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!

I’m very pleased to announce that Veera Välimäki will be the third teacher (along with Nancy Bush and Andrea Rangel) at my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, September 19 – 22.

I first met Veera a couple of years ago at the  Hill Country Weavers Knitting in the Hills Retreat last year. I was so impressed with her friendly intelligence that I immediately asked her to put a Knit For Fun Retreat on her calendar.

Veera Välimäki lives and designs in a small village in Southern Finland. In her ten years of designing, she has focused on simple and clean lines with small fresh details. She’s heavily influenced by architecture and the relationship between art and architecture. Veera loves simple yet modern knits that are both easy to knit and easy to wear, especially ones that engage the mind as well as the eye.

Veera has two books published in Finland, the names of which I can’t pronounce. Fortunately for English speakers, she has also published six (6!) volumes of Interpretations, co-authored with Argentinian designer Joji Locatelli. Each volume features innovative designs by both authors. In a refreshing twist, the authors model their own garments.

Veera’s work has also been featured in magazines and books in Finland, Europe, and the U.S.

You can follow Veera on her blog, 100% Rain.

Veera will teach the following classes at my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, September 19 to 21. 

Colorplay
Enjoy a class that focuses on color in knitting—what to expect from certain colors, which colors to pair and which to begin with. You’ll learn basic color theory hands-on while knitting swatches. You’ll leave class full of inspiration and confidence!

Stripes — Beyond the Basics
Learn how to add stripes to your knitting, how to best work them, and how to make stripes extra special with easy techniques. You’ll also learn what to expect from certain colors and which colors pair best, how to enhance stripes with simple stitch patterns, knitting jogless stripes in the round, working stripes with short-rows, and keeping the edges neat.

Round-Yoke Sweaters
This class is dedicated to the art of round-yoke sweaters. Through knitting a mini sample yoke, you’ll learn the basic construction and math, then explore different ways to add colorwork, lace, or other stitch patterns. The lovely look and wide-ranging design possibilities make a round-yoke sweater ideal for experimentation.

Shawl Shapes
In this class, you’ll learn the most common shawl constructions and how to take your shawl knitting to a whole new level. In addition to basic shawl shapes—triangle, crescent, square, circular, etc.—you’ll learn how to add stitch patterns while increasing or decreasing to form the desired shape.

Click here for more information on the Knit For Fun Retreat that will feature Veera as a teacher.

With my niece expecting the first grandchild on my side of the family, I’ve been enthusiastically knitting baby things. I designed the Aubrey Cardigan in case her baby is female (though there’s no reason a male wouldn’t look adorable in it, too!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knitted in the softest pink color, this sweet little cardigan is worked in one piece from the top down with yarnover increases along the four raglan lines. Sleeve stitches are then placed on holders while the body is worked to the hem. Stitches are increased across the back to create a feminine ruffle and a comfortable fit. The lower body, cuff, and neckband edges are punctuated with eyelets and a simple rib pattern. Tiny shell buttons provide the finishing touch.

The pattern is available in two sizes: about 191/2 (221/2)” (49.5 [57] cm) buttoned chest circumference, which fit 3-6 (6-9) months. The sweater shown here is knitted in the larger size and shown on an 8-month-old miracle.

You can use any fingering weight yarn for this design. I used Manos del Uruguay Alegria (75% superwash merino wool, 25% polyamide; 445 yd [407 meters]/100 g) in color #A2149 Petal. I used size 3 (3.25 mm) needles for a gauge of 16 sts and 21 rows to 2″ (5 cm).

Use the code SWEET! to receive 20% off the Ravelry purchase price of Aubrey Cardigan between now and midnight on Sunday, April 7.

Andrea Rangel

I’m very pleased that Andrea Rangel agreed to be one of the teachers at my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, September 19 – 22. I’ve only “met” Andrea through an online group interview of all the Knit Star 3.0 teachers, hosted by Loops in Tulsa, Oklahoma. I’m super excited to finally meet her in person this September!

Andrea is a trained educator, having taught elementary, middle, and high school for several years before becoming a full-time knitwear designer. A true international representative, Andrea holds three passports (U.S., Canada, and Peru). She lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, where she knits, designs, and blogs. She also rides her bike and spends as much time outdoors as possible, often taking close-up photos of nature. She translates the detail and creativity she sees in nature into many of her knitwear designs. Enamored with the functionality and beauty of knitting, Andrea knits and designs everything from head to toe.

Andrea is the author of two books: Rugged Knits and Alterknit Stitch Dictionary. Her designs have also been published in Brooklyn Tweed Wool PeopleTwist Collective, Interweave Knits, and Knit Scene, as well as independently. Her printed patterns are available for wholesale purchase through Stitch Sprouts Distributors in North America and Ysolda Distribution in Europe.

Learn more by visiting Andrea’s website.

 

Andrea will teach the following classes at my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, September 19 to 21. 

The Fine Art of Yarn Substitution
Have you ever had trouble choosing the appropriate yarn for a pattern? In this class, you’ll be guided through the intricacies of fiber, yarn weight, and plies. You’ll learn how to decode yarn labels to match the perfect yarn to your project. You’ll get lots of hands-on experience examining Andrea’s extensive collection of swatches.

The Basics of Stranded Colorwork
Two colors of yarn can be used to create an infinite variety of beautiful patterns in knitted fabrics. Take the plunge and learn to work stranded colorwork. Expert knitter, teacher, and designer Andrea Rangel will guide you through all the elements needed to make striking stranded patterns in your knitting. Learn to read color charts, manage two balls of yarn, catch floats, and create gorgeous smooth fabric while working a fun cowl pattern. You’ll also get hints on how to pick colors that shine together and which yarns will work best for your project.

Increasing & Decreasing Master Class
Dive into the intricacies of shaping knitted fabric. Practice a variety of increases and decreases and learn the pros and cons of each method. You’ll learn how to make your shaping lean left, right, or center, and why it matters. You’ll also learn how to use shaping to improve the fit of your sweaters. This class will deepen your understanding of knitting, and allow you to add beautiful detailed precision to your projects.

Brioche and Beyond
Brioche knitting creates a lofty, squishy, and reversible fabric. In this class, learn to work basic brioche and two-color brioche, along with increases, decreases, and finishing techniques. Following instructions for both Continental and British-style knitters, you’ll work a brioche sampler.

Click here for more information on the Knit For Fun Retreat that will feature Andrea Rangel as a teacher.