Stories In Stitches Summer Retreat 2016 | Civil War Knitting

Civil War Era Knitting
June 2nd – 6th, 2016
Vermont (USA)
Limited to 12 participants

This brand new retreat will be held in the mountains of Vermont in the cool days of early summer. Spend three days in morning & afternoon workshops with Donna Druchunas and Ava Coleman at the Phineas Swann B&B in Montgomery Vermont.

[su_column size=”1/2″]At this retreat, mornings will be spent learning about the language and abbreviations used in Victorian knitting books and we will work together to decipher patterns for a shawl, a chemise, and socks. We will also knit samples of pattern stitches from several Victorian knitting books, and try to chart them as well. On the last day we will put all of our knowledge together and cast on for a shawl.

In the afternoons we’ll have slide shows and talks about the history of knitting in the USA as well as excursions to local yarn shops and farms. Photo Jul 11, 12 10 10 PM


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Speaking Out — Harriet Tubman and Sojouner Truth. Both of these brave women were photographed wearing knitted garments and accessories. We will talk about their lives and work, and discuss the knitting and kniHarrietTubmantted items that surround both of their lives.

Reuse, recycle, repurpose. Recycling is popular now due to increased interest in the health of the environment. In times past, items were often reused and repurposed to save money and because new materials were expensive or scarce. We will look at knitted items from the civil war era that were made from recycled materials including bedspreads made from tobacco twine, rugs made from old clothes, and socks knit from string unraveled from a Confederate tent.

Highlights: Invited speaker Ava Coleman will give a talk at this retreat as well as excursions to some special yarn shops in rural Vermont.

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Projects for this retreat


Arrival is Thursday afternoon and departure is Monday morning, allowing attendees three complete days to study and knit with Donna and Ava.


Arrival and settle in at the Phineas Swann B&B. After a wine and cheese meet & greet, enjoy dinner on your own or with other participants at local restaurants in walking distance


•Breakfast is on your own or if you are staying at the B&B breakfast is included.

10 AM Morning workshop in the dining room. Learn about Victorian Knitting terms and abbreviations.

12 Noon Enjoy lunch on your own in town or at nearby restaurants that are just a short drive.

2 PM Afternoon slide show and history talk, spend time on your own knitting, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

6:30 PM Dinner on your own.


•Breakfast is on your own or if you are staying at the B&B breakfast is included.

10 AM Morning workshop in the dining room. Knit and chart stitches from Victorian pattern books.

12 Noon Enjoy lunch on your own in town or at nearby restaurants that are just a short drive.

2 PM Make an excursion to local yarn shops, take a nap, or enjoy the beautiful scenery

6:30 PM Dinner on your own.

8 PM Gather by the river for a bonfire if weather allows, or knit and chat in the living room.


•Breakfast is on your own or if you are staying at the B&B breakfast is included.

10 AM Morning workshop in the dining room. Interpreting Victorian patterns and cast on for a shawl.

12 Noon Enjoy lunch on your own in town or at nearby restaurants that are just a short drive.

2 PM Afternoon slide show and history talk, spend time on your own knitting, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

6:30 PM Dinner on your own.

8 PM Rain date for bonfire.


•Leave for home, taking all of your wonderful ideas with you!

You are in class each of the three days from 10am-12pm and from 2-5pm.
Your teachers are on-site and will be available for questions anytime.
Schedule is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances.

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Class materials are provided and extra supplies will also be available for purchase on site. After your payment, we will contact you as to what to bring with you.

About Donna & Ava

Once upon a time (some stories should begin that way, I am told) there were two friends who loved to research and write about their knitting.

These friends, Donna Druchunas and Ava Coleman, had the good fortune of being asked by a wonderfully kind editor, Jeane Hutchins, to help tell her story about a very special pink silk purse. After Jeane’s short story was told, the two friends shared many cups of tea, over a many month span, bemusing how fun it would be to share other special stories. Many of these just can’t be told in a few paragraphs, but there wasn’t a place they seemed to fit–a magazine article’s word allowances are too short and book content requirements are too lengthy. The friends decided to create something to fill in this gap.

More About Ava

Ava Coleman began knitting at the age of three. By the age of sixteen, she was marketing her knits in Snowmass and Aspen. That same year she began teaching knitting to her fellow Girl Scouts. She has designed, edited and knitted for CRYSTAL PALACE, WINDY VALLEY MUSKOX , YARN PLACE and SKASKA. Her knitting history articles have been published on-line, in books, magazines and leaflets. Her knitted pieces have been featured in numerous fashion shows and as vendor booth models at STITCHES, TKGA and TNNA.

Ava has a unique perspective of the yarn industry. As a Certified ASI Wool Classer, she spent eight years teaching wool processing techniques, quality control, and knitting in Central Asia for the United States Agency for International Development. Selected as a COLORADO STATE HERITAGE ARTIST in 1997, her knitted lace designs have been showcased in numerous museums and galleries, including the Premier of Denver International Airport’s Public Art Gallery. Her work was awarded a first place in the WOOL FESTIVAL AT TAOS.

She has been profiled in THE ESTES PARK TRAIL GAZZETTE and AMERICAN WOOL GROWER MAGAZINE. TCI Cablevision and the DISCOVERY CHANNEL (HOMEMATTERS) have produced and presented features on her knitted lace work.

More About Donna

Donna Druchunas escaped a corporate cubicle to honor her passions for knitting, world travel, research, and writing. She is the author of six knitting books including ARCTIC LACE, SUCCESSFUL LACE KNITTING, KITTY KNITS, and ETHNIC KNITTING DISCOVERY & EXPLORATION. Donna has just finished writing a book about knitting in Lithuania which will be coming out next spring.

Before she returned to knitting, Donna spent almost 20 years working in corporate cubicles as a writer, designer, and creative services manager. Her cubes were in military training facilities, small businesses, and large corporations. During that time, she wrote and designed marketing materials, training courses and technical manuals for many types of hardware and software products.

Donna’s a little slow, and it took her almost two decades and several jobs to figure out it was the whole career she didn’t like, not just each individual job. But it wasn’t until her friend Kris, who is also a knitter and writer, asked, “If you can write about how to install a hard drive, why can’t you write about how to knit?” that it dawned on Donna that she could use the skills she had to make a living in a field she loved.

Today, Donna lives in the U.S. State of Vermont with her husband, mother, and three cats who all help her test the usability and comfort of her finished knitted items. You can learn more about her on her personal website.

Donna Druchunas 
Send me email
Ravelry Member: Druchunas

Ava Coleman
Donna Druchunas

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Lodging Recommendations

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Phineas Swann B & B

Arrival is Thursday afternoon/evening, and departure is Monday morning.

Stay at the Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast which is in the small Northern Vermont town of Montgomery, Vermont. Just west of Jay Peak ski resort. An easy drive to Montreal, Canada.

Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast is a charming old home built in the late 1800’s by William Stiles.  The original farmhouse and carriage house were built between 1847 and 1891. The construction is based on lathe and plaster construction. In 1886 William Stiles sold the property to Benoni Laperche, who two years later resold it to Harrison Manosh.

To make a reservation please contact Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast at their website or call 802-326-4306 and tell them you are attending the Stories In Stitches Writing Retreat by Donna Druchunas 2016.



Breakfast is included with your B&B reservation.

Lunches will be catered at from a local eatery for an additional cost or you are welcome to explore the local restaurants in the area.

Dinners are available at  several local restaurants in walking distance.

Farewell Sunday dinner is included at the B&B.
Spouses, partners, friends not attending retreat will incur an extra cost for farewell dinner if they attend the farewell dinner at the B & B.



Getting to Vermont

The closest airports are Burlington, Vermont (1hr 15min drive), Manchester, New Hampshire, (4hrs drive) or Montreal, Canada (1hr 40min drive)


Amtrak stops in Waterbury, Burlington and Montpelier, Vermont, each about two hours away by car.

At this time we can not provide transportation to and from the Airport or Train stations.

Driving by car to Montgomery, Vermont

  • Burlington, Vermont (1hr 15min)
  • Montreal, Canada (1hr 40min)
  • Boston, Mass (4hrs)
  • New York City (7hrs)

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Payment Options

Stories in Stitches Knitting Retreat 

Civil War Era Knitting
June 2nd – 6th, 2016

  • Retreat fee total:$425 (USD) Includes handouts, misc supplies, and surprises. Lodging and meals are separate unless stated above.
  • MAKE A DEPOSIT TODAY!$125 (USD) will hold your spot in our retreats. Balance is due three months before first day of retreat on or before March 2nd, 2016. Limited to only 12 people.

Terms: Deposits are non-refundable. If you cancel, you are responsible for filling your spot in our retreats. Balance is due by March 2nd, 2016 by either party.


Pay with Square Visa | Mastercard | Discover | Amex

Please note that a PayPal account is not needed to sign up our retreats. Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover. You can also make monthly payments with PayPal.

Want to pay by check? Send us an email with your request.
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Payment Options

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eposit, Pay in Full, Balance

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phineas-swannPhineas Swann Bed & Breakfast is 3 diamond AAA rated. Lavishly restored antique filled 1880’s victorian home on Trout River And Main street in Montgomery, Vermont. Fully Air Conditioned, Gourmet Breakfast, All Day Free Baked Goodies, Teas, Coffees, Spring Water, Free WiFi, Cable TV/DVD Players, Free Phones, Fireplaces, Jacuzzi Baths.

Phineas Swan B&B is Dog friendly. Note: Pets are only allowed in certain area’s of the B & B.

To make a reservation please contact Phineas Swann Bed & Breakfast at their website or call 802-326-4306 and tell them your are attending the Stories In Stitches Summer Retreat by Donna Druchunas 2016. NOTE: Prices on their website do not reflect the discount provided for this retreat.

For further questions, please contact:

Dominic Cotignola
Sales Manager

Sheep to Shawl, LLC
315 Elm Street
Barton, VT  05822
Phone: 802-731-1049

Stories In Stitches writing retreat is created in association with Sheep to Shawl, LLC