IU goes to VKL NYC

Yes, it’s been a week since Vogue Knitting Live NYC, but because it was so epic this year (and because I came back to a string of “day job” deadlines) it means I needed a little more time to recover and reflect.

The marketplace was much more crowded this year, expanding outside the actual ballrooms on the fifth and sixth floors of the Marriott Marquis in Times Square. It helped that I had an idea of where I wanted to shop and enjoyed browsing the booths of the Indie Untangled vendors at the show, including Fuse Fiber Studio, Youghiogheny Yarns and AlexCreates.

As you can imagine, the Stephen & Penelope booth, which included La Bien Aimée and Undercover Otter, were jam packed Friday and Saturday, before Aimée actually sold out, but it was great to see her gorgeous colorways in person, albeit from a distance.

While the yarn is great, we all know the best part of any knitting event is getting to hang with some of our favorite people. That includes Bronwyn, AKA Casapinka, who was showing off her All Points South, her pullover shawl (NOT a poncho) in the Dragonfly Fibers booth. And, yes, that’s me in my La Bien Aimée Automne à Rhinebeck Merino DK sweater (and my Porterness Studio necklace)!

I was also lucky enough to take classes from some of the best people in the industry, including Shawl Construction with Melanie Berg (the highlight was having her compliment my On the Spice Market shawl), Yarn 101 with Clara Parkes (this should be a required course for every knitter!) and Color Confidence with Andrea Mowry, shown here mastering the art of the Fade.

I added far more to my stash than I was counting on (including Domestic Superwash from Magpie Fibers that I’m going to use to finally knit my husband the sweater I’ve been promising) but the indulgences were so worth it. I think it was good preparation for the Edinburgh Yarn Festival in March…

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2017: A weekend of color

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For me, this year’s Vogue Knitting Live in New York City was all about color. Yes, I know that knitting in general, and the world of hand-dyed yarn in particular, is already pretty focused on color, but my experience this weekend very much revolved around it. Believe it or not, I didn’t really think about this common theme when I picked my classes — two-color knitting with Amy Detjen on Friday morning, a color theory class with designer Veera Välimäki on Friday afternoon and a dyeing class with Felicia Lo, the owner of SweetGeorgia, on Saturday morning — but it definitely worked.

The classes

Amy’s class was a pretty straightforward technique lesson. Our homework was the start of a basic colorwork hat, moving on to using the second color in class. Amy provided instruction on how to capture longer “floats,” or the long runs between colors, and stressed the importance of keeping an even tension in both your right and left hands. I will need to practice this more, as knitting with my left hand is like learning to knit all over again, but I now feel confident enough to attempt a colorwork pattern.

Veera provided an overview of basic color theory, as well as her insights into mixing both complementary and contrasting colors, especially when using hand-dyed yarns. I enjoyed seeing the examples from her own designs (such as her Stripe Study Shawl, pictured above) and, during our in-class exercise, encouraged one of my classmates to pair her earthy green with a bright yellow and melon color.

Of course, I had to show off one of my favorite FOs, Veera’s Urban, which she was thrilled to see in person, as she’s only seen photos of the projects on Ravelry.

My dyeing class was probably the best one of the weekend. While I’ve had some experience with kettle dyeing and hand painting yarn, Felicia provided some practical information on using the right ratio of dye to fiber weight, as well as techniques to use for creating layered colors. Much of this will be in her newly-published book, Dyeing to Spin & Knit (disclosure: this is an Amazon affiliate link) which I can’t wait to get my hands on. If it’s anything like her in-person class, this book will be indispensable.

We started off the hands-on portion of the class by creating a set of mini skein gradients. As there was limited space and time, we had to split into groups of three and each create one color value (the lightness or darkness) of the gradient. Felicia had already mixed the dye powder and water, so we just had to measure out the right amount for our specific color value.

For the other techniques — low-water emersion dyeing and resist dyeing, in which you twist and untwist the skeins to get a more subtle dispersion of color — we had to choose color by committee, and ended up each make a contribution. Luckily, I was paired with some experienced classmates, including Sharon of Knit Style Yarns. For the low-water emersion skeins, we decided on orangey pink, medium blue, purple and yellow to create what I first dubbed Funfetti cake and which I later decided was very My Little Pony-esque. Our layered color started off with a short dip in light pink dye, followed by a jammy purple, mixed by yours truly, and a lighter violet.

The class definitely inspired me do some more dyeing myself and experiment with the techniques while making my own color choices.

The Marketplace

Of course, no VKL would be complete without a trip or two (or three) to the marketplace.

I spent a fair bit of time in the Backyard Fiberworks booth, as a tiny portion of it had some Indie Untangled merch! I had teamed up with Alice, and Vicki of That Clever Clementine, on some special Indie Untangled kits that were available at the show. The kits were a big hit, and I was also thrilled to see the rest of Alice’s yarn get scooped up — the booth was very popular. She had some wonderful sock yarn mini-skein sets that were perfect for one of Melanie Berg’s designs. I snagged a pinky purply set called Dove in a Plum Tree and a light pink semisolid called Mallow to make On the Spice Market.

Aside from Backyard, I loved taking in the Neighborhood Fiber Co. booth (I’d heard at Rhinebeck that Karida wasn’t going to be at VKL this year, but luckily she ended up changing her mind!). I fell in love with a sample she had of Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s Boko-Boko Cowl, knit with Neighborhood Fiber Co. Studio Sock yarn held together with Chromium, which has steel wool to make the little points stand up. It was such a deviation from the patterns I’m normally drawn to, but it was so sculptural and interesting that I had to make it. I feel like it could be a great stand-in for a statement necklace, with the bonus of keeping me warm.

Speaking of necklaces, I was very impressed by the products at Knitten Jen’s Beads. She had kits to make your own beaded beads (wooden beads covered in beaded stockinette stitch fabric), ready-to-string beads and finished pieces. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to DIY it or get a ready-made necklace, but I was definitely intrigued.

I also paid a visit to the Yarn Culture booth, which focused on a small collection of indies, and learned that my favorite discovery from last year’s VKL, Crave Yarn, has branched out with a new venture called Brim Collections, featuring gorgeous mill-dyed skeins and coordinating patterns. I am hoping to learn more from Amor of Crave/Brim Collections and will report on it further…

And, I made sure to get my VKL NYC limited stitch markers from Marsha of One Geek to Craft Them All.

Aside from classes and shopping, my weekend was rounded out by many familiar faces (on Saturday, I could barely get to the elevators without seeing someone I knew from my various knitting circles) and spending time with my nearby knitting friends.

Indie Untangled at VKL NYC

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One of my favorite parts of the Indie Untangled trunk show at Woolyn a couple of months ago was getting to spend time with Alice of Backyard Fiberworks. You may know Alice from her creative Instagram Advent promotion, her dreamy American-grown Cormo fingering or her beautiful speckled sock yarns. If you don’t know her work, you should get to know it.

While we were hanging out at the store, we talked about Alice’s booth at Vogue Knitting Live , which takes place this weekend, from January 13-15 at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square, and which I was of course planning to attend. Alice generously invited me to have some space in her booth, and that led us to start scheming away on a special IU-themed kit to offer for the occasion.

So, I looped in Vicki of That Clever Clementine, who suggested an Indie Untangled logo version of her popular zipper wristlet bags. As Vicki got to sewing, Alice (who conveniently lives about 20 minutes away from Vicki in Maryland) grabbed a scrap of the logo fabric and created a complementary teal and orange speckled colorway, pairing it with a deep blue for her Ridgeline pattern, a textured fingering-weight cowl.

If you’re coming to VKL this weekend, I hope you’ll stop by the Backyard Fiberworks booth — Booth 326 — and get your hands on a kit. You can also preorder your kits by filling out this form and picking up at the booth.

Along with Alice’s lovely yarn, there will also be some Indie Untangled ceramic shots and Stitch ‘n’ Sip games from the talented folks at JamPDX.

If you’ll be in the marketplace, please stop by the Backyard Fiberworks booth for an Indie Untangled meetup at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. I hope to see you there!

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2015: The indies

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Pepperberry 1

Vogue Knitting Live always tends to sneak up on me, but it never fails to supply me with a ton of knitting inspiration and remind me why I decided to pick up my first pair of Clover needles several years ago.

I didn’t end up taking any classes this year, like I have in the past. The ones I was particularly interested in (with Amy Herzog and Kate Atherley) sold out pretty quickly, and some others conflicted with plans I had with friends that I see far less often than I should. But, between meeting some new-to-me indie dyers in the marketplace, discovering some special skeins and taking in the fabulous Stephen West & Steven Be fashion show, this year’s VKL — my fourth — was pretty epic, and definitely very indie.

While last year was all about Dragonfly Fibers and Neighborhood Fiber Co., this year I made sure to check out the newest indie additions. One of the first booths I went to was Pepperberry Knits. I had already heard of the company through my friend Stacy, who now lives in Idaho, where Pepperberry is based, and she had introduced me to owner Heidi recently over Facebook (Stacy also just started working for them, which makes me extremely jealous). Heidi, a redhead with a personality to match her brightly-colored yarns, told me about how she once decided to unravel and reknit a vintage Cashmere sweater, which led her to decide to sell Cashmere exclusively.

The Pepperberry booth was so fun to photograph, and not just because the light there was actually pretty good. It was filled with such vibrant colors, and the Cashmere in the samples hanging up just seemed to glow. I particularly liked the Fun Size Bundles that were available to make a few different striped cowls and infinity scarves, like Lucy and Lydia.

Pepperberry 2

Pepperberry 4

Pepperberry 3

JDMS 2

Jill Draper Makes Stuff has been at VKL NYC for the past few years, but I made it a point to visit her booth because I had a sweater quantity of her Hudson (Made in the USA superwash Merino) on my list to make Yelena Dasher’s new West End Girl.

No sooner had I finally decided on a color (a beautiful orange called Spessartine) when I was tempted by something new — Jill’s Rifton gradient skeins. They were dyed up just in time for VKL, and Jill explained that the browns and greys were the natural wool, while the oranges and pinks, or aquas and blues, were added to the fleece before the yarn was plied.

HeidiandLana 1

HeidiandLana 2

The Heidi & Lana booth really impressed me. I went there expecting just to see their pretty snag-free stitch markers, but I loved the kits that this Ohio LYS had on offer, including one for owner Margaret Craig’s Passage, which came with yarn from Spincycle Yarns and handmade fabric buttons for a shawl/scarf that can be worn several different ways.

MollyGirl 1

I also enjoyed meeting Angela of MollyGirl Yarns, a relatively new dyer based in nearby New Jersey who has fun music-themed bases and colorways, like Rolling in the Deep and Pink Bullets, and some unique bases (her limited-edition Meet and Greet was an amazingly soft alpaca/silk/linen blend). She had the help of her boyfriend for her first-ever show, and it was fun to see her excitement at being part of this crazy knitting event.

MollyGirl 2

Black Bunny

In the middle of the Saturday madness, I spoke with Carol of Black Bunny Fibers, who taught the Yarn Substitution Made Easy class on Sunday. Carol told me about the clubs that she’ll be cooking up in the near future.

And I had to snap some pics of the Kismet Fiber Works booth. I became a huge fan of this Virginia-based company when they came to VKL for the first time last year, and stunned me with their baby camel/silk and Merino/silk blends that make their colors extra stunning.

Kismet 1

Kismet 2

Kismet 3

Of course, I admired the colorful knitted teepee and the Seven Wonders of the Yarn World, which Marsha of One Geek to Craft Them All captured perfectly on her blog (I wish I’d taken pictures of the awesome yarn earrings and geeky stitch markers in her booth!), and the refrigerator full of knit produce and cheeses — with the way my stash is getting these days, this would probably be the only way I’d ever have that much stuff in my fridge.

You can see some more of my VKL photos on Instagram.