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.

 

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.