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Dear everybody,

We are still floating on joyful vibes from back-to-back MDK in-person events in Tennessee. 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. It was our sixth (!) Knitting Getaway at Shakerag Workshops, 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.

In the gallery up top are a few snapshots of our time together, which as ever was too short. There is no better forest bathing in this world than in Sewanee, Tennessee. Kay joined a group of hiking-booted stalwarts for the traditional 6:25 a.m. hike through Shakerag Hollow with the phenomenally sure-footed Claire Reishman. 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. Other folks opted to spend their early-morning hours doing restorative yoga with Robie Jackson—as refreshing as a nap, but bendier. This year’s addition to the pre-breakfast options—a gentle, scenic walk around the Reservoir (which we usually only see from our perspective as swimmers!)—was a perfect start to the day.

Our Knitting Getaway faculty was a joyful, skillful, and frankly amazing bunch.

Soaking up that golden-hour glow, from left: Samantha Brunson, who gave many dozens of knitters the crochet bug; Nell Ziroli, who taught her Shakerag Skirt; Lorilee Beltman, whose Colors That Climb technique blew minds and generated snazzy wristlets and eyeglass cases; and Fatimah Hinds, the star designer of MDK Field Guide No. 27, who inspired and instructed knitters in creating cabled hats of their own design.

To the teachers of 2024: your classes were amazing, and your company was even amazing-er. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Other highlights:

An Ann Shayne Classic IcebreakerTM:  on the first night, we split into whimsically named teams and used a motley assortment of art supplies from Ann’s kitchen drawers to create coats of arms reflecting each team member. Was this a transparent gambit to get new acquaintances to engage with each other on the first day? Yes, and it was also even more fun than we imagined.

The return of Trivia Night. This year, the quiz was either marred, or enhanced—depending on your point of view—by Kay and Ann’s inability to say a made-up word without dissolving into minutes-long spasms of giggles. We’ll always have hineykicker, y’all.

We also know, for the future, that we need more than two tie-breaker questions for a group as knowledgeable as this one. The winning team knew that hineykicker is actually not local parlance for hooch, moonshine, or white lightning. They also knew that in terms of fiber strength, ramie is superior to linen or silk. Believe it or not!

There was the now-traditional chorus line of Shakerag Skirts. If you wore yours with a Shakerag Top, as many did—well, that’s a Shakerag Tuxedo. It’s safe to say that many more Shakerag Skirts are going to be appearing in the world, now that 100 knitters have had a chance to try them on and see that they really are cute on everybody.

The fashion show was raucous and rockin’—and flat-out impressive. Diane’s clothesline of National Parks hats was a jaw-dropping thing of beauty; does anybody have a picture of that?

UPDATE: Yes, yes Gail Doran does have a picture . . . thanks for capturing this most excellent clothesline!

And there was so much more. In addition to powerful capacity for conversation, conviviality, and culinary consumption, this group has amazing knitting chops.

Sitting and knitting together under the twin pergolas known as Ramsey’s Rest, it’s hard not to think that this is what heaven must be like. Good light, good will, and good yarn.

See You in Sewanee

If you’re thinking about joining us for the next Knitting Getaway in June 2025, 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!)


After hugs and waves and a farewell breakfast on Saturday morning, we hightailed it back to Nashville, where a smiling Team MDK was waiting for us. With our Knitting Getaway faculty there to greet, sign, and spring into action as the best yarnmongers we’ve ever seen, we shopped, we snacked, we knitted, and we had some frankly incredible conversations. Thanks to everyone who took the yellow bus from Shakerag to spend a few more precious hours together, and to all the friendly locals who stopped by.

As ever, it was a joy to welcome knitters to MDK World Headquarters. It’s our dream to continue to fill this beautiful old bus maintenance garage with knitters and makers, friendship and love, 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

PS: This is your announcement that Ann has entered her caftan era. Who’s with her?


  • This was my first and hopefully not last Shakerag Getaway. I expected the knitting to be amazing, but I did not anticipate how truly wonderful our time in Sewanee would be. The setting, the bullfrogs, the delicious meals, the happy hours, the teachers,
    knitting inspiration, and the knitters themselves. I traveled with a friend and we began by meeting Ruth Ann while waiting for the bus at the airport. The room filled up as other knitters arrived from everywhere, including Nova Scotia. As much as I want to return next year, I also want everyone to have a chance to experience this.Thank you Ann and Kay for all you and your minions did to make these days so very memorable.

  • Ann, you ROCK the caftan! Sorry to have missed this year’s getaway but great to see so many familiar faces.

    See you, (hopefully) at yarn fest!

  • I had such fun and the event was well organized! May we do it again next month?!!

  • Great pictures of a wonderful event ! Thank you to everyone who helped make this years retreat a success! It is such a fantastic experience and to top it off to get to headquarters too ! Knit on !

  • As always, awesome food, awesome friends, awesome knitting. This provides a well needed respite from the crazy world outside Sewanee. I hold you all dear.

  • Me!! I’m with Ann in the Caftan Era. Cool, comfortable, colorful. What’s not to love?

  • I’m thrilled to hear that the Shakerag Kickline continues! As the instigator (influencer??) back a coupla years ago, it warms my ankles to know that the Rockettes have some competition! ❤️

  • Thanks for the postcards!!! I love Shakerag and am sorry that the spaces are limited, but I get it. Seeing your posts on IG and reading this letter is the next best thing. Maybe I’ll get lucky and will be able to attend next year. Thanks for everything you do to keep us all happy campers!!!

  • A caftan on Ann?!? Unexpected, and very beautiful! go for it!

  • Love it all! One day I shall be retired and head on down❣️❣️ it looks too fun❣️❣️

  • I’m with Ann. Love caftans. I enjoyed hearing about the shakerag event and how neat to see so many pretty skirts. It must have been wonderful to be together in that beautiful setting. Oh to be young again!

  • Getting vicarious good vibes from this trip report. Such a sweet and special event.
    Hope to join in one day.

  • Me, me! On the caftan question. I do knit beginnerly, but I sew advancedly and am making a beautiful aubergine-colored caftan for a friend’s wedding in September. May have to add some significant trim to it so no one mistakes me for a priest! Figure Ann and Kay will like these new words I just introduced. Shakerag looks like a blast!

  • It was my first Shakerag knitting getaway. What a beautiful setting and wonderful time! As a newbie, I had lots of questions and needed lots of help finding my way around and figuring out the knitting projects. Every single person was friendly, helpful and just plain nice. I felt welcomed and cared for by y’all. Thanks for the conviviality and for a great time! I hope to come again. Now, just need to get my shakerag skirt done!

  • It was a hineykicker, for sure!

  • Oh, the memories… Wish I could have been there!

  • So Jealous. I used to go to camp at Gailor-Maxon in Monteagle and Mom did grad school at Sewanee. I loved going “up on the mountain.”

  • Ooooooooh it sounds as wonderful as ever!
    Yay for the caftan stage.

  • I have never felt more honored and proud than when Diane asked me to hold the other end of the hat string. Ann and Kay, you hit it out of the park on the teachers. Claire and her amazing team created a knitting utopia that I am so grateful for. My only note on this post is that there was no mention of Hunter’s happy hour pants! And Ann, there’s a fine line between a caftan and a Mumu. Proceed with caution.

  • I think the fashion show was the best yet. Right now I have a Shakerag Skirt on my needles in the hope that I am chosen fit next year.

  • Such a magical time in such a magical place. Thanks Ann and Kay for all you do for the world of knitting. And thanks to Claire for her expertise in keeping everything running. And thanks to the chef and his staff for amazing and healthy food. And thanks to all those behind the scenes who made the retreat run so smoothly. And thanks to the teachers for sharing their expertise both in and out of the classroom. And thanks for arranging for the school bus to drop some of us off at Headquarters. And thanks to the knitter whose name I am sorry I cannot remember for so generously giving us a ride to the airport. Yup, I loved every minute of Shakerag. Y’all are the best!

  • That looks like a ton of fun. Thank you for the lift-me-up of smiles.

  • My first time and it was amazing and incredible. I hope this will not be my last time. I enjoyed every moment. I could hardly believe I was there. I am finally learning to crochet, thanks Samantha, you are an awesome teacher. I hope by next year (if I make the cut) I am in shape to take the Shakerag hollow hike. I have definitely been won over to team Shakerag skirt. I’m swatching as I post this. Thanks for the hug, Nell. You all are wonderful!

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