VKL NYC was this weekend! I took the train into the city early Saturday morning and was ready for the Registration table to open up at 7:50 AM. (Egads!) I checked my coat and my suitcase, registered, went to the all-purpose store and waited in line for 30 minutes to buy a coconut water and a grapefruit juice (you’ve gotta love NYC!) for almost $9 (again, feel the love!). My first class was Ha! Fooled You! with Melissa Leapman. Last year I took Melissa’s Reversible / Double Knitting class, and was very inspired. I bought wonderful yarn, picked out a pattern, and hope to start that project this year! This year’s class was about achieving stitching skills without as much effort. Well, that was the premise. The first project was to do a form of intarsia but with only one color per row, using slip stitches instead. It only really works when you have a pattern with at least two rows of the same pattern, so you can slip the string in the same spot as the previous row to bring the color up. An interesting concept, and I have seen similar patterns before, so it was a good exercise. Next was mitered stitching, also using slip stitches. Similar practice as the previous one, but using more garter stitch. This one bored me as I didn’t see myself ever doing it. Too symmetrical to keep my interest. From there, we went to the last concept – cabling without the cable needle. Well, this was not really true. The cable needle was used in the two previous rows to set up the look of the cable starting to come together. The actual cable though was done without the cable needle by creating two straps that then were tied in a knot and reinserted onto the needles. It was interesting, but the woman next to me and I agreed that it was just easier creating the cable the old fashioned way. Regardless of whether I’m going to use these new tricks, Melissa is very outgoing and entertaining, knowledgeable and creative. I would not hesitate to take another class with her in the future. On to the lecture on Creating New Stitches by Norah Gaughan. Norah showed many pictures of what inspired different stitches and patterns that she created. One of the best insights was about this book, Steal Like An Artist, which apparently speaks about how no one can be creative without being influenced by what is already known. I was particularly impressed by the Salvador Dali quote: “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.” The lecture was very interesting, and it was good to see and hear this creative designer in person. The afternoon was spent in Lucy Neatby‘s Various Variegations class. This woman is wild! I wish I had taken a picture, but try to imagine a middle-aged woman with BRIGHT pink, purple and blue hair, wearing a floral dress, with one brown stocking and the other blue, and one pink boot and the other one turquoise. I kid you not. I should have gotten a photo of me with her so that my friends could see that there is someone out there even crazier about colors than me! I learned in Lucy’s class that there is no magic solution or formula for working with variegated yarn. It’s a bit mathematical and you have to be willing to “cut and paste” with variegated yarn to get some designs to work. We tried some different patterns that highlight variegated yarn and it was a good discussion. Here’s what I worked on, and following are some inspirational projects that she brought in as examples. I am going to copy some of the concepts of the hat for a winter hat for a guy at work. I especially like the concept of breaking up the variegated yarn with some solid yarn. I think it really shows off the variegated yarn much better than just doing a piece with all variegated yarn.
I visited the marketplace and was underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time. There were fewer vendors than before, but still a lot to look at. I ended up buying two skeins of yarn and a bag from Yarn Pop that I had previously seen in a Vogue article. I was hoping to buy some more Soak, but they didn’t have a booth this year.
My VKL NYC purchases
I attended the Gala dinner, found a seat at a table with some nice ladies, and enjoyed the dinner. There were party favor bags for each guest. I was delighted! It included 3 skeins of yarn (Rowan, Malabrigo and Louisa Harding), stitch markers, garment wash, needles, and so much more!
My gift bag!
They had many raffles throughout the evening, and I won…another yarn pop bag! Barbara Kingsolver was the guest speaker, and she spoke about her farm and raising Icelandic Sheep. I had read her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle a few years ago, so some of her talk seemed repetitive, but it was still entertaining and engaging. The next morning while I was enjoying my breakfast, I saw that Barbara was having her breakfast with one of her favorite designers, Norah. I was thrilled that I recognized them because I am usually oblivious. On to Leslye Solomon’s Finishing Sweaters class. Wow! I had forgotten how personable Leslye is, as I had taken another of her classes two years ago. She is very knowledgeable, friendly and engaging. We spent a lot of time talking about swatching and gauges, which must be taken seriously (much to many people’s dismay, though I do swatch and don’t find it an issue). But then she showed us the mattress stitch and an easy way to do the kitchener stitch. Now I am almost inspired to do a pieced sweater instead of one in the round. When I knit in the eighties, I used to send my pieces to my aunt who would sew them together for me. Now I feel more confident and less intimidated to do them myself…”Now” is NOW after taking this class. Taxicab to the train station, caught the express and I was back on home turf in less than two hours after packing my knitting supplies in the class. What a whirlwind weekend. What fun! I can’t wait to start my new projects and see what classes I’ll take next year. Oh, one more thing. Look at this knitting inspiration – the carpeting in the hotel room… Lovely!