The Tale of Men’s Knitting Retreats: Weaving Connections

In the world of yarn and needles, Ted Myatt and Joe Wilcox began a friendship that would lead to something special. United by their love for knitting, their shared experience unfolded during their stay at a retreat center in Upstate New York. A pivotal moment occurred at the State Sheep & Wool Festival, sparking the idea to launch the first men’s Knitting Retreat. 

The inaugural Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat, held in May 2008, brought 32 like-minded individuals from various corners of the continent. From the serene backdrop of Easton Mountain, these men reveled in the joy of knitting, spinning, and most importantly, each other’s company. A unanimous decision was made to make it an annual affair and birthed the idea of regional retreats across the country. 

Fueling the knitting revolutions, Joe Wilcox took the initiative to start regional men’s Knitting Retreats, all coordinated under one umbrella of the organization. The concept gained momentum and inspired men nationwide to inquire about organizing events in their areas. 

Charles Gandy, Blocks and Stripes Socks; 2022; wool sock yarn.
Briocheaven Hat; 2022; Merino DK yarn; Katrin Schubert, artist; Wayne Hass maker and model.

One of the thriving branches of this knitting fraternity is the Southeast Men’s Knitting Retreat, kickstarted by Rusty Boyd in 2011. Although 2020 put a temporary damper on their gathering due to the pandemic, the retreat has become an annual haven for about 32 men, spanning various professions and backgrounds. Librarians, doctors, teachers, programmers, and more. They all find common ground in the art of fiber. 

If you are curious about joining the yarn-filled fun, the website is the go-to hub. The website provides details about upcoming events and guides those interested in starting a retreat in their area.

These photos are from the Southeast Men’s Knitting Retreat, hosted in North Carolina, that drew attendees from all walks of life. From librarians to flight attendants, therapists to financial analysts, the diversity is as rich as the colors in a well-crafted scarf. The retreat isn’t limited to knitting; it embraces crochet, spinning, and weaving as well. The shared generosity, interests, and camaraderie among participants transcends their professional differences, creating an atmosphere of warmth and acceptance. 

Blue Mist-Blå Dimman; 2022; angora/Merino laceweight; Kerstin Olsson, designer; Bob Clark knitter and model.

The co-coordinators Rusty Boyd and Joseph Elliott extend an invitation to join them whether physically or over Zoom. Their group is happy to share their experiences, and a few “gents” are ready to write about their heartfelt connections to this unique retreat, “Let’s weave a tapestry of friendship together.” 

“It is always a pleasure to be in the company of other knitters, especially so when it is an all men’s, non-gender bias retreat. The comradery, the humor, and the sharing of knowledge of our passion for knitting and crocheting are unmatched. It is indeed a special event for a special group of talented men.”
– Charles Gandy, TKGA Master Knitter

Be sure to check out the retreats in your area. They range from the Men’s Spring Knitting Retreat in Upstate New York to The Great Lakes, and Southeast, North Carolina, to the Men’s Knitting Retreat – Seattle Cruise Alaska. Ways you can participate: Join the Facebook Forum or the Ravelry Forum. Attend a scheduled retreat or coordinate your own event.  Donate to one of the regional scholarship funds.

Southeastern Men’s Retreat | 

Charles Gandy teaches a class on Intarsia at the 2023 retreat at the Black Mountain Yarn Shop.

Top image: The group photo at a yarn shop retreat at Black Mountain Yarn Shop in Black Mountain, North Carolina, in November 2023. 


Cami Smith is the Fiber Art Now media manager, a contributing editor, and a mixed-media artist.

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