Chicago VKL Day 1.5

Vogue Knitting Live has officially started!! Whooooooo! Today is technically day two for me because I had one class last night and two today!

Registration opened at 3pm on Thursday and I was there on the dot to get my pass and schedule. Since I am an ‘international’ attendee, VKL does not mail out passes and packages, you have to pick them up when you get there. I got the biggest package there was, which came with Rosemary Drysdale’s book Entrelac 2. I really love entrelac techniques and I am taking the class Beyond Entrelac, so I was very excited by the choice of book. I don’t think I will get the large package again; it comes with 6 three-hour classes, 2 lectures, a Vogue Knitting gift card and the swag book of VKL’s choice. Last year the largest package came with a ticket to the gala, but this year they were extra so I decided not to go. There was also quite a bit of confusion as to what was happening at the gala this year so I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to pay an extra $140 for dinner and swag.

My first class was Thursday at 6pm; Teeny Tiny Toy Knitting with Anna Hrachovec. You have probably seen her books before because they are full of some of the cutest tiny toys you will ever knit. The class last night was centered on one of her more classic toys, the gnome.


I am really glad I took this class because I was not totally sure where I stood on the toy knitting and I’ve been trying to win one of her books since last VKL Chicago. I’ve been so shameless as to send Paul out to look for the tiny toys while I was in class. I was hesitant on buying one because I really didn’t know if toy knitting was for me. What if I really didn’t like it?

I am happy to tell you that it is a lot more fun than it looks and totally and completely addictive. The class we had was three hours and I knitted the gnome in two. I was on the fast side of the class and didn’t stick with the pacing everyone else set. There weren’t a huge amount of people in the class so I was able to take my time and listen to the questions other people asked. When I am in class, I don’t always have questions right away, but sometimes, others ask questions I didn’t think about at the time. There is always the opportunity to help out classmates who get stuck as well.

Teeny Tiny Toys

As I said, the class was relatively small, so Anna had no problems getting to everyone who had questions and even stopping by my seat and teaching me how to embroider on the eyes. The class moved at very different speeds, but Anna took it all in stride and managed to get to everyone. I fully expected to sit and wait for the rest of the class to catch up before I moved onto the eyes.

Overall, I gave this class an excellent rating! The teacher was attentive, organized and passionate. Without one of these characteristics, I think a class suffers. Anna knew exactly what she was talking about and was infectiously enthusiastic about teeny tiny toy knitting.

First class of Friday was Rosemary Drysdale’s Beyond Entrelac; this was another class with a small student population. There were only five people on the role call for this class. I really like small class sizes because you get much more individualized attention. I showed up early along with three other participants for this class; before 9am we just talked and helped re-direct lost students to their own class rooms. The room this class was in was a little bit out of the way and the last possible option in that particular hallway. The last member of the class was a little bit late, but because we were such a small class we were able to wait for her before beginning.


The class itself focused on the more unconventional applications of Entrelac knitting. Things that are not the typical square or hat from the brim up. We were supposed to bring two colours of DK weight yarn, which I managed not to pack, luckily Rosemary had anticipated this and brought along extra yarn for the unprepared student. In class we worked on a swatch with different patterns on the middle squares.

The samples in class were very inspiring; there were a lot of different colours, yarns, fibers and stitch patterns. There was a swatch in particular that I am thinking of with beading! I really want to make a beaded entrelac scarf now! I really enjoyed this class and loved Rosemary as a teacher! She was very personable and managed to put up with me for an entire three hours, which is harder than it sounds. I joked the whole time that she was going to forcibly eject me from class for being a problem student. After we started knitting our swatches, I settled down and wasn’t too bad.

Immediately after this class, I headed off to lunch with Paul. We just popped across the street to Vapiano and it was PACKED. The morning classes all end at approximately the same time and there is just enough time to grab lunch and get back. The restaurant across the street would, of course, be totally and completely swamped. It was my fault for not being totally on the ball because we normally jump right out after class and just beat the crowds to lunch, I was pretty slow getting back up to the room and dropping off my stuff.


I managed not to be late to the next class, which was Sweater Boot Camp by Amy Herzog. Ever since I saw VKL New York was hosting Amy, I have been dying to take her class, for New York and Seattle, they sold out in a matter of minutes. I felt extremely lucky to get into two of her classes here, but then I did sign up MINUTES after class registration opened.

Sweater Boot Camp was about all those little mistakes you make while you’re knitting a sweater that lead you astray. Astray is probably not the best word, but it is currently the only one I can think of. The things that make the sweater you’re actually knitting much different from the one you’re imagining in your head. We went over a wide variety of techniques, benefits of one type of fiber vs. another and cautionary tales.

Sweater Boot Camp

This course is a little different from her regular classes about picking the sweater type for your body, but it was really useful nonetheless. Amy is, of course, still a captivating speaker and such a funny person. I love her dry humour and the little quips she uses to emphasize and enhance her classes. I have her Knit to Flatter class tomorrow and I am sooooo looking forward to it!

I think that is going to be all for tonight, I am already tired and tomorrow is my day of three classes. Our flight to Antigua leaves at 5am on Sunday morning, so I think we are just going to stay up Saturday. I am sure my post tomorrow will be quite deluded and incoherent. I am sorry in advance!


As you can see, the wedding is finally over! In terms of blog posts this means I am going to be slacking off! I will do posts, Friday, Saturday and Sunday about Vogue Knitting Live, but aside from those three and this post, you won’t be hearing from me! Regular posts will resume on November 3rd. Thanks!!!!


Packing your Knitting

I’ve officially started packing for the honeymoon! Since I am packing, I decided to go over a couple tips for packing knitting for a trip. Every time, I always pack too much knitting and never get to it all. My problem is, I don’t want to pack one or two small things then get sick of knitting them or finish them. I would be without knitting and that would just be unspeakable.

Travelling with Knitting 2

Speaking of projects, I think I finally got a system down when I sent to Cuba. I packed one larger project and a pair of socks. I was almost done those socks, I threw in another ball of sock yarn because I was definitely going to finish those.

When I am out and about I usually don’t knit on anything too complicated. Something I can just pick up and knit, no pattern or anything; autopilot knitting at it’s best. I think every time I’ve went to a Vogue Knitting event, I’ve brought a larger project as well as a smaller project. The ones that get worked on are not the larger more complicated ones. By the time I get back to the hotel room, I am usually ready for bed. Not really the best mindset to work on something that takes any amount of brain power.

Travelling with Knitting

If you are going to a fiber event I would just take one small project. Odds are you are going to purchase something there and if your small project gets finished you will have that to work on. Especially if this event is far away, you don’t want to be lugging all this yarn there and then trying to fit everything in your suitcase to get it back.

Travelling with Knitting 3

If your trip is somewhere you will be constantly busy and then crashing at the end of the night, it would probably be best to simply bring one or two small projects to work on. If you’re the type of person who brings their knitting everywhere and gets quite a bit done, you might finish a project while on vacation, so it would be beneficial to have another one ready to cast on.

Aside from this, that is all the advice I can give. Make sure you judge your vacation and how much time you will actually have to knit. I always over pack and then sometimes have trouble getting everything back.

Definitely Deprived

Well, I haven’t gotten all the knitting in I wished I had. I know there is always a time crunch before weddings, but I thought I would have an hour here or a half hour there to do SOME knitting. The prize for most worked on project goes to….. *drumroll*…. Car Socks!!

Green Gradient Sock

I suppose that really isn’t too surprising, but I haven’t really had the time nor inclination to knit much. I’ve briefly mentioned I was struck down with the flu, but it was so bad, I couldn’t even knit. I just wanted to lay in my misery and possibly sleep.
I am feeling much better now, but still exhausted. I think I might need several lattes on the wedding day itself. Hair and makeup for me and the girls starts at 8AM. If that isn’t crazy, I don’t know what is. I think I am going to try to get very little sleep on Thursday night, so sleep Friday night will be no problem! Right? No? Crazy idea?

Green Gradient Socks 2

I originally wanted to have my rocky coast cardigan done for Vogue Knitting, but I doubt that is going to happen. I am going to make a copy of the pattern and take it with me to Chicago! Hopefully I’ll be able to get some work on it done and maybe a little steam blocking. Hotel room irons probably have a steam mode? It would be something really sentimental to complete the sweater on my honeymoon. We will have to see.

Green Gradient Socks 4

I am really looking forward to another weekend at Vogue Knitting Live, but this year they have seemed kind of unorganized. I’ll withhold my judgment until afterwards, but I’ve gotten a bad taste in my mouth more than once before-hand. While planning a wedding, the last thing you need is trouble from something you’re going to do on your honeymoon. In movies you always see people getting upgraded to first class etc, when they’re on their honeymoon. It really has helped me decide that the next event I am going to attend will be a stitches event. I’ve been thinking about going to one for a while, but my recent dealings with Vogue Knitting have tipped the scales.

Green Gradient Sock 3


I’ve been really inspired to bead lately. At the Kitchener/ Waterloo Knitters fair there was a lady with the Celestarium shawl. The Celestarium and the Southern Skies shawls have an accurate depiction of the night sky from the northern and southern poles.


Shawl Beads

I had heard of them before, but never actually seen one. It was really lovely as well as slightly nerdy. She had altered the pattern so the tardis was beaded into the night sky.

Shawl Beaded Tardis

There are a few different schools of thought on how to put beads on your knitting. Since I’ve still got this flu bug, I’m not going to write a whole lot. Let the videos inspire you to bead as you see fit!




Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I did have a post planned out, but I am still really sick with the flu, so enjoy Thanksgiving and check back on Tuesday for the next post!!Thanksgiving

Functional Friday: Hello Yarn’s Fiddlehead Mitten Review

I was emailing the designer of this pattern the other day and I realized that I had not reviewed it yet. For me this is utterly inexcusable and I plan to make it right! This pattern came to me as part of a kit. The yarn and pattern were all packaged together. Unfortunately, these kits are no longer available, so you would have to buy the pattern and the full amounts of the yarn individually. Which I have done because I love this pattern that much.


The first time I saw this kit, the LYS owner handed me a sample mitt that she had knit. At that point I was completely and totally sold. I LOVED it and wanted to get one in every colour. Unfortunately at this point in my life I was just out of school and was struggling to pay student loan payments as well as rent. I couldn’t afford it this time, but I went back and visited… more often than I would like to admit.
I was also scared that I wasn’t at that level of knitting yet; they looked to pretty and intricate, I had never some something that complicated before. So it wasn’t completely about the money.
Paul ended up making the decision for me and bought the kit for my birthday. I think he had probably heard enough about these mittens I was lamenting over.

Fiddlehead Mittens Thumbless

I didn’t cast on right away; I circled around them like some kind of nuclear bomb. My main problem was, I didn’t want these mitts to go FUBAR on me. It was a nice kit and more than I had spent on yarn before. I wanted them to be perfect. The thought of casting on with another, more inexpensive yarn, never occurred to me. I was still a relatively new knitter at this point.
Paul started asking me why I hadn’t cast them on yet. I made excuses here and there about needles or another project, but that would only work for so long. One day, I just closed my eyes, clenched my teeth and opened the bag. Which was the best decision I have ever made. It was the most difficult pattern I had ever done, but it was well written, clear, logical and a great learning experience for me.
The mittens start off with an I-cord cast on, Having never done one, I trusted the pattern completely and followed the instructions. The cast on looked amazing and it hadn’t hurt at all. I thought these mittens might be possible.
Being a beginning knitter and not knowing any better, I trusted the pattern 100% and it worked out for me. Not having knit a whole lot of patterns I didn’t realize how well this one was written, but having a wider variety of knowledge now, I can spot excellent writing when I see it.

Fiddlehead Beginning

I may have a slightly biased point of view because this project was a pivotal moment for me as a knitter. From this point on I was not afraid to throw myself into any project regardless of how hard it looked. If I took it slow and paid attention I could do it.
I know this review was a little less technical and a little more about me fan-girling all over them, but, I maintain that they are a very well written pattern with a beautiful finished product. Definitely beginner friendly so I always advise people to go for it! These mittens are one of the most complemented pieces of knitting I have.

Music Sooths the Savage Beast

You may have noticed that my daily series have gone slightly off the rails, I plan to reign everything back in after the wedding and honeymoon. Effectively that will be November. I made this quote the title because as forward as it is, it is true.

Savage Beast

This quote comes from English playwright and poet, William Congreve. This line is often misattributed to Shakespeare and mostly, misquoted. The quote actually states ‘music has charms to sooth a savage breast’, but through time and interpretation we now recognize the bastardized version I’ve used for the title as correct. William Congreve’s literary career lasted only seven years and was not very successful, so I think we will make sure that Old Bill doesn’t get credit for this one.


What made me think of today’s blog post was, shockingly enough, planning my wedding. I will be the first one to admit that I have a shorter temper than most, there may be an incoming over-share here, so look away if you’re really sensitive. My temper gets cut in half when I am hormonal. Today was a particularly trying day because I KNOW I am hormonal and I’ve been running in circles all day. I had a vendor ask me for some specific information that required a lot of thought and careful selection.

I spent all day scraping together this information and sent it off. I felt an internal sigh of a mission accomplished. They messaged me Monday (while I was on my deathbed with the flu) and said they needed this info by the absolute latest on Wednesday. Very little notice, but I got the job done.
They emailed me back with a list three times as long… at 4pm. I… was… livid. I was also at work with people stopping by my desk and giving me work etc. Not the best place to be in hulk-like rage mode.
I plugged in and kept listening to my podcasts, but after a few minutes I was still really angry. I decided to switch over to music and turned on songza. Since my catastrophic iPhone meltdown, I haven’t signed into songza, so my username and password were not saved… put the metaphorical hammer down and back away slowly. Stuck with only the music on my phone, I didn’t think this would be the best time to listen to the Chicago soundtrack… or something of a similar feel.

I settled on my contemporary classical playlist, which is mostly comprised of The Piano Guys. I like listening to classical music, but sometimes I need something that really makes me want to dance and in a moment like I was having, I definitely needed something a little dancier than Bach. This worked perfectly, I really got into the music and it helped me center myself a little bit.

Strange as it sounds, but I actually haven’t been listening to all that much music. Sure there is music in the background all the time, but I am not actually listening to it; it’s just a kind of ambient noise. Music has all sorts of great effects on your mood and brain, especially classical.
Classical music effects how we see neutral faces, if you play happier classical, you see neutral faces in a positive way and if you play sad classical you see them in a negative light. The music effects your mood, which effects how you interpret a person’s face and the underlying mood associated with that face.
All the people who make up a new playlist to go to the gym have got a good habit to keep. When exercising while listening to music helps your body ignore the brains cries of fatigue.

Music has been a proven and effective means of calming, healing and behavioral therapy. I play piano, and when I listen to cello music, there is something about it that resonates with my soul. I would love to eventually learn how to play the cello, I’ve always loved the sound and have no idea why. Maybe I played in a past life? Listening to contemporary classical can bring me from 60 to zero in minutes, but with a higher tempo I can get a really good workout at the gym. With all these uses, it’s easy to let music become an ambient noise in the background at malls and in the car, but it does so much more when you actually listen.

Small Bout of Start-itus

This week has been a really rough week. Getting everything together for the wedding takes a crazy amount of time and memory; both things are in short supply here. Paul and I have been running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to make sure all the odds and ends are tied up.
This week we were also struck with a really bad case of the flu. We were both bedridden for the weekend and Monday! It was going around and we were bound to get it at some point. I guess it is better to get it now rather than later and possibly during the wedding. It was not a good flu though, I was legitimately too sick to knit.

Gradient Sock Car

In the past week I have gotten quite a few rows put on my gradient socks that are my car knitting. I can never believe how fast these knit up. It is really quite crazy. I think if I ever had to commute to work, on a train or something, I would be the most productive knitter ever!
I also started another pair of the gradient socks, as per the title. I wrote about them in yesterday’s Technical Tuesday, but here is the photographic evidence!

Gradient Toe

They were a little bumpy getting started, but no more than when you try something new. I found the pattern gave a lot of leeway and wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner pattern. I would have preferred something with more structure, which I could flagrantly disregard. I messed up on the slip one knit one of the heel flap, I had a hard time understanding the instructions so there was some ripping and re-knitting, but I didn’t want to go back too far or I would be totally lost in the pattern.

Gradient Sock 2

I think they are turning out not too bad, all things considered, and no one will really notice if the alignment of the heel is off by a little bit. I did the same thing on my first pair of cuff down socks and I thought it would really bother me, but I haven’t even noticed it. Honestly, how often do you look at the back of your heel? When the socks are neatly folded, no one notices either. This is one of the only mistakes that doesn’t haunt me, which is why I am going over it now, and not as a Monday Mishaps. It was a mistake, but not a painful one, or maybe more like a growing pain. I’m getting taller as a knitter.

Technical Tuesday: Not what I Planned

I did have a post planned for today that involved beading, but I got carried away by yet more socks. As I mentioned before I wanted to try socks from the toe up rather than the cuff down. On a whim I decided to start another pair of socks and give this technique a go.

Pattern Link

First I used Wendy D. Johnson’s pattern Toe-up Socks with a Difference. I believe the difference is because the increases are on the bottom of the foot rather than the sides, but I used this pattern more like a guideline than an actual solid truth rule.
The pattern gives you options for the cast on, but not instructions, I simply went on youtube and found Julie’s Magic Cast on. I’ve heard a lot of good things about this cast on and it’s very popular, how could anything go wrong?

There wasn’t anything that went wrong in the cast on or the pattern itself, but I think the pattern was written for those using the magic loop method of knitting socks, not dpns. The pattern only specified needle one and needle two, usually when you’re using dpns there are three. I put a lot of time and effort into liking dpns so I am not going to stop using them now. I had to improvise a little bit and use my head, but I managed to get it working and my socks on the way.

I haven’t gotten to the bind off yet, but I am going to use this technique, I found it while looking for a super stretchy bind off for sweater cuffs. I always pull up my sleeves and if the BO is not stretchy enough, it cuts off circulation, which is never good.