VKL Chicago 2013

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Last weekend I attended the second Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago at the Palmer House.  Last year I was overly enthusiastic and chose 2 1/2 days of classes, lesson learned.  I attended the Skacel fashion show, where they were showing the entrants designs from The Fiber Factor, which I had never even known about, sort of like Project Runway for knitters.  From my vantage point it was very difficult to get good photographs.  Fun and inspiring nonetheless.

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Saturday afternoon my class was designing PI shawls with Brooke Nico.  I was not aware of Brooke, nor her designs prior to this class, but I am truly a fan now.  She is an amazing lace knitter and designer, in fact this shawl is on my queue to knit as soon as I can figure out the yarn I can use.  These are the swatches for starting a PI shawl, the one with the appendage is called the belly button cast-on. both make casting on a tiny number of stitches over several double points a thing of the past, you switch to DPN’s when you have enough stitches to easily manage, then close up the loop at the center.  Ingenious.

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Sunday morning was a class with Julie Weisenberger on converting sweaters to seamless construction.  She is an amazing teacher, and I wanted this class to cement the process for English tailoring that I took last year, in that class we made a small baby sweater which I recently found and need to finish knitting up. When I first arrived at the class, the utility doors nearby were open and a strong smell of diesel fuel permeated the hall.  It was worse in the classroom, and joined by jack hammering from above.  I went to the lobby where I found 2 managers from the hotel standing and lodged my complaint.  Their response was that they would spray Fabreze to cover the odor.  I told them that was not acceptable, and Julie returned to demand a new room.  After some shuffling around, we got a nice space and resumed the class.  Vogue Knitting coordinators were great, and they brought us all a free book at the end of class, I chose this one.  It has some great patterns that I think my daughter will like.

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Prior to the class on Saturday I walked the entire market, it was on 2 floors, but really not that big.  This allowed me to preview the booths, and come home and think about what I really want (we all know that I NEED nothing).  Then, during lunch on Sunday I was able to go back and purchase the following items.  First, Nikki Epsteins adorable new book on knitting sweaters for 18″ dolls, purchased to knit for my cute niece Rebecca.

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Berenger was giving out pamphlets with yarn samples, and selling the accompanying magazine.  I looked at it on Saturday night and felt that there were several patterns that I would knit, and having a sample of the yarns that they used really allows for easier substitution.  $15 seemed a bargain, even though the quality of the paper is very thin and cheap feeling.

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Not that I need sock yarn, but I do love a gradient, and these were very well done, and caked appropriately.  The yellow on the outside is a bit washed out on my photo.  They will be used for toe-up socks to maximize the use of the whole skeins.  From Knit Circus out of Madison, WI. I can see these in a fair isle sock…

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Lastly, these beautiful hand-made buttons.  Amazing self-restraint was shown overall, and no real guilt.

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At the market, Vogue also had an editor who would measure you (behind a curtain), and give a card with all of the pertinent measurements needed for knitting a custom sweater.  Very helpful, and there could be no better inspiration for diet and exercise!!!

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And I ended the day with Japanese lace patterns, again with Brooke Nico (I had not realized that I signed up for 2 classes both with her, it was just the title that intrigued me).  We worked on 3 lace designs, and have the instructions for 2 more.  Class notes said to bring a worsted weight yarn, and I really wish that I had used a sock yarn, those that did had much better stitch definition than I.

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A very good weekend indeed!