Knitcircus Socks!

Just a quick mid week post because I finished the first pair of gradient socks!

This is knit from one pair of sock cakes I bought from Knitcircus at Vogue Knitting Live. I got three in total, so there will be more. Maybe next time I will do a more complicated pattern that will offset.
The simple ribbed sock is a really nice simply knit. Easy and quick they make the perfect gift. With Christmas coming up, fast simple knits are something I am looking for.

Swinging Back

Well Paul and I have been home for just over a week and are re-integrating into our lives slowly. I had hoped that it would be home and all normalcy would return. However, exactly a week ago, an illness in the family has prevented this. My work schedule has been hit and miss because Paul and I have been back and forth from the hospital. I have done a bit of hospital-wait knitting, but my nephew commandeers most of my attention.

Since returning, I’ve finished Carol’s Husband’s sweater. Other than being slightly tight in the armpits, it fits well. I gave her some samples of Eucalan wool soak just in case the slightly sheep-y smell of the Lopi bothered him. I know it bothers me sometimes. I was glad I didn’t finish it before I went to Chicago because I learned some really good tips for sewing a zipper into knitted garments.
After I finished that sweater I started working on my grandma and grandpa Bob’s sweaters. Technically I am working on grandpa Bob’s first. I figured ,the back is usually the hardest because it is the biggest, so I would start with the back of the biggest size. Grandma wanted something that was cabled and classy. Nothing too over the top, and comfy enough that they would really enjoy wearing them. We found a pattern for a beautiful cable pullover with a polo style collar. I purchased the pattern and began the necessary calculations to cast on. Looking at the pattern, I realized the entire back of the sweater is also worked with cables as well. The pattern is quite intricate so I briefly considered just knitting the back, but I would know it was supposed to be cabled. Curse my mania for perfection! I made quite a bit of progress regardless. I am almost ready to do the arm-hole shaping!
I’ve also casted on a pair of socks with the gradient yarn I bought from Knitcircus at Vogue Knitting Live. I can’t wait to see how the gradient turns out! Unfortunately I don’t have any good photos yet, but I do have a photo of Paul and Ethan getting ready for bed! Hopefully everything will work out for the best and all will return to normal soon!

Day Four!

Today was the last day of Vogue Knitting Live; last classes, last trips to the market place, goodbyes. It was a great day though!

In the morning I had Fingers First with Amy Detjen. We learned how to do gloves (not mittens) from the fingers down. By doing the fingers first, you get a better fit to your whole glove. I was a little nervous about this class because I’ve never done gloves before. I’ve done mittens yes, relatively complicated mittens too. I really wasn’t sure what to expect. We were asked to bring a 5X5 gauge swatch and 400-500 yards of fingering or sport weight yarn. I picked Dye-version sock yarn in the colour Morgan LeFay. It is a cool green and purple colour. I ended up bringing two skeins because I didn’t want to run out during class. I really don’t think I am going to need two. I guess I will have to make a hat… and scarf… and Paul a matching set. Oh well, tis the nature of the knitting beast, and lets be honest… can a person really have too much yarn?
 Any way, I LOVED Amy’s class, she had so many little tips and original ideas I am going to use in my every day knitting. I am also totally in love with gloves now too. The way Amy taught them… they’re shockingly easy.
I am very close to being done my glove that I started in class. I don’t think I will be able to stop. After class I was in the marketplace scouting out appropriate glove yarns. I ended up buying a couple skeins from Nerd Girl Yarns that would work well. They’re Supernatural themed, I know Anthony will be jealous of my Gank Demons gloves. Muahahahaha eat your heart out Mr. I-can-buy-that-in-a-store.
After getting some Shibui yarn in their beautiful colour UV (really intense purple), Paul and I went out for the obligatory Chicago deep-dish pizza. It was massive. Together we could not finish a 9” pizza, although I really thought of it as more of a quiche, or a quicha.
During lunch Paul and I talked about the itinerary for the next few days and if we should go back to the marketplace once more before it closed. I ended up going back again for a second round while Paul took some of my yarn to the balling station. This way, I have the opportunity to cast on while I am here.
At the Knitche booth, I bought more yarn for another gradient scarf… or two. Kathy’s employee Amanda tried really hard to sell me on the colour honey. Apparently if the bag was not opened, she may not have had the opportunity to buy a skein either. I wasn’t completely sold on it at first, but it ended up working so well in my colour combinations I got two. I don’t know if Kathy was more likely to throw Amanda or myself out of her booth by the scruff of the neck. I guess I had the advantage of being a customer while Amanda had no such protections, lol. It was all in good fun. I had such a great time with them every time I visited their booth, which was more often than I could normally afford. Everyone was very helpful and extremely nice, Kathy even took my eight balls of Shibui back to her store to wind them into equal thirds (as called for by the pattern). I will be visiting her store on Wednesday and picking up my yarn before we head home.
The marketplace closed at 4pm and for me, that was the official end of Vogue Knitting Live Chicago 2013. I am definitely going to do it again; I met so many people and loved talking to so many different knitters from different backgrounds and experience levels. Each person was different in their own way and had something special to offer to this conference. This is a place where I really feel accepted and competent. I don’t think you know this is a feeling you’re missing until you find it somewhere, and after you’ve found that kind of acceptance, it’s hard to live without. I have no doubt I will see many more Vogue conferences.
For the next few days, Paul and I plan to see the sights. We bought a Chicago Go pass, which gets you into all these different tours, activities, museums, etc. We have two days to see as many as we can. Resting for the rest of tonight was probably a good idea, because we may be very busy in the next couple days.

Day Three!

What an amazing day! It was packed full and I love it!

This morning I almost slept in because I forgot to set an alarm the night before. Thanks to Paul’s quick thinking, his alarm went off. I got in a quick breakfast and headed down to my first class of the day, To Dye For.
This was probably the class I had been looking forward to the most. I have been dying to dye (haha see what I did there) my own yarn. Sometimes, you have something in your head and you just cannot find the yarn you’re imagining. With these skills I will be able to experiment and hopefully find another great creative outlet for myself!

The class was great, not only did we learn about dyeing yarn, but we got the dye a skein in class. We learned how to mix the dye and what ingredients to add for certain effects.

The teacher of the class was a yarn dyer herself. She is the owner of the yarn producer Lorna’s Laces. Although I feel her husband should get an honorable mention since he was the one pulling out all the tables, helping with set up and thoroughly rinsing all the steaming hot yarn. There is a point where you microwave it inside saran wrap to set the colour.
I met so many people in the first class of the day! Everyone got to get up, move around and socialize. I collected cards from a few people and handed out a few of my own. I hope everyone adds me to ravelry! I would love to be friends and creep the projects you are working on.
It was actually in this class that one of the ladies asked if anyone was interested in tickets to the gala. I hesitated because I had not purchased a ticket since this trip was going to be lavish enough as it was, but perhaps they were going on sale. The gala was tonight after all. I cautiously asked how much they were, not wanting to give her false hope if she was supposed to be selling them. In a completely shocking turn of events, she had a ticket that she wasn’t going to use! I stared at her in dumb shock for a couple seconds, and then looked around to see if anyone was going to jump up and claim it. No one did. She explained, she was here with her husband and it was not worth it to get him a ticket and they already had dinner plans. I stutteringly asked if I could pay her for it or give her something. These tickets were expensive! She handed it to me, told me to go and said that would be payment enough. I replaced her ticket with my card and told her to get in touch and that I would write about the gala on here. However, that isn’t happening until later. Muahaha, I know, the suspense is going to kill you.
The class ended a bit early, so I hopped over to the marketplace and checked out the fourth floor. Oh man, it was awesome! The first stall in the door had needle cases on sale. Most sewn needle cases have room for all your needles and accessories, but the pouches are either random sizes or not labeled. I managed to fall in love with two, so I got them both. One is a case for my interchangeable needles and the other is a double pointed needle case with room for a few circulars. With those two cases I can store all my needles!
I also found a booth for Knit Circus! I’ve only seen their yarn on Etsy and I’ve been circling like some kind of crafty vulture. Waiting for the right time. In person I wasn’t able to restrain myself any more and ended up getting two sock cake packages. I am very VERY excited about this. We also talked about how she dyes her yarn and what a huge pain in the neck long gradients are. Knit Circus is the producer of beautiful yarns and has one of the nicest owners I have ever met! I hope we stay in touch!
While I was in the marketplace I scoped out a couple vendors for Johanne. I will bring their cards home and let her check them out. A couple even offered to send packages with samples and price lists.
When my half hour in heaven was up, I came back to the room for lunch with Paul. We had planned to go to this Italian place across the street from the hotel (I know, more, Italian). During the dyeing class, people were talking about it and how amazing the food is. The good reviews kind of sealed the deal for me.
Paul and I just walked over, this restaurant is on the other side of the street immediately after you leave the hotel. When you are greeted by the hostess, they give you a piece of cardboard the size of a Visa. You are instructed to order at the counters and tap the card on the glass when prompted. The chef’s are the ones who take your order, they make the food right there in front of you. You then take your food and your card back to a table of your choice. The cards record everything you’ve ordered with the prices and when you go to leave, that is how you pay. It’s a clever way to run things and the food was really REALLY good. A waitress even circled the floor with desserts!
After that I was off to my next class, Tips and Tricks for more Professional Garments. There was a lot of talk about gauge (theme of the weekend), but we also learned quite a bit about which cast on to use in which situations. Very interesting topic and the class was chocked full of small to medium knitting faux pas that EVERYONE includes in their work.

An example of the cast on taught to us today. It’s hard to make out, but the stitches look rolled at the bottom.
This cuff is totally reversible.

After that class, I had Paul meet me in the marketplace so I didn’t go too crazy. I went back to Nerd Girl Yarns and bought a skein of Tardis coloured yarn. I also entered their giveaway on twitter. We had to post a picture of ourselves with the Nerd Girl mascot. It’s for a free skein, so cross your fingers for me!!
After the marketplace closed at 6:30pm I headed over to the Red Lacquer Room and got in line for the Gala. I met with a couple ladies from my classes and they told me about last year’s gala. Apparently this year lived up to last year and the prizes just as good.

What dinner looked like, for my foodies.

Alice Starmore was the speaker this year; she shared patterns with us from her re-released book Tudor Roses. There are many new patterns as well as updates on the previously released patterns.
Overall, it was a great day! I made a lot of new friends and learned a ton! On the docket for tomorrow; knitting gloves fingers first and the hunt for tiny knitted mochimochi monsters in the marketplace. If you find them, you win a book! I’ll post yet another update tomorrow!

Day Two!

Classes started at 9am today, so I laid out everything the night before. I planned on sleeping until 7:30am, then showering and trudging though the typical morning routine. However, I woke up at 7:20 and could not go back to sleep; I’ve been looking forward to these classes for a long time, I guess I got a little Christmas morning syndrome.

After the morning routine, Paul and I went into the lounge for breakfast. It was a pretty standard small breakfast buffet with, fruit, oatmeal, cereal, French toast, juice, etc. After breakfast, I was extremely antsy to go find my classroom, but it was much too early.
While I went back for another scan of the food, the couple at the next table started talking to Paul. As it turns out, they drove from Arkansas. This was her second year here and we chatted about the differences from last year and all the people you meet at these events. I am eternally grateful that I was able to kill some time talking to them, because I would have been 45 minutes early to my first class. I am really not that keen, I swear!
In class, I sat next to a lovely lady from California. We helped each other out through the class and shared patterns. She also gave me some excellent information on felting.
Snip n’ Zip: Steeks and Zippers, was one of the classes I have been looking forward to the most! Paul prefers cardigans to pullovers, but pullovers are much MUCH easier to knit. Especially when you’re doing any kind of colour work. After this class, I am not longer scared to cut right through the centre of a sweater. I may actually be looking forward to it…

My homework, properly steeked

After class, Paul and I walked down to an Italian restaurant a couple blocks from the hotel. I will tell you this; I have never had such rich alfredo sauce in my whole life, the noodles were made in the restaurant as well. It was amazing pasta and huge portions. I think I gained a whole 10lbs in that one meal. Lets hope touring around the city for the rest of the week will burn off that one meal
The second half of the day was significantly busier. I took Designing you own Sweater pattern at 2pm-5pm, then had to run upstairs quick to scarf down some dinner from the lounge. I made my way to the marketplace and ran around trying to find a ball of solid colour, worsted weight, cotton and one of 100% wool.
You would think this task would be easy at a knitting convention; think again. It is a convention; therefore, retailers brought their specialized products. I saw one booth that sold nothing but silk and cashmere.

Left: Interesting cardigan with entrelac detail
Right: Ribbon yarn

I managed to find a booth with worsted weight cotton, but no wool. I grabbed the cotton in a colour that I can only describe as a dark minty green. One ball down, I started to hunt for the wool. The only booth I found with solid colours and worsted weight, was not actually selling their yarn. They were giving away a free skein with the purchase of their book. The book was only $20, I needed the yarn, and my 6pm class was only minutes from starting. I got it and jogged for my class.
Five ways to Felt 6pm-9pm was taught by a cheerful lady, Shannon Okey, who really knew her stuff when it came to felting fibers. The homework for this class was to knit two 4X4 swatches and wash one on a hot water cycle. I used the Cascade Eco Wool, which is 100% wool and felted very well. Shannon said she purposely made the homework description vague because she wanted the class to see all the different results that come from different wool, water, washing machines, pH levels, soap vs. plain water, etc. There were extremely varying degrees of success; some swatches were shriveled and completely texture less, while others only shrank in size, or had no change at all. My main directive here was to learn about felting in general and how to apply (or not apply) that information to my knitting in general. I picked up a felted toque at the one of a kind festival last year and I love it. This hat is warm and dense, while still being adorable. I did learn the theory on how to make one and will have to apply it at home.

The materials and one finished felting experiment

It was a very interesting class, but it is not something I will be completely engrossed in. I am all about the clean lines and neat edges and while you can make felting neat, that it not the unrefined truth behind it. I will definitely dabble every now and again. Felting strikes me as something my mom would enjoy and find really cool. I’ll have to give her a basic overview and let her take it from there.
Now that my fullest day is over I feel like I will be able to relax into my other classes. There are two tomorrow and one on Sunday. I am really REALLY looking forward to the dying class tomorrow morning. It’s something I’ve had on my mind for a while. Hopefully I’ll be able to give another update tomorrow night.