In 1999, three knitting friends – Janet Armstrong, Gloria Hanson and Wendy Henderson – planned and presented a retreat for knitters at Camp Hurlburt in Vernon, BC. Knitters with a variety of skill levels and backgrounds, from those designing their own patterns to knitters who had only recently mastered the knit and purl stitches, attended. This event definitely met a need and proved so successful that the Okanagan Knitting Retreat has been held every year on the weekend following Victoria Day.
Since 2005 the retreats have been held at the current location – the Sorrento Centre on Shuswap Lake in BC. From 2008 until 2017, Janet coordinated the retreats herself, and presented workshops each year alongside several other instructors. Janet retired from the retreats in 2017, and they were coordinated by Myriam Dostert and Phyllis Beardsley consecutively. Now the torch has been returned to Myriam Dostert, who is joined by Kristy Hennings. Both are longtime knitters and fibre junkies who love the OKR and want to keep it alive well into the future.
The topics changed from year to year and have been wide-ranging, from techniques such as Fair Isle knitting and garment construction to free-form knitting, lace, and socks as well as colour and design. The purpose has remained the same — to support knitters in building skills and knowledge so that they can become confident and independent.
In 2018 we celebrated the 20th annual retreat, and you can see highlights from some previous years on the pages below.