Final Day for NYC

This morning we slept in until 9:30AM!! It really didn’t feel like a sleep in, but it was a lot better than getting up in time for classes again.

For breakfast we did the buffet in the hotel. It was really good! There was an omelet station and every other breakfast food under the sun. There were doughnut holes, or timbits to Canadians, and I watched an eight or nine year old girl pile her plate with them. The look on her mother’s face was priceless. Paul and I managed to squeeze some fruit and veggies in.
We drove by the Museum of Natural History, you know, where Ross Geller works.

We drove by the Museum of Natural History, you know, where Ross Geller works.

After a HUGE breakfast, Paul and I checked out of the hotel and headed down to the MET. I am not going to go into everything we looked at because A) there was a lot of it and B) I wouldn’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t gone yet. I’ll just say; it’s worth a visit.
You've heard of the world's tiniest violin, playing for you? Paul and I found it at the MET.

You’ve heard of the world’s tiniest violin, playing for you?
Paul and I found it at the MET.

By the time we got through the MET, it was time to head back to the hotel and grab our stuff. We took a taxi to meet the air port transport, took the air transport to the air port and started getting checked in.
While Paul and I were waiting in the security line, I noticed a woman in the adjacent line with a short-sleeved cardigan. I was looking at it and I thought it looked handmade. I caught her eye and asked if she made it herself, when she answered in the affirmative, I asked if the ladies were coming from Vogue Knitting Live? As it turns out we were both coming from the Marriot Marquis. They were really friendly and even though we only talked for a couple minutes, it was really nice to connect with new knitters. I love it when you meet a co-knitter in a random place. I feel like we are part of a secret club. I really hope they add me to Ravelry, I find it really interesting to link up with people on the other side of the country. Everyone always has different ideas about yarns, patterns and techniques, depending on where they’re from.
The plane ride was uneventful; I got quite a bit of sock knitting done while we were waiting, and on the flight. I actually had to rip out a few rows because I decreased way too much. I guess I went on auto pilot for a while, so I had to puck up 64 teeny tiny sock stitches on a plane; while in flight. I’ve been listening to the Knit More Girls podcasts lately and they always have a segment entitled, ‘When Knitting Attacks’. This was my knitting attacking.
Paul’s brother was waiting to pick us up from the airport.
NOW! Paul and I have a colleague at work, who was telling us about Mighty Taco in the weeks preceding our departure. Dino, mission completed. On the way home form the airport, we stopped at a Mighty Taco. I didn’t manage to get any before photos, but here is the aftermath.
We all made a pit stop at the washroom in Mighty Taco, and on the way home, Paul’s brother said, “Man, I bet the people that work there see some TRULY horrible things in that washroom.” After which, there was a slight pause, and we all exploded with laughter. I would suppose a fast food taco place would rank in the top ten washrooms you should be very careful visiting.
The border was a breeze and we were able to get to Paul’s parent’s place in St. Catharines. Of course, the instant we walked in, we were fed. Paul’s mom had put together enough Vietnamese food to feed a family much larger than Paul and I. We got to catch up with them while Paul and I ate.

Obviously the best part was getting to see Paul’s youngest brother Patrick, HI PAT!!! I am currently writing this post in the car on the way home from their house. I haven’t completely decided if I am going to post the photo I snapped of Pat before we left. I think I will wait to see if it is a good quality photo. I do hate posting blurry photos.

Oh Pat, you're lucky enough that I needed one more photo to round the layout of the page.

Oh Pat, you’re lucky enough that I needed one more photo to round the layout of the page.

I am looking forward to being home and seeing the cats. Hopefully they’re happy to see us and don’t give any attitude. No one gives the cold shoulder like a Siamese. I am just going to pet the cats and go to bed. There will be no semblance of unpacking tonight; just sleep. I’ll get to those bits tomorrow after work.
I may wait until Friday to post again. It really depends on my progress of the Coolbreeze Cardigan. I am actually thinking about doing it with elbow length sleeves. After attending Amy Hurzog’s lecture about knitting to flatter, it might look best on me. I think I will poll the ladies at my LYS and see what the general consensus is. Anyone who has an opinion, please comment and let me know what you think!

Day Four NYC

Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2014 is officially concluded! Today was long and exhausting, but it was still worth it. I am really not sure how I am going to fare at work on Tuesday… lots of caffeine perhaps….

Time Square

This morning I had a class that taught us to design patterns using variegated yarns. The instructor was Louisa Harding, and the course was geared more towards long colour shifts and creating symmetrical garments. I did pick out a few things from her samples that I can’t wait to knit. This would, of course, involve finishing off my current queue entirely… said no knitter ever. Happy thoughts though; I may be able to get it down to a reasonable amount, if I don’t eat, sleep or work for the next couple months, or years.

After class Paul and I went for lunch at the Olive Garden. Those who know me are rolling their eyes, because they know my love of bread sticks, and pasta. I returned to the hotel in a carb infused haze, and fought the itis to learn short rows. I had to run up to the coffee shop at break to make it through.

 

Short Row Saavy was with Laura Bryant, again. It was a much bigger class, but she was just as charming, if a little more stressed. I caught onto short rows fairly quickly and plan on making many a bust dart in the future. I am sure this will be one of those skills you kick yourself for not getting into sooner.

After my last class, I went back to the room and stared blankly into space for a little bit. After that I managed to compose myself enough to start this post, and picked up my socks again. The socks I am knitting with the hand dyed yarn from Chicago. I managed to turn the heel and start on the gusset. I didn’t really think the stripes through. All these classes on designing with variegated yarns and I didn’t realize that I would have much thicker stripes on the heel since I was only working back and forth. I am going to play my extreme fatigue card on that one. I brought this sock around with me for mindless knitting while I was waiting for classes to start, or in the airport.
Around 7pm Paul and I went for dinner. We decided to go to Virgil’s just off Broadway and 44th Street. I heard someone in one of my classes recommending it, but I couldn’t remember what it was called. When I googled ‘best places to eat in time square’ it was on the list and I recognized the name. This was by far the best BBQ joint I have ever been to. First of all, it took about 10 minutes for our food to come out. I wish I had timed it because I KNOW we spent longer deciding what to have than waiting for it.

 

Paul ordered oh so eloquently named ‘Pig Out’ which consisted of a little bit of ribs, pulled pork, BBQ chicken and brisket with two sides. I ordered the grilled chicken salad. I was a little apprehensive about getting a salad. Not only because there is the potential of being mocked for all eternity, but sometimes restaurants specializing in grilled meats don’t have the best salad. I fretted and worried that I was going to get a plate of iceberg lettuce with some sad looking bagged bacon bits. I was very VERY pleasantly surprised! Not only was it a mixed green salad with romaine and baby spinach, but it was huge. I actually feel quite comfortable calling it a ‘man’s’ salad. The bacon bits were square inch CHUNKS of bacon, the chicken was grilled to perfection and seasoned. There was fresh avocado, cucumber, tomatoes and grilled onion. At first I thought the grilled onion would be strange, but they were at the perfect point of not too soft and not too crunchy. Paul and I shared his platter and my salad, so I got to try all the meat. It was perfect! The ribs were char grilled, which is different from what I am used to, but amazing nonetheless. I got to try brisket, which was a first for me, and I liked it. I would highly recommend this place to anyone visiting the city.
Left: Paul and I at the M&M Store with Red Right: Swarovski encrusted leather jacket... for real.

Left: Paul and I at the M&M Store with Red
Right: Swarovski encrusted leather jacket… for real.

After dinner we walked around and picked up some souvenirs for family, stopped at starbucks and headed back to the hotel. I started hitting that impenetrable wall of tiredness in the hallway leading to our room. Paul was walking ahead of me and just kept getting further and further ahead. Either he was deliberately messing with me, or I am ready for bedtime. Without further ado, I wish to you. Goodnight!

Day Two NYC

Day two of New York City knitting adventure complete!

This morning I had the class Hand-Painted Yarn: Customizing a Palette with Natural and Botanical Dyes with Rhonda Fargnoli. It was really REALLY interesting. You can make dye out of just about any plant! Rose pedals, violets, goldenrod, all flowers with natural colour! I’ve decided that is what I am going to do with any flowers Paul buys me in the future.
I actually took my first step into the realm of dyeing and bought a dye sample kit. They’re going to ship it home to me, but it has the five key plants that make the vivid colours. You may look forward to seeing hand painted yarn here in the future!
Lunch was at the Hard Rock Café, sorry to all the foodies reading, but Paul needed to get his collector glass.
After lunch was my class looking good coming and going; creating fabric with two attractive sides. I’ve never done a cable scarf because one side would be lovely and amazing, while the other side would be very ugly. However, Melissa Leapman taught us several stitches that may not be the same on both sides, but are very attractive on both sides. I also learned the basics of double knitting, which is very close to the linen stitch pattern; you just don’t do the wrong side purl-wise. I was dying for more of these stitches so I ran down to the marketplace and bought her Stitchionary. I think it will make a particularly good addition to my library.
I checked out the 6th floor market place for the little bit of time I had, and found someone who created… knitted glass! Apparently the process includes, knitting with wax, creating a mould, melting out the wax and piping glass into said mould. They are AMAZING! If I didn’t have a wedding to pay for, I would be headed home with a lot of knitted glass. There is a link to her work here.
My next engagement was Amy Herzog’s lecture, Knit to Flatter. The content was very interesting and mostly regarding what aspects of garments look best on what body types. It was a very captivating lecture and Amy did a great job of making it fun, not just a one sided lecture. She was hilarious and obviously didn’t stand on a figurative soapbox to tell you exactly how things should be. I usually go into a class or lecture and take everything with a grain of salt. Some teachers and speakers are really set in their ways and cannot imagine how their way would not be the best way for someone else. While I go into all lectures with a very flexible headspace and prepared to drill through a class or lecture to the core of what they’re trying to teach me. I didn’t have to do that with this lecture. Amy openly admits that you need to adjust things for your own purposes. She handed out bare bones tools and let you decide how to use them and how they would best benefit you. I really REALLY enjoyed her lecture and was completely captivated by her.
Immediately after Amy Hurzog’s lecture I went to the cocktail reception party. There were some hors d’oeuvres and wine. I wandered and found a few people I had seen from my classes earlier in the day. I also met a few new people whilst there! We made plans to sit together during the Gala tomorrow night. I suggested someone send up a flare when they found a seat, but I think the hotel personnel would frown upon that.
Dinner was much better than the Hard Rock Café. Some of the ladies in my second class were talking about food and where to eat nearby. The mentioned that 8th and 9th avenue have smaller restaurants that were less touristy, twice as good and half as expensive. Paul and I decided to just walk down there until we found something that either smelled really good or specifically heard something calling our name. As luck would have it, I noticed Chelsea Grill by Hell’s Kitchen. I had heard several people talking about Hell’s Kitchen and how mind-blowing the food was; so we stopped in there.
I cannot say enough about this place. The food was amazing, the service was great! It wasn’t a huge restaurant with an impersonal staff; everyone worked as part of a team. I think there were 5-6 employees working in the seating/bar area, and they all tag teamed off everyone else. A waiter picked up some dishes from our table before our waitress got there, and another waitress processed our payment while the waitress who helped us most of the time was helping another table.
Paul ordered chicken wings to start, and I got the blacked chicken Caesar salad. Both of these were incredible; my chicken was seasoned and cooked to perfection, while Paul’s wings were straddling the line between flavour vs. sauciness.
For the main entrée we shared bacon wrapped meatloaf with smashed potatoes and fried spinach. I don’t even know how to describe how good this meatloaf was, but if a picture is worth a thousand words… here is the rest of my post.

Day One NYC

Holy exhausting day Batman! We’re here, we made it, and actually did some looking around.

Our flight was at 8:30 this morning, which meant we had to wake up at 4:00AM in order to get ourselves to the airport. I thought this was going to be really brutal, but I was surprisingly chipper. I must have woken up at the perfect moment in my sleep cycle, because I felt really good.

View from the plane window

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Most of our stuff had been packed and was already in the car. Paul and I rushed around getting all the last minute details pulled together and headed off. We met Paul’s brother in St. Catharines and he graciously drove us across the boarder at this absurd hour in the morning.
The border guard was quite amusing; he started off with the usual questions like citizenship, reason for visit, etc. However when he heard we were on our way to NYC for a knitting conference, he started asking me about knitting. He made sure it was indeed me who was doing the knitting, and asked if I liked it and how I signed up for this show. I was beginning to be concerned he wasn’t going to let us cross because he didn’t believe us. Before anything too drastic happened, he abruptly allowed us to go on our merry way. Everyone attributed it to the fact that nothing much probably happens on the early morning shift and he has to take his kicks where he can get them.
After arriving at the airport and getting checked in, we had a bit of a wait. There were no delays so we got to sit there and have an extremely healthy airport-food breakfast… and coffee…. Lets not forget the coffee…
The plane was a very small model, the same size as the one we took on our way to Chicago; this one was much newer. The ride to Chicago was rough, you could feel every little bump and jostle, it was also a lot more claustrophobic. This plane somehow seemed more open concept; while it was still small, I wasn’t gnawing off my seatbelt in order to be freed.

There was a channel with flight info on it and once the speed came up as this.

Instead of taking public transit to the hotel, we took a shuttle to Bryant Park. This meant we were on a bus in New York traffic. I swear I am not exaggerating when I say we cleared some obstacles by inches. While we were driving I looked at the cars around us and think I counted a grand total of three or four without dents, dings scratches or scrapes… in some cases all of the above. I think this bus ride shaved a few years off my life, next time… we take the subway.
Paul and I found the hotel at 12PM, check in wasn’t until 4PM, but we thought we would take the chance. Amazingly, our room was ready. We got to drop off all our luggage before heading out to lunch.
Lunch, the thing I had been waiting for! Since we left Chicago, I’ve been pining away for Vapianos. It was the BEST pasta I had ever been to and I miss it… a lot. I was so excited when I heard there was one in New York, every time I thought of it my mouth instantly filled with saliva. Needless to say, that is where we went for lunch. It was still really good, but it was better in Chicago. It will hold me over for the time being, it’s only nine more months until I am back in Chicago!

Funniest name dessert EVER!

The Vapianos was out near Union Square Park, so we walked off lunch and looked around. Of course there was a lululemon there, how could there not be? I checked it out, but it seemed to be stocking the same things as the one back home. I felt much better after that. I was worried they were going to carry new and exciting things I had not seen before.
After we were done meandering around Union Square, Paul and I took the subway back to Time Square. While walking around in the labyrinth that is the NYC subway systems, I noticed these signs that had some kind of caution about rats. I didn’t really pay too much attention, but while we were waiting to head back to Time Square, I saw a rat on the tracks with a huge piece of bread in its mouth. Man that little bugger was quick! I tried to get a photo, I already had my camera out and ready, but he eluded me.
Now having said that… why I was trying to take a picture of a rat in a subway is beyond me. I am going to play the brain damage card, combo-ed with 4AM wake up time. I’ll try not to do too many more silly things while we’re here… And that sentence is why I am going to get Murphy-ed really badly tomorrow, mark my words.
Having taken the subway back to Time Square, Paul and I walked up 5th Avenue and checked out the stores. Mostly debating whether or not security would take one look at us and throw us right back out. We actually did stop into a couple stores, including the Tiffanies flagship store. There were so many shiny things in that building I don’t know how people can carry on actual conversations!
We also stopped by the Apple flagship store and looked around. The outside and stairs were made completely of glass. It was interesting trying to walk up them and took an inordinate amount of concentration.
Next was Central Park; having done quite a bit of walking we opted for the horse drawn carriage tour. It was only about 20 minutes, but very informative. The guide pointed out places where movies had been filmed, gave history on the park, and pointed out the condos of notable people living beside the park. The guide was an older man who used his crop to point more than urge the horse into movement. Of which I was glad, it was no small stick and I found myself ducking a couple times when he pointed out noteworthy attractions. Let just say, the two of them had character.
We headed back to the hotel and I ran downstairs to register for the conference. Once we had all those ducks in a row, Paul and I looked around the hotel, figured out the schedule for the next couple days, and went to dinner.
Lisa! I went to Carmine’s! It is actually one street over from our hotel with an alley that directly connects the two of them. I could literally throw a stone and hit it.
When Paul and I first walked in, the place was PACKED. It was going to be a 30ish minute wait, so I put my name in and we sat down at the bar. At this point I started to creep what other people were eating; just to get a feel for the place. First thing I noticed, the portions were HUGE! Absolutely humongous! Second thing I noticed, the prices were really high. For example, the appetizer Caesar salad was $27, I was thinking to myself, what the hell is on this salad?! A quarter chicken? Golden croutons?! As it turns out, the dishes are family sized, so one dish is supposed to feed 2-3 people. I ordered the Caesar salad and ravioli for Paul and myself; between the two of us, we couldn’t finish it. The food was amazing though, thanks for the recomendation!
I have quite a few classes during the next two days and I am currently dying from sleep deprivation. I wish you all goodnight and I will post tomorrow’s shenanigans on the morrow!

The Night Before Day One

Vogue Knitting Live tomorrow morning!!! I am just a little bit excited, if you can’t tell.

I haven’t finished my Coolbreeze Sweater yet; I just have to finish the sleeves and button band. Although there was a fatal flaw in my plan to finish in time for VKL 2014… buttons. I knew, somewhere in the back of my mind, that I needed buttons to finish said sweater, but the thought never really occurred to me in real time. I never thought, “Hey, I should pick up some buttons.”

Here is a teaser to hold you over until I am actually finished!

Theoretically I could finish off the sweater without the buttons, but I like to have them right there to determine size and spacing. I am going to look around at VKL and see if there are any really cool ones. I have also been meaning to check out the button store in Toronto. Hopefully I will find some at VKL; I think it would be nice and sentimental to get them while on a trip. I am going to take it with me and maybe I can finish it off while I am there!
I had to stop knitting it last night just before bed and start packing. I still have homework to complete for my classes Friday. Luckily there is only one class I have homework for and I am going to polish that off tonight. I repeatedly tried to convince Paul that he should knit my swatches, but he kept dodging my requests. Maybe I could negotiate more on that point if I played more of the video games he’s into.
I am keeping this post brief since we have an early flight tomorrow. I will also have much more to tell you then as well!