Our make. wear. love. retreats are an oasis in time, not only for the attendees, but for us as well. Because something special happens when a
whole bunch of kindness of knitters come together: We let the rest of the world go, and soak up gorgeous surroundings, beautiful materials, and the inspiration of being around 80 other people who are our people.
We learn. We try new things and new ideas. I’ve felt privileged to be a part of that for the retreats we’ve run on the coast of Maine these past two years. At the same time, I understand that coastal Maine is just too far for some to travel, even for knitting.
So we’re adding a retreat to our list in 2015, on the West Coast, in another beautiful coastal location I was lucky enough to call home, once: Pacific Grove, CA.
We hope you’ll join us at the first make. wear. love retreat: west coast edition. The retreat will be on May 1 – 4, 2015, at the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds.
The festivities will begin with dinner on Friday, followed by an evening welcome reception. The rest of your time will be a combination of traditional classes, intimate focus sessions, personal consultations, lectures, a fantastic marketplace… …and of course, quiet downtime to knit with friends old and new.
We’re very lucky to have three special teachers joining me to be your knitting guides for the weekend:
(Clara Parkes, Fiona Ellis, and Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.)
Excited? We sure are. Stephanie, Fiona, and Clara represent an incredible powerhouse of knitting information and are wonderful teachers, all. (Not to mention the fact that they’re awesome people and fantastic to spend a weekend with.) Combined with an exciting – but not exhausting – curriculum in a stunning setting with tons of great yarn near at hand? A heady thought, for sure.
You’ll get one class with each of myself, Stephanie, and Fiona:
- Amy’s classes focus on visuals and design. There are two options, which you rank in order of interest when you register:
- Knit to Flatter. Most of us have had the experience of trying on clothes we hate, even though they fit perfectly well. The same thing can happen in sweater knitting! Fit is important, but it’s far from everything if you want to love wearing your sweaters. This class introduces the concept of matching your knitting projects to your body’s inherent shape, and systematically covers how to make pattern choices you’ll love to wear. We’ll do a personalized shape analysis, talk about how clothing changes the way our body shape looks, and explore sweater elements in detail. By the end of class, you’ll be choosing sweater patterns with confidence!
- Sweater Design Basics. All sweaters are a combination of three basic ingredients: A fabric, a silhouette, and “bling”. In this class, we’ll discuss each in detail, and learn how to have fun with these ingredients and produce sweaters that perfectly match your own wardrobe and life. Wonder what materials will best match your own personal sense of style? How to take a basic pattern and customize it to match your own daily life? What the different neckline shapes are, and how they’re transformed into the many different things you think about as “necklines”? We’ll cover all of that, and more.
- Stephanie’s classes focus on technique and knitting smarts. Again, you’ll have your choice of two options:
- Knit Smart. This lecture style class (that means talking, like at University) deals with best practices in knitting, and talks about how to (usually) prevent knitting mistakes (mostly) fix them. Out of the myriad techniques, ideas, yarns, patterns and tools available to knitters, how can you be sure that the ones you choose will give you the results you want? This class looks at how to predict how knitting is going to work, very clever ways to solve knitting problems, and how to streamline knitting so that you’re doing less work, and creating better stuff. This class is useful to knitters at all levels, and is my very favourite to teach.
- Knitting for Speed and Efficiency. This interesting class examines the various techniques, attitudes and history of the most productive knitters, and is designed not necessarily to change how you knit (unless you want to) but to help you become the most efficient knitter you can be on your own terms. We’ll look at the various styles of knitting, and have some instruction on “lever knitting” (fixed needle knitting.) We’ll talk about techniques for knitting faster through changing what you do, and the way you think.
- Fiona’s classes are about creativity. They’re all set up to give students time to play and explore, and she’s devised them so that you’ll leave with an understanding of how the techniques truly work.
- Twist, Shift, and Cable. Fiona is undeniably a master of inventive and fun cables. In this workshop, she’ll inspire you to cable, too! The class will begin with a review of cable techniques, including tips for understanding the terminology and reading charts, which can help even advanced knitters. She’ll then dive into morphing cables….cables that change and become other patterns. You’ll get started designing your own cables and learn how to experiment and adapt your cabling to the needs of a garment. Even if you are not an advanced cable knitter, give it a try!
- Shaping and Stitch Patterns. Stitch patterning, be it cables, lace, texture, or color, is often central to a sweater’s design. Stitch patterning is also one of the best ways to explore your own sweater creativity! But it can sometimes offer up challenges, too – many of which center around shaping and pattern. In this workshop, Fiona will teach you how to tackle shaping and stitch patterning with confidence and a sense of fun. From waist shaping (how does one gracefully add and remove stitches front and center in a patterned piece?) to necklines (Fiona often includes details such as running the pattern seamlessly into or around the neckline) and beyond, Fiona will focus not only on the methods of increasing and decreasing stitches used to change the shape of a piece, but how they can be used to create decorative effects within the fabric itself.
You’ll also get a more intimate session with Clara, focused on materials. When you register, please choose one:
- Know your Twist. Yarns are put together in a crazy number of ways, and this session is all about the different twist and ply combinations available to us as knitters. What are they? How are they different from one another? And what do they do to your knitted fabric?
- Know the Journey. Clara is incredibly passionate about the journey from fiber to finished yarn. There are so many steps involved, and in this session you’ll explore them with her: How yarn production works in this country, everything that goes into a good skein of yarn, and why domestically sourced and spun yarns can a) cost more but b) benefit so many more people.
- Know your Fibers: Overview. Knitters have a bewildering array of fiber choice, now: Wools of many different types, other animal fibers, synthetics, linens and cottons and silks (oh my!). All of these different fibers give us decidedly different things in our finished garments: This session will help you understand how to go from hank to fabric, and what kinds of fibers you should select to get a particular result.
- Know your Fibers: Wool. Wool is extraordinary—annually renewable and recyclable—with infinite potential. It can be wispy and sensual when it wants to be, it can be gruff and powerful, it can put out fires and keep families warm at night, it can be stepped on, sat under, rained on, and wrapped up in again and again. This session will focus exclusively on wool, and how to unlock its potential in your sweaters.
In addition to the classes and Clara’s session, you’ll participate in lectures, evening festivities, and get a personal consultation with one of our esteemed instructors. You’ll get access to a carefully-curated marketplace. All with 80 of the most wonderful people, against a backdrop of one of the most gorgeous places on earth. Want still more details? Download the brochure!
￼Registration will happen in a few phases, detailed below. The cost of the make. wear. love. retreat: west coast edition includes 3 classes, a materials intensive session with Clara, a personal consultation, lectures, evening events, special retreat designs, meals and a glass of wine, and a goodie bag. The cost of the retreat is $965.
Attendees are responsible for arranging their own lodging with Asilomar – we have secured group rates of ~$100 per person, per night for a double room; ~$210 per person, per night for a single. Attendees will use a dedicated webpage on the Asilomar site for make. wear. love. lodging registration, you will receive complete instructions when your spot in the retreat is confirmed. (We’ll provide a way for interested attendees to get in touch, if you’d like to share.) Non-knitting companions are welcome, their cost for all meals and participation in lounge & evening activities is $550.
- Registration will open at 12pm Eastern on Monday, November 10. We’ll link to a google form here on the blog. At that time, you’ll need to give us basic information like your name and email, tell us which classes you’d most like to take, and tell us a little bit about your knitting skill level.
- Attendance confirmation, class assignments, and schedule will be sent on Wednesday, November 19. A non-refundable deposit of $250 will be due at this time (we’ll send you a Paypal invoice when we send your confirmation).
- In mid-January, we’ll finalize the remaining details of your retreat weekend (including meal preferences and personal consults). Your balance will be due on January 20.
We hope you can join us. We can’t wait to pull up a chair in one of the most sublime places on earth, and dive into all things sweater.