When you receive this post I’ll be traveling the highways with my event coordinator, Cindy. We’ll head east from Colorado to Wisconsin, where I teach for a couple of days at the Milwaukee Knitter’s Guild (you can find them on Facebook at Greater Milwaukee Knitting Guild). This road trip will be in part a revisit of my childhood when my parents would pack all four of us kids and the family dog in the station wagon to visit our grandparents in Madison. The most memorable trips were the time we were stuck in Nebraska waiting out a tornado while listening to the weather report on a transistor radio, and the time the family dog got into some garbage at a rest stop and some miles later had uncontrollable diarrhea. I was sitting in the back of the car with the suitcases and the miserable dog. I don’t remember much beyond screaming at my father to stop the car and let me out. My fingers are crossed for clear weather and good health.

After teaching in Milwaukee, we’ll head to beautiful Door County for the sold-out Knit For Fun Retreat in Sturgeon Bay. Years ago my parents took a bicycle tour of Door County and raved about the beautiful scenery. These were people who routinely biked in Germany and Switzerland and were no strangers to breathtaking scenery. Their enthusiasm prompted me to schedule a retreat in the area. The timing should be right for crisp air, blue skies, and fall colors.

I’ll write a recap of the fun when I return. In the meantime, you can read about Knit For Fun Retreats on my website. I invite you to join the future fun!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve uploaded a new pattern on Ravelry.

I designed Longest Day Socks while knitting from sunup to sundown as a fundraiser for Alzheimer’s awareness and research. During the 16 hours of sunlight, I completed one and half socks and raised more than $2,000.

I admit that I took a a little break from knitting and didn’t finish the second sock until a few days after the event.

These socks are worked from the top down in columns of traveling stitches that resemble vertical lines of lightening bolts, Harry Potter fashion.

The socks begin with a Twisted German cast-on, followed by a few rounds of twisted rib. The remainder of the leg and the instep are worked in the embossed lightening bolt pattern for an interesting, but not-too-complicated knit. A traditional round heel (composed of a heel flap and gusset) provides a comfortable fit. The tip of the toe is closed with Kitchener stitch.

Use the coupon code CURE ALZHEIMER’S to receive 20% off the purchase price of Longest Day Socks between now and midnight September 15.

I recently taped my segment of Knit Stars 3.0: North Stars Rising. Unlike other video workshops I’ve done, I got to tape this one in the comfort of my own home.

It took about six hours to tape what will be about 60 minutes of class. During the class, I instruct how to secure steek stitches with slipstitch crochet, cut the steek open, then finish the edges with a zipper or button band. It’s similar to a class I’ve taught for a couple of years.

I’ve found that many knitters are wary of cutting their knitting (and, honestly, who can blame them?) and are uncomfortable attaching a zipper to knitting. To minimize the knitting time, I teach the techniques on a cool little cup cozy. The cozy can be knitted in a couple of hours so students don’t feel as though they may sacrifice a whole lot of knitting time if the cutting goes wrong (it never does, by the way).

I knitted nine step-outs in preparation for the day of taping. I didn’t want to waste time knitting on set when I could easily grab a separate cozy for each technique.

We set up stage on my desk, which I covered with a linen tablecloth to provide a neutral background. Once the camera was set up, we used masking tape to mark off the edges of the field of view. The tape helped me stay focused in the center.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the last segment was tapped, I’m not sure who was more delighted — me because I got through it all or my videographer, Daniel who had time to join his girlfriend at a local brewery! Suffice it to say that we were both happy.

Now Daniel’s real work begins — he has to put together a cohesive class from all the starts and stops of the taping, and cut out all my blunders!

Knit Stars 3.0 will debut November 26 – December 14.

Freebie videos will become available October 16, 19, and 23, followed by a live Q&A with the makers of Knit Stars on October 24.

Enrollment for Knit Stars 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 (including yours truly in 3.0) will be open for one week between October 25 and November 1. After that, the classes will be unavailable for an indefinite amount of time. Mark your calendars for the dates if you’d like to join in (and I hope you do!).

Live Q&A with the teachers will take place December 15 and December 16.

Although it’s been a couple of weeks, it seems like we got back from our grand vacation just yesterday.  We arrived in Paris July 28, in the midst of severe heat wave that affected most of western Europe.

The heat didn’t prevent me from enjoying cafe au lait while knitting at one of the million outdoor cafes. It did, however, make me rethink plans to climb the steps in the Eiffel Tower. I was quite satisfied to enjoy it (and a lot of other monuments) from the shade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we were whisked to the Burgundy region where we joined four other couples on L’Impressioniste, a luxury canal barge operated by European Waterways. We spent six fabulous days traveling down the Burgundy canal at a slow, relaxed pace interrupted by thirty-some locks. In addition to cases of fine French wine, the barge was equipped with bicycles for all of the passengers. We took a ride along the tow path but the heat made us give up after only five miles.

The views were fantastic. Along the way we visited castles, vineyards, and wineries, oh my!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the canal “cruise”, we returned for another week in Paris, where we joined forty million other tourists at the Louvre, Orsay, and Picasso Museums, and the Palace of Versailles. It was a challenge to see some of the masterpieces up close, but I found that many of the ceilings were equally impressive easier to see amid all the tourists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of the most interesting things I stumbled upon was a class of budding artists sketching one of the statues in the Louvre. Without appearing too obvious, I watches as these youngsters demonstrated remarkable talent. I wanted to get a sketch pad and join them!

I was in serious danger of gaining a lot of weight, what with all that pastry, wine, and cheese, but the museums offered lots of miles to walk off the calories. I racked up some serious steps on my FitBit and came home only a few pounds heavier!

 

 

 

 

For three days only, Craftsy Classes are under $20 
Back-to-school savings aren’t just for kids! Tomorrow through Sunday (August 17 – 19), every Craftsy class is on sale (some restrictions apply). This includes my three classes Save Our Stitches: Fixing Knitting Mistakes, Essential Skills for Sock Knitting, and Knit Like a Master, as well as tons of new classes.

 

 

Knit Like a Master Craftsy Class

Continue your path of learning from the comfort of your home.

You don’t need a coupon to save. Simply choose from the huge selection by clicking here.

 

Thanks to all of you for your well wishes and nice comments about my books!

The winner of the raffle is Sheila Malcolm, who wrote on August 8:

“Bonjour, Ann! Thanks for this offer. I’m interested in Simple Style. I’ve always loved that sweater on the cover, and its beautiful fall colors. And I seem to have a number of other books already!”

Congratulations Sheila! I’ll contact you directly through email to get your mailing address.

As you read this post I’ll be getting ready to return from a most excellent two-week vacation with my husband in France. I’ll post about the details later.

For now, I’d like to give you a chance to win a copy of one of my books. Simply reply to this post telling me which book you’d like and I’ll draw a winner on Saturday, August 11.

Not familiar with my books? No problem. Below is a list with links.

Getting Started Knitting Socks

New Directions in Sock Knitting

Sock Knitting Master Class

Knitted Gifts

Lace Style

Wrap Style

Bag Style

Color Style

Simple Style

Knitting Green

Scarf Style 2

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Sweater Patterns

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down SweatersColor Style

The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns

I’ve recently posted the pattern for my Hygga Delight Socks on Ravelry.

Like a lot of people, I’ve embraced the Danish concept of hygge, which roughly translates to “cozy.” And what is cozier than slipping your feet into a blend of merino, cashmere, and silk? I designed these socks for unbridled self-indulgent luxury. Wear them while sipping cocoa in front of a fire, reading a novel on a stormy night, or simply relaxing at the end of a cold day.

These socks are worked with one strand each of two luxury fingering weight yarns held together throughout. The cuff begins with a decorative Channel Island cast-on followed by a few slouchy welts. The heel is composed of a flap and gusset; the toe is finished with the Kitchener stitch.

I realize that the heat of the summer is not exactly prime time for knitting such thick and warm socks, but I promise that cold weather will be here before we know it. Like any good Girl Scout, you’ll want to be prepared.

You’ll find my Hygge Delight socks on my Ravelry page. Use the code COZY to get 20% off the purchase price between now and midnight August 1. Then be prepared to laugh in the face of winter.

Get ready for my Knit For Fun Retreat, which will return to the award-winning Harraseeket Inn located in downtown Freeport, Maine from May 2 to May 5, 2019.

Registration opens at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on July 23. That’s today!

The retreat begins Thursday afternoon with check-in (nametag, room assignment, and a swag bag filled with fun surprises), followed by opening-night festivities.

Classes will be held in three-hour sessions in the mornings and afternoons of Friday and Saturday and will be limited to 24 students each. Your package will include three classes—one with each instructor. You’ll also get one free three-hour period for relaxing, exploring, shopping, or just having fun. For those of you who are “class junkies,” there may be an option to purchase an extra class in lieu of the free period, provided space is available.

An optional full-day (six-hour) intensive class will also be available from each instructor before official check-in on the first day of the retreat.

A marketplace will be open at least one evening of the retreat where you’ll find yarn and other knitting “necessities.”

Lodging, meals (including vegetarian and gluten-free options), beverages, and snacks will be provided throughout the retreat. In other words, you’ll be fully taken care of.

The instructors for this retreat include (from left to right)  Kate Atherley, Isabell Kraemer, and Mary Jane Mucklestone .

Kate Atherley

Mary Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate will teach:

Introduction to Garment Alterations—Make it Your Own: Participate in a detailed discussion of garment fit and how to adjust that fit. This is not a class on how to custom-fit a given pattern; rather, it’s a discussion of how to choose the right garment to simplify the alterations, how to identify the alterations required, and how to approach the pattern adjustments.

Soxpertise—Improve Your Sock Knitting: In this class, you’ll explore a wide range of sock topics, including fit, reinforcement, different constructions and different ways to work them, and yarn choice. You’ll also learn Kate’s fail-proof method for picking up gusset stitches to prevent holes from forming in top-down heel flap socks.

Fearless Finishing—A Perfect Ending: Let Kate guide you through the key finishing skills, including seaming, blocking, weaving in ends, working the Kitchener stitch, and picking up stitches. Through hands-on practice, you’ll leave confident in finishing your next project. If you suffer from “finishing-itis”, this class is for you!

Smart Strategies for Garment Knitting—Make the Most of Your Knitting Time: This full-day class takes a deep dive into garment knitting, beginning with how to choose a style that suits your body type and how to choose the most flattering size. You’ll also learn how to choose appropriate yarn and how to get gauge, and you’ll leave prepared to tweak the fit with your own alterations and adjustments.

Isabell will teach:

Short-Rows—When and Why: Short-rows have become a shaping staple for many knitwear designers. In this class, you’ll learn several different techniques for using short-rows and where to use them. You’ll learn how to add shaping to a neckline worked in the round and how to shape shoulders, bust darts, and hem lines. Techniques will be illustrated through a variety of Isabell’s designs that use this versatile technique.

Seamless Set-In Sleeves—Look Ma, No Seams!: Ever wanted to get the tailored look of a classic set-in sleeve garment without sewing? This workshop will guide you through the techniques needed to work a set-in sleeve seamlessly from the top down. You may never knit a sleeve from the bottom up again!

Shawl Shapes—So Many Choices: Shawls are knitted in a wide range of shapes. This class will help you understand how the shapes are created by increases or decreases to form triangular (both symmetric and asymmetric), circular, semi-circular, and square shawls. You’ll learn different ways to increase, how to add color and texture, and how to combine different yarn weights.

Top-Down Sweater Design—Make it Great from the Top: Geared toward the adventurous knitter, this full-day class will lead you in designing your own top-down sweater. We’ll begin with a brief overview of different top-down constructions and how to choose the one that best suits your design ideas. We’ll work through all the steps necessary to bring your ideas to life, from taking measurements and adding ease to the effect of stitch patterns.

Mary Jane will teach:

Scandinavian Colorwork—Examine a Tradition: Through knitting a headband or hat, explore color choices and the classic motifs used in Scandinavian stranded knitting. Learn techniques for tacking down extra-long floats, how to Norwegian purl, and a nifty way to execute garter stitch in the round. Along the way, you’ll explore ideas for combining motifs and adding colorwork to liven up any project.

Two-Color Knitting—Let’s Begin: Through knitting a headband or hat, learn the basics of two-color knitting, including several methods to hold yarns, reading charts, yarn dominance, how to introduce new colors, prevent yarns from tangling, and weave in ends. This class is for those new to stranded knitting and those looking to brush up on their techniques.

Making It Up—The Fair Isle Hat: Begin designing with Fair Isle motifs by starting your own hat. Through Mary Jane’s guidance and lots of individual attention, you’ll experiment will color and pattern to create your own design. You’ll leave class inspired to complete your hat and generate other colorwork projects!

Andean Accents—An Exploration of Decorative Edges: Learn to make both the checkerboard and scalloped edgings used in traditional chullos (Andean earflap hats), as well as “instant” popcorns (bobbles) while knitting a fun pair of wristlets. You many never knit a “plain” edge again!

Fresh Fair Isle—Liven Up Your Knitting: Learn the basics of color theory and how to use its principles to guide color choices while knitting a simple stranded wristlet or fingerless glove during this full-day class. Examine the use of color in traditional Fair Isle knitting and move beyond into developing your own personal color schemes. You’ll also learn to analyze how different color combinations can completely change the look of a motif.

I’ll fill in as the Knit Doctor to help whatever ails your knitting. You can sign up for a free one-on-one consultation when you register and I’ll do my best to send you off with a clear diagnosis and a complete remedy.

I’ll also teach my very popular full-day class on Thursday:

A Skirt for All Seasons—Design a Custom-Fit “Pleated” Skirt

Knitted skirts are becoming wardrobe staples—and they’re a lot easier to knit than you might think (they require just three to four skeins of sock yarn)! Learn how to take proper waist and hip measurements and combine them with your gauge to create a “pleated” skirt with a perfect fit, no matter your size. You’ll leave with a personalized skirt pattern for your yarn and gauge.

Space is limited to 90 participants. Register now to secure your spot! 

I’ve been scurrying to knit all the necessary step-outs for my upcoming Knit Stars 3.0 segment. It’s all very exciting.

I’ll be teaching how to cut and finish a steek with a zipper or button band. Downloadable instructions are included for knitting two cup cozies — one with a bright zipper and one with a tidy button band. You don’t have to commit too much time to knitting the small pieces before you can practice the fine art of adding closures to steeks! Once you successfully cut your knitting, you’ll wonder what all the fuss is about.

Special yarns have been dyed by my friend Ana Clerc of Yarn Carnival for my cup cozy project. Kits will be available through Loops in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Knit Stars 3.0 will launch in November. Sales are currently closed but you can get your name on the waitlist to ensure your spot when they open again this fall.