Obsession Thursdays

A colorway and a contest!

Chickens

Tina keeps chickens because she loves having them around. Eggs are a bonus.

In spring, I got a chance to visit the Blue Moon Fiber Arts world headquarters in Scappoose, Oregon. An unassuming barn/dye studio, full to the rafters (literally) with rich color, built by Tina as the perfect workspace for her and her team to produce the Blue Moon yarns we are so fond of. And occasionally, you’ll find her latest brood of baby chicks, until they’re big enough to join the rest of the flock outside.

The inspiration imageHere’s Tina’s recounting of our time together:

Almost everyone who comes to visit me wants to immerse themselves in the dye barn for at least a few hours. Some come just to play and some come with a clear vision. Amy had a very clear vision and even a photo. I love a woman with a clear plan.

She had this beautiful picture of lobelia in a grey metal bucket against a white wall. Great contrast between the white wall and the jeweled richness of Lobelia’s cobalt blue.

The blues and greens are what we decided we wanted to focus on since you can always knit it with white yarn as the contrast. I had a great time playing with colors and helping Amy translate her color ideas onto yarn. I think Amy did too.

I did! I took this photo outside a Farm Shop in Wales. The color is unretouched…Lobelia really is that deep blue color and I imagined it might be a challenge to replicate. Silly me! It was fascinating watching Tina pull a few jars of color from her well-stocked shelves, knowing exactly which tones would produce the result we wanted the first time. I was mesmerized with the way her eyes, brain and hands effortlessly translated the photo into this colorway!

Tina starts working out the colorway, taking careful notes so she can replicate it.

The final result! So lovely! What would you call it?

The colorway is the star of one of our Surprise patterns…Regatta, designed by Kate Atherley! But the colorway needs a name, so we’re turning to you! What would you name this colorway? Prize is two skeins of Socks That Rock: one in the new colorway and one in the colorway of the winner’s choice.

Contest rules: leave a comment on this post with your name for the colorway between now and midnight eastern time, Monday, October 28th. The winning name will be chosen by a Knitty committee and Tina. Our winner will be notified by email.

Good Luck!

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Yarndale in pictures

Yarndale is a brand-new fiber festival, held in Skipton, Yorkshire, in the UK. A tiny market town, charming as one could hope for, Skipton was overwhelmed by the arrival of The Knitters as we clogged their roadways and filled their pubs after the show was over. This first show, launched by a team of seven clever women, was an unqualified success, with vendors reporting stellar sales, especially on the first day. New-event hiccups like running out of parking spaces and half-hour lineups for the loo were solved by the 2nd day, as the organizers rejigged the parking plan, and brought in lots of portable toilets.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was very pleasantly surprised by the quality of the event, the variety of the vendors and public response. It was a joyful place to be. Here, a selection of pictures from the weekend.

Signs in the charity shops in town announce the event

Signs in the charity shops in town announce the event

6,212 crocheted bunting triangles welcome and overwhelm us!

Read more about this incredible bunting project here.

Tea cosy competition entries

Tea cosy competition entries

And now, the wares for sale...

And now, the wares for sale…

Kits from Purl & Jane

Kits from Purl & Jane

Gorgeous crochet from The Natural Dye Studio

Gorgeous crochet from The Natural Dye Studio

Wow.

Wow.

Natural Dye Studio yarn

Natural Dye Studio yarn

Eeee!

Eeee!

Ann Kingstone in her fab bunny fair isle design

Ann Kingstone in her fab bunny fair isle design

baa ram ewe's Knitty Narnia booth!

baa ram ewe’s Knitty Narnia booth! Enter through the wardrobe….

One of the baa ram ewe Knitty tribute patterns knit in their Titus yarn!

One of the baa ram ewe Knitty tribute patterns knit in their Titus yarn!

Lots of yummy Titus

Lots of yummy Titus

Need. Break?

Need a break?

The lineup to meet the legendary Lucy of the Attic24 blog never ended all weekend

The lineup to meet the legendary Lucy of the Attic24 blog never ended all weekend

Lucy's legendary crocheted handiwork

Lucy’s legendary crocheted handiwork

Yum.

Yum.

Yes, that's a brass band (a great one) in a sheep pen.

Yes, that’s a brass band (a great one) in a sheep pen.

So much more, but hopefully you get the idea. An event on a scale with Rhinebeck’s legendary Sheep & Wool Festival, in terms of quality and variety (and one can only hope it will grow to Rhinebeck’s size as years go on). Worth a visit? An unqualified yes from me.

More info: baa ram ewe | Attic 24 | The Natural Dye Studio

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Offhand Designs Bag Giveaway!

It is no secret that the Knitty staff are big fans of  Offhand Designs Bags. The vintage feel, the select and limited edition fabrics and the quality workmanship of a handmade bag all speak to the bag collector and maker in all of us.

Beautiful Offhand Designs bags

Beautiful Offhand Designs bags

Because I’m curious (nosy) I ask owner Larisa Flint Snydal a few questions about Offhand Designs. She happily answered my questions and even sent over a couple of pictures of herself working on bags.

Larisa installing a turn lock

Larisa installing a turn lock

Why and how did you get started? I worked for 10 years reviewing internationally funded projects in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but all the while was making extravagant gowns and bags and learning everything I could about textiles and design. My boyfriend, now husband, was in a popular funk band and I had every type of occasion to doll myself up in those days. Starting my own business came a few years later, but didn’t surprise anyone in my family. Extravagant but functional design was my destiny!

Larisa making leather handles

Can you describe the process – from design to fabric to finished bag ? I am inspired by literally everything and everyone but take my time to let new ideas simmer because they always become richer with time. Functionality is a key component and one of the design process steps that I absolutely love. My sense of style is a little timeless and a little whimsical or ‘offhand’. I do not roll out tons of new styles but keep the line exciting by having so many new gorgeous and eclectic textiles every few months. We are indeed limited editions. These days, we never make more than 20 of any given style and color and usually it is more like 12 or 15! That is not even enough for 1 in every State or Province. From sketches to prototypes to final prototypes which are carried and tested to make sure all of the details I want are there. As I said in my original business plan and repeat it every day: would I die to own this? If yes, then move forward with it. If not so much… what needs to change before it is?

Arya Bag

Arya Bag

What is your favorite bag right now? The new Arya bag was in the works for more than 18 months and at least 5 versions before I landed on my feet with the current, amazing design. I carried this bag to the trade shows this year, packed with my laptop and every last other thing and I was so proud of how painless it was to carry all of that weight and how nicely the bag held its pretty silhouette. It was (almost) embarrassing how many complete strangers stopped me in the airport and on the street to compliment my bag and ask about it!
What new bags do you have coming up? I am working on three new things: leather, Sage Luxury bags and Flint Snydal bags.

Larisa_SewingCanvasPrototype

Larisa sewing a canvas prototype

Leather bags: Dreaming big is something I have been known for my whole life and now we are hard at work setting up in studio production of some of the most luxe bags I have EVER seen in my life. Premium, eco-friendly and extremely small edition leather products which really do send shivers down my spine and astonish me. I wake up in the middle of the night and say, ‘wait, I didn’t actually make that bag, did I?’ Leather is an inspiring material and my current design work feels so full of potential it could not be more exciting.
We started leather a few years ago but found it impossible to keep up with demand and just as hard to find experienced help. My staff and I all agreed that the intense period of 3 months during which we only worked on leather bags was the best of Offhand Designs history by far. Our current goal is to make and sell these leather creations on SageLuxury.com.

Sage Luxury bags: We are also about to launch a very different looking, but every bit as functional, bag line under the Sage Luxury label. All of the bags will feature leather handles and trims. Please look for these to launch in the next month to be ready for the holiday season.

Flint Snydal bags: I also have 2 styles for men which have been way too long in the making, but SO fun. A doctor bag in two sizes (considering Samson & Goliath as names for these) and a messenger bag with a closeable pocket for knitting. The esthetic is high quality urban cowboy, featuring rich hides with high quality hardware.  If I am lucky, this bag line will show its face to the public for the holidays via SageLuxury.com as well.

 

My dear knitting friends and bag lovers, are you sitting down? Larisa has given us an Offhand Design bag to giveaway!

Regina offhand designs prize

Marcella in Regina print fabric. Squee!

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Monday,  September 30th. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the signed book. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.
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All about Tom Bihn, with a lot of little videos…and a contest!

When I was asked by the people at Tom Bihn (they make some of our very favorite bags ever) if I wanted to collaborate on new products, I said “Sure! Let’s Skype!”

They had a better idea. They flew me out to Seattle. I know. Rockstar treatment! I still can’t believe it happened. But I took videos, so there’s proof. Lots of it.

I had met Tom and Darcy (the head honchos of the Tom Bihn company) many years ago, when I passed through Seattle on the way to teach on the Sea Socks cruise. We’d been emailing back and forth for a while, and had collaborated on the fabulous Swift bag, which was designed by our readers and named by a really cool focus group around a table at the Dark Horse coffeeshop in Toronto. Meeting them in person was kind of like meeting bag-design royalty. I was dumbstruck.

This trip, I got over my fangirlness and we got down to work. I brought lots of products that exist but aren’t as good as what I think Tom and his crew can come up with. We looked over all the samples, played with them, explored them in combination, deconstructed, reconstructed and reimagined. There was discussion, lots of sketching, brainstorming, and at the end of the weekend, we had prototypes of our first product.

Here’s a little video of Tom with one of his expert sewers making up the first prototypes:

(These little 6-second videos are from Vine…they loop on their own. If the videos aren’t playing, click them and you’ll be able to see the goods!)

Can I show you any more than this? Well, okay. Because you asked so nicely. Here’s a shot of our prototype tool pouches:

We're not sure what to call this yet...but for now, we think of them as tool pouches

We’re not sure what to call this yet…but for now, we think of them as tool pouches. Click to see it bigger!

These are meant to store your DPNs, interchangeable needle tips and cables and even crochet hooks. They’re shown fanned out above, but normally hang tidily from that carabiner in the corner.

You’ll see there are three sizes. The smallest fits tools (including interchangeable needle tips) 4″ or shorter. The medium size fits tools 5-6″ long. And the large size fits tools 7-8″ long. This covers just about every interchangeable needle system on the market. The ends are reinforced so that the DPNs, interchangeable needle tips or crochet hooks you put in there won’t poke through the clear vinyl. And each of those reinforcements acts as a spot to hold a label, so you can make it easier to figure out what’s inside at a glance. You’d buy only the sizes of pouch you wanted, and they are kept together with a double-sided carabiner that (you won’t be surprised by this) clips into an o-ring in any of the Tom Bihn bags. Where do you keep the cables? In a square-ish pouch (it’s the wasabi-colored one above) that you clip in along with the rest of your pouches. The square-ish shape keeps the circulars from getting kinked. The backing is the same ballistic fabric used in many of Tom’s bags. It’s astoundingly strong and durable and doesn’t attract fuzz.

Don’t use interchangeable circulars? We’ll be adapting the square-ish pouch for your fixed circulars, to be produced in different sizes to accommodate the length of the needle portion. Those specs are still in development.

So, what do you think?

There were other products discussed, too. One was a new knitter’s bag that you can wear over your shoulder or across your body. Another, a case for a fiber tool. We got quite far along on the bag, but the fiber tool case is something for the future…perhaps. There are a lot of things that go into a Tom Bihn product, and unless Mr Tom himself is happy with the product, you won’t see it. That means patience is required. But it’s always worth it. The TB people tell me 2014 is the earliest we might see any of these new products, but it’s possible (if there’s enough demand) that the tool pouches could be released at the end of this year.

So what can I show you? How about these videos that I took in the showroom of some of my favorite Tom Bihn bags? Let’s do it!

Here’s the clever-as-anything Co-Pilot:

 

And another of my favorites, the Cafe Bag, shown here in a super-saturated Azalea pink!

One of my favorite ah-ha moments of the weekend came when Darcy figured out we could remove the (unused by me) waist strap from my Smart Alec backpack and, using the existing straps inside the bag, turn it into a cinch for my ukulele’s neck! This keeps the uke snug against the back of the backpack, in a vertical position, and allows the zippers to snug up at the top, exposing as little of the uke as possible. And leaves tons of room in the bag for all your other stuff.

Uke players, take note: this is a fabulous one-bag carry-on solution that will get your uke past the airline staff without even a sniff of “you’re carrying two items and you’re only allowed one”. (Ask me why this is important and I’ll tell you about almost getting barred from a KLM flight because they counted my small purse, tiny uke and regulation-size rolling bag as three separate items and I was only allowed two. Grr.)

 

One last little video to share:

His factory is full of vintage Singer industrial sewing machines, chairs and storage units. I covet it all. No, no relation.

So what else did we do while I was there? We had an astounding, eye-opening evening at Metrix Create:Space, a really cool place full of 3D printers, laser cutters and other gear so neat, I didn’t even know what it was called. We asked Seattle knitters to come and hang with us, knit with us, and show us their Tom Bihn gear in person. And did they ever. The result? This professionally produced video, all about the Swift and how knitters use it.

Enjoy.


We’ve had a lot of contests during our 10th Anniversary year, and we’ve been saving this one for the right moment. Which is now. Ready?

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We have TWO of these last-in-the-world 10th Anniversary Knitty Swifts to give away. They were made as a limited edition last fall, and sold out by December. But we saved two for you! Each has a retail value of $100usd.

Regular contest rules: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Sunday, July 21st, telling us which is your favorite Tom Bihn bag (you don’t have to own it already — dream aloud!). Two comments will be chosen at random to answer a skill-testing question. If the commenter answers correctly, they will win one of the two bags. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

Good luck!

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Obsession: The Knitter’s Frolic

In Toronto we’ve lucky enough to have not only a huge knitting community, but also a large and very active guild, the Downtown Knit Collective. The DKC is “dedicated to advancing the art of knitting through the sharing of ideas and techniques, education and community involvement”.

They have many projects focused outside the knitting community – drives and donations to good causes.

Kate, in action

But our favorite activity is focused at the knitting community – their annual Knitter’s Frolic. Held every spring, it’s a weekend-long festival all things yarny. There are two days of classes, with top tier instructors. Last year’s keynote instructor was our own Franklin Habit, and this year, it was the fantastic Ann Budd.

And there are local teachers, there, too – myself included.

But the best part by far? Saturday is a retail fair. The group takes over a lovely building in an otherwise uninteresting part of Toronto, the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center, and stuffs it full of yarny goodness.

So many fabulous yarns…

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indigodragonfly deliciousness

and fibers…

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Yummies from Gateway Fibreworks

And it’s not just yarn…

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Jewelry by Cynthia Blanton

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Beautiful yarn bowls by Laura Sheppard

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SOAK, the knitter’s friend

So many friends to see…

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Ms. Ann Budd and Ms. Denny MacMillan

So many great FOs on display…

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A Lanesplitter in the wild!

It does get a little crazy at times, but we love it!

The Shall We Knit booth

The Shall We Knit booth

This event is a major highlight of the knitter’s calendar in this part of Canada, and we’re grateful every spring to the DKC for putting it on.

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Someone Else’s Obsession: Color

Run, don’t walk!

The London Fashion and Textile Museum is currently hosting a retrospective of the work of designer Kaffe Fassett. Over 100 of his own pieces are on display: knits, quilts, paintings, tapestries and even some mosaics. I was lucky enough to be able to visit it last month, and was transfixed by the explosion of color and texture. This video news report from BBC gives you a taste.

Born in the US, Kaffe began his career as a painter, studying at Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, but he left before completing his studies to become a painter in London.

We know him as a knitwear designer for Rowanand designer of yarns – but he’s also a passionate quilter, fabric designer and needlepointer. He works in many different media and crafts – treating yarn, fabric, paint and thread equally. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to say that the media he uses for a given design is a secondary consideration: his primary medium is color. ‘I’m a missionary for color,’ he says.

Kaffe’s work is characterized by his incredible color sense: each project is a riot, using ten, twenty or even more colors within a single project. Close up, the effect can be disorganized or overwhelming, but considered as a complete work, the elements blend together in unexpected, surprising, beautiful and even understated ways. He really is a master of color. He breaks rules to create new ones.

What surprised and pleased me the most about seeing his work in person was texture.  You just can’t get a sense of it in photographs. He not only breaks what we feel to be the rules of color, but he breaks all the other rules as well. He works colorwork in cotton and textured yarns: the behaviour of the fabrics bring further color, by reflecting light in different ways. He mixes yarns within a project, and indeed mixes yarns within a color – what may seem like a solid block of a single color in a photograph might actually be combination of different yarns.

And his work isn’t tidy – I loved seeing his swatches and test pieces, finished as haphazardly as anyone’s might be! It’s true, he doesn’t weave in his ends very neatly, and his quilt block corners don’t always meet, but that’s beyond the point. His work is all about how the colors weave and meet and match – or not.

Just a few of the over 100 works on display.

The exhibition runs until June 29th, and if you’re in the London area, it’s absolutely worth a visit.

You can see more of Kaffe’s work at his own website.

(And it’s pronounced “kaif fass-it”, BTW!)

Thanks to Rock and Purl Ruth for arranging the tickets, and spending the day with me.

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Jillian’s Book Obsession: A Fit to Flatter Giveaway

I’m a little obsessed with knitters making sweaters that fit and look good on them. I was so excited when I got Amy Herzog’s new book Fit to Flatter for review. After I finished reading it I knew I wanted to do a giveaway.

So here it is, the I-Love-This-Book-I-Know-You-Will-Too, Fit to Flatter Giveaway.

Our prize package includes a copy of the book donated by Melanie Falick Books:

Knit to Flatter, the book

Knit to Flatter, the book

and a yarn pack (in the winner’s choice of color) to knit the Dorica sweater, one of my favorites, donated by Berocco Yarns:

Dorcia Hoodie, photo by Karen Pearson

Dorica Hoodie, photo by Karen Pearson

To win this prize pack leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Tuesday April 9, 2013. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win the book and yarn pack. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

There’s more Knit to Flatter news:

Amy just released a companion class at Craftsy:

A class in your living room

A class in your living room

And we have a link for a 50% off the the regular cost. So everyone wins!

Amy never stops thinking of great ideas and knitterly adventures. She’s working on something a little bit secret right now. The details are still being worked out, but it involves, knitting, perfect sweaters and Maine. Here’s a teaser photo:

Would you like to knit here?

Would you like to knit here?

As soon as all of the details are set Amy will announce it all on her blog!

 

 

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Jillian’s Obsession: Fibery Mugs and a Giveaway!

I drink  tea all day long and have collected a lot of mugs. Of course I’m especially drawn to mugs with any kind of a fiber theme, sheep and knitting needles cavort in my cupboards. I have Knitty mugs, Jennie the Potter mugs, mugs from local potters and a just a few from Etsy.

I recently ran across a fantastic set of mugs from Herdy, you know the cute little sheep stuff.

Herdy things usually look like this:

Cute little Herdy sheep

Cute little Herdy sheep

But this set is decorated with specially commissioned artwork from by Scottish artist Owain Kirby that depicts the journey of wool from sheep to finished object. The set is called Wool Journey.

Wool Journey mugs

Wool Journey mugs

Want a closer look at the art?

The-Wool-Journey-1

Shearing the sheep

not sure

Wool auction

who knows

Scouring, carding and spinning

Weaving and knitting

Weaving and knitting

We have one set of mugs to give away, regular contest rules apply: leave a comment on this post between now and midnight eastern time, Monday April 1, 2013. One comment will be chosen at random to answer a skill testing question. If the commenter answers correctly they will win a set of mugs. If you have already won a prize from us in the past year, please do give other knitters a chance.

 

 

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Obsession: Knitting with Beads

Have you tried knitting with beads? It’s awfully addictive. It takes simple stocking stitch and makes it into a jewelled wonder. There are lots of fabulous beaded shawls and other projects out there.

Me, I’m slightly obsessed with Laura Nelkin’s fabulous bead knitting kits. They’re small projects, easy and quick to knit – practically instant gratification! – and the end results are those rare wear-everywhere go-with-everything pieces.

They’re also an excellent and affordable way to add something new to your wardrobe, if you’re feeling the winter blahs.

So very chic – and so very quick to knit!

Because we want to share the obsession, we’re giving away a Soutache bead knitting kit.

Even more beautiful close up.

Soutache is a great introduction to bead knitting, as no special skills at all are required – it’s just 4 strands of i-cord. The kit contains everything you need – yarn, beads, a dental floss threader (yes, really, the bead knitter’s best friend) and the clasps for both the necklace and the bracelet.

You can see more of Laura’s kits in her Etsy shop.


You know the drill: leave a comment below to win; deadline is Sunday February 17th, Midnight EST. We will randomly pull a name, and the winner will answer a skill-testing question. Winner chooses the kit colour!

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What’s a P3 Retreat like? (or, Amy’s ongoing love affair with the United Kingdom)

First off, what the heck is P3? It’s short for Plug+Play Pembrokeshire. Plug+Play is the technique we teach our students. Pembrokeshire, Wales, is where we hold the Retreats.

Yes, you read that right. Wales. We hold our Retreats in Wales because it is staggeringly beautiful. Because Welsh people know the true meaning of hospitality. Because I really wish I lived there, due to the awesomeness of the whole country. And because, conveniently, my Retreat partner, the velvet-voiced Brenda Dayne, does happen to live there. Which means we know insider things about the area that we wouldn’t have a clue about if we were trying to set up a Retreat anywhere else.

[Except where I live, which is Toronto. And yeah, we’re thinking about having one on this side of the Atlantic Ocean one day. But not yet.]

Here’s what last October’s P3 Retreat was like: a short essay in words and pictures.

We hold our Retreats at the Beggars Reach Country Hotel, which is a cozy, old Welsh inn. The staff at the Beggars Reach treat us all like VIPs and we’re always glad to return.

Beggars Reach

Brenda and I arrive with boxes of pre-packed Goodie Bags and we set up the classroom, ready to welcome the students…and then everyone starts arriving!

This time, we had people from every part of the US — west, midwest, south and east; from Canada, all over England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, Amsterdam and even New Zealand! Here are some of us, knitting and chatting in the Breakfast Room, until it was time to begin!

The variety of accents in our group this year was astounding and fun!

Then we adjourned to the Orangerie, the bright, airy classroom where we spend most of our time together. And people get to dig in to their Goodie Bags and see what treats we have collected for them from our very generous sponsors. Next time, we promise to have a recorder set up to capture the squees. Because 28 grown people squeeing like it’s their birthday all at once and they just got the best present ever?  It’s epic.

Some bag details are blurred out because we like to keep the Goodie Bags and their contents as a secret until you get to open them yourself! But as you can see, yarn was not in short supply.

Speaking of our generous sponsors, here’s who we got to work with in 2012:

We love these people and the products they create!

Soon it was time to get down to the business at hand…learning about the Plug+Play system: we think it’s the easiest way to apply  patterns to knitted fabric, and we got to share the backbone of the technique with our students. This time, we focused on using texture as our pattern and embellishment, and it was a blast to get to experiment with everyone’s ideas and see what they’d create!

Learning begins

Brenda takes us through the Four Sleeves Make a Sweater class

During our three days together, there’s a lot of this:

Working out design ideas with the most beautiful countryside as a backdrop

Collaborating

The whirring of the ball winders is one half of the soundtrack for our time together

We enjoy lovely meals and great service, along with dinner conversation that can never be predicted. The knitwear spotting opportunities delight us, day after day.

The other half of our soundtrack for the weekend: laughter

A little spinning, a little giggle

One of the first highlights of a P3 Retreat is the oddly named* Today’s Sweater Night, where we show off special handknits and tell the stories behind them. *( it does make sense if you’re a listener of Brenda’s Cast On podcast…Today’s Sweater is a regular feature where Brenda gets to talk about the latest interesting project on her needles)

I got to show the shawl I designed with yarn I bought at last year’s P3 — it’s for Brenda’s upcoming book: Welsh For Rainbow. And yes, it’s intentionally blurred, because it’s still a secret.

Brenda shared her Color Affection, made with yarns she collected on last year’s North American teaching tour.

There were some wonderful knitted things from our students, and some funny, surprising, touching stories that went with them. We really got to know each other so much better that evening, and we all just love Today’s Sweater Night. We trundle off to bed, full of the love of the craft, feeling the warm fuzzies of a day well spent and looking forward to two more!

Another eagerly anticipated part of a P3 Retreat is our Tiny, Perfect Marketplace. Three carefully chosen vendors bring their wares and on Sunday, after a gargantuan feast [otherwise known as the Traditional Sunday Dinner, which the Inn caters for us suitable for everyone from carnivore to vegan to celiac], we joyfully descended upon these vendors and chose special treasures to work with and to take home.

Countess Ablaze — this was her first-ever show! If she hadn’t told us, we’d have thought she was a veteran.

A gorgeous tableful of Fyberspates had us all oohing and aahing

Trying to choose treasures from the Nimu Yarns selection is a challenge when they’re all this beautiful

Sometimes you run out of hands.

One of my favorite sights of the weekend… Jenn does what any good spinner does before she buys fiber: she inhales the sheepy aroma

You might be wondering what these are — they’re on every table in our classroom in the Orangerie:

Cordial aka squash. Orange and blackcurrant. Add just a little of this concentrate to a big glass of water, and it’s a fabulous beverage. We all were hooked. Well, the North Americans, anyway. It was all new to us.

On our last night together, we have a singalong PJ party. If Downton Abbey happens to be on the TV, we delight in watching it together and tsking in all the right places.

Toasting our time together

It’s impossible to capture all of the warmth, fun and friendship we experienced together, but we thought you might want to read a few blog posts written by knitters who were there.

Catherine • Kathleen • Allison

I’ll leave you with one of our last memories…our group photo.

29 new friends, and one beautiful baby

We love doing this so much, Brenda and I, that we’re doing it twice this year!

March 22-25, 2013: We’re repeating last October’s fabulous Plug+Play Texture program! Full details are here. If there are any spaces left, you can Register here or sign up for the Waiting List if we’re sold out.

October 11-14, 2013: We’re well into planning for our fall event, but all we can tell you right now is that it will be brand-new courseware and we’re super excited about it!

Want to stay up to date with P3 Retreats? Join us at our Ravelry Group, on Facebook, or sign up for the mailing list [the form is on the right side of the page].

Brenda and I hope we get to meet you one day soon!

Many, many thanks to Gwen for so many of the photos we got to share with you in this post. Gwen was here with her partner and as a non-knitter, when she wasn’t out walking the country lanes or otherwise sightseeing, she took some amazing photographs of our activities all weekend. Thank you, Gwen! 

*Spread the joy!*