not that any of the places we have been are less than awesome but we pick a night during the weekend to go to a really nice restaurant). Love Apple is our favorite "nice restaurant" meal. Love Apple is this wonderful little restaurant housed in what used to be a church a long time ago. It has been other businesses too before the restaurant (a frame shop, a printing shop). The old adobe is fantastic...


The window we were seated under was spectacular. I tried to get a shot of it while it was still light out and again when it got dark. It was so lovely...



I love how in the dark pic you can still see the color of the leaves on the tree outside!




I had the braised beef tacos with corn with coconut creme sauce. To die for. Mom and Frankie both had the gnocchi and Margaret had the salmon. All were incredible. Betty was not feeling well and stayed back at the room for this night out. 

Sunday morning after breakfast, we went to hang out at the shop. We stayed all day. We were there from about 10:30 until almost 5pm that afternoon. Cathy, the owner of the shop, is the most perfect person I know to run a knitting shop. She is this wonderfully enthusiastic knitter, CPA and avid fly fisherman. She is a force of nature and I absolutely adore her. We all swapped knitting stories, personal stories, and stories from our past. I told Cathy I keep waiting for Julia Roberts to pop in but alas, not while I was there. Cathy does know her though. Her Julia Roberts stories were among my favorite. The time literally disappeared. Customers came and went. We met a wonderful South African couple living in Canada now. We talked about knitting, politics, the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta which they came to see. I got so much knitting done just sitting there talking all afternoon. I am now into the border on my Cornwall Coast...


Our time in Taos was just what we all needed. It was perfect timing, perfect people, in a perfect place.  Cathy invited me to come to Mooncat and do a trunk show during New Mexico Fiber Crawl 2018 next May which I happily accepted. I am going to design a special shawl with a New Mexico dyer to be showcased during the event. I am hoping kits will be offered but we'll see. I can't get too far ahead of myself here! But I am excited about it. On our way out of town, I wanted to stop at the Church (St Francis of Assisi) in Ranchos de Taos for some pictures. The sky was SO blue and very little clouds. The church is a favorite for artists of all kinds. It has been an active parish since at least 1816 and construction was started as early as 1772. You can read about the church here. I love to photograph it...





This photo currently serves as my wallpaper on my Mac...the sky is SO blue and without a cloud to be seen.


I am particularly fond of this photo of the Holy Family with all the adobe so clearly seen around them. I am considering this for my Holiday card this year. I think it would be perfect. 


Just next to the church is a very old abandoned adobe structure. I have absolutely no idea how old it is. I'm sure someone in Taos knows about it. I love photographing it too. Its so haunting to me...




The drive home was spectacular. There was color everywhere. The trees were unbelievable...


These were taken out of a moving car at 55mph...




I cannot end this post without showing you what Mom bought...LOL...


She bought 6 skeins and and funky spinning fiber. Fantastic!!!! Its a little hard to sum up all of this in a blog post...what this weekend adventure meant to each one us. Its always so special up there. The food, the people, the time, being together, the knitting, the knitting shop, the views, the town, everything. I can't wait to go back in May with something special for the shop that you can only get in Taos during the NM Fiber Crawl 2018! 

Thanks for sticking with me everyone! Until next time...Knit On!

Comments

  1. Your trip did sound magical, yay! Glad it was. Hope you feel better soon. Love the yarns, of course. Especially the variegated green one you found, Zauber Ball (?). Hugs.

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  2. I LOVE northern NM this time of year. (I was just a bit east of you guys and will vouch for the color of the sky 100%!) You all got some awesome fiber, friendship, and food on this trip— and isn't that what travel is all about? Thanks for sharing your trip. xox

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