friends

Ready, Set, Sign Up!

Mark your calendar — tomorrow (Saturday, January 5) registration for the Knit For Fun Retreat in La Jolla, California, opens at 10:00am Mountain Standard Time.

The international guest instructors will be Estonian knitting expert Nancy Bush; author of Alterknits Stitch Dictionary and Rugged Knits Andrea Rangel, and Finnish sensation Veera Valimaki. Registrants get one 3-hour class with each instructor and the opportunity for a one-on-one session with the Knit Doctor (that’s me, Ann Budd).

The retreat will take place September 19 – 22 at the four-diamond Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, where you’ll be fully taken care of. Tucked away within 10 acres of lush, tranquil gardens, this hotel/spa provides a flawless blend of luxury and comfort. When you’re not in class or otherwise consumed by Knit For Fun Retreat activities, relax by the heated saltwater pool and whirlpool with poolside cabanas, bask in the sunshine and gardens, or treat yourself to a massage, facial, or nail service.

La Jolla

You’ll find all the details about the teachers, classes, optional add-ons, and costs at Knit For Fun Retreats/La Jolla. Let’s have some fun in the sun!

You Rock!

We knitters are such nice people!

I’m very pleased to announce that a total of 413 patterns were sold from my Ravelry site between Wednesday, September 13, and Wednesday, September 20, for a total of $1,900.25 raised for disaster relief! I’m going to add the difference to make an even $2,000 to send to The American Red Cross to use as they see fit to help the victims of the recent fires, floods, and fierce weather.

Thank you all so much for your support. I hope that the things you knit following my patterns will all turn out especially nice!

Happy 2016

images-3At the dawning of 2016, I want to take the opportunity to express my gratitude for all of you knitters who make my life of knitting possible. Through buying my books, patterns, and on-line Craftsy classes, you’ve allowed me to make a living out of teaching and designing. Through attending my workshops, you’ve allowed me to travel throughout the country and beyond.

To celebrate the new year, I’ve taken liberty with lyrics to Auld Lang Syne (my apologies to Robert Burns):

 

Should old UFOs be forgot,

And never brought to mind?

Or should the scoundrels be ripped out,

And knitted one more time?

 

For every stitch’s sake, my dear,

For every stitch’s sake.

We’ll start another project yet,

For every stitch’s sake.

 

And surely as ye’ll drop a stitch,

So surely I’ll drop mine!

Let’s learn to fix our own mistakes

For every stitch’s sake.

 

For every stitch’s sake, my dear,

For every stitch’s sake.

We’ll start another project yet,

For every stitch’s sake.

 

At last I’ll have a nice warm hat,

And a pair of socks for ye.

We snuggle up in woolen wear,

To last the whole new year!

 

For every stitch’s sake, my dear,

For every stitch’s sake.

We’ll start another project yet,

For every stitch’s sake.

 

Here’s hoping that 2016 brings you comfort and joy in knitting as well as all other aspects of life. Like all new beginnings, a new year brings endless possibilities for growth and enlightenment. I’m looking forward to new knitting adventures—the places I’ll see, the people I’ll meet, and the new events and projects to come.

May your gauge be true, your yarn have no knots, and your stitches behave.

Giving Thanks

It’s that time of year again when we reflect on our blessings and reach out to family and friends.

As has become custom for me, I’ve purchased a Heifer Knitter’s Basket in honor of all my knitting friends and in appreciation of the may ways that knitting has enriched my life.

Heifer InternationalBut that’s not all. In the spirit of giving, I’m running a raffle for a free copy of Gloria fingerless mitts. These mitts are knitted from a single skein of Quince & Co Piper (50% superfine Texas merino, 50% kid Texas mohair).

quince-and-co-gloria-mitts-ann-budd-piper-1There’s still time to knit them for a holiday gift (or for yourself). Respond to this post by telling me who you’d knit them for, and I’ll enter your name in a drawing. The winner will be announced Saturday, November 28.

Wishing you all reasons to be thankful every day of the year!

 

Newlyweds

Nothing gives me more hope for the future than weddings and the birth of babies.

Last weekend my niece tied the knot with a man she’s known since high school (she’s a doctor now). The wedding took place in beautiful Nahant, Massachusetts, in the same church were her parents were wed some thirty years ago.

 

Kate and Chris at alter

Bucking tradition, Kate chose her brother as “man of honor” instead of maid of honor. That’s him on the left holding the bouquet.

Kate’s aunts on her mother’s side appeared in royal headgear (hollythehat.com).

Susan's hat

I might have felt under dressed if I hadn’t brought the lovely shawl that a dear friend of my heart made for me!

Kate and me

Here’s wishing the happy couple endless joy and prosperity!

It’s time for me to get back to my knitting…

 

Hill Country Weavers Annual Retreat

Last year over this weekend the Hill Country Weavers in Austin, Texas, held their first-ever retreat–Knitting In The Hills Getaway. I had the good fortune to be one of the first teachers (Romi Hill was the other). Because this was on of the best organized and funnest retreats I’ve been to (and I’ve been to a lot), I was disappointed that my schedule wouldn’t allow me to attend this year.

Well, it just so happens that at the retreat last year I became good friends with the organizer, Cindy, who felt bad that I couldn’t join in this years fun (I think my broken arm added to her pity). So what did she do? She sent me the same swag bag that was given to all the attendees.

Swag bag with presents

Last night we connected on FaceTime as I opened all the wrapped gifts. And, as last year, the gifts were superb:

Swag bag gifts

In addition to the large tote (with a square base!), the gifts included a 400-yd yd skein of Civility Sport (70% U.S. merino, 30% mulberry silk), complements of Elemental Affects; a small tube of highlighter tape; a Knitter’s Pride Row Counter; the book Zealana Passport Fall/Winter 2014, featuring patterns by Cirilia Rose (one of this year’s instructors) and including a color card; a set of my most favorite Brittany cable needles; two small pom-pom makers from Clover; a Magma Knitting Pattern Holder (for holding and storing knitting patterns and charts), also from from Knitter’s Pride (I am so going to take this with me on my trip to Australia/New Zealand later this month!); a Try-It-On Tubing for handknitters that allows you to add length to circular needles so you can try your sweater on as you go (a perfect companion for The Knitter’s Handy Book of Top-Down Sweaters, by the way), from Machine Knitting to Dye For; a ceramic mug that’s embossed with a cable-rib pattern from Leed’s that will become my new morning coffee cup; a Blade-650 mini digital pocket scale with a 650-gram capacity (great for telling how much yarn you have leftover) from American Weigh Scales; and last, but certainly not least, a handmade small project knitting bag made by Magic Junie Sews, which I will most certainly take on my trip to Australia/New Zealand.

What a great haul!

I encourage you to sign up for next year’s Knitting in the Hills Getaway you can fit it in your schedule — I promise you won’t be disappointed.

 

Finished Cowl

This weekend we had dinner with Vicki, who has started chemo for breast cancer. She was delighted with the cowl I knitted out of mink yarn (the pattern is called Stratosphere) — it seems that Vicki is very sensitive to drafts against the back of her neck, below where hats typically reach.

Vicki's Cowl 1

 

Other than losing her hair, Vicki said that the first treatment wasn’t too bad. Today, she’s having the second of four treatments. Here’s hoping she bounces back just as quickly!

 

Giving Thanks

As I snuggled up with my knitting and a warm cup of tea under a handknitted (and handspun!) alpaca blanket last night, I reflected on how important knitting is to my life. To pass on the joy, I’ve ordered a Knitting Basket from Heifer International. The “basket” contains a llama, alpaca, sheep, and angora rabbit. Imagine the luxury yarn that could be spun out of that combination!

Heifer International

If you’re unsure about what to give to friends, family, or colleagues this holiday season, take a look at the Heifer gift catalog. From a share of a sheep $10 to an entire ark of animals for $5,000, there’s a gift in every price range that truly will keep giving. The animal you buy today will provide food, clothing, and self reliance for years to come.

 

 

Chemo Cowl

My friend Vicki recently had a double mastectomy and is scheduled to begin chemo right after Thanksgiving (she said she didn’t want her hair falling out while she was cooking the big feast).

To help her keep warm, I’ve decided to knit a cowl. This isn’t just any cowl, it’s called Stratosphere and is designed by Katherine Leek, who manages Twisted in Portland, Oregon.

First few inches

I met Kat on the Craft Cruise trip to Alaska in May. She and her mother took the cruise together and made me wish I could have done something similar with my mother. It was chilly in Alaska and Kat wore this cowl. I loved it. She recently reworked the pattern for fingering and laceweight yarn and sent me the instructions.

Now I’m happy to knit one for Vicki out of 100% mink yarn that I bought in Alaska.

Don’t you just love how things come together?

Remembering Bonnie

Last week my dear friend Bonnie died of stomach cancer. I first met Bonnie about five years ago when I led a knit-along at a local yarn shop. That knit-along turned into a knitting group that has met every Saturday morning since, and Bonnie was a cornerstone of that group. Please indulge me while I take a few minutes to remember the things that I admired about Bonnie.

1. Bonnie was fiercely truthful and couldn’t abide dishonesty.

2. Bonnie never met a knitter she didn’t like; I suspect that she never met a politician that she did like.

3. Bonnie was true to herself; she didn’t waste time trying to please other people.

4. Bonnie had wit, especially when it came to life’s absurdities; when she was on a roll, I’d laugh until I cried.

5. Bonnie had boundless energy wrapped up in a 5-foot-2-inch frame. Her mind was so far ahead of her words that she’d start a new sentences before finishing the previous one.

5. Bonnie loved yarn and she couldn’t pass up a bargain. Her “stash” included more balls of yarn (all bought at a discount) than I’ve seen in many yarn shops. Here is a photo of Bonnie’s living room. The rest of her house looked exactly the same — there was just enough space to walk between stacks of bins of yarn.

bonnie's livingroom

6. Bonnie was a talented artist. She spent her career editing fine art books for a New York City publisher, teaching painting workshops, and painting landscapes and portraits. I’m grateful to own several of her pieces, my favorite of which is a pastel that has a place of honor in our living room.

Bonnie pastel

Bonnie was adamant that she didn’t want any sort of memorial service. But I can’t let her passing go unremarked. My Saturdays will never be the same.