Another Vogue Knitting LIVE? Yes! I enjoyed the New York event so much that I wanted to attend the Chicago version. Later, my daughter decided to join me in Chicago. Since this city is closer to where we live, the travel arrangements were easier. VKL Chicago was similar, but different from the event in New York City.
As soon as I heard that VKL was coming to Chicago, I signed up for classes. By the time I had registered for New York, many of the classes were filled. Chicago, however, had openings. Although there were several “big name” teachers, there were many I was not familiar with. Some that had sold out in New York, did not teach in Chicago. Even though the selection was different, there was a full range of classes to choose from.
At VKL Chicago, I took four classes, the same number that I took in New York. A class from Clara Parkes that was sold out in New York was available for me in Chicago. Ms Parkes is a wonderful teacher – I learned a lot from her “Yarn 101” class.
I took a yarn dyeing class and brought home a skein of yarn that I dyed myself. Classes by Patty Lyons and Julia Farwell Clay were about stitch methods that were new to me.
Although the classes were all informative, a couple of them were less beneficial to me than others because I already knew a lot of the material. I need to be more careful in reading the class descriptions in order to avoid this in the future.
The Marketplace was small – much smaller than the one in New York city. I heard there were only 33 vendors. I talked to one of the vendors and was told that Chicago has high union cartage fees (charges to bring merchandise in and out of the showroom). In addition, the vendors were not informed of the fees until the just before the show. For a small independent dyer, these fees may have been high enough to deter them from exhibiting.
The cost of admission to the Marketplace was $20 for one day or $25 for all three days. There were last minute discounts (starting a couple weeks before the show) that gave 50% off the tickets, but those who bought early at full price may have been especially disappointed. Since I had paid for classes, I did not have to pay extra for the Marketplace.
The size of the Marketplace had an unexpected effect. Since there were fewer vendors than usual, more time could be spent in each booth. On Sunday afternoon, there were only a handful of shoppers left, so I was able to visit with the vendors without taking them away from other customers.
Two vendors were especially interesting to me. The first was Emma’s Yarn. Emma’s website is still being set up, but if you look at her “About Us” page, you’ll see that she started dyeing yarn when she was 15. She is 16 now – sweet, but very knowledgeable about yarn and color. Her yarn is beautiful!
I was immediately taken in by the colors of Brenda and Heather Yarns. Also known as BaH Yarns, the cousins specialize in self-striping and gradient yarns. I was impressed with their gradient dyeing system. The gradients are dyed so that in a basic triangular shawl, each color is weighted in order; the resulting stripes of color are all the same width. Brilliant! In addition, both women have designed patters that can be used with their yarn or another choice of yarn.
VKL usually sponsors special lunches and dinners, but the prices of these are often above my budget. I was able to attend a lunch event this year ($5, food not included) that featured Ann and Kay from Mason Dixon Knitting. This informal event was interesting and I enjoyed listening to Ann and Kay talk about knitting and building their business.
Prior to attending VKL Chicago, I followed Vogue’s thread on Ravelry. Through the thread, I was able to learn about other outside events related to the show. Sister Arts Studio organized the Windy City LYS Tour featuring three excellent local yarn shops (LYS) in addition to their own. Included in the event fee was transportation to the shops, food and drinks at each shop, and a discount on all purchases. The other shops included were Knit 1, Firefly Fiber Arts Studio, and Nina.
Another event was a Knit@Nite Chicago, put together by Michele from Stitch & Hustle and featuring menswear knitter, Josh Bennett. The event was free and included yummy snacks and fun door prizes. A cash bar and optional cash raffle were also available. We loved getting to know Michele and Josh and had a great time at the event.
Last August, my daughter and I met two women at Stitches Midwest. We sat together at an evening event and quickly became friends. Unfortunately, we lost touch after our meeting. Imagine my surprise when we ran into them again at Knit@Nite. We renewed our friendship and vowed to keep in touch. We are already planning to meet at a future knitting event.
Upcoming Knitting Events
There are several knitting events that are coming up for this year and beyond. I haven’t signed up for any yet, but I’m sure I will. I find that getting together with other knitters inspires me to continue to build my skills and complete my projects.