Dog House Yarns & More

Yarn, gifts, and accessories for the knitter, crocheter, and spinner

Events will resume in the Spring of 2015.

Our 2013 Fall Spinning Retreat has been canceled. We hope to reschedule early in 2014. For information on past spinning retreats, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.

We enjoyed seeing all of you at our Spring Knitting Retreat and hope you enjoyed the program as much as we did.  The date for the 2014 event will be posted soon.

Dog House Yarns
3rd Annual Spring Knitting Retreat
Saturday, April 20, 2013
9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Graves Mountain Lodge in Madison County, VA


Please join us for our 3rd Annual Dog House Yarns Spring Knitting Retreat on Saturday, April 20, 2013 when Sue Bundy and Gretchen Frederick from Solitude Wool in Loudoun County will introduce us to The Marvelous World of Wool.  Our retreat is once again being held at Graves Mountain Lodge in Syria in Madison County, Virginia which is known for its bountiful food, beautiful scenery, and relaxed atmosphere so it's a perfect place to unwind, make new friends, and learn new things.

Welcome to the Lodge
Our Speakers
Sue Bundy and Gretchen Frederick of Solitude Wool are avid knitters, spinners, and weavers who have a deep love for wool and the sheep that produce it. Sue raises Karakul sheep on her RedGate Farm and her business partner, Gretchen, raises Romney sheep at Solitude, her farm for which their business is named. 

Gretchen Frederick and Sue Bundy

The Solitude yarns are not only beautiful but by hand-picking the flocks and breeds their wools come from, the company supports a number of small farmers from their own Loudoun County and from farms throughout four states that are part of the Chesapeake Bay watershed: Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Solitude Wool also preserves the identities of the farms that supply their fleeces and each farm that contributes wool to a particular batch of yarn is listed on the skein label.

Beginning from their love of sheep and wool, Sue and Gretchen started Solitude Wool as a small cottage industry that has grown into one of the most well known breed-specific yarn companies around the country.  Solitude Wool is one of only six yarn companies from the Southern region to be selected by Tanis Gray for her book Knit Local, Celebrating America's Homegrown Yarns.  The pair was also featured on a recent Fox TV special and their name keeps popping up in both trade publications and consumer knitting magazines alike.

From Sheep to Yarn
Some of the Pretty Solitude Wools
What makes the Solitude Wools so unique is the careful attention they receive from Sue and Gretchen. Sue hand selects the breeds and farms and then pre-processes the fleeces that are chosen for their yarns.  The fleeces are then sent to select mills to be spun into yarn in ways that will enhance the qualities of the particular type of wool.  When the yarn comes back it is hand-dyed by Gretchen into a variety of different artisan yarns that are sold at fiber festivals, farmers' markets in the Washington, DC area, and on the Solitude Wool website.

Here's what's happening throughout the day:


  9 to 10 a.m.  Check in with us the morning of the retreat in the downstairs of the main Lodge building, make some new friends, knit, and enjoy the spring morning from either our meeting room or the rocking chairs along the porch that looks out over the valley.  Note:  pre-registration is required.

10 am to Noon -- The Marvelous World of Wool
Wool is a wonderful natural fiber with a long list of qualities that have made it a favorite of hand knitters for centuries. But, did you know that wool varies from breed to breed and that the soft Merino yarn you love to touch may not be the best selection for that gorgeous jacket you're just dying to knit?  And, did you ever wonder what makes one pair of wool socks wear like iron and another pair quickly fill with holes?
Sue and Gretchen will answer these and many more questions about wool during our morning program.  Learn what makes wool so unique and how to choose the best wool for your projects.  Then follow the pair's adventures from their start as unknown Virginia shepherds who built a small, cottage industry into one of the country's most respected breed-specific yarn companies.  By the time they have explained the differing characteristics of each of their chosen Solitude Wool breeds, you'll have a deeper understanding of how to select the right wool for your next project.

Noon to 12:30 p.m.  Break.  Vendor room will be open during the break.
Lunch: 12:30 p.m.  Lunch, included in the registration fee, is family-style, all-you-can-eat.  After lunch there's time for a final visit to our vendors or to sit and knit until the afternoon program begins.
1:45 p.m. -- Fashions and More.  Show and Tell is always a favorite so wear or bring items you've knitted and show them off.  Don't forget to bring information on your pattern or yarn because someone will surely ask.  You can also report on any special workshops or crafts schools you've recently attended or tell us about the activities of your knitting guild.

The dining porch next to the main dining room.
Afternoon Classes -- Choose One of the Following:
Beginnings and Endings.  Do you always cast on and bind off exactly the same way without considering if the technique is appropriate for your project?  Learn a variety of different ways of casting on and binding off and why you'd used them.  Bring small amounts of light-colored worsted weight yarn and needles. 

Beaded Cuff Bracelet
Knitting With Beads.  Beads add an elegant touch to any knitted item and are stunning when used for knitted jewelry.  Let Mary Gildersleeve and Sue Hansen show you how to use them in creative ways, how to apply them either from a string or as individual beads set in place with a crochet hook, and learn how to choose the best beads for your knitted items.  You will be able to start either a beaded jewelry project or a small beaded accessory project while at the retreat.  Once you understand how to add the beads you will be able to finish your project at home.  Beads will be provided and yarn information will be available shortly before the retreat.

Dorset Buttons
Dorset Buttons. We're repeating this popular class from our 2011 retreat so if you missed it then, Chan Moore and Char Ploetz will show you how to create beautiful and unique buttons using small amounts of leftover yarn from your stash.  Bring a yarn needle and about 10 feet each of several different colors of worsted weight yarns.
5 p.m.:  Time to say good-bye to old friends and new acquaintances.

Other Information

Registration fee: $65 includes morning program, all-you-can-eat Graves Mountain Lodge lunch, afternoon class, morning and afternoon beverages, gift bag, class supplies (except needles and yarn), door prizes, and lots of fun and friendship. You can download a registration form and printable copy of the retreat flyer here:

Registration Deadline:  To assure that you will be able to attend the retreat, please register early.  We do not have a deadline but our available spaces have filled up in both previous years.  Once we have reached our maximum capacity we will create a waiting list. Refunds will be given for anyone who needs to cancel before April 6.  No refunds after April 6 except for special circumstances approved by the shop.  You may, however, transfer your registration to someone else as long as you notify the shop and provide a completed registration form for your substitute.
Vendors:  In addition to our shop and Solitude Wool, we will also have some additional vendors in the small room at the other end of the hall.  Information will be posted soon.

Overnight accommodations:  If you would like to remain for dinner Saturday night or stay overnight, please make reservations directly with Graves Mountain Lodge at 540-923-4231.

Graves Mountain Lodge in very early spring.

Main lodge building where we hold our retreat.


To find Graves Mountain Lodge on Mapquest click here.

Directions to Graves Mountain Lodge:
From Culpeper - Take Rt 29 South for seven miles.  Turn Right on Rt 609.  Stay on Rt 609 for 9 miles to stop sign.  Turn Right on Rt 231 North, go 1/2 mile, turn Left on Rt 670.  Go 4 miles, the Lodge is on Left. (half hour drive)

From Fredericksburg – Take Rt. 3 to Culpeper and turn south onto Rt 29 and follow as above.

From Charlottesville - Take Rt 29 North for approx. 26 miles to Madison.  Take Left on 29 Business North.  Go 1 mile, turn Left on Rt 231 North.  Stay on Rt 231 North for 8 miles. Turn Left on Rt 670.  Travel 4 miles, Graves Mountain Lodge is on Left. (1 hour drive)

From Front Royal, VA - Take Rt 522 South through Flint Hill.  Turn right on Rt 522/211 to Sperryville.  At Sperryville, turn Left into town of Sperryville and Left at flashing light onto Rt 522.  Drive 1.5 miles to Right on Rt 231 South.  Drive 14 miles, turn Right on Rt 670. Travel 4 miles, Graves Mountain Lodge is on Left. (1 hour drive)

Spinning Retreats

We will be holding our 3rd Annual Spinning Retreat on Saturday, November 16, 2013.  Information will be available early in September.  For information from past events, please download one or both of the following flyers:


Please support these great companies who provided door prizes or other assistance for our 2011 and 2012 knitting retreat.  We offer their products at our shop. 

Spring Gate Farm Cashmere
Wolle's Yarn Creations
Chiao Goo Knitting Needles, Crochet Hooks and Accessories
Anna Branner's Cloth and Clay
The Camel Shoppe
Lawre's Laine Knitting Bags, Hand Bags, Needle and Hook Storage, and Accessories
By Hand With Heart designs
Thank you to all of the companies and individiuals who donate items for our retreats.