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Dear everybody,

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 chorus line of Shakerag Skirts. (And if you wore yours with a Shakerag Top, as many did—well, that’s a Shakerag Tuxedo. We don’t make the rules.)

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

Image credits
Photos that are perfectly fine: Kay Gardiner
Photos that are excellent: Christopher Sharp


  • I only made it to one of these great events and it WAS wonderful!

  • Looks amazing and I hope to join you one day! Please provide details about Belinda wrap vis a vis orthopedic incident??!!

  • I had a glorious time at both events!

  • It was as wonderful as described, looking forward to next year! I hope.

  • I had a wonderful time at my first Shakerag and hope it won’t by my last! I met so many friendly, accomplished, knitters. I learned how to “create a better fabric” from Patty and how to knit a necklace from Olga. And the food! Delicious.

    • Yes, the food was outstanding!

  • The joy of being with extraordinary people, old and new friends, expanding our minds and skills… I can’t stop smiling as I see these pictures! I missed the getaway this year (next year, fingers crossed!) and LOVED the workshop with Olga. Thank you to everyone at MDK!

  • Next year in Sewanee…

    • All of those activities sound perfectly wonderful ! Sign me up!

  • My first Shakerag event – it was wonderful! Met so, so many friendly helpful knitters. Congrats to the Trivia champs; but can someone remind me how many tie breaker questions it took? Ha!
    A big shout out to my roomie Chris and to Nancy L; hope y’all had a safe trip home.
    Looking forward to attending next year!!

  • Looking at the photos and reading the descriptions brought me so much joy. x

  • Thanks for sharing! I missed both but have been to events in the past and hope to be there next year, if I am lucky. Fun to see friends in the photos and also see lots of new faces — future friends! And btw, I had an appendectomy Monday night in Flagstaff on my way home. Hadn’t been feeling well for days, so I am glad I saved my MDK luck for next year — would have been awful to be there and be sick. Quick healing to the ortho person.

    • So sorry to hear, Jan Grimmer! Speedy recovery! I was the ortho mishap. Jumped off the back of the bus and broke my wrist. Do not recommend it! But, the TLC from MDK/Shakerag/attendees was OUTSTANDING! Highly recommend! (Medical care too!).

      • Of course Laura deserves the
        “Pull from the Tangles” award for 2023. While she couldn’t knit she could join everyone in conversation, meals and everything else. I wish you could see how so many woman cared for one bird with a busted wing. Laura, hope you can get on the First Sat in July Zoom call. (And anyone else who was there) We need to know how you are doing.

        • Since I’m not able to drive yet, I should be there, Lucy!

  • Best summer camp EVER! So glad I was able to attend for the first time. A truly lovely and welcoming group of knitters, only matched by the staff and setting.

  • One day, I am going to Shakerag, I SWEAR.

  • Do you happen to have a shakerag skirt kit on the website? Would love to buy one!

  • I miss you all!

  • So hoping this first Shakerag Knitting Workshop won’t be my last – I loved every minute of it, and all the wonderful people I met!!Thank you to Ann and Kay, The Super Conveners!!

    • I think “Super Conveners” is the nicest compliment ever, thank you! We only convene the nicest folks!

  • Brings back such wonderful memories! ❤️❤️Mr. Otis and I hope to make it back soon!

    • Mr. Otis was missed almost as much as Mr. Otis’s companion.

      • For those who did not attend that particular Shakerag, Mr. Otis is a heavyweight sock cranking machine who DON’T MESS. The object of much knitterly adoration.

  • Every time i see what fun you all have at this event i want to kick myself for not signing up. I hope 2024 will be my year to join the fun!

  • The bags are adorable! Looking forward to attending one of these workshops!

  • Ann is wearing an Alabama Shakes t-shirt! In her honor I queued up Hold On, by favorite song by that group.

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