Denise's NeedleWorks

Denise's Needleworks

Location: Ames, Iowa, United States

I am wife to Jeff, homeschool mom to 8, a knit and crochet teacher and totally addicted to knitting, crocheting and other fiber arts. After knitting, crocheting and sewing my own clothing from the age of 10 on, I studied textiles & clothing in college. That lead me to 25 years of custom dressmaking and alterations work, while sewing, knitting and crocheting for my growing children. I have worked in the yarn industry for the past 3 years and have been designing my own knitting patterns. Visit my web site at Find me as DeniseInIowa on

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Escape to The Clearing Folk School

Sunset over Ellison Bay, Door County, Wisconsin

What a fabulous way to take a break! I had an opportunity to go to The Clearing Folk School the end of October. It was sort of last minute. Arnhild was teaching a Reversible Knitting Class and her husband was planning to go along but something came up that he wanted to attend instead. I am so glad that I said yes when they asked if I could go in his place!

We drove through the woods on curvy, gravel drives, narrowly missing the trees on each side. There was not room for 2 cars to pass! Fortunately, most of the drives are one way! We arrived at the most beautiful, historic buildings, nestled in the woods. They made me feel at home right away.

This is the Lodge where we ate all our meals. Yummy! Great meals and dinner conversation too! The dinner bell rings for every meal. The sunset picture above was taken from the window on the opposite side of this building.

On the other side of this building was our room. Simple, but beautiful and comfortable at the same time. We suspect that one of the quilting classes may have made the quilts on the beds. No TV, internet, phones, radios etc. Our cell phones were turned off except when calling out. It was a time to relax and get away. Ahhhhhh........

Soon after we arrived, we went off to the Schoolhouse. There is a sawdust path through the woods that we traveled several times each day between the Lodge and the Schoolhouse. This is where we and the watercolor artists had our classes. Isn't it inspiring? I had a chance to take a walking tour of the grounds. What a beautiful facility!

Reversible Knitting was more difficult than it looked for many of us. We struggled to count out our 90 stitches (120 for me because I was trying out PT 5 sport yarn while the others used Istra DK. I had to make it more difficult!). When we had finally accomplished that and knit a few rows, we had to put beginning and ending stitches together for double the number of stitches on our needles! Yikes! There was a lot of silence in that room as we all counted!

It took many long hours....we broke for dinner and supper and then we would go back to the school house in the evenings for a few more hours! At times it felt like torture but we had such a great group of people it was fun too.

Now, don't laugh...we all thought we would zip through these headbands on the first day and then we would be making hats or bags or even coats, right? Well, let me tell you...most of us were just barely finished with our headbands in time for the presentations of our work at the end of the week on the FOURTH day. Yup, that's right 4 days of working on these headbands! We were very proud!!!!

So here they are with some of the watercolor work behind them. Mine is top center in the second picture (teal).

Would I go back to The Clearing again? In a heartbeat! There is something special about it that I am not sure any of us could put into words, but once you experience it you will know.

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