🧶 Ann, Kay and how to glimmer

This week, I caught up with Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner, Knit Star Alums from Season 3 and founders of Modern Daily Knitting.

Their Knit Stars Masterclass, wherein they share the secrets of ever-expanding knitting joy, just got released yesterday as a single, standalone workshop.

So I decided it was time for a chitchat to hear what they’ve been up to. Their words (as always) brought such a smile to my heart, I decided to share them in their entirety here with you. ❤️

Shelley: In our Yarniverse membership we’ve been talking a lot about frogging. Sometimes you’ve just gotta frog the things that no longer serve you and start fresh. What might be in your current WIP pile that you plan to frog in 2024?

Kay: It doesn’t happen that often, but I occasionally feel oppressed when a WIP (or pile of WIPs) is hanging around for too long. I get in a tidying mood and just take the needles out of the project and pass it along as-is to a friend who is a textile artist and organizes group projects at a local high school. She is excited to get ready-made pieces of handknit fabric, and I feel good about my neglected work finding a new mission in life. But just as often, rediscovering a WIP gets me excited about finishing it—instant FO!

Ann: I just figured out that it’s OK not to finish something. This is such a relief! I am a constant starter of projects, and while I usually finish them, sometimes I a) run out of steam, b) run out of yarn, or c) run into some new thing. I just bid farewell to a batch of NFPs (Never Finishable Projects) and started a new scarf just to keep me from getting jittery about not having anything to knit.

Shelley: NFPs – I love that! What’s on your needles right now? What’s up next in your queue?

Kay: I’m sailing through Dee Hardwicke’s Blossom Stripe Shawl from MDK Field Guide No. 25: Botanica. The combination of bold, easy stripes with a single strip of colorwork hits the bullseye for me right now.

“Blossom Stripe Shawl” by Dee Hardwicke.

Ann: I’m about to finish the Autumn Garden Stole from the same Field Guide. In fact, it’s done except for the dramatic steeking moment, which I’ve been saving for a day when I need some manageable drama.

“Autumn Garden Stole” by Dee Hardwicke.

Shelley: What designer and/or technique are you most intrigued by right now, and why?

Kay: At the moment I’m chomping at the bit to cast on Hélène Magnússon’s designs for the next MDK Field Guide, which publishes in just a few weeks. (We will all be banging out a Hélène sweater in March—and it’s a great one!) And in my late-night Ravelry wanderings, I cannot stop queueing Anna Husemann’s bold, graphic accessories.

(Note from Shelley: I begged for a sneak peek of Helene’s new designs from the upcoming Field Guide…but alas we will just all have to wait together with baited breath and keep an eye on the MDK site! 😉)

Hélène Magnússon in her previous design, “Icebreaker”.

“Kemmick Shawl” by Anna Husemann. Photo credit: John Arbon Textiles.

Ann: Lindsay Degen is blowing my mind right now–sweaters with eyeballs blinking at me, holey moley pullovers, socks with smiley-face heels. True original.

Photos above, top to bottom: “Degan Adult Eyes Sweater” and “Degen Happy Socks,” both by Lindsay Degen.

Shelley: Are you hoping/planning to wear your knits more in 2024, and if so do you have any strategies or styling tips to inspire our readers to do the same?

Kay: I wear my knits a lot; I don’t feel dressed without a handknit scarf or wrap, in all seasons. A few years ago I discovered a magic formula: big sweater over slim skirt. It’s just as comfortable as the classic sweater-and-jeans, and you’re ready to go anywhere.

Ann: Funny you ask. I just counted how many handknit sweaters I have. It’s 25. And they are all legit, all killer no filler. I’ve been grabbing one at the start of the day and getting an outfit rigged up to go with it. I can’t believe I have 25 handknit sweaters but hey, it sort of proves that I do knit a fair amount.

Shelley: Our theme for Knit Stars Season 9 is “Permission to Shine.” What does that mean to you?

Kay: I hope it means that lurex yarn is making a comeback—it’s been too long!

Ann: I’m loving this theme—I’ve been thinking about what I wear these days, and how much fun it is to get a bunch of color and pattern going. (This from somebody who wore khakis and T shirts for a straight 15 years.) Maybe it’s a cousin to that idea of “glimmering”—finding small moments of joy in a day. If I’m shining in some crazy combo, I’m also glimmering. Score!

Just released: Reignite your mojo with Ann + Kay’s Knit Stars workshop!

We’ve just released one of our most beloved Knit Stars workshops ever, MDK Ann + Kay from Season 3.

Whether you’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed by your stash and WIPs, stuck in a project rut or sometimes feel the need to justify your passion to family and friends, Kay and Ann will set you on the path to everlasting yarn joy.

One by one, they bust knitting myths like “You Must Always Finish What You Started,” “The Pattern Is Gospel” and “You Need To Knit Faster.”

You’ll laugh, you’ll laugh-cry and you’ll laugh some more! And you’ll be creatively energized by all of their project ideas. This is the workshop you pull out every January (or anytime you need a jolt of joy) and watch on repeat.

Ann + Kay’s workshop is available for a limited time at the introductory price of just $47. If you don’t already own Knit Stars Season 3, add this little gem to your Knit Stars library here.


Our sitewide sale is moving along swimmingly, with the 20% discount automatically applied as you shop.

This week, we have a special treat for you: Spincycle “Wilder” at an additional 20% off when you buy 2 or more skeins.

“Albini” by Orlane Sucche. Photo by pinkpantherblau on Ravelry.

“Wilder” is often overlooked compared to its splashier, flashier Spincycle sibling, the color-changing Dyed In the Wool. But this non-superwash American Rambouillet wool knits up so soft and squishy in a versatile sportweight – and the light grey color is absolutely perfect for that classic sweater or hat you’ll reach for again and again in your everyday wardrobe.

“DRK Everyday Sweater” by Season 2 Knit Star Andrea Mowry.

We’ve pulled together four pretty project ideas to inspire you to stock up on “Wilder” at 40% off. “DRK Everyday Sweater” and “Albini” are supercute wardrobe builders. And “Star Anise” and “Cabled Teddy Hat” are perfect pairings too. Each takes only one skein but they’re so versatile, we’re sure you’ll make them on repeat!


“Star Anise” by Svetlana Volkova. Photo by katieherrod on Ravelry.

“Cabled Teddy Hat” by Marinda Lariz. Photo by natalie-mcarthur on Ravelry.

Last week, I shared the story of BBQ Stars, the delicious odyssey of a parallel “Stars” universe I went on a few years ago. What I’m about to share would probably make all of those pitmasters and famous chefs choke on their T-bones.

A number of years back, Ann shared Kay’s brisket recipe on the MDK blog. Well, it started as Kay’s recipe but “in a last minute spasm of extravagance beyond Kay’s prescription, I shaved an onion across a mandolin, topped the meat with the paper-thin rings, and walked away.” Ann wrote.

This recipe is so basic, you might not believe it can be good. But both Ann + Kay swear it is a game-changer.

Are you ready? If you blink you’ll miss it.

Brisket for People Who Can Plug in a Slow Cooker

Smoked paprika
Onions, sliced

Rub brisket generously with salt and paprika and place in bottom of slow cooker. Top with sliced onions. Cook on Low until done. (A 1.75-pound brisket cooked in 4 hours in my Hamilton Beach, but larger cuts of meat will take longer.) Slice across the grain and serve on a platter. Ladle with onions and liquid from the cooker.

Thank you to Ann + Kay for helping me bring so much juiciness and joy into your inbox today! If you loved this newsletter, hit reply and let me know why. I read each happy reply!