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Dear everybody,

It was the best of times, it was the best of times.

We wondered: how would 100 knitters from 32 states—plus genuine Canadians—react to a weekend in Sewanee, Tennessee? We’d never had a retreat for MDK folks, ever. Would they like it? Would they enjoy the things we’d cooked up for them? Would they really understand that we’d be sleeping in authentic dorms? Was somebody going to short-sheet our beds?

Here we have Claire Reishman, the director of Shakerag Workshops at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School in Sewanee, Tennessee, since its inception 15 years ago. She created a small wonderland last weekend. With her is Margaret Woods, whose skill and good cheer were on display the entire time. Everybody fell in love with these two and their charming, quick-witted, resourceful staff.

Genuine dorm life. It was a massive throwback, and it was kind of great. Where else do you wander in from a full night of knitting to find a bunch more knitters in the lounge to knit with?

Home sweet home-away-from-home.

We made sure to have happy hour every night.


The dining hall.

The beets and carrots.


Sangria and lamb chops after a really tough day.


Catherine Ellis’s dyeing workshop was a hot ticket, although there weren’t actually tickets at all and knitters just wandered in and out of whatever class they wanted.

Amazingly active knitters: early morning hikes, yoga with Robie Jackson, bike rides through Sewanee, swimming in the lake. Main complaint: “I haven’t really knitted much!”

The mural in the yoga room.

Tomato salad.

Claire Reishman was begged to share her collection of Shakerag t-shirts decorated with Alabama Chanin applique and embroidery. She has 15 of these, each more intricate than the next. Robie Jackson brought her Beyoncé to the modeling.

Lemon cookies.



The bacon.

We set up a shop with yarns and books and all sorts of surprises.

Bread pudding. It’s all in the wrist.

A spontaneous Alabama Chanin tutorial broke out.

Flotation devices appeared out of nowhere for lake floats.

Saturday night Lazy Sunday Live: like Rocky Horror, only with kilts. KILTS!

Shakerag founder modeling Shakerag Top.

Dr. Fix-It Julia Farwell-Clay solved many, many problems.

Kelley Dew, the gamest possible Getawayer, summed it all up:

Remember that time a bunch of knitters took over @shakeragworkshops for the weekend? And we knit and knit, and stitched and giggled, and the food tried to kill us because it was so healthy and delicious and irresistible, and we drank from hand-thrown mugs, and the staff felt like old friends, and you immediately felt like you’d known all the campers forever, and the frogs were so loud, and the breeze was so nice, and there was whiskey bread pudding, and those cookies! And we learned to crochet, and improve our photos, and dye, and fix stuff, and we field tripped to @fiberfarm and @mooneysmarket, and we Rocky Horrored an old movie, and we bought yarn, and some more yarn, and we made #shakeragtops and those Field Guides! Wouldn’t you so love to do all that again?

Yes, Kelley, we would so love to do all that again.


Ann and Kay

PS Lots more photos from the weekend over at Instagram #MDKKnittingGetaway. If you have Knitting Getaway pix you’d like to share, please post them there!


  • How lovely! Kelley’s sum up was charming. I want to go to camp!

    To digress only slightly. How do you pronounce shakerag? Shake-rag or shaker-ag or?

    • Shake-rag!

  • Would like to know what the pattern for the aqua sweater shown in the bread pudding picture is. Please!

    • Oh! So sorry— I bought it and didn’t think that one through before I dressed in the morning in MN. Perhaps we can deconstruct it to figure it out?

    • Yes me too wants to know.

  • I retire from teaching in 2020. Depending on when the last day of school is, I will be there that year or the next or both! Looks like a great time was had by all.

  • It think I have found my next tribe.
    ✅Sewanee (it’s hallowed ground – brother is Sewanee Military Academy alum & I’m a Camp Gailer-Macon alum)
    ✅Real Food
    ✅Lotsa yarn and fiber arts. Now I feel an urge to “Chanin” a tshirt or 2 (it won’t be the first time)
    ✅Field trips
    ✅Shakerag sweater on the needles (and I already knew the reference)
    I’m in next year.

  • Please be sure to give notice when to sign up for the next MDK Knitting Getaway. I must have missed it. I read MDK every day.

    • Me three…. I really want to attend. Loved reading about it.

    • Me, too – looks like SO much fun!!

  • What a lovely weekend it was! Thank you gals so much. I hope y’all feel like all the hard work was worth it because we sure do! #shakeragmdkgetaway4ever. #☠️

    • #Kelley4ever

      • Ditto,

  • It really was the best of times! Thank you to everyone who had a hand in it.

  • It was the best solo adventure of my life. I cat thank all of you enough! I’ already dreaming of next time. #shakerag4ever

    • Can’t, not cat. I’m stil too blissed out to proofread.

  • We came together as sisters-in-knitting with lots to talk about: “What yarn is that?” “What will you make with the yarn you dyed?” “Did I just see Ann Budd?” “Should I eat another fried green tomato pimento cheese sandwich?”
    I loved the feeling of creative community and hope to go back again. #shakeragallyear

  • Yes, do it again so this Canadian can join you!

  • My expectations for the Knitting Getaway were high coming in and, wow, did you ladies exceed them! There was so much joy and thoughtful attention to detail in all of it.
    I’m definitely counting the days until next year’s getaway! ❤️

  • Are you going to do this every year now? It looks like it was such a wonderful fun time!!! I want to come the next time!!! Thanks for letting me live vicariously through your words and photos!!!

  • I do hope you do this again. I would love to come.Dorm life without a test the next day sounds heavenly.

  • What a wonderful time you all had! I so wish I’d known about it. When will the sign ups be for next year? Thanks for all of the wonderful photos and commentary!

  • So fun!!! I wanna go next year! Please tell me there’s a next year!

  • It was a lovely weekend. Thank you for all the work that went into making it perfect for us!

  • Sign me up already for next year. I want to come again. It was the best!

  • L.O.V.E.

  • I’ve been on many handweaving conferences like this—wonderful times! (Except for the college cafeteria food and 2-inch dorm bed mattresses.)

  • A weekend to remember and so energizing. Loved it. Thanks Ann and Kay and all the gang that made this an awesome getaway.

  • How do I sign up for the next Knitting Getaway?

  • That looks like such fun, and the food looks amazeballs. I am looking forward to making a Shakerag top soon, hopefully before summer is over!

    I would love the details on Stephanie from Plymouth Massachusetts’ sweater. Exactly the thing I need for myself!

    • Stephanie is sporting her version of the Shakerag Top from MDK Field Guide No. 6. She used cotton from her stash. Hopefully she will see your query and let you know what it is!

      • Hi Annie and @kay. It actually isn’t cotton, though strangely feels that way. It is Selene from Spirit Trail Fiberworks. 100% wool. Dk version of the Shakerag top. Color way is Lily Pond, but that is a club color. She has other similar lovely colors. Thank you Kay for the shout out. I missed it.

  • The picture of the dining room looks like a Dutch Old Master oil painting – at least to me. The light streaming in and the building itself are so painterly.

  • ❤️❤️❤️

  • If I had known there was whiskey bread pudding, bacon, and lamb how could I have stayed away!!! The menu is even as tempting as buying yarn!!
    Will there be a next year event, when, where so we can plan it now!!

  • Thank you to you both and Claire for a great weekend. When are signups for 2019

    • Add me to mailing list

      • Hi Carol, our mailing list is called Snippets, and you can sign up below.

  • These photos take me right back to Shakerag, and oh, how I loved it there!

  • what is the pattern for the turquoise top the lady is wearing with white pants?? – she is a nice large pix in the buffet line – love her top

  • Bucket list!

  • What I want to know is how you managed to find the exact right roommate for me (never mind that our names were together on the alphabetical list). I guess all knitters are nice and talented and fun to be with. it was a lovely time:: classes were dynamite, food beyond delicious, weather gorgeous, staff knowledgeable and competent. Have I left anything out? Thank you!

    • They got me a great roommate too!

  • I sent you a suggestion for an article about a similar getaway here in the southwest. Looks like you all had a wonderful time at this one. The one here will be repeated next February, but I will sign up to get info for your next one too.

  • OK
    I’m coming next year
    and That’s That!

  • Tried to comment earlier—-something went sideways. Just wanted to say PLEASE have another camp next year?? I’d so love to attend! ❤️

  • Wow, wow…I wanna go next time. Congrats to you all.

  • It was an honour to be one of the Canadians

  • This was by far the best retreat ever! Thank you Ann and Kay, and of course, the multi-talented Claire, for the wonderful experience. I miss being there and hope to return again!

  • It looks like a great time was had by all. I want to come next year!!!!

  • Thank you for a wonderful experience — highlight of my year!

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