Thursday, November 1, 2012

Chicago! + WIP Wednesday

I went to Vogue Knitting Live in Chicago this weekend.

It was the first time it had ever been held there, and I went by myself,  because all of the knitters local to me go to Stitches Midwest.

I'll get the comparisons out of the way first.

The teachers are knitting celebrities. They know their stuff, and they have the books, patterns, and national recognition to prove it. Apparently at stitches there are not as many big name teachers, and most of them are people who teach at LYS's. So the class quality is the same at Stitches as if you were just taking classes locally.

Since it is Vogue, the attitude was tilted more snooty and high fashion. Not my cup of tea, but fine as long as you know that is what you are going for. The teachers were not snooty. More so the volunteers/staff, and the choice of vendors. Sorry, 50g of Quviut was not worth 164 bucks to me.

The market was small. I was surprised at how many vendors had yarn I could just buy at my LYS. When I did my walk through on Saturday I would stop and look at skeins that caught my eye, and most of the time it was Mad Tosh, or Malabrigo. Eh, not worth it. The deals were not ridiculous, except for a feeding frenzy in the back corner for 10 skein bags of yarn. I am at the point where my stash doesn't need loads more yarn. It just needs really nice and wonderful stuff. That said, I went looking for some merino silk lace, indie dyer sock yarn, and was convinced to pick something up for the DSLO. The biggest contrast to stitches was that there were not many books. A booth might only have 1-2 at VKL (and only a few at that). At Stitches you could fill a library by visiting only a few booths.

From talking with people who had been to both, the organization was a little lacking. There were not many free group events, there was no passing time between lectures and classes, it was a bit of a maze to get from floor to floor (old swanky hotel). I had heard that there were shuttles to LYS's online, but I never saw any signs. It seems like it was easier to get to the store and take a shuttle back to the hotel. Large groups held their own events, like a pajama party (a la Stitches). Vogue dropped the ball on that one.

Parking was $40 a day. A 3 day 'L' pass was $14. Park somewhere else and take the train around town. Not going to lie. The public transportation option on google maps blew my mind. Yes, I know it has been there forever. But wow!

I wish I had brought a smart phone (as in owned one in the first place). It would have been so much easier to figure out where to eat. There were many places, but I had no clue if they would be any good. I lucked out for dinner, I was a little disappointed by lunch. I didn't want to eat at chains, but I couldn't tell if they were or not.

Ok, end review!

I had a great time. Based on my experience, I would love to try other large knitting convention/conference/events. Sock Summit, and Super Summer Knitaway come to mind as ones that would be good fits for me. Why you ask? I am in many respects mostly a sock knitter, so the classes and marketplace meant for socks would be more interesting to me. It did not seem like there were advanced sock classes. For the latter I am an introvert, and huge crowds exhaust me. So, a more intimate knitting retreat would be much more fun than something huge.

One of the cool things was that if I saw someone knitting, I could just sit down and join them and strike up a conversation.Or stop someone and ask what pattern that was, or what yarn they used. It was so open and inviting. As an advantage of being on my own, I got to talk to a lot of different people.

I arrived on Friday. I got caught up in a traffic jam, and basically stayed in 1st or neutral for over an hour. Sheesh, taking the more reliable car, with the stiff clutch was a bad idea. I was staying with a friend in Near West Side, so I arrived, we caught up over coffee at Sip. From there we went downtown to the hotel so I could register for VKL, and get a friend into a class.

From there we started walking.

Until we came across a place that looked good.

 And it was. We sat outside, with space heaters. It was delightfully warm, and we laughed about how we beat the rush, because we could see the swarm of people trying to get in.

From there we went to a movie. We saw Argo, which was incredibly tense. So we walked back to her place, which was a good 2.5 miles.

I emptied out my bag to prepare for a long day of knitting, and make sure I had everything I needed.

I was so excited I woke up at 5:30 Saturday. I got a Vanilla Latte, and walked to the 'L' as the sun was starting to brighten the sky.

I arrived super early. So a camped out in the lobby, and random knitters joined me as I hung out.

My first class was with Deborah Newton. I loved her dry humor, and she had a lot of ideas about how to go about finishing sweaters. My main take away was seamed sweaters have many opportunities for design, and improving fit, that a raglan can't provide.We practiced seaming on our swatches, and we never got around to the other types of seams, or sewing on buttons. I probably won't attach buttons with yarn. While Deb has finished many sweaters, she has not kept many sweaters, which means I am using thread.

I went to the This is Your Brain on Knitting lecture from Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. There were a lot of interesting points in it. I think my favorite quote was "I've heard crack is really awesome, aside from the ruining your life part." I am so glad I was able to see her, because I was kicking myself for not going the last time she was in Chicago.

My last class on Saturday was Knit to Flatter and Fit with Sally Melville. Since I was coming straight from the lecture, I came into class late. As I was walking in, she was saying we would learn how to make beautiful fitting sweaters, like mine : ). This was the class where we took measurements of ourselves (because husbands are not dependable partners in this regard), and played with paper dolls, and got guidelines on how to mod patterns to make them fit. There was so much good info in this class. I need to sit down with my Bohus and make sure the waist is correct. As in, located at my waist. . .

The walk back was very chill. I took another picture of the skyline.

The morning of the last day was dreary. One of the houses went all out. For Halloween.

My only class that day was Oddball Stitches. Yea! Cookie A! Basically the point of her class was to get us to try wacky things and see if they worked. I also visited the market. More on that later.

For some reason it was much later coming back the last day.

Happily is was much faster to leave Chicago, than to enter. So I managed to get home in record time.

I finished the socks!

So cheerful! I kitchenered the toe Saturday during my afternoon class. I gave them to their recipient Sunday morning. This is the only proof. Haha.

For the work in progress portion of this post . . . I am hauling on the Evenstar.

Oh wait, you can't tell. It is in vague lace bag stage, from now until the conclusion.

I might pull my wires out to show how it looks so far.

Check out the other WIP'ers here! It is the easiest one to join by far. You have to actually finish something for FO Friday, haha.

That's all for now, take care,

Molly : )

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