Vogue Knitting Live
New York, NY
January 14-16, 2012
One year ago, Vogue Knitting hosted its first Vogue Knitting Live in New York City. It was Vogue's entree into the knitting show arena and the stakes were high. They flew in top teachers from around the world, and they pulled out all the stops to make sure it was a success.
A second VK Live in Los Angeles this fall helped the Vogue team iron out any kinks and get its event engine running smoothly, so that by the time the third Vogue Knitting Live took place in New York last weekend, the engine was revving at full throttle.
There was everything you'd expect: Classes and lectures galore, a two-story marketplace with its very own escalator, ongoing fashion shows, and a gala dinner.
A Gala Affair
Let's start with the dinner. In an elegant ballroom presided over by Vogue Knitting's Trisha Malcolm, we were first treated to a brief presentation by a representative of the Australian Merino Wool Industry. His goal was to convince us to use wool. As you can imagine, he didn't really have to try hard.
Next, over our chicken and risotto, we were treated to some storytelling by Alice Starmore. She told us of her childhood, her island, her Highland cattle, her first visit to Oregon ("I never saw so many shades of green in my life"), her sources of design and color inspiration, and her yarn.
But the most important news of all, especially for those of you whose retirement savings is tied up in copies of Starmore's out-of-print books, was that she's just signed the contract with Dover for Tudor Roses Re-Imagined. The book is slated for August 2013 release.
A gasp and giggle spread through the room when Starmore was asked if she'd read Adrienne Martini's book Sweater Quest, in which Starmore features prominently, Martini having spent a whole year working on a single Starmore sweater. "No" was all she replied.
Dinner plates were quickly swapped out for dessert and then the lights again dimmed, this time for the fashion show. "Everything old is new again," said Trisha Malcolm, narrating the parade of handknits from the pages of Vogue Knitting Magazine.
The evening's comic relief came when Malcolm asked a model to unbutton her sweater so we could see its unique construction—not knowing that the model had nothing on underneath. The model escaped the runway with dignity and sweater intact. But the crowning moment came when Malcolm declared the poncho "the upmarket version of the snuggle," adding, "It's not going away." You've been warned.
For three days teachers were tucked in their rooms presenting workshops on everything from steeking to yarn substitutions, twisted stitches, and knitted skirts. The classes began at the extra early hour of 8am so that students would have a three-hour lunch—giving them plenty of time to peruse the marketplace. This led to many an afternoon classroom smelling like roast beef or tuna as students wolfed down sandwiches, having spent the entire three-hour lunch break overindulging in the marketplace.
Which brings us to the marketplace. The role of the event marketplace is adapting to the evolving LYS landscape, becoming the LYS for some people. Lots of yarn stores set up shop at the show. Some simply displayed everything, while others selected certain yarns that had been put in kits to match garments on display.
It was a scratch-and-sniff replica of the yarn world in miniature. You had everything from qiviut and discount cashmere to inexpensive shiny novelty yarns. You had Cascade and Classic Elite, Rowan, Berroco, all the big names. And you also had smaller vendors—farms, hand-dyers, and people who source their fiber locally and have it spun into their own yarns.
The Skacel booth was buzzing with news of their brand new Addi Click interchangeables featuring the pointy Addi lace tip we know and love, but on generous five-inch needles. The original Addi Click Lace interchangeables featured four-inch needles to accommodate the shorter 16-inch cord lengths. But many knitters, myself included, found the shorter needle a little tiresome on the hands.
The lace tip and longer needle are reason enough to sing the new kit's praises, but it also features something totally unusual: A cord with a built-in slot to hold waste yarn for lifelines.
A lifeline is like a backup of your knitting, a snapshot of the stitches at a certain moment. It's especially helpful for lace projects. If you mess up on your pattern and have to unravel stitches, which can be a nightmare with all those increases and decreases in lace, you simply unravel down to the most recent lifeline instead of having to unravel all the way back to the beginning.
In other kinds of interchangeables knitters simply run a strand of yarn through the tightening keyhole on the needle base. But it's a tiny hole that innately limits the kind of waste yarn you can use for your lifeline. Here the cords have actual slits just a short length from the join mechanism. (It's a challenge to capture in a picture.) Push the cord together and the slit pops open to accept your lifeline. Otherwise it stays firmly shut, your cord completely smooth.
Each week more kits will arrive from Germany and should be at an LYS near you within the coming month. Do give them a second look.
Right before the show began, Scottish designer Ysolda Teague popped open the very first case of her much-anticipated sequel to her Whimsical Little Knits series. This one, Whimsical Little Knits 3, features nine projects total, including hats, shawls, socks, ballet slippers, and mittens with narwhals on them.
Everybody was eager to get their hands on a copy. But what they didn't know was that Ysolda had also just hatched a second booklet called Saturday Treat. In it are six more accessory patterns designed in collaboration with British yarn company Fyberspates.
Yarn was literally leaping out of the display at the Buffalo Wool Company booth. While the Buffalo Wool Company (previously Buffalo Gold) has been making significant inroads into the felt hat market (they had some gorgeous Stetson hats in their booth, all made by hand in the U.S.), they aren't ignoring their knitters.
All eyes were on two stunning new lace-weight yarns. First, Spirit, featuring 40% bison down, 30% camel down, and 30% silk. Second, and even more brilliant and electric, a yarn called "Sexy Color by Koigu" featuring the Koigu palette on a base of 50% bison down and 50% silk. Both made their debut in anticipation of TNNA and should also be in yarn shops this spring.
Finally, I was pleased to see even more farm yarns on display than last year. Wool awareness is on the rise, and the "crunchy" was well-represented.
We had Wensleydale and Teeswater from Yellow Farm, Jacob from Barton Hill Jacobs, a veritable farmyard of happy sheep breeds from Solitude Wool, and these skeins from newcomer Long Island Livestock Company.
The farm features an award-winning flock of llamas as well as a few sheep and angora goats. Owner Tabbethia Haubold-Magee is also an expert shearer, and her connection to her flock is evident. Each skein label credits its "contributors" by name. A llama/mohair/Dorset wool skein—with fibers from Strobe, Iggy, and Nija—followed me home. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend.Comments
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