Vermont 2017: Line it up!

Dates: June 1-5, 2017
Location: Good Commons, 4771 Route 100A, Plymouth, VT 05056

The retreat was a great success. You can see photos on my blog HERE.

The Masterclass

In this masterclass we will focus on the importance of line in tapestry design. Some lines are easy to execute in tapestry, some are very difficult. We'll talk about the pros and cons of various designs and how to use line in this medium. The materials you use along with the sett of your weaving certainly influence the expression and character of those lines. We'll talk further about the relationship between design elements and the materials we're using and more specifically how you might use different sorts of yarns in warp or weft to change the look of your finished piece.

Want to learn how to make a thin vertical line without weird bunching (or quite frankly a lot of swearing if you're trying to stitch it)? I have one great technique for you which I have never before shared in a workshop or online course (and a few others you may have heard about from me before).

We'll continue to address that perpetual question, "What really is weaveable in tapestry?" And if you're up for it, we'll take a close look at your current skill set and ask another questions, "What really is weaveable for ME in tapestry and how can I gain the skills I don't yet have to create the image I want?"

This retreat includes information presented to the whole group about use of line, material, and technique. But how those concepts are used depends on each individual participant. I expect there to be a fairly wide variety of abilities among participants and this always turns out to be a great advantage to all. However, this is NOT a retreat for beginners. You do need to understand the basic structure of tapestry, be able to warp your loom, and be able to independently execute basic tapestry techniques. To make sure that registrants have the skills to make this the very best retreat possible, I am asking everyone to send me at least one photo of some recent work. Please contact me for further information if you are not sure your skills are appropriate. (If you attended Vermont 2016, you do not need to send me an image. All of you are welcome back!)

As always in my retreats, I will encourage you to bring design ideas with you. If that request strikes terror in your heart, never fear. A small collection of images that speak to you is all you need to get started. If you have had some success with coming up with your own tapestry designs, bring them along. We'll work through a new idea and see if we can match what you see in your head to materials and techniques that will help you accomplish it. We will have discussions about color use and I'll have a selection of yarns available to experiment with color.

This masterclass will include inspiration for design and my goal is that you leave feeling more secure in your own ability to design for tapestry. I will encourage everyone to follow their own line of inquiry and to use me and their fellow students for critique, reference, and ideas (as much or as little you feel comfortable with that). And of course we are going to have a great time!

As Paul Klee said, a line is just a series of dots. This seems particularly applicable to tapestry weaving given the way we use little beads of color over each warp thread to create an image.

A line is a dot that went for a walk.
— Paul Klee

The setting

Vermont 2017 will be held at Good Commons, a retreat house in Plymouth, Vermont. Good Commons is committed to providing creative space in a relaxing environment for their guests.

Enjoy your days working in the beautiful downstairs studio with other tapestry weavers. We will share meals together in the Good Commons dining room prepared by one of its fantastic chefs. Afternoons provide time for further work on weaving and design, or may be spent at your discretion. Perhaps your line of questioning requires a walk at the neighboring state park, a stop across the street at the President Calvin Coolidge State Historic site for some cheese, or a visit to a nearby yarn shop. In the evenings, join your fellow students for a glass of wine on the deck or in the hot tub, relax with a good book, watch a movie with new friends in the upstairs living room, continue to weave, or play a game. The house has communal living spaces on each floor. There is a balcony on the second floor and a hot tub and fire pit in the back garden.

This retreat is designed to be a meeting of the minds. We hope to operate as a group of cooperative learners during our time together. We also understand that while shared space is creative space, respect for the contemplative artistic practice of others is necessary and valued.

This retreat is open to a small number of tapestry students participating in the workshop only (due to space limitations). Family members and spouses are welcome only if they are participants in the workshop. This year we have more private rooms available than we did in 2016. Note: all bathrooms are shared though there are six in the house.

Participants are requested to stay at Good Commons or the Good Farm Barn Apartment. If this housing situation will not work for you, please consider a different retreat experience (the only exception involves ADA access, see below).


  • Workshop instruction with the group each morning, plus open studio with my assistance each afternoon. The studio will always be open and you can work as much or as little as you like.
  • Extensive handouts, a variety of materials and yarns you can experiment with, and a few extra treats.
  • Meals will be provided for each of the four days of this retreat, Thursday evening through Monday noon. Self-serve breakfast options will be available each morning. The Good Commons' chef will provide lunch and dinner service.
  • All linens, central A/C, Wi-fi, hot tub, hair dryers, washer/dryer, fireplace

I will send all participants a detailed materials list a few months before the retreat with suggestions for design inspiration to bring to the masterclass.

You can find more information about lodging on the Good Commons website:


Good Commons has a bathroom on the first floor, but sleeping accommodations are upstairs. There is no lift and the two upper floors are full of short and rather funky stairways. The barn apartment is on the upper floor with no elevator. If you still want to come to the retreat but you can't manage many stairs, please contact me for potential options. The weaving studio is on the first floor with two small though uneven steps to get in.

Good Commons is situated in a valley, and the cell service is unreliable. Do not count on your cell phone working. Good Commons has a landline which you can use to make free long-distance calls anywhere in the continental USA. Wi-fi is included so you can use Facetime or Skype to call your family from your own cell phone. There is reliable cell service a few miles away.

Be advised that Good Commons is a refurbished 19th century general store, and there are no locks on the bedroom doors. There is sufficient parking for our group.

This is a non-smoking property. Pets are not allowed. We expect that all guests will abide by Good Commons' maintenance standards.

Please contact me directly if you have questions or concerns about these issues.


For the workshop:

  • portable tapestry loom. You may warp it ahead of time or you can wait to see what you might want to experiment with. A sample loom such as a copper pipe loom or a Hokett is acceptable. Many of my students love Mirrix looms and those are perfect for this workshop. If you're driving, you can even bring a small floor loom.
  • your familiar weaving tools
  • yarn (I will bring a selection but please bring a supply of yarns you usually weave with as well as some options you might have in your stash that you want to experiment with.)
  • drawing/design supplies, idea notebook
  • design ideas to expand upon during the workshop (more specifics coming in April)
  • If you are someone one who likes to work with music, please bring headphones for your device.
  • A task light is useful but not required (please also bring an extension cord if your light doesn't run on batteries).

For the house:

  • clothing appropriate for early summer in Vermont
  • bathing suit if you’d like to enjoy the hot tub
  • walking shoes if you’re interested in exploring the nearby state parks or the mountains near Plymouth
  • bathrooms are shared by a few people, so you may want a bag or basket to transport your toiletries and towel



4:00 pm Arrive
6:30 Dinner
Brief slideshow of tapestry inspiration and plans for the retreat
Evening relaxation

Friday, Saturday, Sunday                    

9-12 am  Workshop (all participants)
12-1 pm Lunch
1-5 pm  Open Studio with Rebecca or exploration of the surrounding countryside
6:30 pm Dinner
Evening relaxation as you desire; studio open for further weaving exploration


9-11 am Last minute weaving questions or follow-up.
Pack and disperse as needed. 
11:30 pm Casual lunch is available
Check out by 1 pm

Getting there

Good Commons is about 100 miles from three airports: Burlington, VT, Manchester, NH, and Albany, NY. In 2016 the registrants formed effective carpools to share rental cars or get rides from local people driving near those airports. One group even carpooled from Boston.

A few more details about housing

Good Commons is owned by the remarkable Tesha Buss. She bought this old general store and turned it into a gorgeous and comfortable retreat center. There are six bedrooms on the second floor of the house and a large sleeping loft on the third floor. There are six bathrooms in the house: one on the first floor, three on the second, and two adjacent to the sleeping loft. You can make your housing choices in the registration form. Please think about whether you are a light sleeper, enjoy privacy and thus a private room, or if you would prefer to share a room with someone else. The sleeping loft is designated for women only (sorry guys).


If you click on the thumbnails in the gallery below, you can see the images in a lightbox. Use your arrow keys to scroll through them. Hover over the image for a caption.

I felt so validated in my design skills. With more skill learned from you, I trust my decision making enough that when I’m alone in my studio I will be able to design to my liking, with a lot of hard work! . . .

A wonderful workshop full of creativity, ideas, learning. You are a generous teacher, not holding back. It was an absolute pleasure being in your workshop.
— Cathie Beckman, Vermont 2016 participant

Vermont 2016: If you are interested in seeing how last year's retreat went at Good Commons, please visit THIS page of my website for details including photos.