Retreats

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.

Heading West to Port Townsend

I’m getting ready to attend the Bazaar Girls’ third annual Getaway Retreat in historic Port Townsend, Washington. From Thursday, March 14 to Sunday, March 17, Join me along with Lorilee Beltman and Carson Demers for a weekend of learning in the spectacular Puget Sound.

The retreat is hosed by Bazaar Girls co-owners Kerri Hartman and Numahka Swan, who have created the most inviting sense of community in their small town. They believe that through craft, community, and commerce, they make the world a better place, and I can’t disagree. They “attract creative souls, learn from them, and provide them with the tools they require to keep moving forward.” It all sounds great to me!

Click here to get all the details and to register for this event.

I’d love to see you there!

 

 

 

 

California Bound!

La JollaThe autumn 2019 Knit For Fun Retreat will take place September 19-22, 2019 in the seaside town of La Jolla, California. We’ll escape to the hacienda-style haven Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa, located just blocks from the world-class Torrey Pines Golf Course. This four-diamond hotel is surrounded by beautiful gardens and features a luxury spa, including a heated saltwater pool and whirlpool, complete with poolside cabanas. What’s more, a complementary bottle of Napa’s finest Trinitas Cellars Wine is included with each room!

The on-site marketplace will be hosted by Yarning For You of nearby San Marcos, California. This delightful shop is owned by mother-daughter duo Lynn and Lacey Koch who took a beginning knitting class together several years ago. The rest is knitting history.

Lynn and Lacey plan to bring lots of local talent and indie dyed yarn to the retreat marketplace. You’re sure to find something special!

Guest teachers will be Estonian knitting expert Nancy Bush, author of AlterKnit Stitch Dictionary Andrea Rangel, and Intrepretations co-author Veera Valimaki. Again, I’ll fill in as the Knit Doctor to help with whatever ails your knitting mojo.

As always, attendees get one 3-hour class with each instructor, plus a chance for a one-on-one appointment with the Knit Doctor. You can also opt for a 6-hour add-on class the opening day of the retreat for an additional fee.

Nancy Bush Will Teach:

Nancy Bush

Estonian Cast-Ons–Useful and Colorful Beginnings (3 hours)
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 variat

ions 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.
Yarn will be provided in class.

Nordic Color–Roositud, and Estonian Inlay Technique (3 hours)
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.
Yarn will be provided in class.

Knitting Estonian Lace–A 200-Year History (3 hours)
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.
Yarn will be provided in class.

Muhu Knitting Traditions–Color and Texture from a Small Estonian Island (6-hour add-on class)
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.

Andrea Rangel Will Teach:

Andrea RangelThe Fine Art of Yarn Substitution–Change Can Be Good (3 hours)
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–Color Your World! (3 hours)
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. Andrea will guide you through all the elements needed to knit striking stranded patterns. Learn to read color charts, manage two balls of yarn, catch floats, and create gorgeous smooth fabric while working a fun cowl. 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–Adding and Subtracting with Style (3 hours)
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 (6-hour add-on class)
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.

Veera Valimaki Will Teach:

Colorplay–Unleash Your Creativity (3 hours)
This class 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 (3 hours)
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–A Knitter’s Canvas (3 hours)
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–So Many Options! (6-hour add-on class)
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.

In Addition to Being the Knit Doctor, I will also teach a 6-hour add-on class:
A Skirt for All Seasons–Design a Custom-Fit “Pleated” Skirt
Knitted skirts are becoming wardrobe staples—and they’re a lot easier to knit than you might think (they require just three to four skeins of sock yarn)! Learn how to take proper waist and hip measurements and combine them with your gauge to create a “pleated” skirt with a perfect fit, no matter your size. You’ll leave with a personalized skirt pattern for your yarn and gauge.

Click here for all the details and to register for this splendid opportunity!

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!

Knit For Fun, Canada, ReCap

I can’t believe that it’s already been four weeks since my Knit For Fun Retreat in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My rock star teachers were (left to right) Bristol Ivy, Justyna Lorkowska, and Carson Demers. The outstanding marketplace was hosted by (left to right) sisters Barb Barone and Cynthia Hyslop of River City Yarns in Edmonton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eighty-some attendees, ranging in age from their twenties to their eighties and traveling from both the U.S. and Canada, joined us at the very comfortable DoubleTree by Hilton where there was ample space for community knitting and camaraderie.

Included with a lot of other stupendous swag, each attendee received the yarn and pattern to make the Silver Lining cowl (shown at right), which is now available for purchase through Ravelry. The bulky-weight yarn is Merino Slipper by Fleece Artist dyed in the custom Silver Lining colorwary and is only available from River City Yarns. 

We’re shaking things up for our Canadian retreat in 2019. The retreat will take place in Quebec at the four-diamond Fairmont Tremblant hotel in the mountain resort of Mont-Tremblant August 8 – 11. Check out the details on my website. Registration opens December 7 at 10:00 am Mountain Standard Time.

 

 

KFF Sturgeon Bay Recap

A couple of weeks ago I held my Knit For Fun Retreat in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Located along the west side of Door Peninsula, Sturgeon Bay features stunning views of rolling hills covered with farms and woods, and lots and lots of fresh Lake Michigan water.

The retreat started off with a welcome dinner Thursday night and ended with a farewell breakfast Sunday morning. In between, attendees had classes from world-class teachers Laura Nelkin, Olga Buraya Kefelian, and Susan B. Anderson. They also got a chance to spend 20 minutes with me as the Knit Doctor.

Highlights included fun with new and old friends, a jam-packed swag bag, a top-quality market place, a ride on a fire boat (and a chance to use a fire hose), and beautiful sunsets.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At the end of the retreat we announced the teachers and location of the fall Knit For Fun Retreat, 2019: Nancy Bush, Andrea Rangel, and Veera Valimaki, at the four-star Estancia La Jolla Hotel and Spa.

Registration will open in January.

 

On The Road Again

When you receive this post I’ll be traveling the highways with my event coordinator, Cindy. We’ll head east from Colorado to Wisconsin, where I teach for a couple of days at the Milwaukee Knitter’s Guild (you can find them on Facebook at Greater Milwaukee Knitting Guild). This road trip will be in part a revisit of my childhood when my parents would pack all four of us kids and the family dog in the station wagon to visit our grandparents in Madison. The most memorable trips were the time we were stuck in Nebraska waiting out a tornado while listening to the weather report on a transistor radio, and the time the family dog got into some garbage at a rest stop and some miles later had uncontrollable diarrhea. I was sitting in the back of the car with the suitcases and the miserable dog. I don’t remember much beyond screaming at my father to stop the car and let me out. My fingers are crossed for clear weather and good health.

After teaching in Milwaukee, we’ll head to beautiful Door County for the sold-out Knit For Fun Retreat in Sturgeon Bay. Years ago my parents took a bicycle tour of Door County and raved about the beautiful scenery. These were people who routinely biked in Germany and Switzerland and were no strangers to breathtaking scenery. Their enthusiasm prompted me to schedule a retreat in the area. The timing should be right for crisp air, blue skies, and fall colors.

I’ll write a recap of the fun when I return. In the meantime, you can read about Knit For Fun Retreats on my website. I invite you to join the future fun!

Ready, Set, Sign Up!

Get ready for my Knit For Fun Retreat, which will return to the award-winning Harraseeket Inn located in downtown Freeport, Maine from May 2 to May 5, 2019.

Registration opens at 1:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time on July 23. That’s today!

The retreat begins Thursday afternoon with check-in (nametag, room assignment, and a swag bag filled with fun surprises), followed by opening-night festivities.

Classes will be held in three-hour sessions in the mornings and afternoons of Friday and Saturday and will be limited to 24 students each. Your package will include three classes—one with each instructor. You’ll also get one free three-hour period for relaxing, exploring, shopping, or just having fun. For those of you who are “class junkies,” there may be an option to purchase an extra class in lieu of the free period, provided space is available.

An optional full-day (six-hour) intensive class will also be available from each instructor before official check-in on the first day of the retreat.

A marketplace will be open at least one evening of the retreat where you’ll find yarn and other knitting “necessities.”

Lodging, meals (including vegetarian and gluten-free options), beverages, and snacks will be provided throughout the retreat. In other words, you’ll be fully taken care of.

The instructors for this retreat include (from left to right)  Kate Atherley, Isabell Kraemer, and Mary Jane Mucklestone .

Kate Atherley

Mary Jane

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate will teach:

Introduction to Garment Alterations—Make it Your Own: Participate in a detailed discussion of garment fit and how to adjust that fit. This is not a class on how to custom-fit a given pattern; rather, it’s a discussion of how to choose the right garment to simplify the alterations, how to identify the alterations required, and how to approach the pattern adjustments.

Soxpertise—Improve Your Sock Knitting: In this class, you’ll explore a wide range of sock topics, including fit, reinforcement, different constructions and different ways to work them, and yarn choice. You’ll also learn Kate’s fail-proof method for picking up gusset stitches to prevent holes from forming in top-down heel flap socks.

Fearless Finishing—A Perfect Ending: Let Kate guide you through the key finishing skills, including seaming, blocking, weaving in ends, working the Kitchener stitch, and picking up stitches. Through hands-on practice, you’ll leave confident in finishing your next project. If you suffer from “finishing-itis”, this class is for you!

Smart Strategies for Garment Knitting—Make the Most of Your Knitting Time: This full-day class takes a deep dive into garment knitting, beginning with how to choose a style that suits your body type and how to choose the most flattering size. You’ll also learn how to choose appropriate yarn and how to get gauge, and you’ll leave prepared to tweak the fit with your own alterations and adjustments.

Isabell will teach:

Short-Rows—When and Why: Short-rows have become a shaping staple for many knitwear designers. In this class, you’ll learn several different techniques for using short-rows and where to use them. You’ll learn how to add shaping to a neckline worked in the round and how to shape shoulders, bust darts, and hem lines. Techniques will be illustrated through a variety of Isabell’s designs that use this versatile technique.

Seamless Set-In Sleeves—Look Ma, No Seams!: Ever wanted to get the tailored look of a classic set-in sleeve garment without sewing? This workshop will guide you through the techniques needed to work a set-in sleeve seamlessly from the top down. You may never knit a sleeve from the bottom up again!

Shawl Shapes—So Many Choices: Shawls are knitted in a wide range of shapes. This class will help you understand how the shapes are created by increases or decreases to form triangular (both symmetric and asymmetric), circular, semi-circular, and square shawls. You’ll learn different ways to increase, how to add color and texture, and how to combine different yarn weights.

Top-Down Sweater Design—Make it Great from the Top: Geared toward the adventurous knitter, this full-day class will lead you in designing your own top-down sweater. We’ll begin with a brief overview of different top-down constructions and how to choose the one that best suits your design ideas. We’ll work through all the steps necessary to bring your ideas to life, from taking measurements and adding ease to the effect of stitch patterns.

Mary Jane will teach:

Scandinavian Colorwork—Examine a Tradition: Through knitting a headband or hat, explore color choices and the classic motifs used in Scandinavian stranded knitting. Learn techniques for tacking down extra-long floats, how to Norwegian purl, and a nifty way to execute garter stitch in the round. Along the way, you’ll explore ideas for combining motifs and adding colorwork to liven up any project.

Two-Color Knitting—Let’s Begin: Through knitting a headband or hat, learn the basics of two-color knitting, including several methods to hold yarns, reading charts, yarn dominance, how to introduce new colors, prevent yarns from tangling, and weave in ends. This class is for those new to stranded knitting and those looking to brush up on their techniques.

Making It Up—The Fair Isle Hat: Begin designing with Fair Isle motifs by starting your own hat. Through Mary Jane’s guidance and lots of individual attention, you’ll experiment will color and pattern to create your own design. You’ll leave class inspired to complete your hat and generate other colorwork projects!

Andean Accents—An Exploration of Decorative Edges: Learn to make both the checkerboard and scalloped edgings used in traditional chullos (Andean earflap hats), as well as “instant” popcorns (bobbles) while knitting a fun pair of wristlets. You many never knit a “plain” edge again!

Fresh Fair Isle—Liven Up Your Knitting: Learn the basics of color theory and how to use its principles to guide color choices while knitting a simple stranded wristlet or fingerless glove during this full-day class. Examine the use of color in traditional Fair Isle knitting and move beyond into developing your own personal color schemes. You’ll also learn to analyze how different color combinations can completely change the look of a motif.

I’ll fill in as the Knit Doctor to help whatever ails your knitting. You can sign up for a free one-on-one consultation when you register and I’ll do my best to send you off with a clear diagnosis and a complete remedy.

I’ll also teach my very popular full-day class on Thursday:

A Skirt for All Seasons—Design a Custom-Fit “Pleated” Skirt

Knitted skirts are becoming wardrobe staples—and they’re a lot easier to knit than you might think (they require just three to four skeins of sock yarn)! Learn how to take proper waist and hip measurements and combine them with your gauge to create a “pleated” skirt with a perfect fit, no matter your size. You’ll leave with a personalized skirt pattern for your yarn and gauge.

Space is limited to 90 participants. Register now to secure your spot! 

LoveFest!

Last January I was the Knit Doctor at the first-ever Loops retreat in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The other teachers were Romi Hill, who taught lace techniques and surgery, Andrea Mowry, who taught brioche and shawls, and Carson Demers, who taught knitting ergonomics.

As a special treat, owner Shelley Brander asked Ross of Yarn To Dye For to create a colorway for each of the four teachers (well, the three “real” teachers and me, the Knit Doctor). On the left is a photo of “my” skein in the colorway Loops Loves Ann.

I love the colorway and asked Ross if he’d dye a semi-solid to pair with it. After a bit of back and forth, we settled on a rich teal color that I’ve named Ann Loves Loops.

I’m now in the process of combining the two color in a crescent shawl. If I do the yarn justice, a pattern will be forthcoming! I plan to name it LoveFest!

 

Shakerag

I had the very good fortune to attend the Mason Dixon Knitting Getaway in the hills of Tennessee a couple of weeks ago. We stayed at St. Andrews-Sewanee School, a high-school boarding school that becomes home to the Shakerag Workshops for two weeks every summer. Yes, we stayed in dorms and yes, the accommodations were minimal, but the rest of the retreat more than made up for it.

Against a backdrop of woods and lakes, attendees had the chance to take classes, go for hikes and bike rides, swim, and shop. I took advantage of the warm (but thankfully not too hot) weather and knitted in the shade for hours at a time with delightful knitters from all over the country (and Canada, too!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t comment on the excellent food. Much of what was served was farm-to-table. Everything was fresh and delicious.

I heard a rumor that the Mason Dixon women may return next year!