By design, the MDK Knitting Getaway did not have a lot of structure; the whole point was to relax, laugh, and knit on the idyllic campus of St. Andrew’s Sewanee School. But it did have gentle hints of structure, to enrich our knitting lives and give us contexts in which to interact and get to know each other. Getawayers could sit and knit indoors or out, wander in nature, flop on a flotation device in the lake until mealtime, or, if they liked, they could show up for one of the four two-hour classes on offer.
We were so, so lucky that these outstanding teachers said yes to participating in our first-ever MDK Knitting Getaway. Each is a star in her field and full of adventure, so we heartily recommend that you follow them wherever they lead.
At the end of these short profiles of our beloved teachers, read about how to enter a giveaway to win one of the three MDK Knitting Getaway swag bags that we saved just for readers.
Photo by Shakerag Workshops.
Textile artist and practitioner Catharine Ellis is in residence for the full two weeks of Shakerag Workshops, teaching natural dyeing. Our knitting getaway participants got a short, rich introduction to her practice that left many wishing for more. Catharine is not only a master dyer but a delightful and expert instructor, no doubt from decades of teaching the Fiber Program at Haywood Community College in North Carolina.
Photo by Liz Kaplan.
You can find Catharine regularly on her beautiful blog. Look for her forthcoming book, The Art and Science of Natural Dyes: Principles, Experiments and Results, a comprehensive reference and guide which will be published in October. (Don’t worry, we’ll remind you!) Catharine also is the author of The Weaver’s Studio: Woven Shibori (Revised and Updated 2016).
The gig of Dr. Knit Fix-It at a knitting getaway is not for the faint of heart, but Julia Farwell-Clay was up for it. Fifteen minutes into her first session, I wandered into the library, where a queasy-looking knitter informed me that Julia had just cut into someone’s pullover to fix a mis-crossed cable. In front of God and everybody!
The sweater and its knitter (the brave and also trusting Jo Meyer) both survived, and Julia went on to fix other whoopses, and quell other knitterly anxieties. By the end of the weekend, knitters were actually referring to Julia as Dr. Fix-it; it seemed disrespectful to call her by her first name.
It’s always short rows, isn’t it? Here, Julia and Amy deconstruct a store-bought knit, with tamara looking on.
Julia is a regular contributor here on MDK, from her Mind of a Designer series to the Eddy Wrap, a beautiful pattern that flowed from Julia’s fascination with the shell-themed stitch pattern of a Prada sweater. Julia’s writing and design work has appeared in every knitting magazine you can name, and she also is the author of From Folly Cove, a collection of designs for Classic Elite.
Can I share a secret that we spilled at Sewanee? Julia is the designer for the next MDK Field Guide. Stay tuned! It’s coming later this month. We can’t wait!
The wannabe crocheters of Oakland and San Francisco are blessed to have Liz Kaplan residing among them, and the Knitting Getaway got a little of her magic. Who knew knitters were so interested in learning to crochet? Liz’s classes were packed.
It’s not easy to switch into beginner’s mind, and make your fingers and brain do something that is like knitting, but decidedly NOT knitting. Liz was patient and encouraging. She knew more than one way in.
Announcement: I made a granny square! The more adept crochet learners made covers for rocks. The class was so successful that people kept crocheting all weekend, so as not to forget what they’d learned.
Liz is an MDK contributor, and a steady source of ideas and support behind the scenes. (Her piece, Why I Crochet, is particularly relevant.) It was so gratifying to share her with the Getaway crowd. (I’m crazy jealous that Liz is still there, going from teacher to student at Shakerag Workshops, this week and next.)
Follow Liz on Instagram, where the next couple of weeks are guaranteed to be artsy and pastoral.
Gale Zucker is, as advertised, a top-notch professional photographer of “real people in real places.” To that, we would add, “in real knitwear.” No other photographer is as steeped in the sensibility of handmade and hand-knit as Gale. For years now, Gale has been sharing her photo skills in classes especially for knitting people. All of our Instagram feeds and Ravelry browsings are better for Gale’s ongoing ministry of good photography and generous sharing of tips and tricks.
(Gale on the job as photographer, Stephanie B on the job as model. Photo by @pshorten.)
One of the Getaway’s highlights for me was Gale’s talk on Friday night, where she shared photos of a very recent trip to gather and shear the sheep of Nash Island, Maine. It’s hard to believe that this magical event still occurs in 2018, but Gale’s vivid photos and reportage prove that it sure enough does still occur. One day I’ll stow away on the boat, and come home covered in lanolin and vegetable matter, happy as a freshly shorn ewe at the start of summer.
A funny memory: the Getawayer who ruefully recounted how she was all set to snap a picture of the dining room’s iconic mug collection, and realized that Gale was standing next to her, taking the same shot–only better. That’s just the way it is. Mugs know better than to mess with Gale. They line right up.
Gale is the photographer and a co-author of the book Drop-Dead Easy Knits, which would be one of our favorite knitting books even if we hadn’t made a small contribution to it.
Swag Bag Giveaway
What would a knitting retreat be without swag? Specifically, a swag bag?
The MDK Knitting Getaway bag had some super special features:
- Original art by Mrs. Ann Shayne of Nashville, Tennessee. (I helped with the jokes, mainly by laughing at them. I mean, come on: personal ovine? One per room? I don’t think many of us would refuse a fluffy li’l roommate for the weekend.)
- Capaciousness. This is a canvas grocery tote bag, with a nice flat bottom, which comes in handy.
- Inside: a collection of fresh, hot, delicious swag, donated by the finest vendors in all the land. Mini skeins! Maxi skeins! Gadgets! Clever things! Fun fun fun!
(Note: swag details may vary.)
We would like to thank the following vendors for their kind donations of swag and door prizes, and encourage you to follow them on Instagram for more of their beautifulness.
We set aside three of these bags for a reader giveaway.
How To Enter the Giveaway
Pay attention, now. To enter the giveaway, here’s what you do:
Sign up for Snippets (see the bottom of this page). If you’re already getting Snippets, the happiest email newsletter, every Saturday, you are covered.
That’s all! Just sign up for Snippets. We’ll draw 3 winners at random from the Snippets subscriber list as it stands on Sunday, June 17 at 5 p.m. Central Time. We’ll notify the winners by email.