If you’re reading this message, chances are good that you’ve got shelter, electricity, and ample food. In this season of giving, I encourage you to do something for those less fortunate. From food banks to shelters to medical supplies and research to micro-loans, there are a lot of important ways to help.

My personal favorite organizations are (in no particular order) Heifer International (working with communities to end world hunger and poverty and care for the earth), Doctors Without Borders (an independent global movement providing medical aid where it’s needed most),  Alzheimer’s Research (the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimers care, research, and support), and Kiva (providing loans to celebrate and support people looking to create a better future for themselves, their families, and their communities).

Imagine if we all gave just $10!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can’t believe that it’s already been four weeks since my Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My rock star teachers were (left to right) Bristol Ivy, Justyna Lorkowska, and Carson Demers. The outstanding marketplace was hosted by (left to right) sisters Barb Barone and Cynthia Hyslop of River City Yarns in Edmonton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eighty-some attendees, ranging in age from their twenties to their eighties and traveling from both the U.S. and Canada, joined us at the very comfortable DoubleTree by Hilton where there was ample space for community knitting and camaraderie.

Included with a lot of other stupendous swag, each attendee received the yarn and pattern to make the Silver Lining cowl (shown at right), which is now available for purchase through Ravelry. The bulky-weight yarn is Merino Slipper by Fleece Artist dyed in the custom Silver Lining colorwary and is only available from River City Yarns. 

We’re shaking things up for our Canadian retreat in 2019. The retreat will take place in Quebec at the four-diamond Fairmont Tremblant hotel in the mountain resort of Mont-Tremblant August 8 – 11. Check out the details on my website. Registration opens December 7 at 10:00 am Mountain Standard Time.

 

 

In honor of my Fall 2018 Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Canada, I designed a thick and cushy cowl to protect against frigid temperatures and blustery winds.

The bulky yarn is Merino Slipper, hand dyed by Fleece Artist in a custom colorway that resembles the stark contrast between bare trees and snow-covered fields. Named “Silver Lining,” the colorway is a reminder that there’s beauty in even the harshest of landscapes.

The simple texture pattern repeats over just four stitches and two rounds, and is easily memorized. At a gauge of just 2.75 stitches/inch, it’s possible to complete the cowl in a single evening.

The Silver Lining cowl is now available on Ravelry. Get 20% off the $6 purchase price by using the code SILVER LINING before midnight November 25.

Just in time for the holidays I stumbled upon the ultimate gift for a knitter — knitted jewelry by Spiritus Designs.

Artist Susan Baile, who lives right here in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, creates one-of-a-kind knitted wire designs accented by semi-precious gemstones, fused silver, and mixed metals. She uses standard knitting needles to form multiple strands of metal wire into an assortment of necklaces, collars, cuffs, and earrings. The pieces are astonishingly lightweight and comfortable to wear.

I couldn’t resist a simple but stunning piece for myself. Upon seeing it, my dear husband remarked, “That’s beautiful! Take it off and let me give it to you for Christmas!” I gave him her card with a link to her website.

 

 

I don’t know about you, but I always feel as though I’ve been given a gift each fall when Daylight Savings Time ends. I love the concept of “falling back” an hour.  I only wish it didn’t necessitate “springing forward” each spring — it takes me a week to recover from the lost hour. But I digress.

This year I decided to take advantage of the hour gained by going off Daylight Savings Time last Sunday by starting a new project. I cast on stitches for (yet) another pair of socks at the top of the hour and marked my progress at the end of that hour. The geek in me decided to count the stitches –2,448 stitches in 60 minutes!

Not bad for a free hour’s work!

The yarn is Jorstad Creek Tweed Sock (100% BFL wool; 435 yards [397 meters]/100 grams) in the Chartreuse colorway. I’m using my go-to rib of k3, p1, and working the upper leg on size US 1.5 (2.50 mm) Signature double-pointed needles; I’ll work the lower leg, heel, foot, and toe on size US 1 (2.5 mm) needles. Working the upper leg on one size larger needles is a trick I learned long ago from the venerable Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. It gives just enough flare in the upper leg to accommodate the calf muscle. Brilliant!

How did you use your free hour?

 

For the past several years I’ve ordered fruit to support the marching band of one of my local high schools. I was never in band myself–in fact, I can’t play a single instrument or read music. However, it’s a good cause I love having organic fruit delivered to my house.

I’m in need of a little help this year, though. With all the time I spend on the road, I’m unable to keep up the most excellent apples I ordered.

Can you help me come up with ideas? I’ve put them in smoothies, baked them in a pie and apple crisp (there goes the diet!), put them in my husband’s lunchbox, and tried to eat one every day. Still, the box remains full of apples.

Do you have good apple recipes that you’re willing to share?

 

 

 

Drum roll please…
Enrollment for Knit Stars 3.0 is open through midnight (Pacific Time) on November 1. Check out the details at https://knitstars.mykajabi.com/a/4441/qzGWw9gQ.  The price is $199 and if you enroll now, you’ll have a chance to purchase the exclusive Knit Stars yarns when they go on sale on November 4.
During this time frame (today through November 1), Knit Stars 1.0 and 2.0 will also be available for purchase. The price is $199/each for Knit Stars 1.0 and 2.0, which can be paid in two installments.
But that’s not all. During this enrollment window you can take advantage of two additional opportunities:
1. On Tuesday, October 30 at 7pm Central Time, you can watch a live “show-and-tell” on the Knit Stars public Facebook page, with past students sharing their Knit Stars experience and the beautiful projects they’ve made since.
2. On Wednesday, October 31 at 7pm Central Time, Knit Stars creator Shelley Brander will host a live Q&A on the public Knit Stars Facebook page, during which she’ll answer any questions folks have about enrolling in Knit Stars.
Knit Stars 3.0 officially starts on November 26, with a new lesson released every other day over the course of three weeks. Those who enroll will be invited to live Q&A sessions with the Stars on Sunday, December 16 and Thursday, December 20th.
Again, visit https://knitstars.mykajabi.com/a/4441/qzGWw9gQ to learn more and enroll for 10 lessons in each Knit Stars program.

For each of my Knit For Fun Retreats I design a cowl and give the pattern along with specially-dyed yarn to each attendee. For my recent retreat in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, I designed Crimson Leaves Cowl, which I’ve now uploaded on Ravelry. 

This lacy cowl pays homage to the stunning autumn colors of turning leaves. The luxurious yarn is MCN Fingering (80% merino, 10% cashmere, 10% nylon) dyed by Wisconsin’s own Sun Valley Fibers.

The simple lace pattern resembles panels of paired leaves. It repeats over 18 stitches and 4 rounds, and it easy to follow once the panels are established. Unlike most lace patterns, this one includes increases and decreases every round–there are no “rest” rounds.

A tidy row of eyelets borders the scalloped cast-on and bind-off edges. I used the Old Norwegian (also called Twisted German) cast-on and the Sewn bind-off for matching top and bottom edges, but you can use the methods of your choice.

Between now and midnight October 26, you can get 20% off the price of this pattern by using the code RED LEAVES when checking out on Ravelry.

 

When I was Montreal recently, I visited Robyn Grauer of Les Lainages du Petit Mouton, a wool shop in the Western Island town of Pointe-Claire. I couldn’t help but notice a large box filled with dozens of handknitted dolls. It turns out that Robyn is a local collection site for dolls knitted or crocheted Health Partners International of Canada (HPIC), who use the small wool toys to help secure the packaging in boxes of medical supplies shipped overseas. Much more useful than styrofoam packaging, doctors and health-care professionals then hand out the dolls to their youngest patients.

Called Izzy Dolls, the dolls are named after Mark Isfeld, a Canadian soldier who, in the 1990s, handed out similar dolls knitted by his mother to children he met while serving overseas as a Canadian peacekeeper. Although Master Corporal Isfeld was tragically killed by a land mine explosion in 1994 while serving in Croatia, his mother continued to make the dolls, which she named for her son. Hundreds of knitters have joined the project. HPIC estimates that it hands out about 12,000 dolls a year and has handed out a total of more than 100,000 dolls in more than 100 countries.

Robin Grauer holds weekly meetings in her shop where interested knitters gather to turn leftover sportweight, DK-weight, or worsted-weight wool into “comfort” dolls. The dolls feature a variety of hair and skin colors as well as colorful “clothing.”

Knitting and crochet instructions are available at the Izzy Dolls website. Dolls can be dropped off at Les Lainages du Petit Mouton at 295 Boul Saint-Jean, Point-Claire QC H9R 3J1, Canada, or sent to: Izzy Dolls at 2907 Portland Drive, Oakville, Ontario L6H 5S4, Canada.

Finally, I’m happy that I saved all those bits of leftover yarn!

A couple of weeks ago I held my Knit For Fun Retreat in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Located along the west side of Door Peninsula, Sturgeon Bay features stunning views of rolling hills covered with farms and woods, and lots and lots of fresh Lake Michigan water.

The retreat started off with a welcome dinner Thursday night and ended with a farewell breakfast Sunday morning. In between, attendees had classes from world-class teachers Laura Nelkin, Olga Buraya Kefelian, and Susan B. Anderson. They also got a chance to spend 20 minutes with me as the Knit Doctor.

Highlights included fun with new and old friends, a jam-packed swag bag, a top-quality market place, a ride on a fire boat (and a chance to use a fire hose), and beautiful sunsets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the retreat we announced the teachers and location of the fall Knit For Fun Retreat, 2019: Nancy Bush, Andrea Rangel, and Veera Valimaki, at the four-star Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa.

Registration will open in January.