Monday, January 16, 2012

VKL in review

I have to admit I was a little skeptical about attending Vogue Knitting Live. I had heard from knitters that it wasn't all that it was cracked up to be - overpriced yarn that is available in the city, massive crowds, and so-so classes. But I was excited about the opportunity to fondle yarns I've only seen online. Plus, one of my favorite yarn companies, Bijou Basin, was going to be there.

Here I am with my yak loot. Yay for yak yarn! I love yaks! 

Me sister in law and I both purchased "gift certificates" that allowed us Marketplace entry as well as one class each. She attended a class on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sweater percentage system. I chose a session with Mari Lynn Patrick. It was an insightful talk about her life, how she has been designing knitwear since she was a child (she decided to be a designer at age 12, she is now 60), and the challenges and pressures of being a designer, along with tips and tricks for design and construction. We also got to examine many of her most famous pieces, including an awesome pocket vest featured in Knit Simples' recent Plus Sized Knitting special issue.

If I had paid the ten dollars for the "marketplace only" ticket I would have been satisfied. I knew this would be my chance to find unique yarns being sold directly by the ranchers, spinner, and dyers, as well as meet designers. There were awesome displays from the Graffiti Grannies and Anna Hraachovec  was there with an adorable Knitting MochiMochi display selling her books. I bought the second one, Teeny Tiny Mochimochi, which she graciously signed for me, and two kits (zombie and unicorn if you must know).

The Mochimochi Land display and Anna in the background. 

 The Graffiti Grannys had yarn bombed some of the architecture, Vickie Howell herself was hanging out in the beginners' lounge all day, and between my sister in law and myself we had several "celebrity" sightings, including Lily Chin, Nicki Epstein, and Debbie Bliss. There were also fashion shows, panel discussions, demos, and raffles. I received free yarn from Berroco and free knit soak from a couple of places, and got to try square knitting needles and the new lifeline Addi's.

Yarn bombs by the Graffiti Grannys! 

Detail of yarn bomb.
As far as the yarn selection and prices, yes Lion Brand and Knitty City did have booths. But those two shops also had many demos and book signings at their booths. Buffalo Gold was there selling bison yarn, and I got a limited-edition hand dyed Koigu skein from them. Hunt Valley was there with her wonderful 100% cashmere (for ridiculously low prices, I might add), there was a booth with hemp yarn, I finally got some sari ribbon, and I found out what a quivot is. It is a muscat. A lot of the yarn was in the $20 and up per skein range, but you have to remember that this is yarn is, for the most part, not being manufactured in a factory somewhere. It is hand spun and hand dyed by individuals and small companies. And it is of very high quality! Don't get me wrong, I think big box store yarn can be just as fun and exciting to work with, but I am at the point in my stash building where I feel perfectly fine with purchasing that hand spun hand dyed hank that was collected by natives from the shedding bellies of muscats. (Okay, I didn't really buy that, but it does exist).

Sari ribbon from Leilani Arts.

Big 'ol heap of half off yarn at Creatively Dyed.

More sari ribbon and assorted goodies.
Awesome cashmere from Hunt Valley Cashmere.

I absolutely think it was worth attending VLK and can't wait to go back next year. The only think I would do differently is attend more classes.

Some random pretty yarn.

And, one of the best things that happened at VLK...someone recognized my Terrifyingly Ugly Hat from Ravelry!!!

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