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Now THAT was a weekend!

I spent the past Friday and Saturday immersed in the third annual NYC Vogue Knitting Live (“VKLive”) event. Between taking classes (my first time doing so) and working in the marketplace filled with a huge variety of industry vendors, I had a blast all weekend long. I must have, because why else would I intentionally go to Times Square? 😉

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I present, in chronological order, my VK Live experience:

1) A first-thing-Friday-morning class in seaming taught by the talented John Brinegar, a frequent contributor to Vogue Knitting and Tahki Stacy Charles, among others. His “Seams Like Surgery” workshop approached the task of seaming your knitting as a surgeon would tackle suturing a wound. It was a very interesting approach; I really enjoyed his methodical approach. And while the class was primarily a refresher of the basic seaming skills for me, we also explored more complicated seaming like easing sleeve caps into shoulders (and we all know how unpredictable that task can be) and I picked up a lot of great tips. I had so much fun I forgot to take any pictures! Just imagine a bunch of scrap yarn swatches seamed together in different directions…

2) The opportunity to meet Marie of Underground Crafter and be interviewed for an upcoming blog post on her website! (I’ll let you know when it goes live.) Marie reached out to me on Ravelry before the weekend began and we were able to meet up. She is a very experienced crocheter, designer, and teacher and I’m so glad we had the chance to connect! We had a great conversation, even if we did have to move three times before we could begin chatting, Marie, hahaha!

3) A Friday afternoon class in….steeking! That’s right, it’s time to cut up your knitting! Steeking is essentially a technique where you knit your work in the round (because in many instances, such as when you are doing colorwork with two or more colors in your knitting, it’s easier to work in the round than to work back and forth in rows) and then you cut the knitting so that it becomes flat. Think: a pullover that is transformed into a cardigan because you’ve cut the front of the sweater open.

As I mentioned, I haven’t taken any of the VK Live classes in the past because I was always working in the marketplace. So when the opportunity to sign up arrived this year, I wanted to choose something completely new to me. And guess what? The method I learned on Friday is so easy.

The course in crochet steeking was taught by the fabulous Ragga Eiriksdottir of Knitting Iceland. She was a riot to listen to, as she shared a bunch of stories while we also knit up a small colorwork swatch in the round that would be sacrificed to the steeking gods. Not only did I learn this method of steeking, I also learned the Magic Loop method of knitting in the round at the same time. It was a steep learning curve for a while there! But I figured it out and it was worth it:

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See that single crochet edge? You put it in place on either side of the steek stitch so that when you cut through the steek stitch, not only does your edge hold (and you also have an instant edging because the single crochet is not removed), but all your ends are trapped in place by the single crochet. Here are all of my little mangled ends on the back side of the work:

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(Ignore all of my obvious fabric and tension issues. I was practicing here!) There are a couple of caveats with this method: you need sticky, fuzzy wool that does not want to unravel, like the Icelandic or Lopi wool that we worked with. Mohair or boucle would also be a good candidate for this method. Also, after you’ve finished the steek, you really need to hide and protect those ends better by, for example, putting a length of ribbon over those ends. Actually, this is a great thing to do because it also keeps the length of your garment from expanding and gives a beautiful finish to the garment that used to be “de rigueur” in the old days.

I had a great time in the class. Ragga even had a photographer/videographer there capturing her for an upcoming documentary about her. And guess who they interviewed briefly for the video? Yep, me! I wish I’d done my hair that day. Sigh.

Anyway, an even better part of the class was meeting Karen of ChooChoo Knits. By chance, I grabbed a seat next to her and we proceeded to chat for the next three hours straight. Karen is a very experienced tech editor, sample knitter, and designer, among other knitterly things, and we had the best time talking about everything under the sun. Serendipity brought us together, and I look forward to many good chats in the future, too.

So that was Friday! But wait, there’s more!

On Saturday, I spent the day helping out in the String Yarns booth, where I used to work. And the marketplace was just exactly as chaotic as we expected, but in the very best possible way. Here are some hastily-snapped mobile phone pics that I managed to snap during the quiet times (e.g., before and after the marketplace were actually open heh). Please overlook the funny purplish tones – my phone didn’t take well to the indoor lighting.

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(New signs made just for the show – they were super colorful and modern. Love!)

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(Just a small amount of the one of a kind Koigu Yarn on offer in the booth. We had KPPPM, Mori, Kersti, and Koigu Cashmere. TONS of it.)

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(An open booth layout is key – keeps people from crushing each other!)

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(We were the supplier of Zealana’s new Air yarn, a blend of cashmere and possum. Yep, possum. Think of the halo of alpaca without any of the pilling!)

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(There was also some beautiful yarn from The Buffalo Wool Co. there, too. More about that in a minute.)

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(We also helped debut a new all-American high quality alpaca product called “Our Back 40,” available in both sport and worsted weights. Ingenious!)

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(We had a key spot near all the fashion shows.)

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(Jellyfish lights!)

You don’t think I left empty-handed though, do you? Oh, come on, you know me better than that.

First up, a quick stop to everyone’s favorite addiction: the Kinokuniya booth with some of the most innovative stitch pattern dictionaries in the world. They are hard to find, and they’re in Japanese, but if you can read charts, you’ve got an entire universe of innovation at your fingertips. Behold, just one of the many must-own books, which weighs a good deal more than the King James Bible:

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Second up, two skeins of an intriguing laceweight blend of bison (yep! buffalo!) and silk from The Buffalo Wool Co., who we hosted in the booth. The color is very difficult to capture, but think of this deep blue that you see below, only tinged with deep green teal. Yum:

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Third, and my last stop of the day after a nearly-nine-hour marketplace marathon, was a fantastic experience: meeting Tabbethia and Chris from the Long Island Livestock Company in Yaphank, NY. Tabbethia is a sheep shearer, so she’s directly connected with all of the skeins they make. I LOVE their labels – not only do you get all of the information about the blend used in the yarn, including its exact weight, you even get to see one of the “contributors” to your skein (in my case, a llama named “Count” hehehe). I came away with a beautifully plied and slightly “woolly” grey fingering weight – just the right amount of rustic.

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I’m really looking forward to staying in touch with Tabbethia and Chris – such kind and energetic people!

Well, that’s it, folks! Pretty hectic, huh? I needed the week to begin just to recover from my weekend. Hope you all enjoyed this VK Live peek – and if you live on the West Coast, the show will be in Seattle in April….just saying.

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