Dreaming of Hiking and Knitting with Julie Hoover

Posted by Elizabeth Alrick
Dreaming of Hiking and Knitting with Julie Hoover

It’s nearly mid-March as I write this, and it is still very wintery here in the Colorado mountains.

We’ve had four (yes, four) feet of snow in the past week in Vail! Our kids’ school called a snow day last Monday, which is very rare here, and major roads have been closed because of avalanches. We love it: the skiing is fantastic, it’s a winter wonderland, and we’re loving our cozy knitting days in the shop.

I have to admit, though, that right about now some of us start longing for warmer weather. While it could snow through May or June, I myself have started dreaming of long, dry, sunny summer days; hiking, wildflowers, biking, cook outs… you understand.

Thankfully, I have our Summer 2019 Hiking and Knitting Retreat with Julie Hoover to look forward to -- it’s just four months away! In the meantime, on grey days, I’ve been watching (over and over) this fun little film about last year’s retreat. Have a look; it captures our few days in nature very well…

Do you see how the wildflowers were popping, and the views were endless? Do you see that we worked with Andrea Rangel who imparted all her deep knowledge of colorwork? Do you see how relaxed we looked and how cozy our hut is? The company was a wonderful, soul-filling group who enjoyed just what we do: knitting (of course), learning something new, and having fun in the vast, awe-inspiring Colorado outdoors. To put it over the top, the food was superb and abundant – Cathryn is a marvelous cook!

So, you can understand why I’m so looking forward to this year’s retreat.

It gets better, though.

I honestly can’t wait to work with Julie Hoover, our teacher for this year’s retreat. In case you don’t know, Julie designs exquisite sweaters for her own label, and has also created stunning patterns for brands such as Brooklyn Tweed and Purl Soho. Browse through her website and your queue will be quite a lot longer. Within a minute, I’d added the Daphne, the Sayer, and the Berenice. They’re perfect for both our mountain casual days and those city chic shopping trips. Dafne – Knitting pattern by Julie HooverVeneto - Knitting pattern by Julie HooverDane

But I have a confession: I’ve knit just three adult sized sweaters in my life. Two of them I made just out of college 30 years ago using Elizabeth Zimmerman’s Knitting Without Tears. While there were no tears, they didn’t fit well at all. I was proud of them but shied away from making more. It was a lot of time and money for a meh, so-so outcome! Finally, I decided to try again a couple of months ago. I searched for a forgiving pattern and I like my sweater, but I feel lucky it worked. I don’t want to feel lucky – I want to feel certain! I see so many gorgeous sweaters I’d like to knit (e.g. the Dane, Sayer, and Berenice), and I think, “that’s too risky. What if I invest all that time and it fits terribly?”  


Julie has a master’s knowledge that she will pack into three workshops for us. We’ll learn the best swatching and shaping techniques, perfect selvedging, and how to block and seam for a professional looking finished garment. And there will be more than ample time for face-to-face questions and answers with her (and your trip mates, too). For all of you who are more advanced than I, Julie doesn’t do this kind of intimate retreat often and she has tips and answers for even the most accomplished sweater knitters. Cathryn has knit numerous, stunning sweaters over the past two years and is just as excited about soaking in Julie’s knowledge.

About our retreat, Julie writes, "We’ll be packing in equal parts skill building and relaxing among the rugged mountain vistas and glorious summer wildflowers. I’ll be coming loaded with information and examples so we can take a deep(ish) dive into my best-practices for knitting SWEATERS! This is going to be a really one-of-a-kind event and I hope to see you there!"

So, we hope you’ll join us! We have just six spots remaining. Come for the workshops and time with Julie, and don’t miss the llamas, the relaxed hiking, the endless mountain views, the yummy meals, and the company of like-minded people.

2019 Summer Hiking and Knitting Retreat with Julie Hoover

*snowy little cabin photo by Lauren Arnold on Instagram

Maker+Stitch is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, in Edwards, Colorado, close to the resorts of Vail and Beaver Creek.