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.

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.

Entrelac

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.

Vapiano

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!