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.

 

It’s that giving time of year again and once again I encourage you to make a purchase through Heifer International (self proclaimed “the most important gift catalog in the world”) to provide a living income to a family or community in need. Heifer invests in farmers and business owners around the world, spreading secure sources of income that translate into nutritious food, shelter, clean water, education, health care, and a safe and and secure environment–things that so many of us enjoy daily.

From $10 to $100,000, the catalog offers an assortment of livestock, agriculture, and education options to fit every budget. I’m in the habit of purchasing a $20 flock of chicks or geese for each of my siblings.

And, as I have done every November for years, I’ve purchased a Knitters’ Basket in an attempt to spread the joy that knitting has brought me.

With just a click of the mouse, I’ve sent one llama, one alpaca, one sheep, and one Angora rabbit (along with instructions on how to properly care for the animals) to a family or community looking for ways to become self sufficient. The coats of these animals provide fiber that can be made into warm clothing and a source of income from the sale of clothing and blankets. Everyone is a winner!

Please include Heifer in your holiday gift-giving, too!

In the now-I’ve-seen-everything department, my soon-to-be brother-in-law sent me a link to a rocking chair that he thought would interest me.

No kidding!

Who doesn’t love to knit while gently swaying back and forth in a rocker? The Rocking Knit chair designed by Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex takes this concept to a new level. The chair is designed so that kinetic energy produced from the rocker’s gliding motion actually knits a hat as you relax and rock back and forth.

The gears at the top of the chair turn and draw yarn up into what looks like a giant spool knitters with every sway back and forth. As you read the paper, the chair knits a tube that can be turned into a  hat!

Just think — if you were to knit while rocking in this chair, you could produce two hats at once! If the knitting circumference were larger, you could knit a sweater body while knitting the sleeves by hand.

 

 

Go to this website to see the chair in action.

 

My middle son (Twin One) has left on the adventure of a lifetime. Along with his most excellent girlfriend, he’s in the process of hiking the 3,000 km length of New Zealand. They started at the northern tip of the North Island and will end at the southern tip of the South Island. They expect the excursion to take five months.

Now, I have enough trouble packing for two weeks and I can’t imagine fitting everything that will be needed for five months in a single frame pack. The kids were undaunted. Below are photos of the clothes, etc. they laid out the night before they left. In terms of clothing, they each have one pair of shorts, one pair of long pants, three shirts, three pairs of socks, a jacket, and rain gear. I can certainly learn something about packing light from them!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They’re each taking three pairs of hiking shoes, but they’ll send two pairs ahead of them to post offices in towns that they’ll pass along the way. Without food (which they’ll pick up along the way), their packs weighed about 28 pounds each. Once they add food, they’ll be carrying close to 40 pounds each. Good grief, I have trouble limiting myself to a 50-pound suitcase when I travel and stay in a hotel and eat in restaurants!

Just look at those huge smiles as they said goodbye to us at the airport. Oh, to be young!

My husband and I are going to meet up with them at the northern tip of the South Island in December. I think they’ll welcome a chance to sleep in clean sheets, shower, and have a few meals at a restaurant. I’ll welcome the chance to see that they’re safe!

A new episode of Fiber Nation has been posted. Sponsored by Interweave and hosted by my personal friend Allison Korleski, this professionally produced podcast uses a storytelling format rather than a straight-up interview to detail subjects of interest to fiber enthusiasts.

The new episode, called The Donner Party and the Doll chronicles the travels of 8-year-old Patty Reed in a wagon train along the Oregon Trail in 1846. Among her few possessions, Patty had a diminutive (about 4″ tall) doll, named Dolly. Other than the crude handmade dress Dolly wears, there’s nothing particular remarkable about this wooden doll, except for one thing: The wagon train that Patty Reed and Dolly were traveling in became known as the ill-fated Donner Party.

Click here to hear the fascinating story of Patty, Dolly, and the Donner Party.

Click here to subscribe to Fiber Nation on iTunes (click on “Listen on Apple Podcasts”, then click on “Subscribe” at the left of the page, under the Fiber Nation logo.

My friends at River City Yarns in Edmonton, Canada, have put together another Advent Box for 2019. The box contains 24 individually wrapped gifts, marked with a do-not-open-before date. Each day of December you get to open a package to reveal a skein of River City exclusive yarn, a special pattern or project kit, a tasty treat, or an indispensable tool. Every year River City Yarns creates a new set of treats: so far, there are no repeats. The photo here shows a variety of knitted trees, just one of the gifts from a previous Advent Box. I can’t tell you how delighted I was last year to discover one treat included a skein of yarn and the pattern for my Peaks and Ridges Cowl. This year I’ve designed something new that will remain a secret until its designated date.

If you don’t live in the Edmonton area, you can order your box online at rivercityyarns.myshopify.com/products/rcyadventbox2019. The quantities are limited, so don’t wait. The boxes will begin shipping October 27; in-store pick-up begins November 9.

Last year I had the terrific opportunity to be part of Knit Stars 3.0: North Stars Rising, the brain child of Shelley Brander of Loops yarn shop in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I taught how to cut and finish steeks with a zipper or buttons. I had a blast filming the segment and am honored to have been included in the impressive group of stars.

This year’s Knit Stars 4.0: I’ll Alpaca My Bag will take you to new heights in Peru, weaving together the stories of the Pacomarca Sustainable Alpaca Network and the Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco, whose mission is to aid in the survival of Cusqueñan textile traditions and to provide support to the indigenous people who create them.

You’ll then east to discover how non-profit Manos del Uruguay is working with rural women to provide jobs that are more than an income, but also an opportunity to develop personally, gain independence, preserve their roots and traditions, and remain close to their families and community.

And you’ll criss-cross North America, from Nova Scotia to Oregon and everywhere in between…learning the stories of knitters and crocheters, designers and dyers…all united in their passion for the craft and their desire to spread the joy of creativity.

In all, there will be 11 informative episodes, many of which include an exclusive pattern:

  • Pacomarca – Preserving and Celebrating the Andean Way of Life
  • Martha Wissing – A Chullo-Style Hat
  • Lucy Neatby – Two-Color Double Knitting
  • Susan B. Anderson – Seamless Toy Knitting Techniques
  • Cecelia Lalanne – Hand Dyeing the Manos Way
  • Blue Sky Fibers – Adventures in Cabling
  • Andrea Wong  – Portuguese-Style Knitting
  • Hannah Thiessen – Slow Knitting, Natural Dyes, and Mending Knits
  • Marly Bird – Crochet Mending
  • Diane Ivey – Guide to Moving Forward: from Social Media to Building Inclusive Communities
  • Caitlin Hunter – Traditional Colorwork, Reinvented

It’s good to know that Knit Stars is deeply committed to diversity of all kinds – race, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, gender identity, age, geodiversity, and the inclusion of people with all ranges of ability, many of whom are unable to travel to access inspirational teachers. Year after year, Knit Stars will continue to strive toward shining a loving spotlight on teachers, dyers, and thought leaders across the broad and beautiful global spectrum that is the fiber universe.

Open enrollment begins this Thursday, October 24. Don’t procrastinate — enrollment closes in just 7 days: at midnight Pacific Standard Time on Thursday, October 31.

Click on the following link https://knitstars.com/a/4441/qzGWw9gQ to register.

Let’s knit this world together!

 

 

 

Designed for my Fall 2019 Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, The La Jolla Shores Cowl features yarnover increases and directional decreases in a modified Old Shale pattern. To me, the scalloped pattern represents clusters of flowers, which are all so abundant in Southern California.

The pattern repeats over 17 stitches and 12 rounds and is easy to memorize if markers are placed at the end of every 17-stitch repeat.

The fingering weight yarn is a luxurious blend of merino, cashmere, and nylon in a bright pink colorway specially dyed for the retreat participants by Yarning For You, located in nearby San Marcos, California.

Both charted and written instructions are provided.

Use the code LAJOLLA to receive 20% off the Ravelry purchase price of La Jolla Shores Cowl between now and midnight Mountain Standard Time on Friday, October 18, 2019.

It’s been a couple of weeks since my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, and I’m already missing all the new friends I met and the old friends I got to see again.

My event coordinator Cindy Hallam and I were joined by international teachers Nancy Bush (from Salt Lake City), Andrea Rangel (from British Columbia), and Veera Valimaki (from Finland). I think I speak for all of us by saying what a delight it was to spend some time in warm sun before returning to cooler weather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a special treat, Jeane DeCoster of Elemental Affects was on hand as the Style Doctor to help retreaters determine the optimum styles for their particular sizes and shapes. We all learned a lot about proportions and balance. Thank you Jeane!

Lastly, I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my most excellent helpers Rhonda Croxon and Chonita Olivas, who ensured that the retreaters were well taken care of and cheerfully solved any problems that cropped up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next next Knit For Fun Retreat will take place in historic Savannah, Georgia. April 23 – 26, 2020. The three teachers will be cable expert Norah Gaughan (from New Hampshire), lace expert Elizabeth Johnston (from the Shetland Isles) and yours truly (from Colorado). The basic registration package includes one class with each of us.

Registration is now open!