I was among many others who attended the first Vogue Knitting Live event last weekend, held at New York Hilton.
The event encompassed classes, lectures, panel discussions, a marketplace offering yarns, knitting accessories, book signings, free demonstrations and prizes and of course; some partying. Many of the three-hours long classes were taught by knitting gurus and other well known figures such as Meg Swansen, Debbi Bliss, Lily Chin, Nicky Epstein, Cat Bordhi, Trisha Malcom and so on. Attendees had traveled from near and far, domestically and internationally to make it to this mega knitting event.
I had signed up for a class on Friday afternoon and a Saturday morning lecture. I also visited the marketplace spread over two floors. While many of vendors were selling the typical, big name yarns and accessories; I was happy to come across a few small yarn producers. My favorites were:
- Solitude Wool, Round Hill, Virginia (solitudewool.com)- They raise sheep on their farm and also buy wool from the local farmers to produce their beautiful and interesting array of sheep/sheep blend yarns. I met with Linda, the farmer/dyer/spinner/weaver and Joan, her partner. Their hand dyed yarns are simply gorgeous.
- Sustainable Cashmere, Siena, Italy (cashmeregoatfarm.com)- Their Italian cashmere goats produce natural, renewable resources in addition to beautiful yarns.
- Furnace Mountain Alpacas, Lovettsville, Virginia (furnacemountainalpacas.com)- Another farm to skein yarn producer, the owner, Sharon Babbin, is a small breeder and producer of 100% U.S. raised alpacas. I really liked the soft feel and natural colors of their yarns.
- Bijou Basin Ranch, Inc., Elbert, CO (bijoubasinranch.com)- The husband and wife team run a small Yak farm about 65 miles southeast of Denver. They also buy fibers from other yak farmers to produce their beautifully dyed yak and yak blend yarns. I loved the softness and sheen of their 75% Yak Down/25% Bamboo blend.
What I gained from this event goes beyond attending classes, lectures and shopping. I enjoyed seeing so many knitters -old, young and in between-, from different backgrounds, traveling from lands -near and far- under a single roof; drawn to this event by their passion for knitting. I saw those knitters that are just addicted to knit and could not let their hands sit idly on their laps. I saw those draped in their own hand knitted garments and accessories, gleaming with well deserved pride (myself excluded, without a stitch of my own knitting on). I saw novice knitters excited and eager to learn. I saw small and hopeful farmers anxious to sustain their passion and business amongst the big names and stiff competition. And to be a part of and witness all these was well worth the price and effort to attend.
Vogue Knitting Live will be held in Los Angeles, September 23-25, 2011 at Hyatt Regency Century Plaza. You can visit vogueknittinglive.com for details.
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