Knitting, Nicky, and New

In keeping with the theme of “new possibilities” at this time of rebirth, aka retirement, I am excited to say there is more to report!  Actually, a few new things.  Odd as it may seem, I have never belonged to an established knitting group.  I felt what little time I had for knitting during the child-rearing and employment years could best be spent with actual knitting rather than traveling to do the same.  There are a few exceptions as I recall a year or two where a few of us colleagues met about 1x/month, rotated to each other’s homes and attempted to knit.  Attempted, I say because we were so busy chatting about school life as school life doesn’t allow time for such chit chat, the knitting needles barely came out.  And, then there were the sessions with the lovely neighbor who, to this day, I credit for my inspiration to knit.  Her beautiful stockinette suits with picot raglan sleeves and straight skirts sent me into a love affair I still have today.  Aside from these two experiences, it’s been a quiet existence creating my hand knits.

Well, times are a-changing as I have officially become a member of the Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo.  I couldn’t wait for the Fall at its onset and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for the year.   Little did I know about the membership of about 300 or the organized meetings with focus and purpose, the mini classes to be a teacher or to be taught, positions of leadership one could hold or the twice a year guest speaker series!  And, it was the latter that officially kicked off this year’s season… with none other than world renowned knitwear designer, Nicky Epstein!

Nicky Epstein is to knitting as Lucy Calkins is to Literacy or Tom Brady is to good looks… I mean, football.  Here is a great quote describing her credentials:  “Nicky Epstein is a world renowned knitwear designer, teacher and author of 28 bestselling books. Her knitting and crochet books range from highly original resource books, to historical books, to travel books, to Barbie Doll books, to amazingly creative design fashion/pattern books. Her books are “must haves” in the libraries of designers and knitters alike, and she has won the National Independent Book Publisher’s Award for Best Craft Book Of The Year…three times!  Her innovative, fashionable, whimsical and award winning designs have appeared in every major knitwear magazine, in museums and on television, and she has taught classes to knitters around the world and hosted many Vogue Knitting Tours overseas as well as others.”  And, all I could think of … she is coming to Buffalo?  Are you kidding me?  I have admired the works and creative genius of Nicky Epstein since the time I first picked up my knitting needles!  So, during week two of my brand new membership, I found myself in her seminar AND taking my very FIRST knitting class EVER!!

I was soon to find out that there were busloads of enthusiasts from neighboring states as well as Canada who would be joining us.

I believe this bus load of people came from Pa.

The seminar was a slide show presentation of a micro-fraction of her body of work, stemming from a few of her books.  Just look!  Her 29th is literally being published as I write this.

She smartly brought along the actual pieces she was talking about and had members voluntarily model them so we could get the full impact of these show-stoppers.  If you hadn’t heard of Nicky before, you quickly noticed her aesthetic of embellishments, embroidery, and appliqué she adds on top of knitted fabric making for whimsical, dreamy, original sought-after looks.

Here is a lovely audience member modeling one such creation.
Here is a lovely audience member modeling one such creation. Nicky is explaining technique.

Considering design work, myself I left the seminar full of ideas thinking how incredibly lucky I was to have Nicky, herself as a source of inspiration.  And, knowing I would see her, again at one of her classes was almost daunting.

She taught four classes, Block Party, Embroidery, Knitting Embellishment-Edgings, Knitting Embellishment-Appliques.  I attended the last.  Here are some of my fellow knitters who attended some of the other sessions taking on her “assignments”.

Check out fellow knitter Ann’s work from the Block Party class!

sewn blocks of knitting
sewn blocks of knitting

Ann prepared herself for the Embroidery Class by taking baby items she recently knitted knowing that with Nicky’s guidance would turn one look into another!

knitted as per pattern
knitted as per pattern
now, beautifully embellished with personal touch
now, beautifully embellished with personal touch

Here are fellow knitters taking the class I did.  I was sitting at the very back right next to the last woman photographed here.

And, we were all taken with this young college student enrolled in Fiber Design at a local college.

Here is Jarod, a young college student enrolled in the Art Dept. at local university. We were all taken with his interest in knitting.

I was motivated with this project, Nicky’s design that made the front cover of Vogue Knitting’s Anniversary issue.

These flowers were knitted in the Embellishment Class along with these other little leaf doodads and such.  I will likely continue to complete the “anniversary scarf” using scraps from stash.  It will be my keepsake to recall the wonderful time I had with Nicky and the others.

And, as in life, we all know how one thing leads to another. So, this is the perfect time to announce that I have accepted one of those leadership roles I mentioned earlier in the post as Publication Chairperson for this upcoming season for the Guild.  How awesome to have found a job that gives me a purpose in my new retirement life with a focus that aligns with my goals,  combining two of my favorite things in life… knitting and writing!  Write about knitting… write while I knit?  Right on!


Holly knits with grit and believes a happy life is a well balanced one.

17 thoughts on “Knitting, Nicky, and New

  1. Wow! Congratulations ! What a great way to kick-off your first retirement year, with a fantastic job that totally suits you. And I can’t wait to see your anniversary scarf, it looks like a project requiring a lot of patience and assembly.


    1. Thank you, Agnes. I am finding myself more at peace now with a purpose, again in life. Scarf will come AFTER fretwork. That is what is up next! Aren’t you jealous? hahaha Sleeves and sides are done. Now, on back, then front. Assemble and done!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ha ha, I am so not jealous, I’m so glad it is behind me. I have more cables planned this winter though. Really looking forward to seeing your Fretwork, I’m sure it is going to fit to perfection.


  2. Holly, I couldn’t believe it when I saw you enter the Sat afternoon class, after following your blog for almost a year, since moving to the Niagara-on-the-lake area in Ontario. I was so exciting to meet and chat with you! I attended 2 fabulous classes with Nicky on Sat and was inspired and motivated. Nicky’s presentations were informative and educational and she is very funny. Enjoy being on the Guild executive, Holly and hope to see you again! Karen


    1. Karen, I couldn’t believe you recognized me! Loved meeting you as well and do keep me updated about the lovely project of yours with the ruffle, however I ought to see it on Ravelry upon completion!


  3. it sounds like an amazing time! and exciting that you joined the guild and already took on a leadership role. I knew you would find something to keep yourself busy before too long. :-) Can’t wait to see how the scarf comes out, and hear more about the activity of the guild.


    1. I am totally excited about these adventures. I had some notion of a plan before retirement because had I not, I wouldn’t have been able to retire. It is all happening faster than I thought however, I am that type that wants to get going. My first fiber festival that I’ve ever attended is this weekend and of course, I’ve volunteered to help but can’t wait to peruse what else there is and then, of course write up the experience here. Sarah, thank you for your support through all of this.


      1. It does sound exciting, and gratifying. Your first fiber festival – prepare to be overwhelmed by all the wonderful things fiber-y! We have a big event this weekend – it sn’t solely fiber, but it has an awful lot – it is our Common Ground Fair – I’ll be going Saturday and will of course write about it, as I do each year. It is so hard to choose what I want to buy!


        1. Have you ever gone to VKL – Vogue Knitting Live? Many, many beautiful yarns there as well as fashion shows, etc. I will be curious to see how the fiber festival is compared to that. I will look forward to your review and you will be able to read mine. Kind of like the day I’ll show you mine, you show me yours. hahahaha

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I have never been to VK – and likely the fiber festival will be differnet – I know around here, we don’t get the big companies at fiber festivals, many more indo studios and farms are represented. But it is where I found my wonderful source of locally produced and dyed wool/angora blend – makes the world’s softest hat linings!


          2. When I heard about the Readers’ Runway at VKL, I just HAD to apply. And, when I heard they wanted me to model four of my projects, I thought I’d gone to heaven. So, I could not wait to go last year. But, due to employment I had to make the trip short causing me to miss some of the evening activities. This year, however…. can’t wait! I am expecting to see animals tomorrow, unlike VKL. (Many farms were represented, though at VKL.) Nothing like touching the head of an alpaca. Maybe, feeding it some hay. :)

            Liked by 1 person

          3. That was really amazing that you got chosen to do that last year – I hope they choose you again this year – you have a few fabulous pieces done.

            Yes, farms do add a nice element to a festival – will you go to Rheinbeck? It’s a dream I have. Actually, I put on my buclket list to go to a fiber festival type thing in every state that has one. Most of it will have to wait until I retire, but I have been collecting names and places to try to get ready. :-) And I should learn to spin before I start this adventure – think of the things I could get if I could spin my own!


          4. I will enter the fashion show, again once I hear they are continuing it. Rheinbeck would be another first… however, I need to research what it is all about. Not committing to that this year. Fiber festivals in every state.. wow. Spinning… nope, not for me. I find it fascinating the part of the process each of us gravitate towards. That in itself would be a great blog post. Me… I want the yarn available for the fashion statement, the sooner the better. I even get a bit perturbed winding my own skeins yet have all the patience in the world for complicated stitch work, charting, or the just-right photo shoot. VK is my source of inspiration and that is my target, now… to get a design chosen and published there. Fun chatting, Sarah… I’m off to choring.


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