Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Zombie Knitpocalypse 2015

If you are wondering what the Zombie Knitpocalypse is, it is a knitting retreat. Last week I attended the Zombie Knitpocalyse and it is the first knitting retreat I’ve ever been to so you can click here to see the pictures I took.

When we left Chicago, we headed to the Mall of America (Bloomington, MN) a couple of days before the retreat started. We stayed at a Hampton Inn close to the mall and used our reward points (30,000) for a free night. There was a free shuttle to and from the mall so we went to the mall and spent a few hours there. We walked on all four flours and then the amusement park. I was pooped by the time we got back to the room.

We headed towards Rochester and stopped at an antique store in Oronoco, MN. Don spent 3 ½ hours shopping there while I knit and visited with the people running the store. We used more reward points for a free night at the Hampton Inn in North Rochester. There was a free shuttle to and from downtown so we went downtown. The driver dropped us off at Rochesterfest at Soldier Field but it was the middle of the day so nothing was really happening. We walked 4 blocks into town and found our hotel where we will be staying during the retreat (Kahler Grand Hotel). Then we walked around town and even in the Skyways and Subways (pedestrian walkways). Around 6pm, we went to the Peace Plaza and I met up with some knitters who also came in early. We were back to the hotel by 7:30.

We left the hotel and went to an antique store for a couple of hours. Then we saw a ear of corn water tower. By then it was lunch time so we stopped at Denny’s. Since we still had plenty of time, we went to Walmart to buy some groceries. I also offered to bring another knitter some things she needed. Around 2pm we checked in to the Kahler Grand Hotel.. It wasn’t that great of a hotel and my bedside lamp wasn’t plugged in. I called at 2pm and 6pm to ask them to send someone. At 3pm I registered for the retreat and knit with a room full of people until dinnertime. I went out to dinner at Mac’s with Jennifer and Denise.  At 8:30, I went to the front desk to talk to the manager. David, the general manager, ended up coming to the room, moving the bed and  plugging in the lamp for me.  

Don was sick with a cold all night and didn’t want to go to breakfast so I went to Pannekoken without him. I had a nice breakfast and met some other knitters there. I had a class on double knitting and it was fun but I keep messing up. I went to lunch with another knitter (Jackie) and we ate at the food court. At 1:30 was the designer showcase and then 3:30 was the podcaster panel. For dinner a group of 5 of us went to The Loop, which was nice. We bought 5 appetizers and split them 5 ways. Then I went back to the ballroom and gave out my mini hearts that I made.

Don felt better today so he went out to breakfast with me. Then at 8:30 we had the 5K and I finished it in 48 minutes 46 seconds, which is my best time. I estimated 55 minutes so I didn’t win any prize because the person who was closest to their time won. At 11am we had the mini-skein swap which was a lot of fun. You gave your name and the number of mini-skeins you were entering. Then when your name was randomly drawn, you had 45 seconds to pick out that number of skeins from the giant pile. I got a lot of great looking colors. For lunch Don went with me to the pizza place but he didn’t eat anything. In the afternoon I had a class on Short Row Shenanigans taught by Josh Ryks and it was wonderful. I think I really want to use the German short row technique. At 5:30 we had the general gathering where door prizes were given out and then we had a group picture. Then Don and I had a gelato for dinner before I returned for the Runway Show. I wore my Summer’s Shadow shawl in the runway show.

It was the last day of the knitting retreat. We found out that there really isn’t anything open for breakfast. After breakfast, I got in line for the marketplace. This involved knitting with new and old friends, which was wonderful. When the marketplace opened, I spent an hour spending all of my cash. Then Don and I went for lunch at Potbelly. I rested a little for the afternoon until my 3:30 class where I learned how to “fix” sweaters I knit that doesn’t fit exactly right. At 5:30 we had a general meeting where I won a bag as a door prize. For dinner we ate at Mac’s and listened to a live band while watching them set up the blow-up movie screen. Then I went to the reception and said goodbye to all my knitting friends.

Things I Learned:

  • The Mall of America is about .57 miles around each floor.
  • They say they are adding on to the mall and it will be 2.5 times bigger next year.
  • Rides at the mall were about $7 per person per ride.
  • I had to talk to the manager to get a problem resolved.
  • I really enjoyed this knitting reatreat.
  • I stretched my wings and got out of my comfort zone at the retreat. It is good to do this.
  • Making new friends is a good thing even if it is hard to take the first step. It is scary but worth it. 
  • There are many different ways to do short rows so don't give up if you don't like one technique. 
  • German short rows are cool! 
  • I learned how to do double knitting. 
  • Keep on knitting sweaters to find the best fit.
  • The food court in the mall (except for the pizza place) is closed on the weekend. 
  • The stores in the "subway" are closed on the weekend. 
  • Starbucks in the Kahler is closed on the weekend. 
  • I don’t like the Kahler Grand Hotel and wouldn’t stay here again. Next time I would try the Marriott. 

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