Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Vogue Knitting Live New York (and a little makeup!)

Rockefeller Center

Warning:  this is a long and picture-heavy post!
Click on photos to enlarge.

I attended Vogue Knitting Live New York on MLK weekend.  Vogue Knitting Live (VKL) is a knitters' event with a little something for everyone:  classes at every level; fashion shows; a yarn market where major vendors and yarn shops sold yarn, needles and other related items; a Gala dinner; and a cocktail reception.

I went the yarn market as soon as it opened Friday evening and went directly to the Habu booth, of course! I knew I had to pace myself and not buy everything that evening, but I did buy a kit for a four-arm sweater.  The two additional arms are attached to the lower back and front, then tied on the side.  The mauve-colored yarn I wanted was already sold out in the first few hours, so it was mailed to me later.   I also bought two skeins of Shosenshi paper linen in a beautiful, new indigo color and one cone of red silk stainless steel yarn to play with on the train home.   I also succumbed to two skeins of yarn with feathers attached, which I will use to border the black cardi I'm making, and a leopard-print knitting bag.  I think that was a fair amount of restraint for me! 

Habu Four-Arm Sweater Kit, Habu Silk Stainless Steel Yarn in Red, Habu Shosenshi Paper Linen Yarn in Indigo, U-Knitted Nations Plumes in Black

Kinokuniya Bookstore had several tables of Japanese pattern books and I was surprised to see that they had Setsuko Torii's Hand-Knit Works (pictured below right), which many of us went crazy over a few years ago. It was so hard to get copies of this book, so I was amazed to see a stack of them there. I still love the amazing patterns in this book.

Habu Booth, Setsuko Torii's Hand-Knit Works

My friend Diane Bloomer introduced me to jeweler Cara Romano who had a booth next to Habu.  She makes the most sophisticated felted jewelery I've ever seen: pins, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings among other things. My photos don't do her jewelry justice. Check out her site for better photos and lists of places where she sells and exhibits her beautiful objects.

Check out the photo of the bib necklace in the background behind Cara!

The fashion shows were fun too.  The professional runway models and elegant styling were inspiring.
Vogue Knitting Live Fashion Show

There were many panels, some free, others not, on a variety of topics including lace, knitting trends, design, color, and the business of knitting.  I attended "When Knitting Becomes a Career," moderated by Melanie Falick. 

Panelists were, from left to right, Debbie Stoller of Stitch-n-Bitch, now Editor in Chief of Bust Magazine; Norah Gaughan, Creative Director, Berroco; Kristy McGowan, Designer and Author; Erin Slonaker, Editor in Chief, Yarn Market News and "Mintyfresh" to us Ravelers!); Betsy Perry, President, Classic Elite Yarns; Trisha Malcolm, Editor in Chief, Vogue Knitting; Kirsten Kapur, Designer; and Laura Zander, Owner, Jimmy Beans Wool.

Melanie asked the panelists a number of questions, most which I've forgotten, unfortunately.  I do remember that most of them came to knitting as a hobby - Mintyfresh was studying nuclear physics - and made a conscious decision to go into the knitting business.  They just, in the spirit of Tim Gunn, made it work.

I took two classes, one on short rows, and another on knitting sideways. I know how to do short rows - I use them to turn sock heels, but I wanted to learn how to use them to shape garments.  Math and formulas were involved, as in Shirley Paden's design class, but using them is not nearly as complicated as I had thought! The teacher, Laura Bryant of Prism Yarns, was very good and brought lots of knitted garments to show how short rows can be used.  The ruffled peblum on the cardi she's holding below is made with short rows.  I'm sorry I didn't get a better photo - it's gorgeous cardi.  The pattern is available on Patternfish.

Laura Bryant, Short-Row Savvy

The knitting sideways class was good too, mostly for what I learned in the first few minutes of class.   Teacher Leslye Solomon took a few minutes to talk about yarn choice for side-to-side constructed knits.  It's critical to use yarn that does not stretch too much.   She used my current project to show how a garment knit from bottom-to-top stretches when hanging: she asked me to measure the left front, which I did by laying it on the table and applying the tape measure - 29." Then she held it up from the top allowing it to hang free, and asked me to re-measure - 32." This 3" difference isn't that big a deal my bottom-to-top wool project, but could be disasterous in a garment constructed sideways. She showed us how to manipulate a swatch on short blocking wires to determine how a yarn might behave. 

Leslye Solomon, Knitting Sideways Class
I can't recount exactly how she did it - fortunately, she owns a yarn shop in nearby Baltimore, where hopefully she can show me again. 

It dawned on me that the cardigan I designed using the formulas I learned in Shirley Paden's class may have turned out too large not because I miscalculated, but possibly because I used bamboo yarn. Apparently bamboo is notoriously stretchy. This could be useful for some patterns, just not for the cardigan I designed.

I had a wonderful brunch at Norma's at Le Parker Meridien Hotel on Saturday morning with Brooklyn friends Sauniell and Tammi, knitters both.   We talked so much that I didn't think to take photos of the three of us!  Thanks Sauniell and Tammi for joining me.  I'm looking forward to that Brooklyn foray you promised! 

Thanks Diane, for inviting me to share a room!  I enjoyed our late night discussions about knitting, your knitting commune (hi, Nancy!), and other stuff.  It was good to catch up.

VKL was held at the Hilton on the Avenue of the Americas within walking distance Bergdorfs and Barneys where I did a bit of cosmetic shopping. 

I picked up a Tom Ford brow sculptor, Shape and Illuminate contour cream, and couple nail polishes, Kanebo Sensei and Edward Bess lipsticks at Bergdorfs; some Sunday Riley and Beauty is Life products at Barneys; and Dolce and Gabbana powder foundation and nail polishes at Saks.  Reviews to come!


  1. ava, great post! you shared snipits of vkl that i missed!

  2. Thanks, Arthella! Let's go again next year!



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