Recently two of my daughters and I flew to New York City to participate in Vogue Knitting LIVE (VKL). It was the first time any of us had attended this knitting and fiber conference, but I’m sure it won’t be the last. The event was amazing!
As a bonus, the event was held the weekend of January 12-14, which was followed by Martin Luther King Day. My daughters both had the day off work, so we were able to spend an extra day in NYC before we all headed home. (Stay tuned to hear about our cold day in the city).
Tickets and Registration
In early October of last year, one of the knitwear designers I follow, put an advertisement for VKL in his newsletter. I was intrigued and clicked on the link. As I perused the site, I found that only the first part of registration was open. Two different, but expensive, packages of classes, lectures, and dinners were available. The cost was beyond my budget, but I found myself trying to figure out if there was any way I could afford to go.
I talked to one of my daughters, but she immediately said it was out of the question for her. I hesitated, but eventually brought it up at my knitting group. I was surprised when one of my friends immediately expressed interest. We looked at the website together and found that the second stage of registration had just opened. Smaller class combinations along with individual classes were offered. I asked my daughter again and then asked a second daughter. In the end, two friends from knitting, my two daughters, and I joined thousands of others at the event.
Unfortunately, many of the classes were full since those who registered in the first wave had the first choice, but we were all able to find other classes that were interesting and educational. We each purchased the package or class that fit our budget.
Classes, Lectures, and Marketplace
VKL includes a full roster of three-hour classes, several one-hour lectures, and a marketplace full of gorgeous yarn. In addition, several free fashion shows are available at one end of the market for shoppers that need a break. Cocktail reception and banquet tickets were included in the more expensive packages.
There were three time slots for classes on both Friday and Saturday, with two on Sunday. Sixteen lecture choices were spread over the three days. Book signings, panel discussions, a yarn toss, and other activities rounded out the weekend.
I was able to attend four classes and three lectures. This schedule left me little time for the marketplace, but I managed to make full use of my limited time. I don’t even want to admit how much yarn was added to my collection, but all of it was irresistible. (Designer Stephen West told his listeners that the yarn he buys becomes part of his collection, rather than his stash – I like this idea).
Although there were a few vendors I had met before, most of them were new to me. I enjoyed looking at and touching yarns from around the world, and from the States – some states close enough to share a border with my own.
The classes are hands-on, with many of them requiring homework to be done ahead of time. Each class that I took required specific materials and supplies to be brought to the class. It is helpful to be able to try out the techniques while the teacher supervises.
The first class I took was “Exploring Shawl Shapes and Design” by Susan B. Anderson. Ms. Anderson talked about the many different shapes in which a shawl can be made. She explained what stitch formula would give the desired shape and then she showed examples of each one. She gave us time to begin a shawl of our own design, while speaking with small groups about edgings and other details that can be added to make the design unique.
My second class was “Multicolor Love” with Martina Behm. In this class, the other students and I learned how to best use the beautiful hand dyed and hand painted yarns that are currently available in the market. Preparing for the class, I found that when the yarn was wrapped into a ball, the colors looked totally different than they did in the skein. Ms Behm gave is several ideas for using these yarns – from intentional pooling to intentionally avoiding pooling. She showed examples of colorful yarns used in patterned stitches and colorwork.
From Louisa Harding, I took a class in “Beautiful Beading.” I’ve done a little beading in the past, but Ms. Harding enriched my knowledge of what can be done with beads. She started by demonstrating how to knit a beaded picot cast-on – beautiful. After allowing time for the class to try it ourselves, she introduced slip-stitch beading. Finally, she showed us how to attach beads using a crochet hook or dental floss. We had ample time to try out all the methods in class – if we had any questions, Ms. Harding was quick to answer them. She also offered advice for adding beads to patterns not written for them, or to patterns of our own design.
My final class was “Color Confidence” with Andrea Mowry. I was excited to meet each of the popular designers whose classes I took, but none more than Ms. Mowry. Recently, I completed a mystery knit-along with the designer so I was familiar with her work. Ms. Mowry demonstrated several ways to blend and “fade” different skeins of yarn. Although I had already used most of the methods, it was nice to hear Ms. Mowry’s explanations and rationale. I found it enjoyable to watch Ms. Mowry select yarns that would work together in a project. She started with ten or more skeins and narrowed down the selections until there were only five or six.
Every class and lecture was led by a well-known knitwear designer or leader in the industry. Nicky Epstein told how she won a design contest several years ago. The win vaulted her into a career as a designer.
Clara Parkes has written several books about yarn. She lectured about how yarn is processed, from sheering the sheep to dyeing the skeins and each step in between.
Stephen West is an American who moved to the Netherlands to follow a career in dance. He got sidetracked and now designs vibrant, elaborate shawls and knitwear.
I thoroughly enjoyed Vogue Knitting LIVE and would recommend it to anyone that knits, crochets or works with fiber. In fact, I’ve already registered for VKL Chicago, later this year. Would you like to join me?