gwlana: adj (Welsh) woolgathering

Helping people knit useful, beautiful things since 2011.

Learn

Learn

With the focus firmly on instruction, Gwlana workshops are designed to help you learn new techniques, improve your design skills, and move your knitting to the next level.

Explore

Explore

We're serious about playing with yarn. Over a long weekend you'll have plenty of time to explore new skills, test your ideas and design a garment that's uniquely you. With unparalleled access to instructors, you'll always find help if you need it.

Discover

Discover

Each year we hand-pick vendors from amongst the best independent yarnies and fiberistas that Wales has to offer. Discover them in our Tiny Perfect Marketplace.

Make

Make

With plenty of time in the schedule for knitting, you’ll leave our weekend together inspired, with new skills and knowledge, (to say nothing of new tools and yarn!) and with a project, or several, well underway.

Registration Now Open

spring knitting workshop

15 - 18 May 2015

This year our spring Gwlana workshop is all about colour. Over a four-day weekend you'll learn how to notice colour, and find inspiration in the colours of your favourite objects brought from home. You'll develop both palette and pattern from your inspiration sources, and learn to design a top-down yoked sweater that fits, because it's based on your own measurements. Then you'll make the fabric of your sweater sing with your own unique colourwork designs. You’ll leave the weekend inspired and energised, with your designs well underway and ready to work the techniques you’ve learned into new creations.

Experience level: This workshop is for you if you can knit, purl, increase and decrease with confidence, and are comfortable knitting with one colour of yarn while carrying a second colour across the back of the work. No previous design experience is necessary.

quotidian colourwork

quotidian

Felicity Ford (aka Felix) is an expert at developing palettes and patterns from source inspiration to create beautiful stranded colourwork designs. In this class you'll learn how easy it is to design your own colourwork for stranded knitting, using the method outline in Felix’s recently published book, the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook.

The class begins with an object, or an image of something that you find inspirational. It can be something you’ve brought from home, found online, or picked up on your travels. A favourite painting, or flower. A place you love, or a place you’ve never been but are dreaming of. The important thing is that the colour in your source inspiration speaks to you in some way, as you’ll be using it to create beautiful and highly personal stranded colourwork designs.

Quotidian Colourwork includes:

  • playing with a wide range of different yarn shades
  • choosing a palette for a project
  • finding patterns in ordinary life
  • experimenting with shading
  • swatching in the round and working a steek

In this class you'll also see and be able to examine the colourwork designs created for the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook, along with the objects, photos and drawings that inspired each swatch.

bespoke yokes

bespoke

Yoked garments, in one form or another, have been around for centuries. Brenda Dayne, who for years has been fascinated with the architecture of top down sweaters, has expanded her method for knitting perfectly fitting Raglan sweaters to include yoked garments as well. In this class you’ll choose from a variety of different yoke architectures and learn how to adapt your own colourwork and pattern designs to the yoke’s unique shape.

Brenda’s method of yoked sweater construction is ingeniously simple. The yoke's shaping is worked using a rate of increases determined by the style of the yoke, your own body measurements and the gauge of your colourwork swatch. Comprehensive worksheets simplify the math, and make designing yoked garments easy. In this class you'll also learn how to shape the body and sleeves, and how to give your garment a professional finish.

Bespoke Yokes includes:

  • yoke architectures
  • the measurements that matter
  • common denominator design
  • petal swatches
  • mini-me garments
  • finishing techniques

In this class you’ll be able to see and examine Brenda’s mini-me wardrobe, a Fair Isle armada of yoked garments worked to 1/2 scale, featuring a range of different yoke techniques, gauges and design options.

Overview

beggars-reach"

Nestled in the heart of Pembrokeshire, near the beautiful Cleddau estuary, you’ll find AA Three-Star Rated Beggars Reach Country Hotel. This intimate, white-washed hideaway features everything you’d expect of a place that dates from the 18th century. Thick stone walls, old beams, a graceful staircase, cozy nooks and crannies and beautiful views across gardens and fields create a warm, welcoming and rustic farmhouse feel. Traces of the building’s former life as the local vicarage are still apparent in well-appointed rooms, tastefully decorated to a high standard, with traditional furnishings and private baths that compromise nothing to comfort. Contemporary additions to the building are a skilful blend of old and new, adding modern comforts while retaining the building’s magical atmosphere. The workshop will be held in the light and airy Orangery, a new and spacious room, with views of the manicured lawns through walls of windows, and an enormous skylight overhead to provide excellent light for knitting.

Outstanding food was a major consideration when selecting the venue for our workshop, and the restaurant at Beggars Reach does not disappoint. A true destination restaurant, it draws visitors from miles around, and has earned its well-deserved reputation for tempting menus, featuring beautifully prepared local ingredients, and simple but elegant home cooking.

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4
Noon - check in
1pm - Lunch
2pm - Quotidian Colourwork
4pm - Break
4:15 - Quotidian Colourwork
6pm - Dinner
8am - Breakfast
9am - Quotidian Colourwork
11am - Break
11:15 - Quotidian Colourwork
1pm - Lunch
2pm - Bespoke Yokes
4pm - Break
4:15 - Bespoke Yokes
6pm - Dinner
8pm - Today's Sweater Party
8am - Breakfast
9am - Bespoke Yokes
11am - Break
11:15 - Bespoke Yokes
1pm - Lunch
2pm - Tiny Perfect Marketplace
3pm - 6pm - Free time
6pm - Dinner
8pm - Prosecco + Pyjamas
8am - Breakfast
9am - Mystery Class
1pm - Farewell lunch
2pm - Checkout

workshop-swatches

Day 1 – Friday, 15 May 2015
Check-in to your room no later than noon, then meet us in the Breakfast Room by 1pm for a get-acquainted buffet lunch. Classes begin at 2pm sharp! Don’t be late!

Friday afternoon’s Quotidian Colourwork class kicks off with the inspirational objects you’ve brought with you to the workshop. Felix will share her methods for finding inspiration from the world around you, and offer samples and examples a plenty to jumpstart your creativity. We’ll make friends with some of the new toys you’ll find in your goodie bag, and we’ll start to get a handle on how to develop a palette of colours based on the things, places or plants that are meaningful to you.

Mid-afternoon, we’ll have a brain break with coffee, tea and lovely biscuits, followed by practical exercises designed to help you explore and identify colours throughout the afternoon.

Later that evening, we’ll meet in the dining room for our first dinner together and we’ll get to know each other better. In the evening, those who wish to can meet up for a relaxing evening of knitting and chat. The inn has a licensed bar and serves real ale and cider.

Day 2 – Saturday, 16 May 2015
After a good night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, we’re back in the Orangery for lessons on shading and pattern development, and you’ll begin to use the information gleaned from Friday’s exercises to develop your own unique colourwork charts. After a brain break with morning coffee, tea and biscuits, you’ll begin swatching your charted designs with Brenda and Felix available to assist, should you need it.

beggars-reach-teaching"

After a splendid lunch, we’ll adjourn to the mini theatre where our focus shifts from surface design to sweater architecture in Brenda’s class, Bespoke Yokes. Clear visuals will help you understand the mathematics of yoke architecture, and you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you get the shaping just right, no matter how complex the colourwork. Following our afternoon Brain Break, we’ll head back to the Orangery and begin working our all important “petal swatch”. We’ll use the afternoon to refine our designs, with Felix and Brenda both on hand to assist your process.

After our Saturday night dinner, and back by popular demand, well meet back in the Orangery for an evening of Today’s Sweater! This Finished Object show and tell has become something of a tradition at our weekend workshops, and is hosted by Brenda, as only she can. Bring whatever you like to share with the group - FOs, UFOs; successful projects or those less so! You can count on learning more about your fellow gwlana weekenders, much cheering for your knitted work from all assembled, and a really lovely, warm, knitterly glow as you head off to bed. This is one of our favourite parts of the weekend!

Day 3 - Sunday, 17 May 2015
After our Sunday morning breakfast, we’ll head back to the Orangery, where Brenda will show you the ins-and-outs of planning a sweater based on your own measurements as well as the information gleaned from the petal swatch you began Saturday afternoon. Don’t worry if your swatch isn’t finished! You just need enough knitting to obtain an accurate row gauge. Following our mid-morning Brain Break, we’ll measure ourselves and each other and fill in the blanks on our comprehensive Bespoke Yokes worksheet. At lunchtime, we’ll enjoy a traditional British Sunday roast dinner.

workshop-swatches

While we dine our UK-based vendors will be setting up for one of the highlights of our weekend, The Tiny Perfect Marketplace! Our vendors will be bringing their best wares to share with you – solids, semi-solids and variegated yarns in fibres and blends of all descriptions! And, our Marketplace is not just for vendors. Do you spin or dye yarn? Make stitch markers or jewelry? Paint watercolors or work in wood? Something else we haven’t thought of? Your wares are also welcome at our Marketplace! We’ll be talking about this in our Gwlana Ravelry forum…come join us!

After a substantial Sunday Lunch and the thrill of the Marketplace, the rest of your afternoon and evening is free to spend as you choose. This is a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Cleddau Estuary, go for a drive in the country, organize your recent stash acquisitions, nap, knit on the porch or in the lounge – whatever you wish! And because we know some of you can’t put your needles down, Brenda and Felix will be available from 3-5 Sunday afternoon in the Bar area to answer questions, bounce design ideas off or just chat and knit with.

By the way, dinner fare Sunday night will be much lighter than usual [think buffet], since we’ve just had the feast of the ages at lunchtime. In the evening, we’ll gather beside the bar for a singalong pyjama party, and maybe even get to watch a period costume drama, if the BBC or ITV are cooperative. Bring packable musical instruments, if you’d like. Felix will have her accordion and the evening’s musical madness begins when she’s finished her second pint. Naturally, the bar will be open for your imbibing pleasure.

Day 4 – Monday, 18 May 2015
Our last class together on Monday morning features something new and different for each workshop, with the focus on interesting techniques that you might not have tried before, and small projects that are easy to travel with. It's always a secret, and always memorable. We promise you’ll love it.

We’ll meet for a farewell lunch in the dining room and, if you wish, you can add your contact details to our class roster, so we can keep in touch, and share photos of our FOs when they’re complete.

By 2pm, you’ll be on your way.

Accommodation Description Price
Single Rate Includes all workshop fees, a lovely keepsake goodie bag containing class materials and extra surprises, three nights single occupancy accommodation, and all meals and beverages (excluding alcohol). £735 per person
Double Rate Includes all workshop fees, a lovely keepsake goodie bag containing class materials and extra surprises, three nights double occupancy accommodation, and all meals and beverages (excluding alcohol). £705 per person
Family Rate Includes three nights double occupancy accommodation for workshop non-participants and children sharing their room, plus breakfast and dinner (excluding alcohol). £180 adult (£150 child)

If you cancel your Reservation by 15 April, 2015, you’ll receive a full refund. No refunds will be given for cancellations after this date unless participation has reached maximum capacity and we are able to fill your spot from our waiting list. In this instance, you’ll receive a full refund, less a £100 transaction fee.

What you’ll learn: The KNITSONIK system: A fun and intuitive way of working with colour to create unique and meaningful stranded colourwork knitted fabric; BESPOKE YOKES: How to apply your own stranded colourwork designs to create a custom-fitted yoke sweater; A surprise class on our last day that sends you home with a special small project well underway, designed for enjoyable travel knitting.

What you’ll take away: A very special goodie bag made just for us, filled with all your class materials and some truly wonderful surprises; Class handouts that will help keep the KNITSONIK and BESPOKE YOKES systems fresh in your mind so that you can continue your design journey after the weekend is over; all the intangibles: inspiration, excitement, a new way of approaching colourwork and knitwear design; and, if you’re anything like our previous attendees, a new group of friends from all over the world!

Single or double registration includes: All workshop fees, your lovely goodie bag and its fabulous contents, three nights single or double occupancy accommodation at Beggars Reach Country Hotel; all meals and non-alcoholic beverages.

Partners and Family registration includes: Three nights double occupancy accommodation for spouses and children sharing your room, plus breakfast and dinner (excluding alcohol), payable directly to Beggars Reach Hotel at the end of your stay.

Registration opens at 2:00 pm GMT on 15 March 2015!Sign up for our mailing list to stay in the loop.


workshop-swatches

Brenda Dayne

Brenda

Brenda Dayne has taught extensively throughout the US, at large events such Vogue Knitting Live, Fibertrain Festival, and Madrona Fibre Arts Festival, as well as at many yarn shops and guild gatherings across North America and the UK. Brenda has written for Interweave Knits, and Interweave Crochet magazines, and written for and published knitwear designs in knitty.com. She is the author of Welsh for Rainbow: Little knits from the small country to the left of England, published in 2012.

Brenda is also the creator and host of Cast On, one of very first podcasts in the world devoted to knitting. Founded in October 2005 on nothing more than Brenda’s desire to talk about knitting to people who get it, Cast On eventually evolved to focus on finding inspiration in the ordinary, and using it to kick start the projects that matter most. Like knitting a sock. Or saving the world. The podcast was completed in October 2014, nine years to the day after it began. You can still find it listed in the Philosophy section of iTunes.

Brenda is fascinated by the architecture of knitting, and is currently working on a book exploring the myriad ways of top down garment construction. She hopes to produce a definitive work on the subject. Brenda lives with her partner of sixteen years, a dog, a cat and three chickens, in the Welsh village of Llanteg, where the pub is within a convenient walking distance, the cider is strong, the people are friendly, and news travels fast.

Felicity Ford

Felix

Felicity Ford began teaching when she was twelve years old. Showing younger children how to read music provided funding for private art lessons which led to a BA, an MA, a PhD and a successful career as a practicing artist. Having taught at Universities and secondary schools throughout her career, in 2013 she designed her signature Quotidian Colourwork class for Shetland Wool Week. This class shows knitters how to translate the world into stranded colourwork and since she wrote the notes for it, Felicity hasn’t looked back.

In 2014 she ran a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for turning her class concept into a book: the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook. Now in its second printing this book lays out the ideas explored in Quotidian Colourwork. Twelve examples explore how concepts from the class can be applied in different contexts, with chapters laid out to guide and rejoice in creative play.

The book and the class grow out of Felicity’s lifelong passion for celebrating the world around her through creative process. She first discovered the joy of colour in those early private art lessons, mixing oil paints on a palette. Though she no longer teaches flute or the piano, her love of music has expanded to include the same everyday subjects that she now enjoys painting in yarn. When she is not knitting the world around her in stranded colourwork, she can probably be found recording it.

about gwlana

swatch"

Gwlana (the Welsh word for woolgathering) was founded by fibre enthusiasts who loved knitting and Wales in equal measure, and wanted to share the special joy that is visiting Wales, with knitting. What we had in mind was this: Two teachers. Twenty eight students. Small, thoughtfully created classes in an informal setting. A small hotel with great food and excellent service. A place where, when you ask for things, people bring them to you.

In short, we dreamt of the best knitting weekend ever, and we set about trying to create it. At first an annual event, Gwlana has evolved to host twice-yearly weekend workshops, and a variety of one-off special events. Our workshop weekends take place in May and October, the two months of the year that we always recommend when anyone asks, "When is a good time to visit Wales?" And they are held in west Wales, a place of stunning natural beauty, home to Britain's only coastal National Park, and a world tourism destination known for it's pristine beaches, and abundant wildlife.

Gwlana weekends have become known for many things as well. For the camaraderie that develops between people from countries all over the world, who all speak the international language of knitting. And for the creative energy that enfolds us, and carries us through our long weekend together. New friendships form and old friendships deepen, as we learn; as we knit.

Oh baby, do we ever knit.

the latest

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My memories of Gwlana - captured in an article for The Knitter by fellow participant Caroline.

The buzz is building: Gwlana blog tour

26 April 2015 Uncategorized 2 Comments

It’s hard to believe that in just three short weeks Brenda and Felicity will be welcoming knitters to Beggar’s Reach in beautiful Pembrokeshire and getting started on another long weekend filled with creativity and exploration designed to push knitters out of…

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Knitsonik

Sounds of Wales

22 April 2015 Uncategorized 0 Comments

This week on the KNITSONIK podcast, host (and Gwlana teacher) Felicity Ford, shares a conversation wherein we talk wool, yokes, knitting and, of course Gwlana. Our conversation is punctuated by some of the sounds Felix recorded for a collaboration of…

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DSC_0007

All of the colours!

The yarn for Gwlana has arrived! Delivered in person by Felix, the giant bag o’ yarny Jamieson & Smith colour is a delight for (nearly) all the senses. I squished. Sniffed. Looked. Listened. I stopped short of tasting, but only…

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