Announcing the P3 March 2013 Retreat!

Registration for this event is NOW OPEN!!

This spring, the P3 Retreat repeats last October’s well-received theme: Texture. Richly textured garments are one of the best-loved knitting traditions to come from the United Kingdom, so it’s only natural to draw inspiration for our coursework from the textile heritage of the area.

Of course, there’s no shortage of inspiration on a P3 workshop weekend. You’ll find it all around you, in the stunning Pembrokeshire landscape, in the gorgeous yarn you’ll find at our renowned P3 Tiny, Perfect Marketplace, in the secret surprises inside our goodie bags, and in the camaraderie with fellow knitters that naturally forms as our Plug+Play weekend progresses.

What is Plug+Play? It’s intriguingly simple: you plug carefully chosen stitch patterns into a user-friendly recipe and create a result that’s uniquely yours. Keep it simple or build something more challenging – it’s up to you.

This long-weekend workshop takes the Plug+Play design principle in a lush new direction. We’ll learn about textural patterns you can apply to your knitted designs – some you may never have thought of – and the unique challenges involved in designing with texture.

We’ll offer guidance on both a shawl and a customized-to-you sweater pattern and coach you as you work through your ideas. You’ll leave the weekend inspired, with your designs well underway and ready to work the techniques you’ve learned into new designs created by you.

Experience level: “I can knit, purl, increase and decrease with confidence and I want to explore designing with texture.” This is an introductory design weekend for those who have never designed anything before but want to give it a try in a friendly, relaxed, supportive environment.

Here’s a small sample of what some of our previous participants had to say:

“This has been a fantastic weekend of knitters, ideas, inspiration and fun. I have completely enjoyed every bit. The venue is perfect, although I fear as word of mouth spreads, it will sell out even faster. I would rhapsodize about the food, but someone is attempting to feed me again at this moment.”
- Julie Robinson-Kurtz, Chicago [2012]

“I have wanted to design shawls for a long time, but have had a complete mental block on how to fit in stitch patterns into the shawl’s structure. Now I have a much better idea of how that works…It’s been absolutely fantastic and I will be back.”
- Rachel Brown, London, UK [2012]

“I wouldn’t change anything. I’m very tired, but very happy. Friday to Monday feels an excellent length; time to learn and practice.”
- Jennifer Clark, Edinburgh, Scotland [2012]

All the vendors were really good with great yarns. Really enjoyed the weekend (ended too soon). And I look forward to coming back next October.”
- Jane Morley, UK [2012]

“This retreat was just what I needed to give me more design confidence and a community of peers who are also interested in design. I also appreciated how accessible you two were – the “down time” with you and the other participants was as important as the sessions themselves.”
- Kathleen Lawton-Trask, Oxford [2011, 2012]

“I had a really amazing time this weekend. I’ve never been to a knitting workshop before so I had no idea what to expect. I’ve afraid you’ve set the bar rather high.”
- Karen Radcliff, San Diego [2011, 2012]

“Thank you! I’ve had a lovely time. The goodie bags were fabulous, the teaching clear and easily understood and the networking great. I never swatched or thought too much before beginning a project (I’m too impatient!) but I found this process fun for the first time ever – as opposed to a chore.”
- Catherine Hopkins, Somewhere in England [2011, 2012]

I feel excited and inspired to try all sorts of things. Being in a group of talented and skilled knitters has allowed me to learn so many new things. Having meals together was a wonderful multi-cultural experience.
- Karen Wolthuis, Somewhere in the USA [2011]

What’s different this time?
The Gwyrdd Retreat will closely resemble the courseware delivered last October at the Cariad Retreat. We’ll have three full days to fully explore the possibilities of the Plug+Play principle in the form of shawl and top-down raglan sweater design, learn about Random Cables and how to bend them to your will, and have a surprise class on Monday. We’ve built plenty of play time into the schedule, so feel free to ramble through the spectacular landscape of the Pembrokeshire countryside, or just relax with a pint and your knitting. Based on popular request, Amy and Brenda will have a Notions tuck shop this time, with needle sets and other essentials that you might need, available all weekend.

One thing that will be definitively different is the season: Gwyrdd is Welsh for “green”, and everything about this particular weekend is designed to celebrate the greening of the landscape after a long winter’s sleep. Spring is truly the most beautiful season Pembrokeshire, as one species of wildflower bloom replaces another. From the arrival of the first snowdrops in late winter, the landscape is carpeted in flowers. In March you’re most likely to see the last of the daffodils fade, to be replaced by wild bluebells and red campion in the hedgerows, while the rocky cliff faces along the Pembrokeshire Coast Path are covered by Early Purple Orchids, carpets of Sea Campion and clumps of pink Thrift.

Expect touches of green to creep into our workshop this year in all sorts of ways. Overall, you can expect three full days of learning, laughter, leisure and, of course, good food!

P3 2012 Alumni: You are very welcome to join us for the Gwyrdd  Retreat! It will give you more time to develop the techniques you learned last October, and we would love to have you. Want something all new? Watch for our October 2013 Retreat, which will feature all brand-new courseware! Dates are October 11-14, 2013, at the Beggars Reach Country Hotel in Pembrokeshire.

P3 2011 Alumni: The Gwyrdd  Retreat will be almost all-new to you! Based on your feedback, we decided we needed one extra day to more fully explore the possibilities of the Plug+Play principle, and perhaps get a little more time to play, too, so we’ve moved from a Saturday to a Friday start. In 2011, we focused on lace. This time, it’s texture. You will have a little head start on the process… but only a little! We think this will be fresh and fun for you and hope you’ll join us!

The Weekend

Day 1Friday, March 22
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 class kicks off with the backbone of the weekend: the Plug+Play method. We’ll gather in our Mini-Theatre as Amy takes us through the technique with visuals that will get your creative juices flowing, and easy tips and tricks that will have you off and running in no time! Then we’ll move to the bright and airy Orangerie to take what we’ve learned and begin to apply it to our shawl design. We’ll make friends with stitch pattern books and use some of the new toys you’ll find in your goodie bag. And we’ll start to get a handle on how to put the patterns you’ve chosen into the shawl shape that suits them best.

Mid-afternoon, we’ll have a brain break with coffee and tea and delicious biscuits, before diving back into swatches and worksheets.

In the evening, we’ll meet in the dining room for our first dinner together and we’ll get to know each other better. After dinner, those who wish 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, March 23
Today is all about Brenda’s Four Sleeves Make a Sweater system, and you are going to love it. We’ll split into two teams just for today. Team A will stay with Amy, continuing to work on their Plug+Play shawl designs.

Team B will go with Brenda into our Mini-Theatre to learn the secrets of knitting a top-down raglan sweater that fits perfectly the first time and every time, no matter what. Clear visuals and comprehensive worksheets will make it a snap to plan your raglan sweater, regardless of size or gauge. After the presentation is over, we’ll head back to the Orangerie to measure ourselves (and each other), complete our worksheets, and have a good idea of where the sweater is heading, design-wise.

After a delicious lunch, Team A will head to the Mini-Theatre to learn the Four Sleeves system with Brenda and Team B will continue to work on their shawls with Amy in the Orangerie. By the end of the day, we’ll all be up to speed on both shawls and sweaters, and we’ll stay together for the rest of the weekend. Call us Team P3!

Saturday night after dinner, back by popular demand, Today’s Sweater! This show and tell evening [bring your favorite FOs!], is hosted by Brenda as only she can. You can count on learning more about your fellow P3ers, 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 favorite parts of the weekend!

Day 3 - Sunday, March 24
This morning, we will be introduced to Random Cables for Control Freaks. As the class name indicates, there’s a little something in this class for everyone…chaos and order, all at the same time! Amy will show you the ropes of this fun technique which will, at the very least, give you a much better understanding of how cables work (and that’s a most useful bit of knowledge to have when you’re working with them in any other project).

After a brain break with morning coffee, tea and biscuits, you can start playing with cables on a swatch or even a project, and see where your controlled randomness takes you!

At lunchtime, we’ll enjoy a traditional British Sunday roast dinner. This quite substantial meal is made even more enjoyable by having a bit of downtime afterwards. Following lunch, we bring back our beloved Tiny, Perfect Marketplace! Our UK-based vendors will be bringing their best wares to share with you – solids, semi-solids and variegated yarns in fibers and blends of all descriptions! And brand new, this time, we’re offering our Retreat attendees the opportunity to sell their wares as well! 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 welcome at our Marketplace! We’ll be talking about this in our Ravelry forum…come join us!

After the fun of the Marketplace we’re leaving the rest of your afternoon and evening free to spend as you choose. This is a great opportunity to explore the beautiful Cleddau Estuary, go for a drive in the country, nap, or 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 Amy 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. Amy will have her ukulele and will lead the evening’s musical madness. It’s a blast! And yes, the bar will be open for your imbibing pleasure.

Day 4Monday, March 25
For our last class together on Monday morning we’ve planned something very special. We promise it’ll be memorable.

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.

Questions? Visit our forum!

Our Sponsors

Our previous workshops were sponsored by some of our very favorite small companies producing great products for knitters. As soon as everyone’s in place for this year, we’ll let you know what you can look forward to. We can’t wait to reveal our exciting P3 sponsors!

The Price

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 only 28 spaces available
Partner Rate Includes three nights double occupancy accommodation for non-participants, plus breakfast and dinner (excluding alcohol). £150

Payment and Cancellation Policy

Registration for the P3 March 2013 Retreat opens here Monday, 3 December 2012, at 9:00 am PST. Bookmark this page.

A deposit of £100 is required in order to hold your reservation. Full payment via Paypal or Bank Transfer is due by 22 January, 2013.

If you cancel your reservation by 10 February 2013, you’ll receive a full refund of your payment. No refunds will be given for cancellations after 10 February 2013, 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 handling charge.

The Venue

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, and cozy nooks and crannies combine with beautiful views across gardens and fields, to 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 skillful 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 Orangerie, 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 skillfully prepared fresh local ingredients, and simple but elegant home cooking.

Your Workshop Leaders:

Amy Singer [left] is the editor of the online knitting magazine Knitty.com which has had more than 125 million site visits since its launch in 2002, and celebrated its 10th Anniversary this September! A grandma-taught knitter since the age of 6, she champions the joys of mindless [think relaxing] knitting. Amy has taught classes at yarn shops and knitting guilds all over North America, in the UK and Europe, as well as Sock Summit [2009 and 2011] and VK Live in Los Angeles in September 2011.

Brenda Dayne [right] has won international respect and acclaim for her innovative work as the creator and host of Cast On – a podcast founded on nothing more than the desire to talk about knitting to people who get it. Since 2005 the podcast has evolved to focus on finding inspiration in the ordinary, using it to kick start the process of making, and inventing ways to carve out the creative time and space that allows you to work your ass off on the projects that matter most to you. Brenda has taught classes across the US and Canada, as well as at Fibertrain [2012], VK Live NYC [2013] and the Madrona Fiber Arts Festival [2013].


Have questions? Just pop in to our Ravelry forum here and take a look around. Many of your questions have likely already been answered (things like exchange rates, sharing rooms, which airport to choose, train travel, taxis to and from), and if you’ve got a new one, just ask it there! We’ll do our best to get back to you asap.