Revisiting MWL West: The 2016 Retreat designs!

With registration opening tomorrow for the fall make. wear. love. retreat, I thought today was a great day to share three of the designs I made for April’s “make. wear. love. west coast” retreat:

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Please meet Spruce Point, Curlew, and Oak Knoll.

I work up special retreat designs for vendor yarns for every make. wear. love. retreat, and this spring was no exception. True to the theme of the weekend, I wanted the garments to be wearable, comfortable, and in a wider range of silhouettes than you might be used to seeing from me. Here’s a little peek at 3 of the 4 designs, with links to make your own.

(The last retreat design will be part of the coming-up-soon, much-anticipated, A-line sweater release within CustomFit.)

Spruce Point

Spruce Point was a direct request from the uber-fantastic Maridee of The Yarnover Truck. She wanted something classic, but that could be worked out of a more LA-friendly yarn than I usually lean on for my designs. Something that would be quick, but wouldn’t leave her boiling every time she tried to put it on.

So we used Skacel’s CoBaSi Plus, a great worsted-weight non-wool with superb crisp definition, and the design took off from there. I started with a classic silhouette — 3/4 sleeves, a deep V neck, and a longer length — and took advantage of those laser-cut stitches with updated Broken Rib for the trims. The result was a super-wearable, super-comfortable garment that I think I’d wear all the time.

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You can make your very own Spruce Point pattern – for your own size, in your own gauge – right here on CustomFit.


I’m trying to include a non-CustomFit, less-typical construction design in most retreats now, as I encourage my students to think outside the box, a bit, about what makes a great sweater. Curlew was this year’s sweater in that category – it’s knit in a single piece, from left sleeve cuff to right sleeve cuff, with no shaping. And despite that super-easy knitting experience, and the oversized nature of this construction, this sweater has turned into something I wear all the time.

A good chunk of this is the way the fabric – Shibui Staccato and Pebble, held together – drapes and hangs. It’s luxurious, and the two kinds of silk in these yarns create a gorgeously-nubby, wonderfully-light, drapey fabric. But I think another big part of Curlew’s charm is that the sweater clearly isn’t designed to be super form-fitting or tailored: It’s an easy, relaxed silhouette with strong vertical lines that’s comfortable and flattering on just about anyone.

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If you’ve never considered knitting a sweater before, or you’re nervous about how your next sweater will come out, I encourage you to head on over to Ravelry and give this one a try.

Oak Knoll

Finally, I couldn’t let the California retreat go by without designing a vest. Vests are such great garments, both for a climate that’s less “bring on the WOOOOOOL!” and for yarns that are too luscious to purchase in bulk. So when the wonderful people at A Verb for Keeping Warm sent me their “Reliquary II” and “Floating” yarns, to be worked held together, I knew a vest was in order.

But not a stuffy, fuddy-duddy vest. Something a bit more floaty, a bit more chic, a bit more sophisticated than the words “sweater vest” typically call to mind. Oak Knoll is one of those seemingly-effortless wardrobe pieces that looks great dressed up or down, worn open or closed. (There are no buttonholes or closures worked into the pattern itself, by the way – for sweaters like this, I love these screw-in closures by Jul Designs or my Moving Mud glass closure, which is what I’m wearing in these photos.)

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Oak Knoll is a CustomFit pattern, worked with slight waist shaping on the back only, and generous, scrunchable lapels that hang just so. You can make your own by clicking here.

I hope you love the designs!

And that they inspire you to pick up your needles and make something you love. Until tomorrow, happy knitting!

2 thoughts on “Revisiting MWL West: The 2016 Retreat designs!

  1. My new farm is called Oak Knoll… And this best is right up my alley! I guess I know what I’m knitting next!

  2. I’d just like to say, you make some really nice sweaters. If I could knit a lot faster, I’d make lots of them! But I’ve been knitting my current project for about a hundred years, so I dare not cast on another one just yet…..

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