Saturday, October 1, 2011

Lots of Stuff!

I haven’t yet blogged about my trip to London in May and the fabulous Chelsea Flower Show. And I haven’t blogged about my vacation in the south of France in late August/early September. I will get to those in good time. But first I will talk about recent knitting-related stuff, especially something very exciting that just happened.


Last weekend I attended Vogue Knitting Live in LA. A knitting conference 3 miles from my house ? I’m there ! I registered for a lecture by Franklin Habit and 2 classes, with Cirilia Rose and Shirley Paden. In addition I signed up to be a volunteer and help out with registration and such. So, I had a very busy 3 days.

I’ll go into detail on all of these, but first I’ll get right to the most exciting part -- one of my designs was shown in a fashion show! My design – up on the catwalk, worn by a real model!
I was super excited and actually got a little choked up afterwards.

It’s a simple cowl and matching fingerless mitts, done in a slip-stitch colorwork design. It will be available as a free pattern by the end of October on the Premier Yarns website. I’ll post the link here and on Ravelry when it comes out.

So, I thought the conference was really good. There was a huge variety of classes offered, to the point where it was very hard to pick just a couple. The vendor marketplace was large and extensive, lots of yarn stores had nice booths, and a few brand-new yarns were launched. In spite of my large stash, I succumbed to a skein of Rowan Kidsilk Haze, in a new variegated colorway designed by the famous Kaffe Fasset.
This was one of the new yarns introduced at the conference. I saw some items made from it at the Rowan fashion show and went right to the marketplace to buy some – it was that pretty.
Another one, Polaris by Universal Yarns, was gently variegated in ivory, grey and black with sequins sprinkled through it. I couldn’t resist those sequins, especially at just $10 a skein :-)

There was also a bag of half price Noro Shirakaba in a nice cranberry red semi-solid.
I was hoping to find the famous Signature needles that I had heard so much about -- because I had just about talked myself into buying some – but I wanted to try them first. I wanted to see whether they magically improve my knitting in some way. There are several different lengths and styles to choose from, so it would be best to test them out. But, alas, Signature did not have a booth, and none of the yarn stores represented there had them. I decided to pick up a circular Addi Lace Turbo needle instead. I’ve used it a little and I like it so far.

Now, about the classes.
Franklin Habit was funny, informative, and charming as he talked about his interest in historical knitting patterns and how he goes about doing his research. He showed us some of the items he has made for his regular feature in There were some lovely pieces.
Cirilia Rose taught “Design with Confidence” and she covered a wide ranging set of topics relating to the design process, providing lots of insights into the industry. She is sweet and charming and fun.
The class with Shirley Paden was intense. We had to knit 4 large lace swatches as prep work, then in the 6 hour class we learned about the many styles of lace and the management of shaping lace to fit shapes such as sleeve caps or necklines. We knitted several complicated lace swatches in class to learn the different types of lace. Shirley showed us many beautiful samples of lace that she has used in her designs.

I had a chance to catch a few of the fashion shows. The one done by Rowan was one of the most beautiful; there were many lovely and wearable pieces. Skacel, Universal, and Premier also had good representation. A poncho/wrap that looked like a big tablecloth, and some unfortunate legwarmers that didn’t stay up, were the exceptions.
It was also great fun to chat with people too, like Wendy Bernard (Custom Knits) and Vicki Stiefel (The Laidback Knitter).

Oh, last but not least, there was a beginner’s lounge where you could learn to knit or crochet. I decided to take the plunge and learn to crochet. After 20 minutes of patient coaching I had the hang of single and double crochet. Woo-hoo! And they were nice enough to give me the crochet hook and the yarn I used to take home. My friend Ellen, an avid crocheter, was happy to hear this news, and has offered to help with any further questions I might have.

All in all, VK Live was an exciting, busy and educational time. It’s always nice to be surrounded by other knitters, and the hotel was swarming with them. Where else can you stroke a complete stranger’s shawl, and murmur “nice!” and not get into trouble? ;-)


  1. How exciting to see your designs on the runway! Reading you post made me green with envy that I was not there! Thanks for a nice overview and for all the links to the new yarns. ~Julia aka Choosejoy

  2. The mitts and cowl design really show up on the runway! Nice work, Brenda.

    Yes, I'll help you with your crochet. I'm also happy to give you some speed crochet tips!