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🧶Meet your shiny new Stars!

Did you catch it, ?

That subtle shift in the energy of the yarn world…

…the sun breaking through the clouds…

…the stars shining a little more brightly in the sky…?

You guessed it! The Stars of our upcoming Knit Stars Premiere Season have announced they’re teaching in Season 9: Permission to Shine! 💫🎉💃🏽🕺🧶

This year we’re doing some really exciting new things, starting with what we’re calling The Earlybird Experience.

In years past, when you enrolled in the upcoming masterclass Season as an Earlybird, you saved some $$$ but had to wait around ‘til the fall for the fun to begin.

Not this time! This year, it’s a whole new ball game.

As soon as you enroll, you get access to the Earlybird Experience in the portal. It’s like a backstage pass into the process of planning, producing and rolling out our masterclass Season. (Note: if you joined as a SuperEarlybird in the fall, check your portal ‘cause it’s already there!)

Then in May there’s the Earlybird yarn/kit/bag sale (hellooooo Joji bags!) and then starting in July, “Knit Stars Season” officially kicks off with an early release of the first workshop, followed by a new early-release-workshop each month, leading up to the full release of the Season in December!

Yep, that’s right…so much more time to enjoy the releases…so much more community, excitement, and fun!

All of the details are here on our Earlybird signup page.

And in the spirit of this new Earlybird adventure, I’d like to try introducing you to our Season 9 Stars in a slightly new way…with an “insider” look into why each Star was selected, and a fun quirky fact about each of them. 🤓

Ready?

First off, this year the main reason each Star was chosen for the Season is their unique ability to help you shine.

There are tons of talented designers, dyers, and makers doing amazing things out there…but this year I intentionally also went looking for people with that special depth of character, kindness, and ability to lift others up…that unique quality that makes a truly great teacher.

Carol is somewhere over the rainbow waiting to teach you! 🌈

💫 Star #1: Carol Feller

Cheery smile and charming Irish accent aside, Carol is just plain fun. She takes something as traditional as Celtic cabling and gives it a whole new twist, making it irresistible to cast on along with her! In her Season 9 masterclass, Carol will be teaching reversible Celtic cables for the very first time…all from her studio in Cork, Ireland.

And fun fact about Carol: At last year’s Rhinebeck, she headlined a meetup along with a bunch of folks…all of whom were Knit Stars. So it was written in the stars!

Hazel and her Season 9 project that employs traditional Shetland techniques.

💫 Star #2: Hazel Tindall

Once officially crowned the World’s Fastest Knitter at a global competition held at the Mall of America, Hazel Tindall has lived her whole life in the Shetland Islands, an archipelago of Scotland. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 There could be no more authentic instructor to teach you the ins and outs of fair isle colorwork and Shetland lace, along with an introduction to her not-so-secret speed weapon, her trusty knitting belt.

With the quintessential Shetland motto, “Waste not, want not!” Hazel quips that she “doesn’t tend to look to nature for inspiration…I just look at a pile of yarn and go from there!” And you’ll be looking at your collection in a whole new way after learning from her.

Gudrun Johnson is your personal Shetland tour guide.

💫 Star #3: Gudrun Johnson

Gudrun will be joining us for filming both in Massachusetts and in Scotland – where she was born, where her dad still lives, and – fun fact – where her mother Patricia was a celebrated knitwear designer in the 1970s, under the label the Shetland Trader. Gudrun will be teaching you her new exclusive pattern for a cowl that makes the most of the unique properties of authentic Shetland wool. Plus she will host you for a virtual tour of the Jamieson’s of Shetland mill, where they are cooking up a special colorway for Season 9!

We’re also planning to film a special “crossover event” with Gudrun and Hazel together. The legendary location for this event is currently undisclosed, but there will be cake. 🍰 Earlybirds will get the first peek!

💫 Star #4: Emma Fassio

I first learned of this prolific Italian designer through one of our longtime store managers, Gina. Gina was taken by Emma’s creative construction and fashion-forward designs. Fast forward nine years, and I finally got to e-meet Emma. Y’all…she is such a shining light and I absolutely can’t wait to take you along with me as we learn from her studio in Torino, Italy, at the base of the Alps. She’ll be teaching you her latest exclusive design and how to customize it for a one-of-a-kind look that you can’t stop wearing!

Fun fact: Emma walks to work at her studio each day and the mill that produces her yarn is only about an hour away. Talk about keeping it local! :it:

Finally the class you’ve been asking for for years, courtesy of @willienillieknits!

💫 Star #5: Willie Smith

You know that class y’all keep asking for? Here it comes! Willie brings his classroom teaching experience to the forefront to help you develop a full, working understanding of yarns and yarn substitutions. Finally understand woolen vs worsted, animal-based vs plant-based, fingering vs sport…And be free to go stash diving with abandon, knowing your yarn is perfect for your project!

As Willie like to say…”If you know how to do something and you can teach it to someone else, that’s worth its weight in gold.”

A completely new kind of workshop to help you bloom…

💫 Star #6: Carolyn Bloom

Carolyn came onto my radar when Gaye “GGMadeIt” Glasspie enthused, “Carolyn’s class at Vogue changed my life. Full stop.” Well, with that kind of endorsement I had to immediately run to Carolyn’s Instagram to see what she was all about!

Whoa, whoa, whoa! Prepare to be amazed. Carolyn’s going to teach you to “make art that is being worn” with the use of embroidery on top of your stitchwork. It’s avant-garde and traditional all at once…and I promise you are going to be hooked!

Chantal may hold the key to your future as a designer!

💫 Star #7: Chantal Miyagishima

Chantal (you might know her as @knitatude) is obsessed with helping new knitters get knitting and designers get designing! Quickly identifiable with her vibrant pink hair and picturesque Canadian background, Chantal is sure to empower your inner designer by helping you find your inspiration, then put it to paper, onto your body, and if you desire, out into the world!

Fun fact about Chantal: She has two dachshunds. Hoping we get to introduce them to you when we film with her in Calgary!

 ChiWei teaches you yarn freedom by way of amigurumi!

💫 Star #8: ChiWei Ranck

You know that nagging feeling we all get some times, that we “have to” make a pattern in the yarn weight (and even color) it calls for? Well, no more! ChiWei is here to help you challenge yourself to see beyond the pattern. Through the clever use of her own new amigurimi design, ChiWei will help you see that when it comes to yarn, the sky really is the limit!

Fun tidbit about ChiWei…she’s an avid reader and posts her reads from time to time over on Instagram. “Bring on magic, dragons, elves, time travel, and strong female leads anytime!”

Which has us thinking about a Star-curated audiobook list for Earlybirds…hmmm…

The first-ever Knit Stars proposal! 

💫 Star #9: Gary Boston

Let’s start with the fun fact: Gary was the recipient of the very first Knit Stars “proposal!”

I went down on one knee at Rhinebeck to invite Gary to be part of Season 9. Through the years, our team has been so inspired by Gary’s efforts to fundraise for AIDS lifecycle. Then when he bravely entered into our “Project Fun-Way” design competition, we knew it was time for this Yarniverse Rising Star to enter the “big leagues!” Gary will teach you practical steps to use your yarn superpowers for good, putting together your own fundraiser and spreading your good yarn vibes!

As a bonus, Gary will be teaching you how to make the most of those self-patterning yarns we all love to purchase, but don’t always make use of. And he’ll be debuting a new design just for us!

💫 Star #10: Thomas Gregory Hamilton

Are you ready for the Prince of Crochet Couture? You may think you’re ready but seriously…get ready! Because Thomas is going to blow your mind, showing you what is truly possible with crochet.

This Atlanta-based designer first came across my feed thanks to a heads-up from LolaBean’s Adella Colvin. Greg puts together runway shows and will help you surface your inner supermodel with next-level crochet techniques you can apply to any project. Whatever your style – traditional to avant-garde – you’ll find something in this workshop to enhance your making journey.

From the El Fuego Collection by gregory stitch, aka Thomas Gregory Hamilton.

Just a fun tidbit of knitting by Sunnie on the Knit Stars team…oh and a brilliant hack, too!

“After two years of languishing, I finally finished Cottage Core Crop from Mezzo Makes. It may look familiar because it is the cardigan version of my beloved Brookline Blouse.”

“I knew I wasn’t going to have it in me to knit the entire thing flat, so i knit it in the round with the intention of steeking. To make sure i knew where the middle was, i did a purl row and then 12 knit stitches on each side of my steek line. Well, after I was done, I just did not have it in me to cut and then knit a button band so I just folded over the steek panel into thirds and tacked it down with buttons…it looks exactly like a button band and I didn’t have to cut or knit anymore! And I’m so happy with it!”

“And the buttons have little flowers on it <3”

New York Times Cooking

Pork Chops with Kale and Dates

OK, one more fun fact about Gary Boston – he loves to cook! He posted that he threw this menu plan together on Valentine’s Day at the last minute – “all from New York Times Cooking, all keepers!” Pair this easy weeknight pork chop recipe with lemon-roasted potatoes and a “lovely Falanghina” – goat label for the win! 🐐

Ingredients

  • 2 (1- to 1½-inch-thick) bone-in pork rib chops (10 to 12 ounces each), patted very dry
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil (such as grapeseed or canola)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 fresh rosemary sprigs or sage leaves (optional)
  • 6 Medjool dates, pitted and sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, smashed very well and peeled
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed, leaves torn
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar or Sherry vinegar

Instructions

  1. Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium. Season the pork chops all over with salt and pepper. Add the oil and the pork chops to the skillet. Cook, flipping every 2 minutes, until browned on the outside and the internal temperature in the thickest part is around 130 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes depending on thickness of pork chops. If your chops have a fat cap, using tongs, stack both chops on top of one another, then grab both chops together and hold upright to sear the fat caps until crisp, about 1 minute.
  2. Turn off the heat, add the butter and rosemary, if using. Tilt the skillet and baste the pork by spooning the butter and drippings over the pork for about 1 minute. Transfer the pork and rosemary to a plate, leaving the drippings in the skillet.
  3. Add the dates and garlic to the skillet, then pile in the kale but don’t stir. Return the skillet to medium heat and cook untouched until the dates and bottom layer of kale is charred, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add a tablespoon of water, then cook, stirring often, until the kale is dark green and slightly wilted, another minute or two. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinegar, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. To serve, discard the rosemary. Slice the pork away from the bones and thinly slice against the grain. Eat with the kale and any resting juices.

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