A Dollar Adds Up

When it comes to purchasing give-aways for the Men’s Knitting Retreats, a dollar adds up.

Long-Standing Tradition Where A Dollar Adds Up

The first ever Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat took place in May of 2008. When Ted and I decided to start this thing, I had no idea what I was getting into.  We both expected about 8-12 guys to be interested enough to attend.

When we quickly had 25 guys register, we realized we needed some structure to the event. With no budget, we set up a roadtrip to a local alpaca farm, set up workshop volunteer leaders and put together a formalized agenda. We also looked for “give-away” items related to knitting.

Since it looked like we were going to have a maximum of 40 guys (we ended up having 32), if we were going to purchase anything for each guy, it had to be inexpensive. I combed through Dollar Stores. I even looked in odd places like hardware stores for possibly knit-related items. There were some places willing to donate 40 items as well.

Because even if it only cost a dollar, it was a $40 expense to purchase something for each guy.

I did end up finding these awesome little cloth bags

MSKR 2008 Project Bag

Green Mountain Spinnery donated a “Needle Inventory” and M&M Mars donated some candy.  I found some inexpensive rubber washers and put them in little pouches as stitch markers. And I think I stole a few boxes of pens. Ted also put together small bags of coilless safety pins for each of the guys.

I still have that Dollar-Store shoulder bag. It’s perfect size for sock project on-the-go.


These days we have a little bit of a budget for give-aways to the guys. But with two retreats, we usually end up buying at least 80 of each item.  We almost always buy a flashlight, a pen and a spiral notebook for each guy. And then some other give-away or another.

MSKR 2022 Giveaways Flashlights and Pens 02-16-21 01

This year the guys will each get a small tape measure as well.

3 Foot Measuring Tapes

We know full well that the guys don’t come to the knitting retreats because of the give-aways. But it’s always fun to go through a project bag to find little goodies. No?

Current Knitting

Got a bit snagged on my current knitting project.

Snug Cowl Gaiter 02-16-22 01

It’s another Snug Cowl/Gaiter done with helical striping. But each striped is four rounds wide. Which requires a bit of a tangle.

Snug Cowl Gaiter 02-16-22 02

Each round of a stripe in helical knitting requires a separate yarn-feed. So this one requires 8 separate yarn ends to create thicker stripes. It’s a constant task to keep it all untangled.

And to make matters worse, I’ve had to rip this one out or tink three times already.

4 comments on “A Dollar Adds Up

  1. I too discovered that a dollar adds up when helping with a 30 box food drive this past holiday season. I thought wow. $420?! I can buy so much. Look these boxes of cocoa are only 1.65! Jiffy cornbread mix is on sale for only $.95! Suffice it to say even with super shopping it didn’t go quite as far as I expected but it was fun because it was other peoples’ money. Lol. Yes, everyone loves a gift bag! I’m glad you have a little budget for it now!

  2. A group of knitter friends and I had what we called ‘Knit Camp’ every summer until the pandemic. Our goodie bags were made by us: each of us brought enough of something for the number of us participating. Candy, notions, handmade project bags, etc all came in and it was like opening a Christmas stocking. It was a smaller group, 12-15, but it was fun to see what favorite notion or clever creation each of us contributed.

  3. I find it wonderful that you do all of these wonderful things for the guys. I know it fills up very quickly. Are ther any other motels in the arear that one can go to and attend where you are? Just asking. Wally.

    1. Thanks Wally…I get this question often, so I’ll answer it publicly.

      There are currently 7 different regional Men’s Knitting Retreats (SouthEast, Rocky Mountain, Ontario, Seattle-area, Great Lakes, and 2 in Upstate NY…one in May and one in September). I’m assuming you’re talking about the Upstate NY retreat in May.

      It does sell out incredibly quickly. This year so many guys were sitting at their computer ready to register as soon as it opened that it sold out in 7 minutes. Honestly, I hate that it sells out this quickly, because I know there are guys that would like to go who can’t because of how quickly it sells out.

      We can’t/won’t increase the number of attendees for a few reasons:
      1. Decent housing arrangements at Easton Mountain are limited to 38 beds. If we used up all the quad rooms that we have and allowed tents for campers, and commuter spots for guys who could stay off-premises, we could raise the number, but housing isn’t the only reason we keep the number to 38 guys.
      2. Easton Mountain has lots of spaces where we can gather and meet…the sun porch, the back deck, the temple and of course, the “great room”. But for those times where all of us meet in one place (mostly for meals), we find it’s hard to jam more than 38 guys into any one space.
      3. Finally, the most important part of the retreats is…no, not knitting or playing with yarn…it’s community. I’ve gotten really good at holding the space for an incredible community to establish itself. And for the times when we’ve had over 40 guys at a retreat, it’s been incredibly difficult for me to coordinate the event. And honestly, they weren’t as good.

      Yes, there is a motel about a 20 minute drive from Easton Mountain, but like I noted, it’s not just the housing that limits us to 38 guys.

      The rush to register is the reason we opened a second Upstate NY retreat in September. That one has sold out a little less quickly than the retreat in May, but the last one also sold out very quickly.

      Don’t get me wrong…I don’t want to discourage you from getting to this retreat. It’s an amazing event and I hope to one day meet you in-person at one. And while it’s not easy to get registered for it, it’s worth the extra effort if you can.

      Thanks for giving me the opportunity to address this publicly!

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