I’ve been in a bit of a nesting/cleaning mode the past few weeks.

So far, I’ve gone through 80% of the closets, drawers, and cabinets in my house (excluding my yarn stash) and have donated boxes and bags of excess clothing and household items to charity. Honestly, I believe the gust of wind you might have felt was my house exhaling a huge sigh of relief.

I bragged to my knitting group about my progress and one knitter nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. Swedish death cleaning.” I had never heard of such of thing (my roots are Norwegian, not Swedish) and thought she was kidding.

She has since loaned me a fascinating book written in 2018 by a woman “somewhere between eighty and one hundred years old” who has death cleaned for so many others that she’s “dammed if someone else [will have] to death clean after [her].” Having cleaned out my parents’ house, I completely agree with her. With the exception of my precious yarn stash, which my family knows to distribute among my knitting friends, I don’t want my husband, kids, or siblings to have to deal with what they will see only as clutter.

Perhaps I’m procrastinating on “more important” work that has to be done at my desk, but I now feel the need to revisit all those closets, drawers, and cabinets for a second sweep!

 

If you’re interested in joining in a live interactive interview with me, you’ll get your chance Saturday, February 8 at 3:00pm Pacific Time. My interviewer will be Suzanne Bryan, a TKGA Master Hand Knitter who has served several years as co-chair of the review committee.
Suzanne has several sweater tutorials (worldwide) that use The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns (written by yours truly), starting with a gauge swatch and personal measurements, then guiding listeners through using my book and her tips and tricks to design their own sweaters.
Recently, Suzanne has started doing livestream YouTube interviews, called Off The Cuff, with her knitting heroes. Claiming that I’m one of them, she asked me to participate. The live interview will take place Saturday, February 8 at 3:00pm Pacific Time.
Suzanne assures me that it will be fun. I just hope that I remain one of her knitting heroes when the interview is over.

Spoiler Alert: This post has nothing to do with knitting.

A few nights ago a group of four of us joined about twenty other budding artists at Posh Splat, Boulder’s local paint and wine studio.

Back in my formative school years, I took a lot of art classes and briefly considered it as a vocation. Forty-some years later, my youthful dreams have yet to be realized. So, as you might imagine, I was delighted for the opportunity to try my hand at painting.

At Posh Splat, each “artist” is given a blank 16″ x 20″ (40.5 x 51 cm) canvas, three paintbrushes, and a squirt each of seven colors (blue, red, yellow, green, brown, black, and white). An instructor leads the class in choosing the right brushes, mixing the appropriate colors, and making the correct brush strokes, all while giving encouragement (and serving wine to help the creative juices flow).

The painting of the night was Vincent Van Gogh’s 1888 painting Cafe Terrace At Night (shown at left below). Instead of following the actual masterpiece (which would have been paralyzingly intimidating), we followed a much simplified version with fewer buildings and without the human forms (that’s my attempt on the right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, I think I was wise to stick to my knitting!

This year my husband and I turned from tradition and did not stay home for the holidays. Instead, we went to New Zealand where we met up with Twin 1 and his most excellent girlfriend, who are following the Te Araroa trail from the northern tip of the North Island to the southern tip of the South Island. I’m insanely impressed by their sense of adventure that requires 4 months of backpacking along 3,000 km of trails.

We spent three days with the kids, during which time we fed them and put them up in hotels where they could shower and do laundry. We filled their backpacks with food and sent them on their way.

My husband and I then embarked on a 12-day trip of both islands. I took what for me was a lot of photos, but they don’t do justice to the spectacular scenery.

Top to bottom: Recreational Reserve on Kaikoura Peninsula (South Island), waterfall in the Milford Sound (South Island), Hobbiton (North Island), and grazing sheep near Queenstown (South Island).

 

New Zealand is a tourist destination for people from around the world. Happily for me, they speak English. However, not all visitors speak the same language so officials have come up with clever signs that can be universally understood. We ran into the sign shown here at the entrance to a suspension bridge. Fortunately, there were only four of us on the bridge so we didn’t risk tumbling into the rushing water below.

 

As you may know, New Zealand is know for its exquisite wool and wool products. Like any self-respecting visitor (and a knitter to boot), I was thrilled to find the The Merino Story and wool shop, disguised as giant sheep in Tirau (North Island). Yes, I made purchases.

Although I took my knitting (I never travel without it) and we spent many hours in the car, boats, or buses, I didn’t knit a single stitch! However, I did return home with a lot of inspiration.

 

The third Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Canada, is now open for registration!

Once again we’ll partner with River City Yarns in Edmonton, and because we like it so much, we’ll return to the DoubleTree by Hilton, in West Edmonton.

Our Rock Star teachers are Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Xandy Peters, and Canada’s own Shirley A Scott.

Olga

 

Olga will teach the following three-hour classes:

          • 3-Dimensional Knitwear
          • Brioche and Beyond
          • Novelty Cables

Olga’s optional full-day (6 hour) class is                        3-Dimensional Knitwear

 

Zandy will teach the following three-hour classes:

      • Intro to Stacked Stitches
      • Color Theory for Fiber Artists
      • Center-Out Knitting

Zandy’s optional full-day (6 hour) class is Fox Paws Workshop

 

 

Shirley will teach the following three-hour classes:

            • Wreckhouse Wristers
            • Glove Knitting for Newbies
            • Beaded Eyelet Wristers

Shirley’s optional full-day (6 hour) class is  Newfoundland Mittens in a Day

 

Registration includes three 3-hour classes (one class with each instructor) during four class periods: Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. You will be given one free period with regular registration.

In addition to three 3-hour classes, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one sessions of 20 minutes each with the Knit Doctor (that’s me, Ann Budd) on a first-come, first-serve basis. I’ll help you with anything that ails your knitting, from taking measurements and choosing yarn to finding your place in a piece gone wrong and fixing mistakes.

For an additional fee, you can sign up for an optional full-day class with one of the teachers opening day (Thursday, August 27). If space is available, you’ll also have the opportunity to register for a fourth class in lieu of a free period.

Take time for yourself this year and join us for three (or four) days of learning, knitting, shopping, and enjoying the company of knitting enthusiasts from around the world! Gifts and prizes may be included…

Go to Knit For Fun Retreats for complete details.

Click here to register 

I’m not one to make New Year’s Resolutions (too much pressure), but I do find myself reflecting on my accomplishments at the end of each year. I posted nine (9!) projects on website and I’d like to celebrate that with you.

From now until midnight Sunday, January 5, you can receive 30% off the Ravelry purchase price of all of my 2019 patterns. Use the code 9in2019 when you check out with any (or all) of the following patterns.

1.Aubrey Cardigan                       2.Beach Cusps Cowl                       3.Dalton Cardigan

 

4.Florentine Filigree Cowl     5.Junior Goat Herder Pullover       6.La Jolla Shores Cowl

 

7.Mont Tremblant Cowl       8.Port Townsend Swing Cardi           9.Walker Baby Blanket

Once again, Knit For Fun Retreats will partner with River City Yarns for a third Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Canada. Because we like it so much, we’ll return to the DoubleTree by Hilton, West Edmonton.

Rock Star teachers are Olga Buraya-Kefelian, Xandy Peters, and Shirley A Scott.

OlgaThe daughter of a professional tailor, Olga Buraya-Kefelian (aka Jazzyknits) acquired an understanding of clothing construction at a young age. That understanding has evolved into Olga’s imaginative yet versatile knitwear designs that balance a love for texture with a minimalist approach. Her designs evolve from technique-driven elements that provide her students with a greater learning experience and impeccably finished knitwear. In addition to publishing her own designs, Olga is a contributing designer, author and co-author of numerous titles. Learn more at www.olgajazzy.com.

Xandy Peters is a knitting designer and teacher, best known as the innovator of the stacked stitch technique and for her Fox Paws pattern. After graduating from Pratt Institute with a degree in Industrial Design, she started out as a footwear and product designer. Xandy turned to knitting as a way to explore textiles and surfaces without using factory production and 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 on Ravelry. Follow Xandy’s blog at http://theworkisgettingtome.blogspot.com.

Shirley A Scott (aka Shirl the Purl) is a handknitter with a special love for history and North Atlantic culture that led to her first book Canada Knits: Craft and Comfort in a Northern Land, which chronicled the history of knitting in Canada. She went on to publish her own knitting newsletter, to establish her own craft tour company, and to design and publish many knitting patterns. She is now co-author with Christine LeGrow of Saltwater Mittens, Saltwater Classics, and the upcoming Saltwater Gifts books, all of which celebrate the Newfoundland aesthetic. A native of New Brunswick and a survivor of 50 years of living in Toronto, Shirl now makes her home in Newfoundland, where she has found shared interests, deep friendships, and much food for the soul

The regular retreat classes will be scheduled during four class periods: Friday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday morning, and Saturday afternoon. You will be given three classes (one with each instructor) and one free period with regular registration. In addition to three 3-hour classes, you’ll have the opportunity to sign up for one-on-one sessions of 20 minutes each with the Knit Doctor (that’s me, Ann Budd) on a first-come, first-serve basis. I’ll help you with anything that ails your knitting, from taking measurements and choosing yarn to finding your place in a piece gone wrong and fixing mistakes. With more than 40 years’ knitting experience, I’ve seen (and corrected) almost everything.

For additional fees, you can sign up for an extra full-day class with one of the teachers opening day (Thursday, August 27). If space is available, you’ll also have the opportunity to register for a fourth class in lieu of a free period.

Go to Knit For Fun Retreats for complete details.

Registration opens Saturday, January 11 at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Standard Time

As an ongoing project throughout the year, I knitted all 12 mini mittens in Kathy Lewinski’s 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland as a gift for an unsuspecting friend. The mittens are quite addictive and I found them hard to put down for other obligations. I’m planning to attach the mittens to a long I-cord to form a garland.  However, if I don’t get to it, they’ll be adorable as separate ornaments.

You can purchase the pattern for all 12 designs in the 12 Days of Christmas Mitten Garland on Ravelry for $5.00, which includes the written pattern and 26 charts (a mirrored version and numbered version for each of the twelve days, plus an alternative picture for day seven). You can also download the patterns separately for free, though I think the $5 price is a steal for all the clever charts!

The mittens are worked with fingering weight yarn on size U.S. 1 (2.25 mm) double-pointed needles. Each mitten measures about 4.5” tall and 2.25” wide (not including thumb). I purchased one 400 yd skein each of three colors for the mittens shown here and I’m fairly certain that there’s enough yarn left to knit another set. That one will be for ME!

For a number of years I’ve taught at Four Purls, a family-owned and run yarn shop in Winter Haven, Florida that’s home of hand-dyed Emma’s Yarn, created by owners JD and Laura Dobratz’s daughter Emma as a result of homeschool classes on math. (I used Emma’s Yarn for my Junior Goat Herder Pullover.) Still in high school, Emma relies on her older sister Aspen to help with the the logistics of running a rapidly growing yarn dyeing business. I’m happy to say that I’ll return again December 7 and 8 this year to teach A Skirt For All Seasons and Toe-Up Socks. It’s always nice to escape the Colorado winter for a bit of Florida warmth.

However, I’m even more excited to announce that I’ll be one of three teachers at the first Four Purls Getaway in Kalamazoo, Michigan, July 16-19, 2020. Kalamazoo is the hometown of JD and Laura. For years, they’ve dreamed of sharing their Michigan roots with their clients.

Next July, that dream comes true.

The retreat will take place at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in the heart of downtown Kalamazoo, walking distance to specialty shops, breweries, distilleries, and coffee roasters, as well as world-class dining.

I’ll join teachers Kate Atherley and Melissa Kemmerer.

Kate Atherley, Knitty.com’s Managing Technical Editor, seasoned designer, and teacher of all things knitterly, is known for her attention to detail in her patterns and classes. Kate regularly teaches at stores and events across North America, and her work has appeared in many books and magazines. Kate’s technique classes are a lively mix of discussion, demonstration, and hands-on practice, with individual attention and guidance provided. At the retreat, Kate will teach Two Socks At Once: The War & Peace Method, Make-or-Break Garment Skills, and The Pi Shawl.

Knit designer, Melissa Kemmerer is from Upstate New York. She loves to knit sweaters and does not like to sew, a combination that results in her nearly seamless sweater designs. Since 2018, Melissa has been designing for and creating Nomadic Knits magazine along with her best fiber friend, Becky Beagull. Melissa travels the country looking for indie dyers and designers to feature in the pages of Nomadic Knits. She loves to explore the local knitting culture wherever she goes and is ridiculously excited to share her finds with the world. At the retreat, Melissa will teach Beyond the Basics, Inside Nomadic Knits, and Knits that Fit.

I’ll fill in with Happy Heels—Explore Three Heel Variations, Two-Layer Mittens, and Fixing Mistakes.

In addition to classes and camaraderie, attendees will have access to a specially curated marketplace that will feature Michigan makers, as well as a private one-on-one 30-minute shopping session with Laura, Aspen, or Emma, all of whom will help you find the perfect yarn for your project.

To provide their guests with the opportunity to explore more of Kalamazoo after the retreat, Laura and JD are offering a 4-night extension (organized by my own event coordinator Cindy Hallam) that will include many of the highlights of their favorite town.

I’ve uploaded the Port Townsend Swing Cardi on Ravelry. This lightweight cardigan features a crewneck, three-quarter-length set-in sleeves, folded hems, and an A-line silhouette. It’s an ideal layer that spans multiple seasons. The swing shape is achieved by mirrored increases worked along most of the center back.

The sweater is worked from the top down following the general template for set-in sleeve construction in The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters.

The brushed yarn, Colinton Australia Lace Blends, is a luxurious blend of 80% fine mohair and 20% silk that is hand-dyed in Australia and exclusively distributed in the U.S. by The Bazaar Girls Yarn Emporium in Port Townsend, Washington.

The pattern is provided in nine sizes ranging from 34″ (86.5 cm) to 60 3/4″ (154.5 cm) bust circumference.

Use the code SWING to receive 20% off Port Townsend Swing Cardi by midnight Saturday, December 7.