Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 3 and Stash Musings

VKL NYNY

Today was the last day of Vogue Knitting Live, and I felt a bit under the weather (perhaps that cold shower yesterday was to blame).  I did actually take my obligatory pre-event picture, but I looked so grumpy that I decided not to post it.  I was wearing my All Weather Cowl (you know, the one that brought me fame and fortune), which turned out to be just right because I could wear it indoors comfortably.

I had a chance to interview Sally Melville today, as well as catch the back end of her lecture on Creativity.  She had some fabulous samples on display, including several sizes of the lovely L’Enveloppe.  Sally was wearing her own version over a stunning coat with a coordinating pair of Fluevogs.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Sally Melville

I walked through the Marketplace one last time before saying goodbye to Vogue Knitting Live for 2014.  Though it was extremely tempting, I managed just to touch the buttons at Dusty’s Vintage Buttons without buying anything.  (I think we all know that I have way too many buttons at home to buy them at random.  I have to at least pretend there’s a plan for using them first!)

blog VKL NYC 2014 vintage buttons3

And then I visited the Feederbrook Farm booth.  Yesterday, in the rare quiet moments at the Michelle’s Assortment booth, I would look across at their yarns, and I ended up developing quite an attachment.  I decided on four skeins of Shepherd Spun, which is quite a bit of yarn for someone allegedly trying to reduce their stash.  In my defense, I fell in love with two of the hand dyed yarns, and rather than have them sit in my stash forever, I paired each with a coordinating solid.

blog Feederbrook Farm Mocha & Ava with shawl pin

These two are a bit out of my comfort zone, but I really was drawn to the skein on the bottom, called Ava, which is surprising because it isn’t in my typical colors.  And then I had to buy a coordinating Matryoshka pin from Michelle – I had been eyeing them, too, but couldn’t decide on a color until I had the yarn.

The other two skeins are much more “me” – purples, blues, and greens.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Feederbrook Farm Wia and Michelles Assortment shawl pin

This skein is called Win and is paired up with the shawl pin I picked up yesterday.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelles Assortment shawl pins

So after 3 days of Marketplace exposure, I ended the show with 3 shawl pins, and 5 skeins of yarn.

blog VKL NYC 2014 yarn haul

It was more than I (consciously) planned to spend, but I did happen to have cash left over, so apparently it was within the budget I had (subconsciously) created for the event.  I actually spent less than the cost of registering for a class, so in the end things seem to have worked out.

The charcoal Studio Donegal yarn in the center is already dedicated to being a cabled hat for my dad, and I have ideas about what I want to do with each of the other pairs.  But (head hanging in shame)…

I have yet to use any of the yarns I bought at last year’s Vogue Knitting Live.  (They’re pretty too, don’t you think?)

Vogue Knitting Live Yarn Haul

Partly it’s because I suffer from the “I must make something extra super fantabulous with yarn bought at a special event” syndrome, and the rest of it is because none of these lovelies are machine washable, which means they are unsuitable for most of my gift crafting.

I’m not going to feel too bad about buying five more skeins of yarn, since I did use over 19,000 yards of yarn (through both knitting and crocheting projects) last year.  I do, however, think it’s time to go through my stash again and see what I might be able to donate or sell.  Not only will that free up room for these five new skeins, but it will probably excite me about what I have on hand to use.

In my mind, I actually have new designs waiting for each of these pairs of yarn, but I think we all know that our initial ideas and our final plans don’t always align…

Vogue Knitting Live 2014: Day 2

VKL NYNY

This post contains affiliate links.

My second day at Vogue Knitting Live started off with no hot water at home (and who doesn’t love showering in cold water when it’s sleeting outside?).  In the rush to get out the door, I forgot to take the ceremonial pre-show picture of me in my handmade goodies.  (I was wearing my 2013 Temperature Scarf, which is perfect for cold weather.)

My first stop was an interview with the delightful Kate Atherley from Wise Hilda.  I should be posting it in a few weeks.  I asked her to pose with her two books, Beyond Knit & Purl and Knit Accessories.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Kate Atherley

Then I walked through the fashion and art exhibits.  I’m planning a separate post about these, so I’m sharing just one picture today.  This is a crocheted piece by fashion designer, Gabriela Serigatto.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Gabriela Sarigatto2

My next stop was the Marketplace.  I learned a lot from Rosemary Drysdale‘s Entrelac: The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting, and she was signing books at the Vogue Knitting booth.

VKL NYC 2014 Rosemary Drysdale Autograph

From there, I snuck over to the Leilani Arts table.  You see, they sell this Soft Donegal yarn, which has become the favorite amongst the men in family: soft but charcoal (with a little tweed to keep my interest).

VKL NYC 2014 Studio Donegal

I promised my dad I’d make him a version of this cabled hat, so I needed another skein.  Melissa Leapman rung up my sale.

Then, I went to the Knitty City booth (it’s always a treat to see your favorite local yarn shop at an event) to get my copy of Knitwear Design Workshop: A Comprehensive Guide to Handknits signed by Shirley Paden.

VKL NYC 2014 Shirley Paden autograph

Shirley was really quite friendly and we had a nice chat about her class on Craftsy, which is a companion to the book, as well as the We Love Shirley Paden group on Ravelry.  (Shirley assures me she didn’t name the group!)  The group sounds like a lot of fun and they have even hosted three Design-a-Longs.

I had a few minutes after the book signing to watch the beginning of the Fiber Factor Fashion show.  I learned there will be KALs throughout 2014 and the next “season” will begin in 2015, but I missed the announcement of the winner.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Fiber Factor Rachel Henry Gates of Dawn

This stunning felted dress, Gates of Dawn by Rachel Henry, was one of my favorite Fiber Factor projects on display.

Believe it or not, I had time for two more quick stops before reaching my final VK Live destination.  I took a picture of Virginia from Yellowfarm (interviewed here), who I met at last year’s event.

blog VKL NYC 2014 YellowFarm Virginia

And, then I visited the Full Moon Farm booth, to snap a picture of Laura.  My interview with her will be coming up soon.  We met last year, too.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Full Moon Farm Laura

And then I headed off to the Michelle’s Assortment booth.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Michelle

I helped out in Michelle’s booth for a few hours in the afternoon, so she could stretch her legs and walk around the Marketplace for a bit.  It was a great opportunity to learn more about her creative process.  She’s sponsoring two months of prizes for my 2014 Sampler Mystery Knit-a-Long, so it was great to meet her in real life and see all of her awesome shawl pins, bookmarks, and stitch markers.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment circles

I particularly like Michelle’s round shawl pins.  It was also great to see her collaboration with other indie business owners.  Michelle had several samples from Ash Kearns on display to show off her shawl pins including Havelock (left) and Everton Lace Wrap (right), along with the print versions of the patterns.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment Ash Kearns samples

Of course, I couldn’t spend all that time in Michelle’s booth without falling in love with some shawl pins.  I was initially drawn in by the circles, I ended up choosing two straight pins for myself.

blog VKL NYC 2014 Michelle's Assortment goodies

These will definitely need to be re-shot in natural lighting because you can’t see the beauty in this picture.  I’m off to get some rest before Day 3!

Frantic Holiday Crafting Update

YOP3 sheep

On December 1, I set a goal of finishing a project every other day in December.  With just a few days to go, I’m happy to say that I did pretty well.

First off, I finished three secret for future publication.  (You can read vague details on my Ravelry project pages here, here, and here.)  I can’t show pictures of the finished projects, but I can share the yummy yarns that I used.

Yarn collage

All of these were new-to-me yarns, and I really enjoyed discovering each one!  On the left is Imperial Yarns Columbia, which is a great workhorse yarn, but with a bit more softness than you would expect for a sturdy, worsted weight, wool.  In the center is Rowan Big Wool, which has a delightful feel as well, and it works up very quickly since it’s a super bulky yarn.  And on the right is Valley Yarns Valley Superwash.  The colors in real life are much richer than what you see on the screen.

And then there are the projects I already shared on the blog, a crescent shawl I made for my sister with Mountain Colors Twizzle, which has stunning colors and a scrumptiously soft feel (thanks to the silk content); the plain, ribbed hat I knit for MC using Studio Donegal Soft Donegal; and the brimmed hat I crocheted for my friend using Patons Shetland Chunky.

I did manage two other finishes in December.  Both were inadequately photographed in the holiday rush.  The first was a lap blanket for my grandpa, crocheted with two strands of what Ravelry calls “vintage” Bernat Softee Chunky that I bought at the famous Smiley’s Manhattan yarn sale.

Grandpa lap blanket

I created an ombre effect by changing the strands I held together for each row.  I also made a little heart motif on some of the squares, since my grandpa just had a pacemaker installed.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to make new projects for my other relatives, so I dug through my collection to find some existing projects to gift.

Holiday gift Collage

I gave my grandma the original sample of my Pineapples for Everyone Shawl pattern, my uncle the hat I originally knit for MC (that was deemed “too fussy”), and my aunt a cowl I made as part of a CAL in January.

And then on Christmas Day, I did the last finishing touches (but forgot to photograph them) on the headband for my sister’s boyfriend.  It’s something he could wear to a football game in his current home (New Orleans) or in the new city he’ll be moving to after graduation (Houston).  Each side has a different flavor.

Geaux Saints I am a Texan

At this point, I’m averaging something closer to a finish every 3 days, which isn’t bad for the holiday season.  And, I’m on my way to (hopefully) finishing ten projects by the end of the month.

I have one more secret project to knit.  The yarn, HiKoo Simpliworsted, was a bit delayed in arriving and it looks lovely.

SimpliWorsted

And I received a fabulous gift from Kim Guzman (interviewed here) on Christmas Eve.  She sent me some of her famous apple butter (yum!) and packed the box with yarn (the now discontinued NaturallyCaron.com Country).  So with that, I started a baby blanket for my cousin (who, according to Facebook, may already be in labor).

Heart blanket thru 2013-12-27

This is a refinement of the pattern I made for my grandpa, where the hearts are a bit pointier and the squares are easier to join as you go.  The color that looks brown in the picture is actually a dark purple.

In other yarn related news, my sister gave me some yarn from her recent trip to Montenegro for Christmas.

Ana yarn

It’s now official that my yarn stash is better traveled than I am, since I also have skeins from Italy and Patagonia.

How did your holiday crafting go?

For more Year of Projects posts, visit this thread on Ravelry.

Frantic Holiday Crafting: Finish 3

It’s amazing how a little challenge can make your fingers fly.

Nice boring hat blog

This is a nice, boring hat for my special guy that I just finished.  I used the same yarn to make a slightly fancier hat a few weeks ago, but in using my secret knit testing tactic (asking him to “try on a hat” to see if it would fit someone else), I discovered it was too fancy for his tastes.  I knew the yarn, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal, would be perfect for him, though.

Grey days

I’ve been wearing “the fancy hat” though it’s a bit big on me, but I may give it to my uncle for Christmas.  After all, I’m less than 20 days away and with many unfinished gifts.

Since I set a challenge to myself last Sunday of finishing a holiday project every two days, I haven’t exactly met my goal.  But I have finished three projects.  (You can see the others here and here.) I feel like I’m on track, and, like most crocheters/knitters, I have a stash of finished items hanging around that can be gifted if necessary.

Some amazing yarn arrived in the mail on Friday for two upcoming designs that will be published in a magazine next year.

Imperial Yarn

I’m loving the feel of this Imperial Yarn Columbia 2-Ply.  I’ll be knitting up a secret project with it next.  One of the great joys of being a designer is having the opportunity to use all kinds of wonderful yarns that I wouldn’t usually have access to.  I’ve been wanting to try Imperial Yarn for a while and it isn’t disappointing.

Valley Yarns

I’ve also been eager to try Valley Yarns out.  Some of the students in one of my knitting classes took a field trip to WEBS in the summer, and I didn’t go because I’m trying to bust my stash.  Luckily, I get to sample the Valley Superwash now, so I don’t have to be too jealous!

I’m having some problems reading comments on my blog right now, but I’m hoping they are still coming through.  If I don’t respond to your comment, it hasn’t been fixed yet.

You can find links to more Year of Projects posts on Ravelry here.

FO Friday and I Love Yarn Day!

I’m excited to be participating in another I Love Yarn Day on my blog!  To celebrate, I’m sharing some charity projects and showing off some of my recent yarn acquisitions.

Finished charity projects

I’ve been working on some charity projects with stash yarn for the Hats 4 the Homeless drive at the Lion Brand Yarn Studio.

Men’s hat and child’s hat.

I had plans for more creative (read: flashy) hats, but then I remembered these guidelines on the Bridge and Beyond blog about donating handmade hats to homeless people:

Choose colors that don’t show the dirt, that are appropriate for the group you’re donating too.  Wild colors, bold stripes aren’t a good choice for homeless people…  Homeless [people] don’t like to call attention to themselves with wild colors.  Dark colors work for everyone, kids, teens, women, and men.  Light colors limit who can benefit from your warm hat.

With that in mind, I pulled out the charcoal yarns and went work.  I made both hats very bulky and warm so they will provide a little extra protection in harsh weather.  I’m also planning to make some scarves before the drop off deadline.

Yummy yarn stuff

When I wrote my post for I Love Yarn Day last year, I was already thinking about thinning out my stash.  This year I’ve been participating in Surmount the Stash and I started my own Holiday Stashdown Challenge, and I’ve made a lot of progress towards reducing my stash and increasing the proportion of natural fibers in my collection.  I’m not even going to enter the I Love Yarn Day contest where you can win 365 skeins of yarn.  Last year, I wouldn’t have been able to pass it up.  So what changed?

One of my best friends and I took part in the 23 Day Frugal Living Challenge with Frugally Sustainable in January.  As New York natives working in the public/non-profit sector and watching prices rise astronomically, we are always worried about our finances.

My frugality is still a work in progress – there is much that I haven’t changed yet – but I have been pretty good about keeping a 30-Day List.  Last weekend was the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival and the New York City Yarn Crawl, and I’ve been planning for months to go wild.

The yarn and roving I bought at the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival.

From top to bottom: Yarn Monkey Productions SuperSaki in Aella and in Anastasia, Studio Donegal Soft Donegal in Charcoal and Dark Red, and Ivy Brambles Romantica Merino Lace in Night Sky and Hand Dyed Merino Roving in Harvest Festival. I only had time to visit three of the ten yarn shops participating in the New York City Yarn Crawl last weekend.  (After all, I was in New Jersey for two days for the Festival!) My first stop was (of course) my favorite NYC yarn shop, Knitty City, where I picked up two skeins of madelinetosh tosh vintage. On Monday, I visited Downtown Yarns, my favorite stop for knitting needle shopping.

Believe it or not, I actually went there hoping they would have some super jumbo circulars, and I was not disappointed. (These are US size 50!)

I found this lovely skein of Dream in Color Everlasting Sock right next to the needles. My final stop was The Yarn Company.  I’ve done a fair amount of browsing in the shop since it came under new ownership and the vibe is much better than it was in the past.  Other than a few skeins of sale yarn that I bought when ownership switched over, I had never found the “right” yarn for me when visiting.  It is in my neighborhood and I appreciate the work the new owners have put into rebuilding the store’s reputation, so I decided to stop by during the Yarn Crawl.  And I wasn’t disappointed when I found this lovely skein of Miss Babs Yowza-Whatta Skein! in Violets in the Grass. I have ideas for these yarns, but honestly, I almost never make exactly what I planned when I’m buying the yarn!  (Does this happen to anyone else?)  By the time I get through the things I’m making now and the projects I have deadlines for, I’ll be interested in making other things.  At least now that I started using Ravelry’s stash feature (thanks to this tutorial from FreshStitches), I can easily scan my stash before starting a new project. For more I Love Yarn Day excitement, check out the inspiration webpagePinboards, and Facebook page, and follow @iloveyarnday or search #iloveyarnday on Twitter.  And for more Finished Objects, visit Tami’s Amis.

I’m  blogging daily throughout October.  Visit I Saw You Dancing for more Blogtoberfest bloggers and CurlyPops for Blogtoberfest giveaways.  Search #blogtoberfest12 on Twitter.