Postcards from Knitting Heaven
We are still floating on joyful vibes from back-to-back MDK in-person events. The old song is true: the more we get together, the happier we’ll be. And we have the overflowing camera rolls and bags full of craft projects (finished and unfinished) to prove it!
The MDK Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops
From Wednesday to Saturday, we convened at a bucolic mountain idyll that is otherwise known (from August to May, anyway), as the St. Andrews-Sewanee School, for the MDK Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops. It was our fifth Knitting Getaway, and it was as much of a lovefest as ever. This year’s festivities were crowned by perfect weather—sunny, with a breeze—every day. We needed good weather, since we had to contend with a dorm renovation that split our group of more than 100 knitters between the St. Andrews-Sewanee campus that we’re used to, and Trezevant Hall, which sounds like something straight out of Harry Potter but in fact is a college dorm two miles down the road at the University of the South.
In the gallery up top are a few snapshots of our time together, which as ever was too short. Kay took not one but two hikes through Shakerag Hollow with our fearless leader, Claire Reishman, whose great-grandfather possibly was a billy goat. Someday all our hikers’ quadriceps will recover from the steep descent to the bottom of the hollow, which was followed by a gentle, steady climb to the top, where breakfast awaited. Ann opted to spend her early-morning hours doing restorative yoga with Robie Jackson—as refreshing as a nap, but bendier.
Our Knitting Getaway faculty was stellar. Top-drawer! First-rate! Here they are:
From left: Felicia Eve, proprietor of Brooklyn’s String Thing Studio and the force behind the extraordinary Wool & Folk Festival, who taught a fascinating class on mind mapping, a technique that combines visualization, planning, and brainstorming to realize our dreamiest dreams.
Katherine Tilton, sewing pattern designer, who had us handsewing potholders from her mighty fabric stash, and trying on her vivacious tops, jackets, and dresses. Katherine is still up on the mountain, teaching a weeklong course in Session 2 of Shakerag Workshops. Sigh . . .
Cecilia Nelson-Hurt, world traveler and leader in diversity, inclusion, and equity, our returning keynote speaker who shared her vision of building connections across cultures through travel and knitting.
Olga Buraya-Kefelian, brilliant knitwear designer and innovator who taught her fascinating Tendril Necklace from MDK Field Guide No. 24: Spark, so that all could be suitably bedecked for our revels; and
Patty Lyons, knitting teacher, designer, and author of the bestseller Patty Lyons’ Knitting Bag of Tricks. The doctor was IN; Patty wowed us with stitchy tricks and tackled everyone’s persistent problems.
Other highlights that we managed to capture on camera:
A highly competitive Trivia Night. Believe it or not, the question that weeded out quite a few contenders required knowing (or guessing) whether sheep defend themselves by (a) stomping their feet or (b) rolling their eyes. Mock if you will, but remember that the pressure of competition can cloud one’s judgment.
Here we see 10 trivia champions who know their sheep behavior, and also know the difference between things that Elizabeth Zimmermann said and things that Barbara Walker said.
A raucous and rockin’ fashion show, in which the grand prize for Most Handknits Simultaneously Worn On One’s Person was won by Yvonne Allen, whose carry-on bag holds more sweaters than most of us have knit—or will knit—in our lifetimes.
Thing we learned: in case of orthopedic mishap, keep a Belinda Wrap on hand, for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.
If you’re thinking about joining us for the next Knitting Getaway in June 2024, we’d love to have you. Keep an eye on your Snippets newsletter each Saturday. In August, the registration window will be open for a week, and we’ll be sure to shout about it in Snippets so that everyone who wants to attend has a chance to register for a spot. (If you don’t already get our newsletter, sign up here!)
A Workshop with Olga Buraya-Kefelian
Saturday morning, we high-tailed it back to Nashville (one of us in a pick-up truck), where a smiling Team MDK was waiting for us on a glorious morning.
All was in readiness for a two-day, in-depth workshop with Olga Buraya-Kefelian.
After a morning of yarn-squeezin’ and coffee sippin’, Olga led a group of knitters from all over the USA and Canada through a fascinating tour of her origami knitting techniques.
Olga’s way of thinking about the architecture of knitting is truly mind-expanding, and she shared it generously and with great good humor.
And then, we got to cast on for the Yabane Cowl, one of Olga’s newest designs. Learning how to construct those folding mountains and valleys—not to mention that pleated center ridge—was yoga for a knitter’s brain.
And on Sunday morning, we all came back for a morning of magic with slipped stitches, a whole other category of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s flat-out genius.
Did we have fun? How could we not? The gathering-in of like-minded people who are all as excited about knitting as we are—it’s what we live for.
It was a joy to welcome knitters to MDK World Headquarters. It’s our dream to fill this beautiful old bus maintenance garage with knitters and makers, friendship and love, as often as possible in the weeks and months to come. Keep an eye on your Snippets, and on our Events page, for updates.
We hope to see you soon.
Ann and Kay