Crafters are social creatures, and nowhere was this more evident than at the MDK Knitting Getaway. From across the country or down the road, for their first time or for the (almost) third year in a row, we gathered at St. Andrews Sewanee. During the rest of the year, the campus on top of the Cumberland Plateau in central Tennessee serves as a boarding and day school. But in June it transforms into Shakerag Workshops under the direction of Claire Reishman.
Claire is a horse riding, poem reading dynamo. Although I only saw her ride a bike during my time with her, she did point out her two horses in the pasture as we drove by on a tour. That’s another thing about Claire, you can’t help but be captivated by her wealth of knowledge and colorful stories. She assembles a capable staff, who make sure the weekend and the following week-long sessions proceed smoothly.
Between taking off time to write my book and the pandemic, it was just over two years since I last taught an in-person class. The past year really made clear how much I missed in person interactions, whether it was striking up a conversation while waiting in line for the delicious meals cooked by Chef Caroline or admiring what someone was wearing. And there were many gorgeous handmade items on display, both knit and sewn. There are few things I enjoy more than seeing one of my patterns transformed by the maker’s own creativity!
Everyone was primed to learn and ready to enjoy the time we shared. While there weren’t enough sewing machines for each person to have their own, this was taken in completely stride. People were more than willing to share both machines and knowledge, helping to trouble shoot issues like replacing a bobbin. There was even a cadre of hand stitchers, taking slow fashion to its next logical place. Along with the simple shirt class, I also taught a shorter patch pocket class, because who I ask, doesn’t need more pockets?
Our last evening together was topped off with a fashion show and I was absolutely thrilled when a group went up on stage wearing shirts they had made in class. I felt like a proud parent, standing up in my seat and taking photos. Thank you to Ann and Kay for creating the Knitting Getaway and to everyone who worked so hard to make it happen.