Book Winner(s)!

Thank you all for jumping in the raffle for one of my books. It’s especially nice for me to see so many comments on a blog post!

The winner is Roxanne Smart, who wrote: “Scarf Style 2 would be a delight for me to own. Why? 1. Because I don’t have it. 2. Because an old lady never has too many scarves. 3. Even if an old knitting lady has too many scarves they make wonderful gifts for others.”

After drawing Roxanne’s name, I was feeling generous and drew a second winner.

The second winner is Karen Berger, who wrote: “I would be very happy to win a copy of Simple Style. Thanks for the raffle!”

Congratulations Roxanne and Karen. Please reply to me at to give me your mailing addresses.

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Raffle Time!

It’s raffle time again!

In appreciation for the joys I get from knitting and helping people knit, I’d like to give away one of my books.

Tell me which title you’d like to win and why, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free copy. You can find all of my titles on at — click on books.

The winner will be announced Tuesday, March 17.



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Raffle Winner

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.

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Raffle Time

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.

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Socks in Progress

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!

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Teacher Spotlight: Veera Valimaki

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. 

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.

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Teacher Spotlight: Nancy Bush

I thought it would be nice to highlight the three teachers I have lined up for my Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, this fall. Nancy Bush, Andrea Rangel, and Veera Valamaki will all be spreading their wisdom and encouragement between September 19 and 23.

Nancy Bush

Like many knitters, Nancy Bush taught me to knit socks. More than that, she helped me understand sock construction and set the foundation for my ability to design sock patterns. I first met Nancy in 1993 when her first book Folk Socks was in the process of being published by Interweave Press, where I had recently joined the book department. That book launched the sock knitting craze that shows no sign of abating.

Nancy studied Art History in college and weaving from experts in Sweden. Both experiences added to her appreciation of traditional textiles, particularly knitting.


Nancy opened The Wooly West retail store in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1980 after returning from time abroad in weaving school in Sweden and working as a nanny in France. She chose knitting as a primary focus because she loved the portability of it (as opposed to weaving) and realized that knitting was accessible to everyone–the tools are few and the basic skills are easy to teach and to learn. Through the years, her shop has encouraged more folks to knit than she ever thought possible.

Nancy sold the retail store in June of 2000, but continued The Wooly West as an online endeavor. One of the first shops in the USA to carry true Shetland yarn to sock yarn imported from Wales, The Wooly West has offered “real” wool and great colors for projects to make any knitter proud. She now offers a collection of yarns to which she is devoted. You’ll also find patterns for shawls and scarves, as well as sock and other small projects, her books, a collection of books from Estonia, and some special accessories. Nancy’s goal for the Wooly West has always been to offer fine natural fiber yarns, classic and traditional patterns, useful knitting tools, and expert instruction to all of her customers.

Nancy unleashed her passion for Estonia, the country and people as well as the knitting, while writing Folk Socks, and has devoted her work to Estonian knitting ever since. She has visited Estonia many times as a researcher, travel guide, and tourist.

Since 1993, Nancy has written four other books: Knitted Lace of Estonia, Folk Knitting in Estonia, Knitting Vintage Socks, and Knitting on the Road (not shown because I’ve lost my copy), and, most recently, updated Folk Socks. Each of these books is about knitting, but also includes some history of the craft.

Nancy has also written numerous articles and patterns for many publications, including PieceWork and Knitting Traditions, and recorded an online workshop called Estonian Lace Explained for Blueprint (formerly Craftsy)

At the Fall 2019 Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, Nancy will teach the following classes:

Estonian Cast-ons—Useful and Colorful Beginnings
The Estonians have many interesting ways to cast on for their knitting, each giving a unique effect. Students will learn several different ways to cast on, including variations of a decorative braided cast on and an outstanding, stretchy and bold cast on for socks, cuffs or even the edge of a sweater. Students will learn when to use each technique and what makes each one special.

Nordic Color—Roositud, an Estonian Inlay Technique
Estonians use a special inlay technique for adding decorative color motifs to gloves and socks. Unlike embroidery, the technique is worked right into the knitting, row by row. Learn how to read Roositud charts and work this unique and colorful embellishment by knitting a sample in class.

Knitting Estonian Lace—A 200-year history
Estonia has a lace tradition spanning nearly 200 years. In this class, you’ll explore the stitch patterns and some of the history of lace knitting from Haapsalu. Through knitting a sampler, you’ll learn several ways that Estonian knitters create texture in their exquisite lace shawls.

Muhu Knitting Traditions—Color and Texture from a Small Estonian Island
The knitting from Muhu Island, off the west coast of Estonia, has gone through many changes since knitting was first practiced there several centuries ago. Learn the evolution of knitting on Muhu and learn about the colorful, intricate braided and patterned cuffs of Muhu mittens and gloves, popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries, all while making a mitten, or mitt using unique techniques.

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

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Knitters, We Have A Winner!

A lot of you responded to the Knitting Ganseys raffle and I’m sorry that I only have one copy to give away.

The random-number generator chose Cheryl, who wrote: “I’d be tickled to win this book. I met Beth years ago, before I understood who she was. Now that I know of her talents, it would be a treat to explore her new edition and knit one of her designs!”

Congratulations Cheryl! I’ll contact you directly to get your mailing address and I’ll get the book in the mail (honest).

For those of you who didn’t win, Beth will happily sign any copy purchased through her website at KnittingTraditions.

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A Very Good Book!

When Beth Brown-Reinsel wrote the first edition of Knitting Ganseys twenty-five years ago, I was on the editorial staff at Interweave Press. Hers was the first book manuscript I had the pleasure of reading. I was so taken with the traditional designs that I quickly used her clear instructions and design guidelines to design a gansey for my one-year-old son. Fast-forward twenty-five years and Beth and I have become good friends and that son is now living on his own.

I can’t emphasize how delighted I was to learn that Beth was working on a revised and updated edition of that book, titled Knitting Ganseys: Techniques and Patterns for Traditional Sweaters (published by Interweave Press; ISBN: 978-1-63250-616-0; $29.95).

I received a review copy in the mail and I’m pleased to say that I’m not disappointed. The new hardcover edition is bigger and brighter—color photos replace all but the historic black-and-white images in the original.

Like the original, the updated edition includes detailed step-by-step instructions for knitting a miniature sweater that incorporates all of the components of a traditional gansey, along with guidelines for expanding the instructions for full-size garments. The book also includes blank schematics and worksheets along with detailed information on sizing. Beth makes it surprisingly easy to take inspiration from the multitude of charted stitch patterns and design variations to create your own version of this old-world classic.

If you’re not up to designing your own, choose one of the nine projects included in the revised edition. You may recognize variations of four of the six designs in the original book, two of which feature expanded sizes. However, this edition also includes five completely new designs. From simple to intricate, clear step-by-step instructions ensure success from cast-on to finishing.

Even if, like me, you have the original edition of Knitting Ganseys, you’ll welcome the fresh layout, clear photos, worksheets, sizing information, and design inspiration in the revised and updated edition.

Generous as ever, Beth sent me a copy of Knitting Ganseys: Techniques and Patterns for Traditional Sweaters to raffle off on my blog. Respond to this post by telling me that you’d like to knit a gansey and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for the free copy. I’ll announce a winner Monday, October 1.

You can get an autographed copy if you order directly from Beth’s website at

A Very Good Book! Read More »