Welcome!
Our WEBS Knitting Retreat has gone virtual for September 24 - 27, 2020! We want you to have the fun of the Retreat from the safety of your living room or craft space, and we all hope you'll be excited to try this new adventure with us! 

Full retreat details are included in the various tabs above, or you may click here to download the retreat brochure, and click here to download the updated retreat schedule. If you have any questions, concerns, or need any assistance related to the retreat, please feel free to contact us, the UMass Conference Services Team, at registration@umass.edu or 413-577-8102! Please note that due to limitations related to on-campus staffing, we are currently working remotely so we recommend contacting us by email when possible so the most immediate assistance. 


Retreat Rates 
The cost to attend is $450.00. Your registration fee includes a sumptuous swag bag (mailed right to your door!), two full days of online classes, morning yoga classes, virtual trunk shows and Q&As with our sponsors, drop-in sessions with our guest teachers,  post-retreat recordings of all classes, and an exclusive shopping coupon, just for retreat attendees. Registration is limited.

Cancellation Policy: 
For cancellations received by the August 13 payment deadline: a full refund will be processed
For cancellations received more than 30 days from the start date of the retreat (prior to August 25): a full refund will be processed less the non-refundable $100.00 deposit
For cancellations received less than 30 days from the start date of the retreat (after August 25): a full refund will be processed less a cancellation fee in the amount of 50% of the retreat package + $60.00
For cancellation received less than 14 days before the start date of the retreat (after September 10): no refund will be issued

All cancellations must be sent in writing to UMass Conference Services by email (registration@umass.edu). No registration will be canceled and no credit will be issued unless a written confirmation is provided. 


How to Register 
To complete your registration click the Register Now button above! Registration is only accepted online, and payment is accepted by Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express debit or credit card via our secure online payment portal. Full payment is required to complete your registration, but if you wish to discuss alternate payment methods or would like to set up a payment plan, please contact us for assistance! 

During registration you will submit your first and second class preferences for each time block (Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon). After your registration is received we will assign you to a class for each time block and will email you with your assignments. At present we anticipate being able to accommodate all of your first choices for each time block. However, in the unlikely event that you need to be put into any of your second choice classes you will automatically be added to the waitlist for your first choice class, and we will contact you if a spot opens. You will also receive recordings of ALL retreat classes after the retreat - not just recordings of the classes you are assigned to attend! Click the "Class Description" tabs above to learn more about the classes being offered.

Registration is limited, so early registration is strongly encouraged! 


Have questions or need assistance? We're happy to help!
Due to limitations related to on-campus staffing we are currently working remotely, so for the most immediate assistance, please email us at  registration@umass.edu!

Thursday, September 24

6 p.m.    Zoom Welcome Session for Retreat attendees
6:30 p.m.                 Tahki Stacy Charles presentation hosted by Stacy Charles (during Welcome Session)
7 p.m. Valley Yarns presentation hosted by Julie Turjoman (during Welcome Session)
8 p.m.                    Shubui Truck Show hosted by Shubui President, Sandy Barnes

Friday, September 25

7 - 8 a.m. Virtual Yoga with Amy Greeman
8 a.m.  All-day lounge opens
8 - 8:45 a.m. Morning tea time in the All-day Lounge with Lisa Schumacher and Beth Zych
9 a.m. - 11 a.m.   






Morning Classes (attendees will participate in one morning class) 
       - Tricks of the Trade with Sarah Solomon     
       - Crochet for Knitters for Edie Eckman     
       - The Knitted Plaid (all day) with Franklin Habit     
       - Center-Out Knitting with Xandy Peters     
       - Japanese Knitting (all day) with Gayle Roehm
12 - 1 p.m.   Sirdar Trunk Show hosted by Jan Hurwitz
1 - 5 p.m.






Afternoon Classes (attendees will participate in one afternoon class)
       - Tricks of the Trader with Sarah Solomon      
       - 25 Tips for Better Knitting with Edie Eckman     
       - The Knitted Plaid (cont'd) with Franklin Habit      
       - Knit Your Own Adventure with Xandy Peters      
       - Japanese Knitting (cont'd) with Gayle Roehm
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.     WEBS Trivia Bingo in the all-day lounge with Bonnie Lemme and Beth Zych
6 - 7:30 p.m. Rowan Lookbook presentation and Q & A hosted by Jan Hurwitz
8 p.m. Cascade virtual yarn tasting and project kick-off with Shannon Dunbabin   
9 p.m.  All-day lounge closes

Saturday, September 26

7 - 8 a.m.    Virtual Yoga with Amy Greeman
8 a.m.  All-day lounge opens
8 - 8:45 a.m. Morning tea time in the All-day Lounge with Lisa Schumacher and Beth Zych
9 a.m. – 11 a.m.






Morning Classes (attendees will participate in one morning class)
       - Best Yarn for the Job Part 1 with Sarah Solomon     
       - Four Fun Fabrics with Edie Eckman     
       - The Knitted Plaid (all day) with Franklin Habit     
       - Intro. to Stacked Stitches with Xandy Peters     
       - Japanese Knitting (all day) with Gayle Roehm
12 - 1 p.m. Berroco presentation hosted by Andra Asars
1 - 5 p.m.   






Afternoon Classes (attendees will participate in one afternoon class)
       - Best Yarn for the Job Part 2 with Sarah Solomon     
       - 25 Tips for Better Knitting with Edie Eckman     
       - The Knitted Plaid (cont'd) with Franklin Habit      
       - The Fascination Wrap with Xandy Peters     
       - Japanese Knitting (cont'd) with Gayle Roehm 
4:30 - 5:30 p.m.    Coloring Dolores in the All-day Lounge with Bonnie Lemme and Beth Zych
6 p.m Shibui trunk show and "ask me anything" hosted by Sandy Barnes
8 p.m Guided Knitting with Shannon Dunbabin of Cascade and Instructor Sarah Solomon   
9 p.m.  All-day Lounge closes

Sunday, September 27

9 - 11 a.m.             Morning tea time in the lounge with Lisa Schumacher and Beth Zych  
11 a.m. Keynote speach by Franklin Habit

All Retreat sessions will be held virtually on Zoom. Click here to download Zoom Client for Meetings (see the "Virtual Retreat Tips" tab for more information!).
All times for the Retreat are in Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).  Feel free to use this  time zone converter to figure out the time difference if you are in a different time zone.

Edie Eckman

Crochet for Knitters: Add skills to your knitting toolbox! Knitters can appreciate the use of basic crochet techniques for edgings and finishing details. This is a basic how-to class for those who have little or no crochet experience. Learn basic crochet stitches and quickly review pattern reading
Offered Friday morning, 9 - 11 a.m.

25 Tips for Better Knitting: Enjoy your knitting more and improve your finished projects! In this fun, fast-paced class Edie will show you tricks to better understand your knitting, avoid frustration, prevent mistakes, and save both time and money. Sometimes we don't know what we don't know, especially as beginning and intermediate knitters. This class features techniques to help grow your skills and provides resources for you to continue that exploration when you get home.
Offered Friday afternoon, 2 - 4 p.m. AND Saturday afternoon, 2 - 4 p.m. 
Note each day will cover the same material: attendees should only participate in this class on Friday OR Saturday, not both days.

Four Fun Fabrics: Furry, fun, flappy and funky - learn four unusual stitches to add pizazz to your knitting! See how fur stitch, cluster stitch, shirring stitch and flap stitch can be incorporated into your projects. Not for beginning knitters.
Offered Saturday morning, 9 - 11 a.m.


Gayle Roehm

Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible Exploration (all day): From easy to brain-bending! We'll start with a stitch pattern from JKSB that gives you a lot of "bang for the buck": it's lovely and relatively easy to knit. Then we'll move on to other stitch patterns with more challenge: patterning on both right and wrong sides, knot stitches, twisted stitches, complex combinations and some unusual maneuvers. You'll get lots of practice with Shida's style and with the charts and symbols. By the end of the day, you should feel comfortable working any of the patterns from the book, and using them in your own designing.
Offered twice: Friday (all day) 9 - 11 a.m. and 1 - 3 p.m. AND Saturday (all day) 9 - 11 a.m. and 1 - 3 p.m.
Note each day will cover the same material: attendees should only participate in this class on Friday OR Saturday, not both days.


Xandy Peters

Center Out Knitting: This class is a guided tour of the possibilities of center out accessories. We will look at 3 different cast on methods for center out projects and the unique strengths of each method. After casting on, we will try out different arrangements and types of increases to build different shawl, blanket, and scarf shapes such as a square or other regular polygon, rectangle, oblong, almond, and classic circular "pi" shawl. Many traditional lace and colorwork motifs can be converted to work with these shapes for spectacular results. By the end of the class, students will feel confident using these cast on methods to create center out accessories and add stitch and color patterns to various shapes
Offered Friday morning, 9 - 11 a.m.

Knit Your Own Adventure: Put down that pattern and create your own rules of knitting! In this class we will create colorwork, texture, or lace using parametric (rule based) guides instead of restrictive instructions. The temperature blanket is a well-known example of parametric knitting. This popular pattern is knit according to one rule: work one stripe per day in a color determined by the temperature outside. Unlike a traditional pattern that always produces the same result, projects based on parameters and rules have an element of randomness. In the first part of the class, we will discuss how to create unique and unrepeatable stitch motifs and colorwork based on anything from the roll of dice to the number of steps you take in a day. We will also go over techniques and accessories that combine well with different parameters to produce stunning results. The swatches and patterns that we make in the second part of the class will follow your own set of rules. Each student will work on a swatch or mini shawl in class. Everyone will share their results and discuss how each rule affected the outcome of their stitch pattern.
Offered Friday afternoon, 2  - 4 p.m.

Intro. to Stacked Stitches: Stacked stitches are an innovative approach to striped colorwork, best known as the technique behind the Fox Paws pattern. Stacks can add shaping, create 3D texture, replace short rows, and when combined with stripes, they create intricate motifs without unsightly strands on the wrong side of your projects. You'll never need to manage more than one color at a time or worry about bobbies because stacked stitches bend rows of garter stitch into new shapes and patterns using only increases and decreases. This introductory class will enable knitters of all levels to try out the technique in a swatch and become confident working patterns that incorporate stacked stitches. We will focus on mastering the increase and decrease stitches and learn several strategies for avoiding problems and fixing mistakes.
Offered Saturday morning, 9 - 11 a.m.

Learning Stacked Stitches with the Fascination Wrap: In this class students will start a stacked stitch project and learn this exciting technique in a way tailored to fit the mindset of a lace or stranded colorwork knitter. Stacked stitches are a type of increase and decrease used to create vertical movement within a row and extreme, wavy stripes without stranding on the wrong side of the piece or the use of other traditional colorwork methods. After an introduction to the basic principles of this technique in class, we will cast on a scarf or swatch and discover how each row of stitches fits together to form a flat fabric. We will learn how to move markers, keep track of stitch count, and to fix mistakes in a stack pattern. We will also learn to weave in ends at the end of each color stripe to save time during finishing.
Offered Saturday afternoon, 2 - 4 p.m.


Franklin Habit

The Knitted Plaid: An All-Day Color and Pattern (all day): If the prospect of mixing colors gives you the fidgets, but you've dreamt of putting together your own complex color schemes for projects, this full-day class is for you. We’ll begin with an invigorating dive into practical color theory or knitters (neither as dry nor as daunting as you fear), and also bring the idea of color inspiration firmly down to earth. Then we’ll put those ideas to work, using a little-known but very beautiful method for creating a knitted plaid/tartan fabric. There will also be a discussion of the history of tartan fabrics–where they came from, how they are woven, and how to imitate woven tartan setts with the knitted technique. By popular demand, this workshop has been newly expanded to a six-hour format to allow more time for explanation, experimentation, and reviews of student projects. You can learn to design your own color schemes–all it takes is a little knowledge, a little practice, and a little playfulness. Pre-requisites: Fluency in the basic techniques of knitting.
Offered twice: Friday  (all day)  9 - 11 a.m., 1 - 3 p.m. and 4 - 5 p.m. AND Saturday  (all day) 9  - 11 a.m., 1 - 3 p.m., and 4 - 5 p.m.
Note each day will cover the same material: attendees should only participate in this class on Friday OR Saturday, not both days.


Sarah Solomon

Tricks of the Trade: Every knitter has their own arsenal of knitting tricks and knitwear designers are just the same. In this class I want to give you a peek into my knitting process by sharing the techniques I find indispensable in my daily knitting. Often these little things are so simple and personal that they never make it into written patterns and yet they can be so important. I'll demonstrate a variety of methods, from cast-ons to finishing, that make tasks easier, avoid potential problems and yield professional-looking results. And since a room full of knitters practically guarantees that everyone can learn from one another, please feel free to think of a trick of your own you might like to share with the group
Offered Friday morning, 9 - 11 a.m. AND Friday afternoon,  2- 4 p.m.
Note each section will cover the same material: attendees should only participate in one section of this class, not both

The Best Yarn for the Job Part 1: Learn How Fiber and Yarn Construction Affect Your Fabric: We live in a golden age of fibers with a sometimes overwhelming number of yarns to choose from. In this class we'll take a closer look at fibers and yarn with the ultimate goal of making better, more informed choices for our knitting projects. We will discuss the properties and sources of both animal and plant fibers, then talk about the processing that goes into making these fibers into specific types of yarns. We will discuss the differences between worsted and woolen yarns and how plying affects yarn behavior by looking at examples of knit/purl textures, lace, cables and colorwork in a wide variety of yarns to see how fiber and yarn structure affect each type of fabric. If you've ever wondered about why a yarn pills, why it grows when you wear it, why it feels light or heavy, or wondered what yarn would be best for a cable pattern, a lace pattern, this is the class for you. This class is lecture/discussion-based; we will not be knitting in class.
Offered Saturday morning, 9 - 11 a.m.
Note this is a two part class: attendees should participate in both sections 

The Best Yarn for the Job Part 2: Choosing and Substituting Yarn for Your Projects: Once we have a foundation for how yarns work as a function of their fiber content and structure, we will look at how to match a yarn with a project to achieve the best results and discuss how using alternative yarns may change those results. We will look closely at everything that needs to be considered when substituting a yarn including understanding grist, calculating yardage, fiber and spinning properties and ply structure. We will learn about how different fibers wash and wear and discuss what fiber blends achieve what results, in order to choose a yarn for a specific purpose, whether you want to make a heavenly cowl or a hard-wearing sweater. The aim of this class is to help you make better, more informed decisions to get the result you want from your projects. This class is lecture/discussionbased; we will not be knitting in class.
Offered Saturday afternoon, 2 - 4 p.m.
Note this is a two part class: attendees should participate in both sections


Have questions or need assistance? We're happy to help!
Due to limitations related to on-campus staffing we are currently working remotely, so for the most immediate assistance, please email us at  registration@umass.edu!

Edie Eckman 
Edie serves as a technical editor for yarn companies and independent publishers and writes columns for Creative Knitting magazine. She has taught at Stitches events, Vogue Knitting Live, The National Needlearts Association, The Knit & Crochet Show, Midwest Fiber & Folk Art Fair, New York State Sheep & Wool Festival (Rhinebeck), Fall Fiber Festival (Montpelier), and other national venues. Her articles and designs have appeared in many yarn company publications and magazines. Edie is the author of Every Which Way Crochet Borders, Christmas Crochet for the Hearth, Home & Tree, Connect the Shapes Crochet Motifs, Socks to Knit for Those You Love, Around the Corner Crochet Borders, The Crochet Answer Book and Beyond the Square Crochet Motifs.


Gayle Roehm 
Gayle Roehm is a former management consultant who now devotes herself to knitting and other fiber arts. She teaches nationally for knitting events, guilds and yarn shops. Her designs have been featured in Knitter’s, Interweave Knits, A Gathering of Lace, and other publications. She also sells her work at a fiber arts gallery. Gayle has traveled throughout the world, lived in Japan, speaks Japanese and has knitted with Japanese designs for many years. She is the translator of the Japanese Knitting Stitch Bible and 250 Japanese Knitting Stitches by Hitomi Shida, Japanese Knitting by Mchiyo, Keiko Okamoto’s Japanese Knitting Stitches, Wonder Crochet, and three more upcoming books. She published the first information in English about Japanese patterns in 1997, she prepared the Japanese section for the book Knitting Languages, and she translated patterns for Diakeito Yarns/Sunrise Fibers.


Xandy Peters 
Xandy Peters is a knitting designer and teacher, best known as the innovator of the stacked stitch technique and for her Fox Paws pattern. Starting out as a footwear and product designer, Xandy turned to knitting as a way to explore textiles and surfaces without using factory production. She has since made a career out of knitting, publishing new patterns monthly and teaching workshops across the country. Xandy has been published in magazines such as Vogue Knitting, Twist Collective, Knitscene, Knitty, and Pom Pom Quarterly, but continues to self publish most of her work. Xandy also blogs about design, crafting, and baking on her blog soimakestuff.com.


Franklin Habit 
Designer, teacher, author and illustrator Franklin Habit is the author of It Itches: A Stash of Knitting Cartoons. His book, I Dream of Yarn: A Knit and Crochet Coloring Book, was published in 2016. He first became known as the writer of The Panopticon, one of the most popular knitting blogs on the Internet. Franklin’s varied experience in the fiber world includes contributions of writing and design to Vogue Knitting, Yarn Market News, Interweave Knits, Interweave Crochet, PieceWork, and regular columns for Knitty.com, PLY Magazine, Lion Brand Yarn, and his popular “Fridays with Franklin” feature for Skacel Collection. Franklin lives in Chicago, IL, cohabiting shamelessly with 15,000 books, a Schacht spinning wheel, 3 looms, and a colony of yarn that multiplies whenever his back is turned.


Sarah Solomon 
Sarah Solomon is a knitwear designer, writer, and teacher based in New York City. In addition to her self-published patterns, her designs and articles have appeared in Interweave Knits, Knitscene, knit.wear, Pom Pom Quarterly, and Vogue Knitting, and in collections by yarn companies large and small. She enjoys teaching traditional techniques of all kinds, including cables, colorwork and twisted stitch knitting, as well as modern garment construction with a particular emphasis on details and fine finishing. She teaches regularly at Purl Soho and Annie & Co in New York City, as well as at retreats and knitting events around the country. In her design work she enjoys creating pieces grounded in tradition but suited to modern life, using exceptional yarns to make garments and accessories that are knittable, wearable, and designed to last.


Have questions or need assistance? We're happy to help!
Due to limitations related to on-campus staffing we are currently working remotely, so for the most immediate assistance, please email us at  registration@umass.edu!

General

How do I access retreat sessions?
The retreat will be held virtually from September 24 - 27, 2020. All Retreat events will be held on Zoom, a web conferencing platform that you can download for free. Each Retreat session will have it's own unique meeting link, and prior to the retreat you will receive a schedule by email that will include all of the links that you will need for your sessions, trunk shows, classes, morning yoga, and evening socials. Note all session times are EDT (Eastern Daylight Time). In preparation for the retreat, please make sure to install Zoom client for meetings. We will also host a Zoom practice session for attendees prior to the event so you can test your Zoom account and connectivity prior to the Retreat. After the conclusion of the Retreat, attendees will receive recordings of all of the classes (not just the classes you attended!).

This is my first virtual event. How can I prepare?
We know a virtual event can be intimidating, so we put together a whole bunch of information to help you prepare! Please click on the "Virtual Retreat Tips" tab above to see our suggestions on how to get the most out of your virtual experience. Keep an eye on your inbox as the retreat approaches, too - we'll be sending along some helpful updates, including details on a Zoom practice session that will be open to all attendees. If you're completely new to Zoom you may also find it helpful to check out our detailed 
Zoom How-To Guide, as well as our Zoom Cheat Sheet!

What should I do if I'm having trouble connecting?
If you're having trouble connecting to your session it may be because the host has not yet started the meeting. If you join the meeting before the host does, you will see a message that says "Waiting for host to start this meeting." In this case, please wait for the host to join, and you should then be brought into the meeting without issue! Sessions may also use the "Waiting Room" feature, which puts you and other attendees into a virtual waiting room until the host and co-host are ready to begin. If this is the case, you' will see a message that says "Welcome! Your session will start shortly." You will then be let into the meeting by the host once they are ready to begin. 

If the meeting is in session but you can't connect, don't worry! First, make sure you are connected to the internet. Next, try closing  Zoom and then reopen the meeting link included in your personalized schedule email (we will send you all of the necessary links by email in September). If this doesn't work, we suggest restarting your device and trying again. If you are still having trouble connecting, please reach out to us at registration@umass.edu so we can assist you.

Will the retreat be recorded?
Yes, we will be recording all classes, and you will receive recordings of every class (not just those that you attend!) after the Retreat ends. We will be using Zoom meetings, which will allow you to see and chat with the instructor and other participants in a more interactive class setting. While class recordings will focus mostly on the instructor, if you do not want your image to be recorded please remember to turn off your camera! Not sure how? Just click the camera icon located on the bottom meeting toolbar - a red line through this icon means that your camera is off (click here for a full Zoom how-to guide, or click here for a quick cheat sheet). 

Please note that only classes will be recorded: we will not be recording the welcome session, morning yoga, trunk shows, yarn tastings, sponsor presentations, guided knitting sessions, Q&As, or the Sunday keynote, so you should plan to attend these events live.

When will I receive additional information about the retreat?
When you register you will automatically receive an informational email containing the latest information about the Retreat. Leading up to the Retreat, you can also expect to hear from us periodically by email with additional updates and instructions on how to access virtual programming. Please add our email address (registration@umass.edu) to your contacts so you don't miss any of these follow-up emails! We're here to help you get the most out of the Retreat, so if you have any questions or concerns in the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! We can be reached at registration@umass.edu or 413-577-8102, though note we are currently working remotely so, when possible, we recommend contacting us by email for the most immediate assistance. 

What is the cancellation policy?
All cancellations must be sent in writing to the UMass Conference Services Registration Office by email (registration@umass.edu). No registration will be canceled and no credit will be issued unless a written confirmation is provided. 
For cancellations received by the August 13 payment deadline: a full refund will be processed 
For cancellations received more than 30 days from the start date of the retreat (prior to August 25): a full refund will be processed less the non-refundable $100.00 deposit 
For cancellations received less than 30 days from the start date of the retreat (after August 25): a full refund will be processed less a cancellation fee in the amount of 50% of the retreat package + $60.00 
For cancellation received less than 14 days before the start date of the retreat (after September 10): no refund will be issued 


Classes

How do I sign up for classes? 
If you registered prior to August 31, you should have already received an email with your class assignments. If you didn't receive this email yet, please contact us at registration@umass.edu so we can get you this information! For those registering after August 31, you can submit your class preferences during registration (click "Register Now" above to sign-up!). You will be asked for your first and second class choice for each time block. Once we receive your registration we will assign you to one class for each time block based upon the preferences that you provided. You will then receive an email with your assignments, as well as details on any necessary homework and/or materials needed, if applicable. Please note that the Japanese Knitting class is limited and may fill: at present we are able to offer newly registered attendees your top choice classes for each time block, but it is possible that this class could fill in which case you would instead be assigned to your second choice class. This page will be updated if this happens, and we will also contact you if your registration and/or class assignments are impacted. Never fear, though - you will receive recordings of all classes, not just the ones you are registered to attend!

I didn't get the class I wanted. What can I do?
This is typically something that occurs for the in-person Retreat due to a teacher requesting to limit their class size, restrictions on room capacities, and/or the popularity of some classes over others. However, one of the benefits of the virtual Retreat is that we are able to accommodate more attendees in each class! This means that, at present, we are able to offer all attendees their first choice class for each time block. There is one class that has a size limit (Japanese Knitting), but there are currently still some spaces available in this class on both Friday and Saturday. If this class fills, or fills on just one day, we will update this page accordingly, and in that case it is possible that newly registered attendees would need to be put into their second choice class. However, this isn't something to worry about at present! Please also note that all attendees will receive recordings of all classes, not just the ones you are registered to attend. 

Is there any homework or materials for my class(es)?
Yes, some classes have homework and/or materials lists, as well as class specific handouts. All of the information that you will need will be provided as an attachment to your class assignment email, followed by any necessary updates, patterns, download links, etc., as the Retreat approaches. 

I have questions about a class description, skill level, homework and/or materials. Can someone help me?
Sure! If you have any questions about a class description, skill level, homework and/or materials needed please send along a detailed email to us at registration@umass.edu we would we happy to help, or connect you with the appropriate person who can further assist you. 


Have questions or need assistance? We're happy to help!
Due to limitations related to on-campus staffing we are currently working remotely, so for the most immediate assistance, please email us at  registration@umass.edu!

Are you new to virtual learning?
No problem! We have put together tips and tricks, a how-to guide, and a cheat sheet to make your experience as seamless as possible.
Please review the information below and contact us if we can help you with this new experience!


Prepare Before the Retreat

Check Your Internet Connection
To get the most out of each session it is important to use reliable internet! If possible, ask others in your home to stay off of the internet when you are in a session to minimize the devices connected to your network. If your wireless internet frequently lags, kicks you off, or is generally unreliable, try to use a wired connection right from your computer into your router, and keep your camera off as much as possible. You could also see if there is somewhere else you can go for internet access, such as the home of a family member or friend, a library, or a local café (if safe and possible). Some libraries are offering free outdoor wi-fi, allowing you to connect from a nearby parking lot or outdoor space. 

Unsure about your internet speed and reliability? Do a quick test of your internet speed on Google! This test will let you know your internet speed and how well it can handle multiple devices connected at the same time, video conferencing, and more. 

Download Zoom and Create an Account
All Retreat sessions will be held on Zoom, a web conferencing platform that you can download and use for free. To use Zoom, first visit https://zoom.us/download and click the "Download" button under Zoom Client for Meetings. We recommend downloading Zoom onto a device with a larger screen, such as a laptop or desktop computer, instead of using your phone or tablet. In addition to downloading Zoom, you will need to create a Zoom account if you do not yet have one. You can create an account by downloading Zoom and then opening the Zoom app. This will bring you to a login screen, and on the bottom right you can click the "Sign up for Free" button. You can also create an account by visiting 
https://zoom.us/signup. It's a relatively easy process to download Zoom and create an account, but it does take a few minutes so make sure to do this before the start of the Retreat!

Choose Your Device Carefully
If you have multiple devices, we recommend downloading Zoom onto the one with the largest screen, such as a laptop or desktop computer, so that you can easily see what is going on. When possible we don't recommend using your phone as it will be difficult to see what is happening on such a small screen, plus phone calls, emails, and text messages could be distracting. The features and functionalities of the mobile version of Zoom are also slightly different, so please note  that our guide and cheat sheet are not fully applicable to the mobile version. Lastly, for most classes, as well as a the guided knitting evening social, you will want to be following along and actively knitting: be sure to use a device that can stand on it's own so you can keep your hands free!

Practice with Zoom and Come to a Test Session
If you are new to Zoom, we recommend taking advantage of some of the many resources available to familiarize yourself with how to use it! We have created a detailed Zoom how-to guide that you can access here, as well as a Zoom cheat sheet that you can access here. In addition, we will be hosting a Zoom practice session, open to all attendees, the week before the Retreat. Feel free to pop into this test session to practice logging in, accessing a meeting, using your audio/video, and more! Additional details will be sent to you via email as the Retreat approaches. You can also practice on your own by joining a test Zoom meeting here, or checking out some of Zoom's beginner tutorials here. If you have any questions or need a little more support, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're more than happy to help you get squared away before the Retreat (registration@umass.edu, 413-577-8102)! 

Create a Special Retreat Space
Find an area of your home where you will be comfortable, and ideally one that is private to minimize distractions. Arrange a comfortable chair in front of your screen. Set your screen up on a table, stand, or desk, so that you can easily see it while having your hands free to knit. Create a little kit to keep all of your supplies organized and easy to grab, and fill it with your knitting supplies, class materials/homework, drinks, snacks, a notebook, a pen/pencil, and whatever else you might need. If you decide to have your camera on, consider the camera angle and the background your teachers and fellow students will see. You may want to prop up your screen so that the camera is at or above eye level for a more flattering angle. Consider what others will see behind you, and perhaps rearrange or spruce up the space a bit. During the Retreat remove distractions and background noises by closing the doors and windows to your space, silencing your phone, and asking your family or housemates to be mindful of when you will be attending Retreat sessions.


During the Retreat

Get Ready for Your Sessions
Recently you may have noticed an increase in articles and discussions around "Zoom fatigue" - it can be tough to sit in a virtual session for a while! It helps to prepare yourself and your space in advance, and to get mentally and physically ready the day of. Consider stretching or going for a walk before a block of session begins. Leading up to the session, give yourself enough time (at least 15 minutes!) before the start of the session to get your device up and running and make sure your audio and video are working. Know when your classes begin, and what additional events you would like to attend. Click here to view the updated virtual retreat schedule. Be sure to setup your space in the days leading up to the Retreat (see the "Create a Special Retreat Spot" section above!) and have anything that you might need during the session close by - you don't want to miss anything because you have to go grab some supplies or a drink! If you decide to have your camera on, keep in mind the instructor and other attendees will be able to see you (and classes will be recorded) so make sure you are camera ready! This is also helpful if you need to get up and grab a supply from somewhere else in your home (we've all seen the videos of the mishaps that result when someone on camera forgets that they aren't quite dressed appropriately!) 

Stay Muted
When you join a session you should automatically be muted. Please stay muted unless you have a question or need assistance to avoid broadcasting any unexpected background noises to all of the other participants in the meeting. On the bottom meeting toolbar you will see a microphone icon: if there is a red line in this icon that means you are muted, and you can click this icon to request to unmute if needed. You can also utilize a number of other communication methods in Zoom while staying muted, such as the Chat feature or Reactions (take a look at our how-to guide and cheat sheet for more information!). Your instructor might have their own specific requests regarding how attendees should make comments or ask questions, so the exact protocol to follow may vary depending on the class or session - we recommend logging in a few minutes early to make sure you don't miss any special instructions made by that session's host!

Take Advantage of Time In-Between Sessions
The Retreat is packed full of great events. Review the schedule to get a sense of when you will have some breaks or blocks of down time, and take advantage of these! When you have a break, try to get up and stretch. For longer breaks, consider taking a short walk to get some fresh air and recharge. These are also great chances to replenish any supplies, drinks, or snacks in preparation for the next session!


Have questions or need assistance? We're happy to help!
Due to limitations related to on-campus staffing we are currently working remotely, so for the most immediate assistance, please email us at  registration@umass.edu!

Questions, concerns, or need some assistance? We're here to help!
We are so excited you will be joining us for the virtual WEBS Fall Knitting Retreat! A virtual Retreat is a new adventure for us all, but we are committed to doing all we can to provide you with the best experience. If there is anything you need or anything we can assist with, either before or during the Retreat, please contact us at registration@umass.edu or 413-577-8102.

Below are some links you might find helpful as you prepare for the Retreat: