Knit Wit Living

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This weekend…VKL NYC!

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2016 is this weekend!

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since VKL NYC 2015! The Knitting with Beads course with Laura Nelkin has changed my life. I have been spending the year teaching myself beading, and transferring much of my spending to beading supplies.

And guess what?

I am not going to VKL NYC this year! Instead I am saving my pennies to go to a beading fair next weekend.

My goal remains the same – to combine knitting and beading in unusual ways.  I’ve been spending this year learning basic beading techniques to understand how it works…so that I can rework it.

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Did I mention that beading is fun? And more immediate gratification than knitting!  But there are so many choices, and really, a lot of thinking and processing.  And stringing is not as easy as it looks. Sure, putting beads on a string is easy, but the design, and making sure the beads fall correctly takes longer than I expected.  It’s all very enjoyable.

Beading

And pretty!

Where Have I Been?

I feel like it’s been ages since I posted, and even I’m wondering Where Have I Been?!

Where Have I Been?

Well, I’ve succumbed to the Beading Bug, and am trying the art of beading in order to create some new knitting.  I have bought / read a slew of beading materials and have been learning basic beading as a means to enhance my knitting.  I want to go beyond what’s out there and my mind is swirling with possibilities to test.

I’m only posting a few pictures today to show you my first trial of knitting with beads that I learned in my class at VKL this past January.

I had bought this sparkly yarn from Holiday Yarns at the VKL Marketplace and have knitted and ripped and tried different patterns out. I bought some beads and completed a (self-designed) pattern, deciding not to frog it as it’s a perfect weight for a spring scarf.

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

Where Have I Been?

The Princess Boa also included a beading technique of applying the bead (bell) during the knitting instead of adding them all to the yarn before knitting and then sliding them up for the necessary stitch.

Where Have I Been?

I am quite thrilled with all the new possibilities ahead and race home each day after work to try something new.

So much fun!  More reports to  come…

Swiftly learning the Swift

I ended up not purchasing a swift in the VKL Marketplace because I didn’t need nor want to spend the money for a top-of-the-line handmade maple one.  A friend helped me pick one online at JoAnn’s, which also happened to be having a 40% off sale when we were looking.

Last Saturday, I focused on putting it and the ball winder together and testing it out.

This swift tightens its size by pulling in the pole rather than pushing out the stopper like an umbrella. The screw in the vise is tightened when the pole is pulled in at the right place.

Here is the yarn that I used. It may have been a mistake to use sparkly yarn in the trial run.  The sparkles made the yarn stickier and was catching on itself as it was being pulled.

Swift

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I had the ball winder to the right and the swift was moving counter-clockwise.  It wasn’t working very well.  I reversed the yarn and then also moved the ball winder to the other side of the swift.

Yes, I know. It doesn’t really make sense. I should have done one or the other, but not both.  Where are those mathematically-adept people who understand angles and geometry when I need them?

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Now the skein was moving clockwise but since I had moved the yarn, the loose end was no longer on the outside.  I had to pull lengths of the yarn out and crank the ball winder.  Then, since I was holding the yarn, it kept getting caught up either in the crank part or the yarn was coming out of the guides.

I told myself to Breathe.  And Focus.  And not think about how much time this was taking and is it really easier than just wrapping the yarn around one of the living room chairs?

Then. Finally!  We got to the part of the skein where the loose end was on top.  Let go of the lead. Crank the lever.

Voila!

Swift

 

 

 

VKL Marketplace

The VKL NYC Marketplace was filled with wonderful choices and never-ending ways to spend money!  However, having recently organized my stash, I was well aware of the multitude of projects already awaiting my attention.

Add to that two classes that left me uninspired, I wandered around on Saturday feeling that nothing was leaping out at me.

I had also very carefully planned my purchases ahead of time. I printed out 9 patterns from Ravelry and noted the yarn needs for each.  460 yards of fingering for one, 900 yards of DK for another, etc.  I was so proud of myself for creating a structure in which to shop.

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Throw all that preparation and organization to the winds!

If I was tempted by something…I just had to find the right color and I was IN!

The icebreaker (my first purchase): I came upon the booth for Jill Draper Makes Stuff. I had really admired her yarns at the VKL Marketplace a couple of years ago, took her card with the intention of getting something later, and have also favorited her Etsy shop, but I have never made an actual purchase. Time to stop the procrastination!  I bought this skein of Esopus (fingering weight) in the color Caribbean with the intent to use it for one of the pieces in the Curls book I recently purchased.  But then in my Beading 101 class, this very yarn was mentioned as great for knitting with beads.  So we shall see how it ends up…

VKL Marketplace

Jill Draper Makes Stuff: Esopus – Caribbean

Then I purchased 3 skeins of Rustic Fingering from Neighborhood Fiber, one of my favorite shops.  The yarn names are after different neighborhoods in Baltimore: The purple-y one is called Lauraville,  the brown-orange is Lincoln Park, and the green-yellow is Fells Point .  I purchased these for the Color Affection shawl. I wanted colors in the same tone, but that you might not automatically think go together, which is what I think will make this shawl really pop (or go terribly wrong!).

It’s interesting to watch my own tastes in colors, fibers, and weights change over the years.  When I was growing up, my absolute favorite color was yellow.  Over the past decade or so, it has been gray (because gray goes with Everything!).  Since DDSO passed away, I gravitated back to yellow, as it was his favorite color.  Now, I find myself going more for pinks (!) (I know, what’s up with that?) and sparkly yarn.  I also bought only fingering weight yarn this year, whereas before I usually liked working with DK.  And prior to this year’s purchases, I would Never buy yarn with nylon or acrylic.  EEK! I have let down that guard too. But I had to because that seems to be a necessary component for the sparkly yarns.  It’s all about choices! (Inside joke/reference to a previous post about food.)

Next up: Sparkly fingering weight yarns. This is Holiday Yarns: Silver Sock Fingering in Muse (shades of blue) and Highlighter (great name! for this bright yellow). Each of which I thought could be used to make the Manhattan shawl.

VKL Marketplace

Holiday Yarn

VKL Marketplace

Manhattan Shawl

Okay, I was done. It was Saturday, after two classes and the gala dinner was going to start in an hour.  I decided that there was nothing really calling my name and that was it.

Well, wouldn’t you know.  My Sunday morning class was held in a room within the Marketplace!  Fate? <smile!> Sure.  So during our break, I rushed over to the Woolstock booth to buy these flexible rods for blocking.  Leslye Solomon’s company makes them and I have been tempted to buy them since the first class I took with her at the 2nd VKL.  Not a very exciting purchase, but it should make the blocking process a whole lot easier and more effective.

VKL Marketplace

When the class was over, I took a last stroll through the Marketplace. I thought about buying a swift but a handmade maple swift for $200+ was not on my list. But what was on my list was to get yarn for these socks (yes! I know! socks?! usually not my thing).  But I really like the creator and her blog, and the design, Shersocks,  is tempting (enough to do them!).

VKL Marketplace

Shersocks

Here’s the yarn I got for them.   It’s Simple Sock from Kismet Fiber Works in Michigan Cherry and Limoncello. I don’t think the photo gives the colors justice. I decided to do the heel in the design color (Michigan Cherry) and not purchase  a 3rd color. Hopefully the colors will turn out more vibrant when I take pictures of the completed project. (This year!)

VKL Marketplace

Kismet Fiber Works

And then, on my way out, I felt I just had to stop at this one booth at the “end cap” (from my merchandising days) where the guy always said hello when I passed by.  Turns out Molly Girl Yarn is from the next county over…so very happy to support them! I picked this lovely Diva Fingering yarn in the color “Alive for the First Time” to do some kind of beaded piece, having just come out of Beading 101.

VKL Marketplace

Molly Girl Yarn

Laura Nelkin, the Beading instructor, had given us coupons to buy knitting beading kits on Ravelry or her Etsy store, and I have indulged!  Those are not VKL Marketplace purchases, so I’ll save them for another post.

I have enough to keep me busy for awhile.

Back from VKL NYC Weekend

Ugh. I just have this blah feeling after the VKL NYC event this weekend. It did not live up to my expectations. I was uninspired from 2 of my 3 classes, and the Gala dinner was disappointing.

So the good news is that I now know that I really don’t want to crochet. My first class was crocheting, and some sample sweaters were passed around. I didn’t really like them that much. The majority were linear and boxy, and just uninspiring to me. There was one that I liked and could get inspired to do (if I were a crocheter), but no, <head shaking>, not interested.  This is good news because it means I can maintain my focus on knitting projects, and not veer off into this other direction.

VKL NYC Weekend

This is the one crochet sweater that I liked enough to think about making.

Then I took the Fingers First class.  The good news there was that I finally learned how to do the provisional cast on. The woman sitting next to me showed me after the instructor (Amy Detjen) rushed through her explanation.  Then we learned how to use the i-cord technique to make the finger. The woman next to me and I did not think this was easier than dpns, nor did it look as good. However, Amy did have a good way of knitting the fingers into the rest of the glove that anchors them in place and avoids holes between the digits.  But this material did not deserve a 3-hour class.  Very disappointing.

Let’s be frank, shall we.  Getting a goody (or swag) bag is fun.  That’s one of the perks of the Gala dinner. This. Goody. Bag. Was. Not. Fun.  First, Vogue Knitting gave us the Fall 2014 issue, which at this point I can say, FROM LAST YEAR! Which I, and probably everyone else in the room, have already read.  THEN, Rowan must have used this dinner as a write-off to get rid of one of the ugliest yarns I have ever seen.

VKL NYC Weekend

Can you say UGLY Yarn? This is IT. The complete contents of the not-so-swag, not-so-good, goody bag.

And thank goodness for Vogue that a woman from Eileen Fisher was their guest speaker. Otherwise, there would have been nothing in the goody bag at all. The Eileen Fisher Company was able to clean out its promotional merchandise closet by giving us each a ballpoint Eileen Fisher pen (yes, really!) and a laundry bag for fine washables. Oh, let’s be fair. They also gave a “You and a Friend” $25 coupon off of at least a $50 purchase, which is reasonable as I don’t think they sell anything for under $50 (unless perhaps a pair of their tights, which you could then wash in the garment bag). There was a pill remover that looks halfway decent, and that rounds out the bag. Nothing at all like last year, where the bag was Fab-u-Lous!

Finally, on Sunday, a fun class! Beading 101. The instructor, Laura Nelkin, was really informative and thorough. OMG, just thinking of the possibility of making more decisions about what to make – to include beads! – both thrills and frightens me!  Another stash opportunity?  [Side note: I visited my friend Linda, a fantastic! beader, and her bead stash rivals anyone’s yarn stash. (She is also a crocheter, so she is probably hiding a yarn stash somewhere.)] Laura was funny. She told us that bead purchases are less noticeable because the packages are so tiny.  Of course, I am not in a position to have to think about that (as I live alone) but it was still amusing.

VKL NYC Weekend

Here are the beads I used in the class, and my little swatch from the lessons.

Laura brought many examples of her work to illustrate her lesson, and one was more stunning than the next.

One of my favorite expressions is “you can have reasons or results,” meaning I don’t want to just complain. What can I do to make my next experience better?  Here’s what I’m going to think about over the next few months.

  1.  Spend more time thinking about what classes to take. Maybe do a themed approach and take all color work, designing or how to dye yarn type classes.
  2. Think about only going to the Marketplace, and one class.
  3. Think about making a full weekend out of  it,  and include doing other things in the city.
  4. Think about going to VKL in another city as a mini-vacation.
  5. Don’t go next year? (I don’t think so, but it IS an option.)

Oh, I did meet some really nice women.  Two in particular – the lady I sat next to in the Crochet class actually knits pieces for designers – you see her work in knitting patterns, ads and magazines. How cool is that!

I also met a lovely woman from Brazil who designs scarves. I think she won’t mind if I link to her designs for you. I really appreciated the conversation we had about widowhood and living with loss.

I am going to share my Marketplace finds in my next post.  I am very proud of myself for being (a little) conservative in my purchases.

Next Weekend – VKL NYC

Getting ready!

Getting Ready

My tickets and schedule have arrived.

Getting Ready

I’ve done my homework (fingers for the Gloves class shown below) and am packing my class supplies.

Getting Ready!

I’m getting excited!

 

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