Full-on Indulgence including Runway Revisit, 2018

If you are a follower of VKL (Vogue Knitting Live), you may be aware that this event in NYC is historically held in January.  After travel debacle of December, I was fully aware January could prove the same.  JetBlue, however served its travelers well, weather cooperated, and I found myself at VKL NYC 2018 in good form.

Having attended the event before, I knew what to expect but wanting to make something new of the occasion, I chose to volunteer at the event.  That immediately changed the dates of travel due to a volunteer meeting held on the Wednesday evening before.  It also meant two glorious extra days in the city and lots of decision-making on how to spend that time. When the weekend was all said and done, as in all travel, there were certain moments, expected and otherwise, that stand out, so with this post, those are the moments I will highlight.

Wednesday ~ easy travel.  With room readily available and map in hand, I settled in for my stay and planned where I was going to ‘tour’.  It was a simple choice.  Mood, of course followed by Bryant Park.  Why?  I am a huge fan of Project Runway and wanted to see (and possibly shop) the fabric store where PR contestants make their purchases in the competition and Bryant Park hosts the final fashion show.  So, off I went with my poor sense of direction but great determination.

I found this (admittedly after 2 mile jaunt in the wrong direction) :

So excited, I walked in.  As a tourist does, I snapped these.

Bolts and bolts of fabric miles long and miles high.  A few floors just like this.  Then, I asked where Swatch was.  (Swatch, to you unknowns of the reality show is the visiting pooch of Mood.)  And, I was told I was in the upholstery section of Mood NOT the fashion section where Swatch typically hangs out!  WHAT??  Never suspecting and already in heaven she pointed to the door.  I was to take the Olmstead (a familiar name) elevator to the third floor.

WOW.  I immediately recognized THIS as what I was seeking . . .

Black in EVERY fiber!

And . . . where fabric gets bolted, cutting boards, patterns, and classrooms!

Of course, I asked about Swatch again.  He was not there that day, but I did spot this which filled my heart.

On leaving Mood, I was quite satisfied having found it that I wasn’t too disappointed having not purchased anything.

My next desire was to find Bryant Park.  Back to scouting my map and asking an occasional passer-by, it was in no time I was there.  On this weekend, it was set up as a lovely winter wonderland.

The volunteer meeting was Wednesday night, a welcome time to sit at the end of a tourist’s day.

Here are some jobs you can sign up for in volunteering.

Thursday ~ Knowing I was to be in NYC, I signed up for the MoMA tour as offered by VKL.  Scouting out the location of the Museum of Modern Art, which was basically in the opposite direction of the day’s before outing, provided all kinds of new stimulation, it was easy to find.  The tour called, “Is Fashion Modern?”  had an excellent docent who took us to task with asking ourselves that very question.  I thought it pretty cool that Lululemon’s original pant made it into the display.  The little black dress and orange piece are pieces I loved.  So, if these were examples of what was in the exhibit, you could ask yourself, Is fashion modern?

I visited the gift shop and found this great cross-over bag.  A picture of my MoMA keepsakes . . .

One must visit Central Park when in the city.

And, of course one must take in a show on Broadway.  A chance friend and I chose Amy Schumer in Meteor Shower as our pick.  The ticket taker, Georgie, was especially personable and left this sweet note for us when we went back to pick up our tickets.

Friday – Sunday ~ Days to volunteer, window shop, and take in classes/lectures.  I built my class schedule for all three days around the theme of designing.  Each teacher had her own take on the topic and it was interesting to hear of the process from different points of view.  The lectures I sighed up for were inspiration filled.  My favorite class was on sketching.  Deborah Newton could not be more enthusiastic about her designing and that enthusiasm was not only palpable but contagious.  Here, we are studying sketches.

Her tip is seen on the right, my practice, on the left.

I did indeed make one purchase during my stay.  Could this book be any more beautiful and so aptly named.  Glamourie, indeed!  Now, THAT is knitting!

I thought the main highlight would be the Readers’ Runway Fashion Show.  As delightful as it was, it was the second time I’ve entered and somehow, the second time is never as exciting as the first.  My favorite part was meeting someone AND her husband who I have talked to on Ravelry and BOTH walked the runway, as well.  Also, the young girl captured my attention who was with her Mother.  How special for these pair to do this fun thing together.

The fair isle coat earned this award.

Here is a candid pic of the group who walked the runway this year.

The most meaningful highlight was however my daughter and her friend meeting up with me in the evenings.  Whether ordering room service or having a delicious meal at a lovely Irish eatery, talking about nothing of consequence and laughing really put the weekend into perspective of what matters most and certainly added to what truly was a full-on indulgence weekend for me.  A goofy selfie ~

We said good-bye Sunday night to each other and to this great city.  Until next time . . .

Honeycomb Slip Stitch

Last year, The Knitting Guild of Greater Buffalo brought in designer, Heather Lodinsky, to teach a skill on one of her designs.  The pattern was her two-tone slip stitch cable pullover and the skill was using slip stitches in cable work.  In my experience in knitting, I had not encountered slip stitches to be used for the design of a garment, only to be done along the edges of knitted pieces.  So, I was quick to take on the pullover with the Guild and it led me to do a self-investigation of slip stitches, in general.

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Renaissance

One of my goals as I entered into retirement was to knit from my stash.  The stash I am talking about includes patterns I have loved and collected over time and/or the bundles of yarn that were purchased at a time when I thought I could knit a particular project.  I suppose enthusiasm outweighs time, at least that is my case, so in my new state of retirement, I am addressing this.  This project is an example of that.  I don’t even know where I first saw this pattern as I do not subscribe to Interweave Knits but I have been following Teva Durham, the creative designer since being aware of her work through Vogue Knitting.  The pattern is called Renaissance Tunic, as you will see, for obvious reasons.  And, I am thrilled to finally be adding this to my wardrobe.

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Fretwork but Fret Not (1 of 2)

If you were to read the notes of knitters who have tackled this project, Fretwork designed by Shiri Mor, you would be struck by a few common strands of thinking.  The first common thread is one of curiosity over the sweater’s construction.  I was no different.  In viewing the pattern, you can see how initially it looks like a cabled sweater but then looking more closely you see detached cords that are woven so of course, curiosity sets in as you wonder how in the world does one knit that?

And, then the conversations take a turn to the fit of this garment.   Some say to knit a size with “negative ease” while others suggested knitting a size larger.  Others were frankly honest about their end product not fitting at all.  Well, I do not know what negative ease is and I can’t take a chance on randomly knitting a size up.  Why would you not knit your size?  What I mostly made of these comments was that it was of utmost importance to pay particular attention to the finished size of this garment and that how it fit was quite relevant to the happiness in the end.  The pattern did say “close fitting”, so that was the start point for me.

I set my mind into motion wondering what the designer’s concept of close fitting was (everyone has a different idea) and how close fitting did I want mine?  I know from experience that if a garment is in any way pulling or hugging tightly to my body, I will not wear it.  On the other hand, if the measurement is too loose fitting, will the woven cords droop?  I did consider dropping the idea of knitting this altogether as another aspect of this project, a basic crewneck, is not a shape I prefer for my body type and truthfully is not exciting enough for me to pour my energies into.  However, there was this knitting/weaving combo thing and we go back to the inquisitive nature of knitters.

In the meantime, I just happened to purchase a book entitled Good Measure, Knit a Perfect Fit Every Time by Deborah Newton.

I am very much a fan of hers, her patterns and techniques are specific and thoughtful and this book is as comprehensive regarding construction, fit, and design of a garment as her other books have been on their topics.  Wow, perfect timing I thought.  And, there it was, pg. 51, a definition for close-fit:  “a close-fitting sweater can be slightly smaller, the same as, or up to 2 ” larger than the body measurements, depending on the thickness of the fabric and the elasticity of the pattern stitch.  A close-fitting sweater often has shaping to conform to the body’s dimensions, but does not cling.”   OK, now I have something to work with and immediately I knew the size I wanted mine.  And, of course the size I wanted was not one that was written in the pattern.

Not all is lost when you know about gauge.  I know that this is always a sure fire way to get the size garment you want.   ok, I noticed the front and back were pieced or constructed in 3 parts, 2 sides and the center panel.  So, I began knitting a side panel with the recommended needle size to work up a swatch.  I knitted quite a ways up as I’ve learned a more accurate gauge can be gotten with a larger swatch.   I might have learned that from Deborah Newton, as well.  Also, it gave me practice in  cord weaving.  According to the schematic, my swatch measured no where near even the smallest size!  It measured much, much smaller or narrower.  Oddly so.  So, narrow was my swatch that I changed to the next larger needle and cast on the number of stitches for the medium or the 41″ size  given in the pattern.   When I measured this second swatch, I noticed I was getting gauge for the smallest size or the size 34″.  ok, I thought . . . getting closer but I wanted 36″ (up to 2″ larger than body measurements and not clingy).  What to do . . . So, I studied the pattern to see where the designer worked in the stitches for the larger sizes.  I noticed that she increased the number of stitches on the side panels.  So, I thought if I added 4 stitches or another grouping of 2k2p on each side panel, that when sewn together would give me the added 2 inches, 36″ from 34″, I wanted while keeping the design elements of the sweater in tact especially the lovely woven cables that edge the sides of the sweater.  I love the way those woven cables just edge the set-in sleeve seam.

I knitted the entire garment making those changes.  Imagine the size my sweater would have been if I had not taken the careful and necessary time to knit several gauges and figure that out!

Other than measuring and re-measuring along the way making sure my gauge was staying consistent and that I had not made a mathematical error, the knitting of this was not so bad at all.   Process and Tips here!  The shape, a basic crew neck, did not pose any further challenge.

I love the color,  it fits exactly as planned, and will be a very practical comfortable addition to my wardrobe.  I do need to work on finding a shirt that will stay in place underneath, however.

The photo shoot was at historic Chautauqua Institute.   I wore walking shoes (this is the exact location I broke a bone in my foot a few years, back wearing non-walking shoes).   I wanted to change into the heels that are in the bag I’m holding but hubby encouraged otherwise.  And, while I’m talking shoe wear, can you believe I ran across these?   I have not purchased them….. yet.

Two Shout Outs

As a soon-to-be retiree, I am beginning to open my ears and eyes to life after employment.  When I spotted this opportunity with Deborah Newton, I just had to write about it.  I am so in love with her as a knitter due to her pristine attention to detail, especially in the finishing touches of a garment.  And, you see these touches written up in her patterns.  So, when following her advice, your finished garment has an air of professionalism that you do not see in every design and you notice in the fit and wearing. Following her over the years, both with knitting patterns and as an author, I highly recommend this destination experience, above. Continue reading

A Guide on Gauge

I am not sure if this post ought to be called A Guide on Gauge or Gauge Guiding.  In either case, I have become a huge fan of knitting up gauges!   To the uninformed, the process of taking time to work up a gauge might seem like an unnecessary and/or optional step in working up a hand knit.

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From A-symmetric to Z-ipper

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Funny, when I receive a new Vogue Knitting magazine, I tend to have two emotions.  The first is, of course, excitement as anyone who follows my knitting knows that I believe VK stands well above any other publication for outstanding knitting fashion, photography, and inspiration.  The other emotion I notice is fear.  I hear myself saying, “Oh, No!!  How many of these projects am I going to fall in love with?”  With an already extended stash and plans for far too many projects in the future, it is frustrating feasting my eyes on more. The projects in this particular issue, Vogue Knitting, Collector’s Issue Holiday 2011 were posted with an alphabetical theme.

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