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Handmade: ‘Wine & Wool’ make for enjoyable knitting

Jocelynn Brown
The Detroit News

Carole Kosanovich, owner of Nautical Yarn in Ludington, had just completed a mitered knitting class at Stitches Midwest 2017, instructed by Myra Wood, author of “Knit in New Directions,” when she overheard Wood and others talking about the gorgeous garments they’d seen at the exhibition.

Of special interest were the unique and colorful mitered designs by Pat VanderLaan of Wyoming, who used concepts from Wood’s book and took them in an entirely different direction.

“What she is doing with mitered knitting is incredible,” said Kosanovich. “When she is in the Ludington area, she stops in at Nautical Yarn. The last year or two, Pat has been showing us some of her modular (mitered) knitting designs for sweaters, jackets, hats, etc.”

Kosanovich is so impressed with what VanderLaan is doing with the technique that she recently asked her to instruct a mitered knitting class at her fourth “Wine & Wool Weekend,” set for Oct. 20-22 in the shop’s studio. Other activities will be held at the Cartier Mansion Bed and Breakfast, also in Ludington. “People make their own overnight arrangements,” she said.

Carole Kosanovich with some of the door prizes and gifts for “Wine & Wool Weekend.”

Now, what exactly is mitered knitting? “A basic miter is started with two adjacent edges and the corner which is in the middle. These stitches are either cast on, or picked up from previous miters or a combination of the two,” explained VanderLaan. “The miter is then worked in a straight line with a decrease in the center which allows the edges to form a 90-degree angle, ending at the opposite corner from the one in the middle of the two beginning edges.”

And, what can students expect to learn? “There’ll be two days of learning. The first day, they’ll learn the basic mitered theory — how it’s made, and how to change the size of your whole project by how many stitches you cast on for your miter. They’ll (also) learn to increase and decrease, basic things about garter stitch knitting, how to do a knit cast on, and pick up and knit,” said VanderLaan.

“The second day, we’ll be kind of designing, using mitered knitting. I’ll have paper where they can cut out shapes and put them in a rectangle or triangle to fill in the shape,” she continued. By the end of the three-day event, each student should have finished a pot holder, using worsted weight yarn from a kit put together by Nautical Yarn.

Learning mitered knitting is “very simple,” according to VanderLaan. “It’s (just) a knit stitch and a decrease. That’s one thing nice about it — it’s all knitting. The class is called ‘Miters My Way.’ Most (knitters) start with a slip-stitch, (but) mine is just knitting and decreasing throughout,” she noted.

Patricia VanderLaan models one of her original designs made with template knitting found in the book “Knit in New Directions.”

A mitered knitwear designer who once worked as a draftsman and studied engineering, VanderLaan sometimes borrows her design ideas from quilt squares, creating beautifully crafted pieces that’ll have you doing a double-take. She said, “I’ve taken and redesigned quilt squares into knitting.”

Although Kosanovich has tried her hand at mitered knitting, she said, “I think I’m going to learn quite a bit in the class. There’s no purling, so it’s for any level of knitter. Anyone planning to take the Sunday class, should really take the Saturday class, or be proficient at knitting different shapes, and have some experience with modular knitting.”

Cartier Mansion will cater Friday night’s event, along with a wine tasting, and VanderLaan will present a fashion show and talk about her designs. Saturday night the mansion will host a “Wine Pairing,” where guests can engage in social knitting. Door prizes and gifts, valued at thousands of dollars, will be among highlights both nights.

Classes are $65 each, or $250 for the entire weekend, which includes everything, even what Kosanovich describes as “the really great gift bag,” valued at over $100. Enrollment for each class is limited to 24. To register, call the shop at (231) 845-9868, or visit

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, or

Contact Nautical Yarn (108 South Rath, Ludington) at (231) 845-9868, or