Knitting at the Ranch 2008

I am happy to announce the opening of registration for Knitting at the Ranch 2008. This year is a big step for our little retreat which started four years ago with just six local knitters -- we have knitting designer and teacher and knitter extraordinare, Anne Hanson, of joining us for the weekend! Anne will be teaching two sessions of lace knitting (a total of six hours of classroom time during the retreat) and is designing a special lace scarf project just for us. More details regarding her class will be posted here shortly. In the meantime, visit her blog and internet studio, enjoy the eye candy, feel the knitting love, and get ready for an inspiring weekend.

We also have Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and Comfort, joining us! She will be doing a story on the retreat for Girlfriend Getaways. It looks like we will have more knitters from out of town this year, if pre-registration is an accurate indicator, which is very exciting. Last year, a nice woman named Jan joined us from Oregon and casually mentioned when she introduced herself that she was one of the Twisted Sisters! A few of us began bowing . . . Rumor has it that Jan will be joining us again this year!
The retreat will begin officially at lunchtime on Friday, October 23, 2008. Anne Hanson will begin teaching at 1:30 p.m. so I recommend that everyone arrive at least by late morning to find your room and settle in before lunch.

New Pre-Retreat Option
This year we will begin offering a new scheduling option. Anyone attending the retreat may arrive on Thursday rather than Friday. You may arrive and check in to your room after 9:00 a.m. on Thursday. We will have knitting sessions on Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening for those coming early. I expect this Pre-Retreat to be very relaxed and probably fairly quiet. It would be a great time to explore the Ranch and get in some quiet knitting hours. The charge for this option will be an additional $65 for those sharing a room and $90 for those in a private room.

2008 Retreat Schedule:

Thursday, October 23, 2008 -- Pre-Retreat!
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the dining hall
1:30 - 5:00 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room
5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Dinner in the dining hall
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. Knititng in our meeting room

Friday, October 24, 2008 -- Retreat Officially Begins!
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the dining hall
1:30 - 4:30 p.m. Class with Anne Hanson
5:30 - 6:30 Dinner in the dining hall
7:00 - ??? Knitting and Show & Tell in our meeitng room

Saturday, October 25, 2008
7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast in the dining hall
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Class with Anne Hanson
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the dining hall
1:00 - 4:30 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room/Optional trip to Tierra Wools in Los Ojos, NM
5:30 p.m. Dinner in the dining hall/Optional dinner at Abiquiu Inn
7:00 - ??? Knitting in our meeting room

Sunday, October 26, 2008
7:30 - 8:00 a.m. Breakfast in the dining hall
9:00 a.m. Room checkout
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room
12:00 p.m. Lunch in the dining hall
1:00 - 3:30 p.m. Farewells and last gasp knitting (for the true diehards!) in our meeting room

Registration and Fees
Fees for this year are $300 which includes retreat fees, lodging in a shared room with a private bath, and all meals. Add $50 for a private room and add $65 for Thursday arrival in a shared room or $90 for Thursday arrival in a private room.
Registration is limited to 20 knitters, so please contact us soon as possible if you wish to attend! To register, please complete the registration form and email, fax or mail to us as soon as possible. You also will need to mail a check for $100 to register (Knitting at the Ranch, P.O. Box 10032 Albuquerque, NM 87184). The balance of retreat fees will be collected at the beginning of the retreat. Our apologies but we are unable to accept credit card payments.
For more informaiton, questions, and just to let us know you are registering, please contact us at

We will have yarn available for purchase at the retreat for the class project. If you wish to bring your own yarn, you will need approximately 3 - 500 yards of lace or fingering weight yarn (your choice) that will show a lace pattern. More colorful and heavily variegated yarns tend to show lace patterns less.

So please join us October 24 - 26, 2008 (Pre-Retreat October 23) for another fun-filled weekend of knitting in the heart of northern New Mexico. We look forward to seeing returning friends and welcoming new ones to this sacred location!
9/07/2008 01:03:00 AM  
It's That Time Again

This year's retreat is quickly approaching. I finally learned a few things amout managing this site on my own. My apologies for its extended outdatedness!

This year's retreat will run once again Friday noon through Sunday afternoon. I am thinking about a little fieldtrip on Saturday afternoon to Tierra Wools in Tierra Amarilla, approximately 35 - 40 minutes north of the Ranch by car. Please let me know how you feel about the idea. We will have some folks with us from out of state so thought it might be a nice adventure.

For information about the retreat such as schedule and the like, please scroll down a few posts or click on the links on the sidebar.

Looking forward to another fabulous weekend at the Ranch!
9/12/2007 01:42:00 AM  
Wish You Were Here . . .

. . . in this brand new building which we have had all to ourselves with a meeting room in the center corner. There has been much knitting, much wine and chocolate consumed, and so much gazing at scenery, multi-colored cliffs, blue skies, night skies -- including the Milky Way -- we are all breathless. We are requesting the same rooms and weekend for 2007. Join us.
10/29/2006 06:06:00 AM  
Welcome to Knitting at the Ranch, a knitting retreat at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. This year's retreat will take place October 27 - 29, 2006 from noon on Thursday until noon on Sunday.

Ghost Ranch is a rustic education and retreat center owned by the Presbyterian Church and located approximately 35 miles northwest of Espanola, New Mexico, and fifty miles northwest of Santa Fe. The Ranch sits among the breathtaking red rocks and cliffs made famous in the paintings of Georgia O’Keefe.

Below is detailed information about the retreat which I hope will answer any questions you may have and a registration form which you may printout and fax or mail to me. If you have any questions that are not answered here, feel free to contact me by email or phone.
9/13/2006 12:38:00 PM  
Retreat Description
The main intent for this year's retreat is to knit and enjoy each other's company. I will have a small retreat project which is entirely optional. It involves lace knitting (not advanced but does involve double pointed needles at the beginning). The project probably can be completed during the weekend. Once you register, I will provide additional information about the project.

Noon -- 12:30 p.m. Meet for lunch in the Dining Hall
1:00 -- 4:30 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room.
5:30 -- 6:30 Dinner
7:00 - ??? Optional Evening Knitting and Show and Tell in
a hopefully comfortable location to be announced

7:30 -- 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room
12:00 -- 12:30 p.m. Lunch
1:00 -- 4:30 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room
5:30 -- 6:30 p.m. Dinner
7:00 - ??? Optional Evening Knitting and Door Prizes! In our
hopefully comfortable location to be announced

7:30 -- 8:00 a.m. Breakfast
9:00 a.m. -- 12:00 p.m. Knitting in our meeting room
12:00 -- 12:30 p.m. Lunch and farewells

I have left open time around meals to allow for walks or other exercise, naps, social hour, and trips to the museum and/gift shops. You also are free to come for only a portion of any knitting session or to skip it entirely to allow for hikes or other recreational activities or time alone.
9/13/2006 11:40:00 AM  
All Skill Levels Welcome
ALL levels of knitting skill are welcome at this retreat. You need only have a love of knitting and probably a basic working knowledge of knit and purl stitches and casting on and off.

Retreats like this one usually attract some fairly advanced knitters so beginning knitters are likely to learn helpful tricks and techniques from other members of the group.

As the only facilitator, I cannot teach you to knit from scratch at this retreat, but I will be available to assist all retreatants with projects. If we have a large group, I will have additional experienced knitters available to provide the same assistance.
9/13/2006 02:12:00 AM  
About the Retreat Facilities
Ghost Ranch in general

Ghost Ranch sits on 21,000 acres and the emphasis is on the landscape and quiet. The accommodations are modest and simple -- think summer camp -- although we will not be staying in dormitory style rooms and private rooms with private baths are available. The road into the Ranch is a well-maintained dirt road, passable with any vehicle. Once on the Ranch, visitors are encouraged to pocket their keys and walk as much as possible. Golf-type carts are available for those with disabilities and door to door driving is an option if necessary. The dining hall, guest rooms and our meeting rooms all are in different buildings so, if you can walk, bring comfortable shoes.
There are lovely hiking trails on the Ranch, gravel/dirt roads for mountain bikes, many places to sit and enjoy the views and two museums and gift shops on site. The main shop also carries basic necessities such as bottled water, simple snacks and toiletry items. (Sorry, no knitting needles but the museum did have handspun yarn for sale in August!) The Ranch also has a walking labyrinth and a very good library with quite an extensive collection which is open 24 hours a day.

There is no cell phone access at the Ranch and no telephones in the rooms. There are telephones available for guest use around the Ranch that take phone cards for long distance calls. There is wireless Internet access at various points on the Ranch and a computer lab with four computers with Internet access and a printer.

Meeting Rooms

We will be meeting for our daytime sessions in a meeting room which may have only metal folding chairs (some with cushions). If you have a comfortable chair which is portable, I suggest bringing it or an extra pillow to soften up the folding chairs.

For the evenings, I am hoping a room with comfortable arm chairs will be available. Lighting in some rooms can be a challenge in the evenings so bring an Ott light if you have it.

Guest Rooms (This is not the Hilton).

Our guest rooms will have two twin beds and no televisions or radios but adequate heat. Some rooms will have private baths and some will have semi-private, meaning they are shared with the room next door. You may either share a room with a roommate or pay $80 extra for a single for the weekend.

Dining (Cafeteria food at its finest!)

The food at the Ranch is very basic fare and is served cafeteria style but, as far as we know, no guest has starved yet. The coffee is lousy. I will bring a knitter's coffee pot and good coffee for those with coffee/caffeine needs. The kitchen can accommodate special dietary needs, particularly vegetarians. Please indicate any such needs on your registration form. There is no food available in the dining room between meals so it is a good idea to bring yourself a few snacks and beverages. I will have chocolate available for any emergencies. Private groups such as ours are permitted to have alcoholic beverages in our rooms and meeting areas.

Close to the Ranch

The Monastery of Christ in the Desert is located at the end of a rugged thirteen mile Forest Service Road just north of the Ranch (forty minute drive). Visitors are welcome at most services, particularly mass on Sunday.

Tierra Wools, a 100 year old weaving studio and showroom owned by local weavers, spinners and growers is located approximately forty-five minutes northwest of the Ranch in Los Ojos. In addition to their beautiful traditional woven rugs and their open-to-the-public studio, Tierra also carries some knitting yarns. Knitters often enjoy visiting there.

Bode's General Store is located approximately ten miles south of the Ranch in Abiquiu (fifteen minute drive) and carries most basic items, including a not half-bad selection of wine.

The Abiquiu Inn is just down the road from Bode's and has a very nice gift shop and art gallery and a restaurant with some fairly good offerings.


Ghost Ranch is at 6500 feet above sea level. It may warm up in the afternoons in October to short-sleeve temperatures but it will be quite chilly in the evenings. Be sure to bring a jacket, long pants and, of course, a sweater or shawl. You will also want a hat and sunscreen.
9/13/2006 01:01:00 AM  
History of Ghost Ranch
following excerpt from Witness to creation -- and destruction by Christopher Reynolds

At its highest points, Ghost Ranch rises as a set of chalky red slopes, slopes that you know you've seen somewhere before. At its lowest points, along the Chama River, a thousand cottonwoods wear their fall robes of gold.

The place is high-desert gorgeous, and the Presbyterian Church, which owns it, has been running it for nearly 50 years as a conference center: about 50 acres of buildings and a whole lot of open space.

"Thirty square miles," says Jean Richardson, the Ghost Ranch development director. "We're the size of Manhattan."

But there are unseen layers here, and skeletons in the closet.

Skeletons and skulls. This is where painter Georgia O'Keeffe came every summer from the 1930s to the 1980s. Its steer skull logo came from her, and her red-sloped mountainscapes came from it. But that's only half of why I'm here.

As a Spanish land grant, this corner of northern New Mexico was called Piedra Lumbre (Shining Stone). Its reputation as a spiritually charged territory was in place long before O'Keeffe ever headed west from New York. In the 18th century, settlers and Indians whispered about the sorcerers and witches thought to control this valley. In the late 19th century, when the Archuleta brothers ran it as a cattle ranch, the whispers turned to stolen cattle and murdered travelers — and then one brother murdered the other.

"It was sort of like the 'Silence of the Lambs' Ranch," says Richardson.

Once new owners came in and set the property up as a dude ranch, the spooky reputation died down. And then O'Keeffe turned up, first as a renter, then owner of a seven-acre plot.

Living alone in a low-slung adobe, O'Keeffe painted the hills, bones and antlers, the cottonwoods in all seasons, the yucca and cactus blossoms in lurid bloom.

She was, they say, as difficult as her work was inviting. In 1955, when Ghost Ranch owner Arthur Pack told her he'd donated most of the ranch to the Presbyterian Church, O'Keeffe threw a tantrum and told him he should have given it to her instead.

Give Pack credit for aiming higher; he hoped the scenery would turn a visitor's thoughts toward God and help promote peace. And give the Presbyterians credit for shouldering a load. Along with its lodgings and conference rooms, the ranch has grown to include two small museums (anthropology and paleontology), a library, a pool, a couple of campgrounds and a roster of secular and spiritual courses — including multicultural congregational leadership and the theology of Harry Potter.

It gets about 20,000 visitors a year, some Presbyterian, some not, and has a smaller sibling facility in Santa Fe. Faced with expenses of about $4 million a year and dwindling support from the church, management is looking to lure more visitors, especially younger ones, especially in the cold, lonely weeks between October and April.


In early 1942, back when O'Keeffe was on the scene, a team of FBI agents turned up. They interviewed the Packs and all the other regulars. Soon after, new guests began arriving. Secret guests, with assumed names. These were the atomic scientists of the Manhattan Project in nearby Los Alamos, and the ranch became their off-campus retreat.

They mostly kept to themselves, writes ranch historian Lesley Poling-Kempes in "Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu." But after the 1945 bombings at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Pack family learned that the guys talking physics in the dining hall included Richard Feynman, Edward Teller and J. Robert Oppenheimer.

O'Keeffe's blooms and Oppenheimer's booms — all made possible, at least in part, by these same hills at the same time.

So you wonder. In their strolls, did the physicists pass a squinting, sun-worn artist? Did she grumble? Flirt? Did they glimpse, on her easel, an ominous skull, or one of her strange desert skies, all crowded with clouds?


The painter, the physicists, the pretty panoramas: They all connect. And the next time you come across a thoughtful hiker in the middle of some vast landscape, just think: Creation, destruction, inspiration, hubris — there's no end to what might be starting there.
9/13/2006 12:32:00 AM  
Cost and registration
The all inclusive fee for the retreat is $275 and includes a shared room, meals, and the retreat facility fees. Single rooms are $80 extra.

The projects will involve a cost of $5.00 for the pattern. The yarn for the projects can run from no cost (if you already have something in your stash) up to approximately $10.00.

You may pay half of the retreat fee at registration and the remaining balance at the retreat or pay the entire fee upon registration. I prefer checks or money orders but can make arrangements to accept credit cards, if necessary. You will need to request these arrangements in advance.

If you must cancel your registration, you may do so within seven (7) days of the retreat with a full refund less a $25.00 administrative fee. Cancellations received less than seven (7) days before the retreat will not be guaranteed a refund.


Download and print out this registration form (Adobe Acrobat Reader Plugin required). PLEASE NOTE: There is a typo on the registration form. It incorrectly states that the retreat fee is $250. It is $275! Sorry for any confusion.

If you can't get the pdf form to work, just email me and I can email the form to you.

Once you have printed the form out, fill it in, and mail or fax it to

P.O. Box 10032
Albuquerque, N.M. 87184

Fax: (505) 242-8702
9/09/2006 11:03:00 PM  
Driving Directions
from Albuquerque:

Take I-25 north to Santa Fe. Take Exit Number 282 - the St Francis Drive / US-285 N / US-84 N exit, follow exit under the highway and follow the road north. Continue driving north on this road for approx. 28 miles to Española.

Once in Española continue through town to the Fairview/Riverside intersection (Walgreen's and Bank of America are at the corners). Turn left on Fairview and cross the river; then turn right on Paseo de Oñate (U.S. 84).

Continue driving on US 84 approx 22 miles to Abiquiu.

Approximately 13 miles after Bode's Store in Abiquiu, watch for the Ghost Ranch sign at the entrance gate between mileposts 224 and 225.

9/09/2006 09:35:00 PM  
Quick Facts

Dates: Oct 23/24 - Oct 26, 2008

Place: Ghost Ranch-Abiquiu, NM

Cost: $300 double occupancy

Skill: basic knitting and up

Hostess: Lauren M. Baldwin


Knitting at the Ranch 2008
It's That Time Again
Wish You Were Here . . .
Welcome to Knitting at the Ranch, a knitting retre...
Retreat Description
All Skill Levels Welcome
About the Retreat Facilities
History of Ghost Ranch
Cost and registration
Driving Directions


Abquiu Inn
Bode's General Merchandise
Ghost Ranch
Monestary of Christ in the Desert
Tierra Wools
Yahoo Local for Abiquiu