There are spaces available in most classes at my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, September 19 – 22. This is good news for those of you who would like to participate in the retreat but prefer to sleep in your own beds!

We’re offering a commuter rate that includes everything but a room at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa. You’ll get one class with each of the three teachers–Nancy Bush (from the U.S.), Andrea Rangel (from Canada), and Veera Valimaki (from Finland) .

You’ll also get all your meals, an impressive swag bag, the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one sessions with the Knit Doctor (that’s me) and the Style Doctor (Jeane deCoster), evening entertainment, and loads of fun with other knitters.

Of course, you can still opt to sign up to lodge at the beautiful Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, as well.

Nancy BushNancy Bush is an expert in both sock knitting and Estonian knitting techniques. She has authored five books, including Folk SocksFolk Knitting in Estonia, and Knitted Lace of Estonia, as well as many articles on traditional knitting. She lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the owner of Wooly West online shop, leads knitting tours of Estonia, and teaches workshops throughout the United States and abroad.

Nancy’s classes include Estonian Cast-Ons, Roositud (an Estonian inlay color technique, and Knitting an Estonian Lace Shawl.

Andrea Rangel

Andrea Rangel is an experienced knitter, designer, and educator (she’s taught elementary, middle and high school) from Victoria, British Columbia. She’s the author of AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary and Rugged Knits, and her designs have been published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool PeopleTwist Collective, Interweave Knits, and Knit Scene, as well as independently. Andrea’s classes are clear and organized, with a strong focus on how students learn. Visit Andrea Rangel’s website for original patterns.

Andrea’s classes include The Fine Art of Yarn Substitution, The Basics of Stranded Colorwork, and Increasing and Decreasing Master Class.

Veera Välimäki lives and designs in a small village in Southern Finland. Her designs focus on simple and clean lines with small fresh details. She loves simple yet modern knits that are both easy to knit and easy to wear—year after year. Veera has two books published in Finland, along with five (5) volumes of Interpretations, co-authored with Joji Locatelli. Her work has been featured in magazines and books in Finland, Europe, and the U.S. Follow Veera on her blog, 100% Rain.

Veera will teach Colorplay, Stripes–Beyond the Basics, and Round-Yoke Sweaters.

For an additional fee, you can sign up of one of the full-day extension classes Thursday, September 19: Muhu Knitting Traditions with Nancy Bush, Brioche and Beyond with Andrea Rangel, or Shawl Shapes with Veera Valimaki. I’m also offering a full-day class called A Skirt For All Seasons in which you’ll walk away with custom instructions for my “pleated” skirt pattern.

Click here for details and to register today!

 

 

As you read this I’ll be heading to the East Coast for a few days of teaching. One of my stops will be The Knitted Purl in Oyster Bay, NY (that’s on the north shore of Long Island). I’m scheduled to teach June 18 and 19.

One class is Top-Down Sweaters with Circular Yokes (based on The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters) in which students knit a miniature sweater to learn all the techniques in a single day-long class.

By the end of the day, students will have practiced all of the techniques necessary for a top-down circular-yoke style pullover, and will understand how to use the charted instructions in book.

 

The other class I’ll teach is A Skirt For All Seasons in which I take body measurement and combine them with individual gauges to generate a custom “pleated” skirt pattern for each student. I’m absolutely in love with my basic skirt pattern and have several variations for sale in my Ravelry store. Because the design is based on a classic tailored pleated skirt, it looks great on all body types–short, tall, wide, or thin–especially when designed for individual shapes. My knitted version is as comfortable as sweat pants but look a whole lot better! I joke that I plan to take over the knitting world one skirt at a time. Care to join me?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As of my writing this, there are still spots available in both classes. Call the Knitted Purl at (516) 558-7800 if you’d like to register for one of these classes.

My dear husband complains that I’m on the road more than I’m at home and I can’t argue. Since March 11, I’ve been to Washington, all around Italy, Maine, Texas, Pennsylvania, and New York. Out of 111 days, I’ll be gone 67. In other words, I’m away 2.5 days for every day I spend at home. I guess my husband has cause to feel a bit lonely.

I, on the other hand, am having a blast. First, I got to teach (along with Lorilee Beltman and Carson Demers!) at the third annual Getaway Retreat hosted by the Bazaar Girls in the quaint little seaside town of Port Townsend, Washington. It was a treat to learn and share while enjoying refreshing sea breezes, locally grown produce, and freshly caught fish, and shopping from independent merchants.

After just four (4) days at home, I joined Lambs on the Run’s 16-day excursion to Italy that included knitting and cooking classes, tours of wineries, a chocolate factory, and a cashmere goat farm, visits to museums, and lots of time to soak up the local culture, art, and architecture. The trip began with three days in Rome, followed by trips to Milan, Perugia, Florence, Viareggio, Parma (oh, the cheese!), and Turin. I stayed a few extra days to visit Venice as well.

I was home just long enough to get over jet lag and repack my bags, then I headed to Freeport, Maine, for my ninth Knit For Fun Retreat, held at the incomparable family-owned Harraseeket Inn. There, I rubbed elbows with teachers Kate Atherley (from Canada), Isabell Kraemer (from Germany), and Mary Jane Mucklestone (from New England), and enjoyed making lots of new friends and reconnecting with old ones. “Fun” is an understatement!

I had another two days at home before heading south to Fredericksburg, Texas, for Cindy Hallam’s first Cre8tive Escape. My fellow teachers were German knitwear designer Isabell Kraemer and Saori weaving expert Kathy Utts. If you like to pair learning with intimate luxurious settings, look for future Cre8tive Escapes.

After a full two and a half weeks at home (during which I cooked all of my husband’s favorite meals), I’m about to fly east to teach at The Knitter’s Edge in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (June 11 and 12), and The Knitted Purl in Oyster Bay, New York (June 18 and 19). Of course I plan to make a detour to New York City to take in a couple of shows while I’m in the area!

My dear husband is delighted that I’ll stay home for the month of July (and I’ll enjoy sleeping in my own bed). During that time, I don’t know whether it’s wisest to treat him like a king in retribution for the fun I had without him, or to annoy him as much as possible so he’ll be glad to see me leave when my fall teaching schedule picks up.

Thanks to all of you who expressed interest in my books! And congratulations to all of the eagle eyes that noticed I mentioned that I’d announce a winner before the end of the raffle! That’s what I get for not editing my own post.

Because some of you couldn’t respond to my post and had to send individual emails, I decided to award a winner to each list.

For the 86 people who responded through the comments page, the random-generator choose Ruth G. who requested Sock Knitting Master Class.

 

 

For the 15 people who responded through an email, the random-generator chose Kathryn H, who requested Scarf Style 2.

Congratulations Ruth and Kathryn! I’ll contact you privately for your addresses and get the books in the mail to you right away.

I realized that it’s been quite a few months since I’ve offered a free book.

So, it’s raffle time again!

Tell me which of my books you’d like to win and I’ll include you in a drawing for a free copy!

I’ll announce a winner Tuesday, May 28. If I don’t hear back from that winner by May 25, I’ll choose an alternate winner. Good luck!

I’m sorry to say that due to postage costs, I must limit this offer to the United States.

I admit to having more than my share of handknitted socks. At last count there were 32 “active” pairs and another 38 pairs in my workshop/gift bin. That’s 70 pairs for a total of 140 individual socks!

Still, I find myself unable to stop knitting them. Whether I use double-pointed needles or the magic-loop method on a long circular needle, I find socks most satisfying to knit. And I prefer to wear them above any store-bought pair.

I love the endless combinations of stitch patterns and yarns. I rarely visit a yarn store without purchasing a skein of sock yarn and I have dozens of skeins of sock yarn to prove it.

I am currently working on three pairs. Clockwise from upper left: a pair of  Topsy-Turvey Socks in Madeline Tosh Tosh Sock in the Curiosity colorway (ready for the heel flap), a pair of Ann’s Go-To Socks in The Cyborg’s Craft Room Assockilate in the Impromptu Dance Party colorway (halfway down the foot), and another pair of Ann’s Go-To Socks in Jorstad Creek tweed sock yarn in a brilliant lime green (ready for the Kitchener stitch).

If you’ve never tried knitting socks, I suggest you get a copy of my Getting Started Knitting Socks book. It will guide you step by step through the process. If you’re ready to expand your sock horizons, check out Sock Knitting Master Class and New Directions in Sock Knitting. You’re sure to find a pattern that will, well, knock your socks off!

Without revealing my actual age, I will admit that I clearly remember where I was when I learned that John F. Kennedy was shot. Ever since then I’ve wanted to learn to draw. Although I took a variety of art classes in middle and high school, I never took a drawing class. By the time I was in college, I fancied myself a scientist and focused on calculus, physics, chemistry, and geology. I would never say it was a waste of time, but my college education seems to have little relation to my current career as a knitter, editor, and designer.

To encourage me to fulfill a decades-old dream, my dear husband gave me a drawing pad and set of pencils for my birthday last fall. They’ve been sitting on my desk ever since, silently taunting me.

I kept looking at the them, imagining how impressive I might be in my next class when I’d draw a sock or sweater silhouette that had proper proportions. I imagined how I’d capture the likeness of my cat Lily on paper. And, oh, what if I could make realistic sketches of sweater design ideas?

I kept myself entertained just thinking about the possibilities without ever opening the sketch pad.

 

 

Finally, I decided to act and I sketched three objects on my desk–a Sharpie marker, my cell phone, and a small wooden bowl that holds dietary supplements. The results were less than spectacular. My timid approach is evident in the faint and shaky lines. I closed the notebook and returned to my knitting.

 

A couple of months ago I revealed my secret desire to my Sunday knitting group, which consists of several “real” artists.  They heartily recommended You Can Draw in 30 Days by Mark Kistler. Mysteriously, the book appeared in my mailbox.

I was both thrilled and terrified. Could I possibly learn to draw in 30 days? The author insists that “anyone can learn how to draw; it is a learnable skill like reading or writing”.  I don’t have lofty expectations, but I will say that after just two lessons, I managed to draw a couple of tennis balls that look like, well, tennis balls!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Only time will tell if I can learn to draw. For now, I’m excited by the possibility. If I’m successful, I may tackle another dream — painting!

 

With 2529 likes and 121 projects on Ravelry, the Goat Herder Pullover is one of my most popular single-issue patterns. I designed this sweater for my oldest son, who was raising pigmy goats at the time, as a challenge to come up with a sweater that was interesting to knit but not too fancy for males who prefer “plain” sweaters.

Following a bit of knit-two-purl-one ribbing at the hem, wide ribs at the lower body give way to a chevron pattern worked with twisted stitches (no cable needle necessary!). The body is worked in rounds from the hem to the armholes, then the back and front are worked separately in rows to the shoulders. Stitches for the sleeves are picked up around the armholes and the sleeves are worked in rounds down to the cuffs, with a chevron pattern across the upper arms.

Happily, there are no seams to sew!

The original pattern includes four sizes: 35 3/4 (40 1/4, 43 3/4)” (90.5 [102, 113.5, 124.5] cm) chest circumference. However, I’ve been asked to provide it in children’s sizes as well.

To that end, I’m now working on a toddler version knitted out of fingering weight yarn (the original is knitted in worsted weight).

The yarn is Emma’s Yarn, dyed by seventeen-year-old Emma Dobratz of Winter Haven, Florida, in the colorway Beach Please on size U.S. 3 (3.25 mm) needles.

I’m thinking of adding buttons across one shoulder to facilitate putting the sweater on an active toddler. I hope to make significant progress while on my upcoming travels. Stay tuned!

Like a lot of knitters, I’ve become enamored with certain tools. Whenever I travel, whether it’s across town or across an ocean, there are a few that I’m always sure to pack.

When it comes time to check my gauge, I can’t live without the Susan Bates Knit Check that my mother gave me more years ago than I can remember. The L-shaped window in the stiff metal strip makes it easy to count stitches and rows and over 2″.

I’m also partial to my transparent Handy Gauge Ruler that features images of stitches in gauges from 4 to 9 stitches/inch in 1/2-stitch per inch increments. It’s a quick and easy way to tell if I’m maintaining gauge throughout a project. Look for one at your local yarn shop.

To hold pieces together when I’m seaming, I haven’t found anything that work as well as Pointed Roller Picks. Who knew that those torturous brush hair roller pins would become one of my favorite tools! Last time I checked, they’re still available from The Vermont County Store.

I’m lost without Safety-Pin Markers. My favorites are the small plastic ones. I use them to mark individual stitches, hold dropped stitches, and mark every 20th row to make sure my pieces (body, sleeves, socks) are the same length.

I won’t work any complicated stitch pattern without Closed-Ring Stitch Markers. I like any type that doesn’t dangle, but my favorite are rounded rubber and coated metal. Assorted colors are a bonus!

I’ve also gotten a bit particular about how I keep stitches from falling off the needles while in transport (or when I’ve put a project down for any length of time). yarn

To secure stitches and prevent sharp points from inadvertently stabbing me, I like to slide a Knitter’s Pride DPN Tube over my works in progress.

Similarly, I poke my circular needles into a Needle Keeper to prevent stitches from falling off and to prevent the tips of the needles from poking through my knitting bag. They come in lots of bright colors!

I like to wind my yarn into center-pull balls that don’t roll around as I knit. I tuck the ball into a Yarn Soxx to keep the yarn clean and prevent the ball from collapsing on itself. Sure, I could cut a section from worn-out tights, but the cozy looks so much better!

Finally, I love all my sets of Interchangeable Needles. They offer dozens of needle configurations in one tidy case. My current favorite is the Hiya Hiya Sharp Deluxe Limited Edition set that includes tips from size 2 (2.75 mm) to 15 (10 mm) and all the accruements.

Needless to say, no self-respecting knitter would caught without an assortment of Project and Notion Bags. My favorites have zippers. I’ve collected many more than I need because I’m forever seduced by new and unusual fabrics.  The bags shown here are by, clockwise from upper right, Fat Squirrel, Suburban Stitcher, Magic Junie Sews, and Jan B Smiley.

I’d love to hear about *your* favorite notions and tools! Perhaps I’m missing something else I “must” have.

It’s hard to believe that my Knit For Fun Retreats is in its fourth year! I got the idea for the retreats (even the name) when I was looking for my “happy place” while recovering from a broken arm.

I’m glad to report that my arm is thoroughly healed and I’m I having a thoroughly good time hosting retreats! My plan was to hold the retreats in cities across the country that I wanted to visit. Turns out, I’ve taken them to Canada, too.

So far I’ve taken my retreats to Park City, UT; Estes Park, CO; Freeport, ME; Vancouver, WASavannah, GA; Sturgeon Bay, WI; and Edmonton, AB, Canada.

This year we’ll go to La Jolla, CA; Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, and return to Freeport, ME.

The teachers have included notables Susan B Anderson, Lorilee Beltman, Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Nancy Bush, Bristol Ivy, Carson Demers, Meghan Fernandes, Norah Gaughan, Sivia Harding, Susannah IC, Galena Khmeleva, Joji Locatelli, Laura Nelkin, and Justyna Lorkowska (oh, and me, too). We’ve got Nancy Bush, Andrea Rangel, Veera Valimaki, Alexa Ludeman, Nancy Marchant, Julie Weisenberger, Kate Atherley, Isabel Kraemer, and Mary Jane Mucklestone lined up for 2019. Wow!

I’m writing now to ask where *you* would like to join in a Knit For Fun Retreat and what teacher(s) you’d like to learn from. North, south, east, or west, I’m game to travel the continent. There is plenty of this beautiful country that I have yet to explore.

Perhaps a future Knit For Fun Retreat could be somewhere you’re keen to visit!