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Can You Help?


Knitters are the most giving people in the world! A shining example of this generous spirit can be found in the Hats 4 the Hatless project. This grass roots organization is asking knitters for their help in their efforts to keep children in need warm this winter. A few hours of your time can warm a child’s head and heart. Please read more about the project below in a message from its founder.

Hats 4 the Hatless

Do you have tons of leftover yarn piling up? Would you like to help those less fortunate? Are you part of a knitting club or church looking for a service project? If so, we would love your help. Hats 4 The Hatless is an offshoot of a nonprofit organization called Shoes 4 The Shoeless. We provide new shoes, socks, underwear and hats for children in need in grades K-12.

Here’s how you can help. We are in need of handmade or store bought new hats and leftover yarn. If you would like to donate hats or yarn we would greatly appreciate your help. To learn more about this worthwhile organization go to shoes4theshoeless.org or contact shauge@columbus.rr.com

Thank you for considering our project,
Sandy Hauge

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Center of Attention in NYC

I have been excitedly preparing for the Trekking Knit Along for many months. In true form, I took a break from sightseeing last summer in NYC to knit a spell in Times Square. I can be seen knitting my Center of Attention socks while my daughter waited for Broadway tickets. I never mind waiting as long as I have knitting with me. Where are some crazy places you have been spotted knitting?

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Fashion Show

Stitches South was full of amazing events.  The fashion show on Friday night was wonderful with so many beautiful garments modeled.  The biggest trend in yarn that I noticed was the return to metallic fibers.  This makes perfect sense since metallic infused garments are all the rage in clothing retail shops.  I had the delight in watching 4 of the Knit Along projects cruise down the runway!

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Gwen Bortner Interview

One of the best perks of working in the knitting industry is that I am fortunate to meet many of its stars. Gwen Bortner, author of Entree to Entrelac, is not only a star but she has become a great friend. I admire Gwen most for her dedication to knitting education. Her teaching success is due to her warmth, vast knowledge and careful presentation. Gwen is now taking her talents to Craftsy, the online craft education website. She is offering my readers a special discount for the class. Read the below interview to find out more and to see why I am her biggest fan!

You are known as the “Entrelac Queen”. When were you first introduced to the technique?

While I was still a pretty new knitter I started working at a yarn shop part-time. The owner knew I liked puzzles and plopped this blob of yarn down in front of me and said she thought I would like giving it a try. Well, it turn out the enclosed instructions were for basic entrelac. Because I was a newer knitter, I did not try and out-think the instructions and instead just did as it directed. And just like magic, a swatch of entrelac was formed. The owner was right, the technique totally intrigued me and I was pretty much hooked.

What do you enjoy most about Entrelac?

I like that with a little bit of practice, entrelac can be your mindless knitting, but the finish product never looks simplistic. I also love coming up with innovative solutions to issues that can be associated with entrelac. Most of all, I like that there are still new areas to explore. Unlike some of the other knitting techniques, fewer folks have really dug deep into the possibilities and I truly believe that there is still a lot more to explore!

What skills are required of a knitter to attempt Entrelac?

I have successfully taught entrelac to fairly new knitters. And in the Craftsy course, I basically only assume you have a strong handle on knit and purl and know the difference when looking at your knitting. All of the other techniques we actually cover in class. So really basic knitting skills, maybe a bit of a sense of adventure and an interest in learning a relatively straight-forward technique that actually looks really complex!

Do you have a favorite type of yarn to use for Entrelac?

I always prefer a yarn that has some wool in it regardless of what technique I am using. The wool content always makes the fabric more even and it is usually nicer to work with. That said, I have used all sorts of yarns in entrelac projects, many without any wool content at all. So it comes down to the standard question, “Is the yarn appropriate for the fabric being created and the project being made?”

I have personally seen many of your beautiful designs that incorporate Entrelac. Do you have a favorite?

Usually it is whatever I am currently designing and working on. But of those designs out in the world, the one I get the most compliments on is the Entrelac Flounce Duo from my book Entrée to Entrelac. When people see the picture on Lydia (the model) they figure it looks good on her because everything looks good on her. But then they see me in the “Gwen size” version and realize that you don’t have to have model dimension to wear a knitted skirt and still look attractive. And honestly, every version I have seen made up looks really great on the person it was made for!!!

You have been a renowned teacher for years and are now bringing your skills to Craftsy, the online education program. Tell us about your new Craftsy Entrelac series.

I am so excited to be working with Craftsy on this project because they produce a truly high quality, professional course filmed in HD. In addition, their platform really allows the students to develop their own community, asking questions, posting pictures and projects and sharing, much as they would in a live class. But some of the advantages of this environment over a live class include having access to the material 24/7 with NO EXPIRATION, the ability to see what I am doing up close and all the features of video that just can’t happen in class like pause and rewind! The series of lessons takes you through three projects with skills building on the previous lesson. The first project just focuses on the basics, the second project adds texture stitches into the mix and the third project touches on a number of slightly different things that can be done with entrelac. Although I still have lots more to share, it is a solid introduction to the technique!

I’m especially excited for the new pattern you designed for the program. Can you give us any inside info on the design?

Actually all three designs were specifically designed for the class, but the cape is the highlight project. It starts at the bottom in a non-traditional manner allowing students to start imagining other possibilities. We then combine lace and entrelac, a sometimes surprisingly wonderful combination. As we work toward the neck students learn about shaping in entrelac as well as alternatives for the edge triangles. We finish by discussing how to apply edgings that provide a smooth transition from entrelac to regular fabric. And that is only 3 of the 10 lessons included in the course!

How can knitters access these classes?

All they have to do is sign-up at Craftsy.com. And if they use this special link, they will receive a discount off the regular price! Once they sign-up they will have their own account so they can access the class anytime they have an internet connection. And they can sign up for other Craftsy courses as well. Not only do they have knitting and crocheting, but quilting, sewing, cake decorating, paper crafts, the list just goes on. It is kind of addicting…ask me how I know!!!

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Join me in Florida!

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Attention Florida knitters!  I will be teaching three workshops at A Good Yarn Shop in Sarasota, February 8th and 9th:

Beginning Finishing

Every knitted piece is enhanced with expert finishing.  This class will elevate your skills and grow your confidence while learning the basics of seaming, grafting and blocking.  Techniques covered include invisible shoulder seams, vertical seams, kitchener stitch, picking up stitches and more.  Suitable for the advanced beginner.

Novelty Stitches

Novelty stitches add texture, charm and interest to any knitted piece.  Use these fun-to-knit stitches to turn an ordinary project into your own unique creation.  In class students will learn to execute many interesting stitches and how to introduce them into a project. No more plain vanilla knitting for you!  Suitable for the Intermediate knitter comfortable with basic shaping techniques and familiar with several stitch patterns.

Stitch + Stash = Style

Do you have beautiful yarns in your stash that are begging to be knit but you aren’t sure what to do with them?  Are you intrigued by the endless number of stitch patterns in reference books?  This is the class for you!  Learn the best way to use a stitch dictionary to complement your stash yarn and create one-of-a-kind pieces.  A fabulous way to use luxury or hand-spun yarn!  This class covers stitch selection, an overview of fibers, best uses for each yarn, and simple pattern design.  Students will create a unique cowl pattern using their stash yarn in class.

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Knitting Retreat

There is nothing more divine than a weekend away with fellow knitters!  I spent the past weekend at Autumn House Farms in Rochester Mills, Pennsylvania.  This picturesque haven is near Punxsutawney (yes, the Groundhog Capital) and housed me and my knitting buddies for three days of relaxation and education.

Autumn Farms is a self-sustaining farm.  For a city girl like me, I learned how this type of farm grows their own crops to feed their flock of sheep. The sheep are sheared and their wool is spun into beautiful yarn all on their own premises.  Harriet and Kenny shared their vast knowledge and warm hospitality creating the perfect getaway in their rustic bed and breakfast, The Shepherd’s Rest.

I used the time to work on new designs for upcoming classes.  It’s amazing how the creative energy just explodes when the daily grind is far away.  A crackling fire in the pot belly stove fueled my needles and my knitting soul.  I hope you can find the time for knitting with friends, too!

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Knitting Retreat in Northeast Ohio!

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Join me on a fun-filled knitting weekend in Austintown, Ohio as a guest of The Flaming Ice Cube!  We will explore colorwork knitting and many of the beautiful patterns possible with 2 and 3 colors of yarn.  Become an expert at handling multiple yarns as you create designs that only look difficult to execute.  At the retreat, knitters will begin to knit a sampler baby afghan that is based on my upcoming new book.  You will leave the weekend with lots of inspiration and knitting know-how.  I  hope to knit with you!

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Mackinac Island TKGA Workshop

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I had the great honor to teach a two day workshop for TKGA in the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan.  Mackinac Island is a small slice of heaven located in Lake Huron between the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.

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After a short ferry ride past the Mackinac Bridge, visitors find themselves back in time as they are greeted by the clip-clop sound of horses.  Motorized vehicles are prohibited on the island and horse-drawn carriages provide the bulk of transportation.  Tourists, groceries and even golf clubs are moved throughout the island by horses.

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A short carriage ride from the ferry sits the crown jewel of the island, Grand Hotel.  Built in 1887, this magnificent structure provides guests with spectacular views and incomparable service.  The grounds are impeccably maintained and can be viewed from the rockers on its famously vast porch.  For dinner, men are required to wear ties and the ladies must wear dresses as they are regaled with seven course meals served by white-gloved waiters.  There is truly no place like it in the world.  If it is not already there, add it to your bucket list of sites to see for a memorable stay.

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The workshop was a two day study in colorwork and a preview of my upcoming book.  I had 20 delightful students who were a joy to teach! We covered topics including Intarsia, duplicate stitch, expert yarn strategies, novelty stitches and more. The best part of the weekend was making so many new friends as we shared our love of knitting.  I will never forget my time with them and hope our paths cross again soon.

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