Sheeps Ahoy

You will be happy to know that no balls of yarn were lost to the Great Tornado Event here in Ottawa last week. We were without power for a few days but sustained no damage except for a downed fence panel at my parents' place.    

So, at long last, here are all the details for this year's retreat.   

Dates - Nov. 2, 5pm to Nov. 4, 2pm

Where - The Glen House Resort, Gananoque, Ontario (on the 1000 Island Parkway)

Registration Fee - $169.50 ($150 + $19.50 HST - Cdn funds only) non-refundable after Oct 19 (see details below)

Glen House Costs (payable on leaving) - $380 (single), $330 (double), $290 (triple)

Check in time is anytime after 4pm on Friday, Nov 2 (note that many of the rooms are usually ready before this time) and check-out time is 11:30am on Sunday, Nov 4.  

We will start our retreat at 5pm on Friday, November 2 with a social gathering plus dinner and wrap up on Sunday, November 4 with lunch. We will fill every minute between with knitting fun and merriment. We are gathering at The Glen House Resort on the St. Lawrence River in Gananoque, Ontario (off the Thousand Island Parkway). Check out their website if you want to see what this resort is like.

This year’s instructors are Kim McBrien Evans (Indigo Dragonfly), Mary Pat McDonald and Amanda Schwabe. There will be 3 workshops (listed below) and each participant will have the opportunity to attend all 3 workshops over the course of the weekend.



If you love clothing with simple, contemporary shapes and off-balance details, this is the class for you. We will look at asymmetry in clothing. What details work? Which ones leave parts of you out in the cold? We’ll look at designs that use asymmetry as design details and talk about how to build asymmetry into your own handwork, while still feeling balanced. And of course, we’ll do some exercises to help you understand how to make asymmetrical garments work for you.
  • needles: bring a variety of needles you enjoy working with. There will be samples of yarns to play with in a range of weights. Gauge will not be important, so a few different sizes that feel good in
    your hands is more important than specific sizes
  • your own stash of favourite knitting tools: stitch markers, tapestry needle, tape measure, scissors or snips etc.
  • notebook and pen/pencil for taking notes
Homework (optional): 

Bring images of designs that feature asymmetry. Choose ones you like, and a few that you don’t.


SLEEVES KNIT CAP TO CUFF with Mary Pat McDonald:

Reverse your thinking on sleeves! Learn how to knit set-in sleeves from the top down and put away your sewing-up needle. Cap-to-cuff sleeves require no sewing and are always the perfect length.

You will learn:
  • where to pick up stitches around the sweater armhole, and how many
  • how to incorporate short rows and decreases to shape the sleeve cap
  • how to use this technique with a standard sewn-in-sleeve pattern
  • light-coloured DK or worsted weight yarn
  • 4 – 4.5 mm (US6 or 7) needles for working in the round. One 40 cm/16” circular is the best bet for this class sample sleeve cap. Or bring double-points or circulars.
  • four locking stitch markers
Homework:  Make a sample armhole as follows, using light-colored, smooth, DK /worsted weight yarn, and 4 – 4.5 mm (US6 or 7) needles.

Left Side

Cast on 15 sts and work 6 rows in st st.
Row 7 (Right Side):  Bind off 3 sts, and K to end of row (12 sts).
Row 8 and all Wrong Side rows: Purl.
Row 9: BO 2 sts, K to end of row (10 sts).
Row 11: BO 1 st, K to end (9 sts)
Row 13: BO 1 st, K to end (8 sts).
Continue in st st until piece is 36 rows (or so) from beginning.  Put sts on holder.

Right Side

This is the reverse of the left side.  Cast on 15 sts and work 5 rows in st st.
Row 6 (WS):  Bind off 3 sts, and P to end of row (12 sts)
Row 7 and all RS rows: Knit
Row 8: BO 2 sts, P to end of row (10 sts)
Row 10: BO 1 st, P to end (9 sts)
Row 12: BO 1 st, P to end (8 sts)
Continue in st st until piece is 37 rows (or so) from beginning.  Put sts on holder.


Three-needle bind off the ‘shoulder seam’ at the top of the swatches, or cast off and sew the seam. Don’t forget to have right sides facing when you do this – it’s easy to attach them incorrectly. For picking up stitches later it’s better to start the 3-needle bind-off at the armhole edge and work towards the ‘neck’. Please block the sample so it won’t curl.


Have you ever wished you could make those gorgeous slip-stitch shawls reversible? If you're like me, and you love the graphic lines and fun colour changes but get sad when the back isn't as pretty as the front, you might love my weird, fun, made-up hybrid technique that solves that problem. I didn't really invent it, of course; I unvented it (as Elizabeth Zimmermann liked to say), and in this class we'll build up each technique like a layer cake until you'll have an intimate knowledge of how to create reversible patterns in slipped stitches that move across the fabric in all directions. You can see what I mean in my ebook Inverse Reverse, a collection of reversible shawl patterns. I can't wait to show you all the relaxing-yet-interesting, design-as-you-go, reversible possibilites! This technique is also great for cardigan collars and button bands that fold back to reveal more pattern, for sweaters that you can wear inside out, and maybe even reversible socks... There are so many options! And, as an added bonus, you'll learn a mash-up of various knitting techniques including ideas from double knitting, slip-stitch knitting, and travelling stitches, in a very non-scary, non-overwhelming way. I promise.

Editors's Note: You can also see an example of this work in Amanda's new design, Talamed, which is in Carol Feller's new book 'Echoes of Heather and Stone'.  Detailed pictures and a discussion of this design with Carol and Amanda can be found on Carol's blog, here.


  • 2 contrasting colours of smooth yarn. Worsted weight works wonderfully because you'll be able to clearly see what you're doing.
  • Needles in a size to match your yarn, for working a swatch back and forth. I use my 24" or 32" circular.
  • normal knitting notions, like a crochet hook in case you drop a stitch.



    Raffle (bring cash and maybe a prize):

    Once again, we will host a Scholarship Raffle. As in past years, please use cash only to purchase raffle tickets. This allows all of the money collected to go directly to the Scholarship Fund. 

    Prizes for the raffle are donated. If you have something you think would make a good raffle prize, please bundle it up with a 4x6 index card describing the prize and who it is donated by. This will help people decide how to divide their tickets. 4x6 business cards will be available at the retreat.

    Scholarship Students:

    The Scholarship Fund will be supporting 2 scholarship students this year. A scholarship covers the full cost of the registration fee, plus The Glen House costs in a double occupancy room. This includes all meals, breaks, workshops, gratuities, etc. The only thing not covered is the cost of any purchases at our Vendors' Night or money to purchase tickets for the Raffle.

    Vendors' Night (bring more cash and/or credit cards):

    As in past years we will have a Vendors' Night on Saturday. Note that some vendors are able to accept credit cards while others are not. Come ready to be tempted once again.

    Show & Tell (bring inspiration):

    Bring 1 or 2 items that you would like to show off. This is an important part of our retreat as it is a great source of inspiration and discussion. It also helps us get to know each other a bit better. Please remember, however, that we have almost 70 people - that's a lot of show and tell!

    Knitting (bring something to work on):

    There will be lots of time to knit over the course of the weekend.  It's just that kind of weekend. Bring something to work on while watching show and tell, or just relaxing with friends.


    Our plan for the weekend is as follows:

    Fri. Nov. 2:

    5 - 6 pm - Welcome Reception in the Smuggler's Lounge (cash bar available)
    6 pm - Dinner in the Dining Room
    after dinner - Show and Tell in the Admiralty Room

    Sat. Nov. 3:

    7:30 - 8:30 am - Breakfast in the Dining Room
    9 - 12 noon - Classes in the Navy or Lake Fleet Room. Admiralty Room is available.
    12 noon - Lunch in the Dining Room
    1:30 - 4:30 pm - Classes in the Navy or Lake Fleet Room. Admiralty Room is NOT available.
    3:30 - 6:00 pm - VENDORS ONLY - setup in the Admiralty Room
    6pm - Dinner in the Dining Room
    after dinner - Vendors Market and Scholarship Raffle in the Admiralty Room

    Sun. Nov 4:

    7:30 - 8:30 am - Breakfast in the Dining Room
    9 - 12 noon - Classes in the Navy or Lake Fleet Room. Admiralty Room is available.
    12 noon - Lunch in the Dining Room

    The Glen House has a fully stocked bar just next to the dining room in the Smuggler's Lounge. If you would like a glass of wine or other beverage, you are welcome to stop by the bar on your way to dinner. The servers will also bring a beverage to your table.  Please pay your server with cash only and remember a gratuity.  Do not sign beverages to your room.

    Rooming information is kept from previous years by us and at The Glen House.  If your rooming arrangements are different this year, please let us know if you haven't already done so. 
    If you would like to be a vendor at our Vendors’ Night, please contact us so we know how many tables to set up.
    If you have specific issues (e.g. dietary, mobility, etc.) or will be arriving early or staying late, please make arrangements directly with the Glen House. They can be reached at 1-800-268-4536 or 613-659-2204.
    And finally, if you have any questions or concerns please contact us by phone 613-823-2469 or 1-877-740-2469 or send e-mail to deb AT sheepsahoy DOT com (make the relevant substitutions please).
    Cancellation Policy:  Cancellations prior to Oct. 19 will be offered a refund of the registration fee ($169.50) minus $28.25 only if your spot can be filled.  From Oct. 19 on, no refund will be offered.



    Hello and welcome to Sheeps Ahoy. We hope you enjoy browsing our site. Sheeps Ahoy is a small home-based business designed for knitters who love fair isle, lacework, design or something just a little different.

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