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Back to Alaska

July 21, 2018

While sitting around the table one evening in Iceland I received an email. I mulled it over, thinking it impossible, but finally I said out loud: I think I have to go back to Cordova. The email was from Dotty at the Net Loft and it was about their Fisher Folk retreat. It was calling me! Emily said ‘I’ll keep an eye on the inbox’ and Gary said ‘the kids and I will manage’ and so a few weeks ago I hopped a plane (or 3) back to to one of my favorite places for a week of knitting, adventuring, and learning.

I was going to write about my favourite part, but then I realized there were so many! I had a grand time knitting all over town, by the docks, at the bakery, at the taco stand, in the library…..everywhere! When I met my roomate (we hadn’t met before) we had the same backpack and glasses, so I knew we were going to get along spectacularly! There were always knitters around and even if there weren’t it doesn’t bother me any to do a bit of solitary knitting.

I also had a chance to take a fascinating Gansey construction class with Beth Brown-Reinsel and a lace class with the GREAT Evelyn Clarke. The very first bit of lace I ever knit was her Shetland Triangle Shawl and our lace pattern writing was heavily influenced by her clear instructions and charts.

Me and Evelyn, no big deal…..what?!

I also had a chance to meet Lori, who I have long been inspired by on Instagram (she is loritimesfive on Instagram and I HIGHLY recommend you check her out). She gave a chat one evening about slow stitching and I was so inspired.

Laurie, serene as ever on the Aurelia (wearing a lovely Lucerne hat)

I had a chance to go out on The Aurelia, a big beautiful boat, with a bunch of knitters, and it was just the most wonderful and relaxing time. We knit, we chatted, we took in Prince William Sound, I couldn’t have asked for more!

It was really nice being able to go back to Cordova and re-connect with all the wonderful people I met last time I was there. Amy even took me out on a photography tour!

I got to see beautiful sweaters made from the Strange Brew class I taught lat time I was there too! This is the beautiful Jane and her amazing sweater, inspired by the Lupine found…everywhere!

One of the most inspiring parts of this journey was the Gansey exhibit. There was a wonderful talk by Stella Ruhe, all about the history of Gansey sweaters and I was fascinated. She looked at all of the old pictures she could find of Gansey sweaters, because of course, the sweaters themselves were worn until they were just a few threads left! She took all of these images and had knitters re-create the sweaters from the photographs. Each of these sweaters hung in the museum in Cordova and it was such a sight to behold. It was a combination of knitting, history, and photography, my 3 great passions together!

Gansey sweaters hanging in the museum.

In addition to Stella’s fascinating talks and Beth’s introduction to the structure of a Gansey sweater, there was an evening display of the Cordova Gansey’s. There were so many knitters who had knit a Gansey sweater, custom designed, for either themselves or their loved ones. The sweaters were often modeled by the recipient and each knitter described the motifs used and the meanings behind them. It was pure magic for me. Watching knitters share their design process and passion….it was just magic. I don’t have any pictures from that evening, but I do have a picture I took before of Amber and her Gansey sweater and I waxed poetic about it here.

Amber in her beautiful gansey

And so I immediately cast on not 1, but 2 Gansey sweaters for the kids. There was so much time for simple knitting I whipped up the 2 sweater bodies and they are waiting for me to do a wee bit of math and choose my motifs!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. August 6, 2018 1:05 pm

    Oh my gosh, this looks like my absolute dream trip!

  2. July 25, 2018 9:50 am

    Is Jane on social media and/or is that Lupine sweater pattern available anywhere? It is gorgeous!

  3. July 24, 2018 9:42 am

    Great post! Great photos! Great fun!! Thank you for sharing!

  4. July 23, 2018 10:29 am

    Another blogger that I read (The Healthy Knitter) went on this Fisher Folk retreat this year too! I want to go SO badly next year! Not sure what the registration process is like, but I hope I can get it. It looks like an absolutely amazing time.

    • July 25, 2018 10:52 am

      I met her! She is so lovely. It was a great time, I would recommend this retreat so highly!

  5. July 22, 2018 8:43 am

    Thanks for a great blog post. Is there a knitting week in Cordova every year? Can anyone go? Looks wonderful!

  6. stephanie permalink
    July 22, 2018 7:43 am

    So glad you returned to Cordova and the Net Loft. I’m curious what the knit piece is in the rainbow stripes photographed with the Baja Taco bus. Is there a pattern to link to? Thank you.

    • July 22, 2018 5:45 pm

      Of course! It is a Flax Light sweater in Gauge Dye Works self striping sweater yarn

  7. July 22, 2018 7:24 am

    Oh that sounds like an amazing weekend!

  8. Dorothy Widmann permalink
    July 21, 2018 11:38 pm

    Finished Michaels gansey Still gave yo write about it. I have two Ganseys I have to do and was talking with someone. You know the two at a time socks technique? Are you thinking what I am thinking????

    Sent from my iPhone


    • July 22, 2018 5:47 pm

      Haha, If you pull of 2-at-a-time Gansey’s you will be even more of a legend than you already are!!! Who is on your list?

      • Dotty Widmann permalink
        July 23, 2018 2:10 am

        Sorry for the mistypes on my phone on last message. Next in line is daughter Nelly and son Matt. Frances is going along with me as well. She has two family lined up and too hard to pick who comes next. I told her idea and she is already swatching two at a time, so she is already ahead of me.

  9. Dorothy Widmann permalink
    July 21, 2018 11:34 pm

    Love you dear Alexa. Thank you for just jumping a jet and finding your way here. Cordova loves you….and you always have a soft spot here! Love Dotty

    Sent from my iPhone


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