Well, it’s been a week since our Maggiknits Retreat and Fashion Show, and we have just finished recovering. Below are some images of the fashion show and classes. It was a great opportunity to meet new people, catch up with old friends, try on designer garments, and get our creative juices flowing. We’ve been so inspired that we’ve even added to our MaggiKnits selection in store and will be starting a new Exclusive MaggiKnits Club, where you’ll get first dibs on all our new Maggie stock – both a full selection of open stock yarns and kits. Please keep in mind these are all action pictures and believe me there was a lot of action going on with over 30 people wanting in on all the Maggie action! Really yummy food too!
I can’t believe the Fashion Show is NEXT FRIDAY! We are so busy getting everything ready, I’m particularly excited that we decided to go for a dessert theme. It was a tough job sampling all those desserts, but Criss and I managed to struggle through.
We only have a few spaces left for the Friday evening and time’s-a-ticking. I do still have a block of seats for locals – are you going to join us? You can now get the tickets online, or buy them in store and save $$$. Don’t forget this is a one time only event, so be there or be square.
Here’s a special message from Maggie:
Hi to my soon to be “knitting family” in Big Bear !!!
Looking forward to some craic with you as they say in Ireland (fun…nothing to do with drugs)!!!
I am still in Ireland with my family but will be back in time to travel to CA for our wonderful and inspiring weekend.
The Fashion show with over 40 garments will, I hope, start your exciting weekend on Fri. You will be able to try on the samples afterwards and I can help you choose colors and styles for your height and size.
I’ll see you there and don’t forget to wear your MaggiKnit as I love to see them finished. There might be a special prize from me!!!
Thank you for joining myself and Yarn Designers Boutique for a weekend in which I hope you will leave with lots of inspiration and an insight into MaggiKnits designs.
I’m so excited! Today all the kits, books and yarns arrived that will be for sale on Friday night and over the weekend at the workshop. Last week Maggie’s latest samples arrived and it was all we could do not to peak! Just think, we get to see all her latest designs and even try them on!
So grab a knitting friend or two and join us – we’ll find more chairs somewhere – you don’t want to miss out!
You can purchase your tickets online or drop by Yarn Designers Boutique in Big Bear City to pick them up. You don’t want to miss one of Maggie’s few West Coast engagements!
Yarn Designers Boutique LLC
Models Needed for our High Fashion Knitwear Show!
Announcing our MaggiKnits Fashion Show – Sponsored by Yarn Designers Boutique in Big Bear City
Volunteer Models Needed for Friday evening, June 20th, to arrive at 5:45 pm – show will be completed at approximately 7:30pm – enjoy refreshments afterwards on us. Tickets for your friends and family are available at Yarn Designers Boutique for $15.
You will be modeling 6 – 8 over-garments (sweaters and shawls) so they will be easy on and off. Maggie Jackson, our designer, will be choosing garments (over 40 that she is showing) – with the purpose of flattering you! If you are interested, please fill out the following form and get it back to me by June 18th.
*larger is just fine, but taller we really need!
Once Maggie has your information on Friday morning, and picks your outfits, she will be depending on you so this is an important commitment but should be fun for you as well!
The Fashion Show is happening at the Mary Johnson Center, 40946 Big Bear Blvd, Big Bear Lake. This building is part of the Community Church by the Lake property and faces the street, but the entrance is on the inside of the property. The Fashion Show starts around 6 – 6:15 pm so it’s important that you arrive and identify yourself as a model by 5:45 pm. The show will be very informal and Maggie will be directing you completely.
You are welcome to enjoy desert after the show and mingle with the attendees.
You will be wearing your own clothes under every garment so the following things are important:
Black trousers or jeans or denim skirt, white shirt with collar, and light and dark shoes/sandals.
ALSO IMPORTANT: wear light colored underwear on top and bottom so they don’t show through our natural linens.
If you would like to model but don’t have some of these items, let me know and we will help you out.
If you have a friend who might be interested, please pass this on and I hope to hear from you soon!
Gena Hester, Yarn Designers Boutique, Cell 909 261 9185
Today we’ve been working on our super special gifts that all of our attendees to the Maggiknits workshop in Big Bear Lake will receive. Here’s a sneak peek at one of our designs. Can you guess what it will be? Here’s a hint, you can use it for all your knitting and crochet projects!
For more information and to register, visit our website at http://yarndesignersboutique.com/MaggieFashion.html
The New Date
We are sorry that we didn’t have enough people for our retreat this coming weekend. The good news is we have a new date for early Summer 2014 – the weekend of June 20th-22nd. I hope those of you who are interested will save this date to join us! This way you have plenty of time to plan and you can reserve your place with a $50 refundable deposit.
We have reserved the Mary Johnson Center (40946 Big Bear Blvd) in Big Bear Lake for the weekend
which is a very special place. Mary Johnson was a devoted artist and quilter who passed away a few years ago. Her artwork and quilts grace the walls with a description for each. The Center gives us plenty of room for the Friday Night Fashion Show as well as plenty of room for our workshops and displays that Maggie is bringing with her. Don’t miss this really fun and entertaining knitting weekend!
What if I’m a ‘Flatlander’?
Many of us who live in or frequent Big Bear know of its beauty and relaxing, fun filled atmosphere. If you and your knitting friends would like to attend our MaggiKnits Weekend Extravaganza, think about staying at the Pine Knot Guest Ranch where the wonderful owners, Larbie and Gloria, have their own llamas and bunnies nearby for you to visit! Or think about renting a cabin for a bunch of you. There are specials on lodging during the Fall. Here are some activities you could also think about while you’re here.
If flying you will want to fly in to Ontario Airport, rent a car and make your way up to Big Bear which is about 1 ½ hours away. We planned our retreat in June so that you can enjoy the beautiful summer weather and maybe even go out on the lake.
We are now going for the finish line on our weekend with Maggie Jackson! If you are planning to join us, you really need to register NOW so that we can make our final plans to make this a wonderful weekend for you and your knitting friends! You can even call me anytime on my cell phone (909) 261-9185 with any questions regarding registration, lodging problems, Big Bear questions – whatever. Let’s get you registered so you don’t miss out as classroom space is limited! I hope to hear from you soon and have a great Labor Day Weekend! PS I will be working Friday through Monday so don’t hesitate to call!
We’re so excited about having Maggie Jackson join us at the beautiful Mary Johnson Center in Big Bear Lake for a full weekend of fun & fiber! Maggie is a wonderful instructor and incredibly entertaining to boot! I had so much fun when I went on her Irish Retreat a couple months ago and I know that we’ll have a wonderful time during our MaggiKnits Fashion Show and Classes Weekend here at Yarn Designers Boutique!
But who is Maggie Jackson you may ask?
With an internationally recognized line of yarn, a first-of-its-kind knit products showroom and a business that has managed to remain strong through the Great Recession, Maggie Jackson is what you could call a “rock star” in the knitting industry.
Jackson, 56, is owner and operator of wholesale yarn distributing company Maggiknits Inc., which sells a range of yarns and books in the United States and Europe, and which opened a product and design showroom at 177 Portage Road in Kalamazoo. Although Jackson’s yarn designs continue to find their way to fashion runways, she said, “I get more pleasure out of designing the yarn.”
“I choose the colors and consistency and put it in a book, and six months later, somebody is wearing it in a show,” she said during an interview.
Jackson has written 17 books on knitting, which are often sold with kits that allow knitters to create their own Maggiknits pieces. The book sales help continue Maggiknits’ success.
“It’s not your granny’s knitting,” Jackson said. “I’m trying to show people that no matter what size they are, they can be fashionable.”
The showroom is the first of its kind in the knitting industry because it doubles both as a display of Jackson’s unique knitted home décor — including art and furniture — and as a space to host fashion shows and group knitting activities. Jackson said she hopes to use it to host weekend knitting retreats for out-of-town knitters, as well as workshops and events for local knitters throughout the year.
“The work that I teach is unique and different,” she said. “I try to think outside the box. That’s the Maggiknits way.”
A knitwear designer who started knitting at age 6 and creating her own patterns and designs at age 12, Jackson started Maggiknits near Lisburn in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, in 1977, making ready-to-wear clothing. She grew up on a dairy farm watching her mother knit wool sweaters for her family. After rising in popularity, Jackson’s clothing was primarily sold in department stores like Nordstrom’s.
But Maggiknits is no longer a clothing company. Jackson stopped creating ready-to-wear products nearly 10 years ago, a time when a single Maggiknits sweater was being sold for $600 to $800. Now, Jackson designs her own yarn, which is created in Spain, Italy, England and Ireland.
More than 200 stores in the U.S. and Europe sell Maggiknits yarn, which is used to create fashions and other products.
Maggiknits is staffed by Jackson and six other knitters, four in Michigan and two in Ireland. About 45 knitters were employed when Maggiknits made ready-to-wear products in Ireland, Jackson said, but there is much less need for that many workers now. Jackson designs yarn and product samples herself. Her knitters help to create pieces to be modeled in magazines.
Jackson relocated to Kalamazoo about three years ago because she liked the city after visiting local resident Mary Bell, who is Maggiknits’ director of operations. Bell and Jackson met at a knitting convention a few years prior to Jackson’s move to Kalamazoo and became business partners. Bell’s knowledge of corporate America has been helpful to Maggiknits’ success in the United States, Jackson said.
Jackson said she loves the city because it’s “buzzing for a small town,” not unlike her hometown in Ireland.
“I think it’s great when you see everyone out in the streets,” Jackson said. “I hope to become much more involved and meet local business owners as well.”
Jackson said she can design from anywhere, but she expects to be here for “quite a while.”
Another reason for settling here and opening a showroom is an attempt to curb the amount of traveling Maggiknits demands.
“I do exhibitions from California to Florida to Oklahoma,” she said. “I’m lucky that I’ve built up a reputation in the industry so now people will come to see me.”
Jackson said she thinks the rising popularity of knitting in the U.S. has allowed Maggiknits to thrive throughout the recession. Although she would not cite numbers, she said her business is becoming more profitable.
“We have just expanded and expanded,” Jackson said. “Knitting is trendy again because people want crafts and things to do at home.”
Jackson said there are 55 million active knitters and crocheters across the nation, including celebrities like Julia Roberts and Russell Crowe.
“It’s a relaxation craft,” Jackson said. “People are excited to be doing something different.”
Early in her career, Jackson won a raft of design awards as well as accolades for her entrepreneurship. Over the years, the awards have included the “Guinness Special Award for Design Excellence,” second in the International Mohair Association Competition for the most innovative lady’s garment, being named “Young Business and Professional Woman of the Year” in Northern Ireland in 1989, and “Who’s Who in Textiles” in the United Kingdom.
Jackson’s personality has helped draw people to her. She is cheerful and approachable, and witty quips are a frequent part of her conversation. She is also rarely without a little smile or gleam in her eyes. “I’ve walked into a store and gotten ‘you’re Maggie Jackson!’ and seen jaws drop when I introduce myself,” she said. “I think it’s the romanticism about being Irish more than anything.”
Jackson’s philosophy is that “a glass or two of wine never hurts a piece because the squares don’t have to be the same size. Just call it European.”
BY JESS HERNDON
First Published in the Kalamazoo Gazette, on May 29, 2011
We are sponsoring our first Maggie Retreat June 20 – 22, 2013 in Big Bear Lake California. We are located in the Southern California Mountains and offer a four season resort environment. Since Maggie does not hold many of these private retreats, now is the time for you (and your knitting friends?) to attend. Reservations are limited and if you reserve and prepay by April 15th, you can save $20 on the package of the Fashion Show with 2 full days of workshop classes.