January 15, 2012

I Seem to Plan These Things at the Last Minute

So, in true me fashion, I found out last week that Vogue Knitting Live was being held this weekend in Manhattan, and therefore made last minute plans to go.  Which I can do, since I now don't just live close to the city, but now live close enough where attending was just a matter of hopping on the subway.

Unfortunately, having just moved (as well as had some other unforeseen cost sinks) meant I couldn't afford to take any classes, not that there was a good selection the last week of registration anyway. I ended up doing the 'I Heart NY' package, since paying for that cost just as much as paying for two day marketplace pass, and got you a lecture on top of it.  It ended up working out, as I not only went Saturday to attend the lecture as I had planned to in the beginning, but went Sunday to attend one of the free panels as well.  Though, being in the marketplace for two days didn't help my budget much.  But let me start from the beginning here.

In General
At first, I wasn't too sure about this event.  I walked around the marketplace first, saw projects I liked, but not a lot of yarn caught my eye.  Contrasting that to Rhinebeck where I saw tons of yarn I liked, it was a little disheartening at first.  I'm thinking that part of the reason was that I was trying to be more cautious with my money and space (in contrast to Rhinebeck, where I didn't have a budget or space constraints), and therefore only glanced at all the nice cashmere and silk yarns that are at these events.  The other was that the projects I've been thinking of doing were more warmer weather projects, and a lot of the yarn was cold weather stuff (on top of that, none of my project ideas were solid 'I'm doing X' things, which didn't help). The third is that this seems more geared towards the fashion-forward crowd, whereas I'm picky about what I like and it usually isn't popular (for example, I really didn't see any colors I like that wasn't some brand name yarn I can get elsewhere for the same price if I want it).  Also, I was hoping I'd find buttons for my baby sweater, but there were very few button sellers.  I don't think it helped that I've been in a weird mood for unrelated reasons. 

However, there were some interesting thing there.  As I said, I did see a couple of projects on display that I loved as a project, though I wasn't interested in the yarn used.  One of the vendors had a nice shrug with a stockinette body and cabled collar, with mid-length sleeves.  I fell in love with it the first time I saw it.  However, the yarn used was some weird yak/wool blend which wouldn't have worked for when I needed the shrug (I have a event in June that I was thinking of making a shrug for), the color choices didn't thrill me, and the yarn wasn't cheap either.  As far as I could tell, the pattern itself wasn't on sale.  The other projects I saw was just displays of patterns from magazines, and the last thing I need is a magazine subscription.  Something to think about, but nothing to do.  At first this bugged me, but now it doesn't.  I have food for thought, at least.

The Lecture
I scheduled myself to go to the 'Passionate Knitter Takes the Next Step' by Jo Packham, mainly because the time worked for me.  However, having played with this blog and the idea of trying to design more complicated patterns, I was thinking it may be helpful.

Now, don't get me wrong, the talk was interesting and Packham was funny and entertaining.  However, the talk was geared more towards those really trying to break into the industry as writers and entrepreneurs, and so a lot of the advice wasn't useful to me.  I was thinking I would get more advice on blogging, designing, and other quirks in the knitting world as a means to itself, not as a tool to market a brand so one can freelance as a creative person. I blog, design, and otherwise knit because I enjoy it and want to share, not because I'm looking to make it my job or use it to break into another job.  Hell, I think there's one person who actually knows who I am, who also knows I blog about this stuff.  I know there's very few people who know how much I truly lurk in the knitting world (and I mainly lurk.  That's what needs to change first, I think).  I guess if the lecture did anything, it showed me that I'm a lot more out of the knitting world than I was thinking, and that's ok with me.

Fashion Shows and the Panel
I found the fashion shows by accident; I just happen to be walking by when one was going on, and decided to watch.  I didn't think I'd be interested, but it ended up being one of the better things about this event.  I say that despite the fact that I am horrified at the trends coming up in the knitting world.  Maybe that's why I did enjoy it.  Because I'm horrified.

I first caught part of the Trendsetter fashion show.  I've never heard of them before this event, and their line of yarns seem to consist of, what's it called, specialty yarns?  Ribbon yarns, sparkly yarns, bobble yarns, all sorts of demented not-yarn yarns.  I was under the impression that specialty yarns were what they tried to spring on new knitters (I know that my learn-to-knit book had more than enough projects made out of Fun Fur.  Why certain people think fun fur and the like is appropriate for beginners is beyond me).  That they're the yarns big box stores sell to one in a blue moon hobby knitters.  But here they all, bobbles, sparkles, and all that jazz, in projects that models are wearing down the runway at a major knitting event.  I don't think I need to tell you that I've never liked such yarns or styles.  I wasn't happy that they seem to be picking up again, despite the fact that I shouldn't be surprised.  After all, when did those ugly fir vests, boots, and hats start selling in department stores? Last year?

Anyway, I decided to stick around and watch the next show (despite the fact that, at this point, I was tired and hungry).  This show was for Skacel, which is another company I've never heard of.  The good thing is that they didn't overdo the specialty yarns.  The bad thing is it seems like the next knitting trend is modular knitting, at least according to this company.  I'm not a huge fan of the 'bunch of squares put together' look outside of some afghans; it was one of the reasons I've gotten into knitting over crochet for such things.  They didn't change my opinion.  Another trend they used was weird garment shaping.  Now, I'm not automatically against unique shaping, but not like this.  These garments had bat wings, sweaters that looked like bags with cuffs, weird cowls attached to the garment, that kind of thing.  Yes, I like knitting rectangles too, but I rather deal with garment shaping than wear a rectangle.  Again, some of the stuff here was just reflecting store trends that I hate.  Oye.  However, there were a couple of things I didn't mind, and I have to say that swing dress is pretty neat, though I'd probably never wear such a thing if I knit it.

After this show I left to get food and go home.  That would have been the end of my Vogue Knitting Live trip, except I guess I enjoyed see all the bad fashions more than I thought, as I found myself looking at the Sunday schedule and going: 'Oh, I could go see the Vogue Knitting show at 2.'  So, I came back on Sunday in the afternoon to see the what Vogue Knitting was offering.

I have to say, while there was maybe one thing I would actually want to really wear (maybe two, if I modified the second a bit), they were a lot saner than the other shows.  There were several garments I was going: 'Oh, that looks really interesting, I wouldn't mind knitting something like that.' or even 'Hm, I wouldn't do that but that's an interesting idea.'  Of course, there were a couple of things where I went 'What the hell?', mainly a long, weirdly shaped cardigan with a long twisted attached cowl in the front (at least the other garments with cowls in this collection were not attached).  Also, cowls in the summer?  Summer ponchos?  I don't get these trends.

After this was a panel on knitting as a career, which was the second reason I went back on Sunday.  As I thought, it was interesting and amusing to hear the stories of people, some whom I've read their blogs, or just names we all have heard around the knitting world, tell their stories on how they ended up doing it for a living. 

Despite wondering around the marketplace for hours on Saturday because nothing really caught my eye, I did end up buying some yarn (of course):

This will be for a baby sweater for that baby I've been making the other things for (which, I should mention, one good thing about this event was all the knitting time I had during and between shows and events.  I got the baby hat done. Also, being surrounded by people knitting during shows was great).  I picked this yarn because it's 1) cotton and 2) wasn't in the classical pastel blue/pink colors and 3) I've never seen a colorway like that red/orange one, and I thought it'll be interesting, especially since I still don't know the baby's gender, and while I'd have no issue putting pink or flair-y things on a boy or blue on a girl, my relatives would.  So, I thought the red/orange combo would be gender neutral enough, in a short-sleeve cardigan with stripes (or maybe with sleeves, not sure yet).

When I went back on Sunday, I had plans to not buy anything else.  Not only did that not work, I also manage to make an ass out of myself.  Here's what happened:

1) As I was walking around the marketplace right before it was set to close, I passed the Knitty City booth. At the Knitty City booth were two knitwear designers with books out, both which I've heard of but never owned their books.  One happens to be a known designer who I: 1) have favorited patterns on Raverly for but never got around to making, 2) have read their blog since they were featured in Brave New Knits, and 3) just released a book I was just looking at on Amazon as something I may be interested in. 
2) I go up to the known designer's table and say 'oh, I was just looking at this book on Amazon', hereby throwing all proper social introductions out the window.  I pick up the book and start looking through it.
3) After some niceties about the book with a Knitty City staffer, I get told that the author of said book is sitting at the table (which I knew).  I go 'Oh, yes, *mumble, mumble, looking at book not people*, I know, I hang around the Internet.'  At this point I then realize that I: 1) failed to maintain proper social etiquette from the get go, 2) didn't make much sense to anyone else but myself, and 3) now sound like some deranged stalker.  Author has smiled at me, but not said anything but hello.  Unsure what to do, I just keep looking at book.
4) Knowing that there was no graceful way out now, I ask how much book is.  Another mistake.  Knitty City employee flips over book and reads price off of back (duh).
5) I ask to buy book, hand book I'm holding to author.  I still haven't bother explaining myself about the internet comment, or saying anything like 'Oh, I've read your blog' or anything to that nature because I'm afraid of sounding more like a crazy idiot.
6) At this point, another person reads my name tag and asks about where I live.  I tell her that I just moved.  Turns out, she lives in the same 'hood and informs me that there are a lot of knitters there and they meet up.  I mention that I 'didn't know that because I didn't find it on the Internet' (why did I say that?), and I live on the other side of the 'hood from the place she was pointing out they meet.  She did at least tell me a Raverly group for knitters in the area. I make mental note to check it out.
7) Author hands book back.  I say thank you at least two times.  Author thanks me.  I look around and bow away from table to pay for book.

So, the end result is that I bought something completely unplanned, and there's a well known designer who may think I'm a complete idiot. Oye.  But, hey, I have a signed knitting book, and the note is very nice despite my, um, behavor.  And there are a couple of patterns in there I would love to do once I get the time and money.

I had fun, believe it or not.  Even it was the 'hey, let's see what absurd thing we can see today' kind of fun.  It also made me think about what I'm doing as a knitter, and where I want to go with my hobby.  That's something I'm still thinking about, though it did lead me to do yesterday's post.  Because, honestly, I know I'm talking to myself right now.  I don't really participate in the knitting world.  I just lurk, and think that's enough.  What this event let me see is that it's not enough.  Even if I sound like an idiot at first, I need to participate more, talk more, share more.  Because, after all, one of the things that attracted me was that there is a 'knitting community'.  That's impressive in its own right.  And I don't have to make it my job to participate, though I have to keep in mind that I am a budding intermediate knitter/crocheter and not a designer, despite the fact that I have two designs on this blog.  They're basic; I haven't done anything yet.  However, the other fact is that I can learn to be a hobby designer, but I can't rush the process or do it alone.  My goal, therefore, is to get to a point where I do have some better designs, and to not get frustrated when my fantastical ideas that I have right now don't work at first.  To sit down and do, instead of dream, and to do for the knitting community.

Also, I hope that for next year, I can afford a class or two.  Because I think one of the better things about this event is the classes, and honestly, they would have helped me a lot more.  But that is life.

Oh, and I do have pictures from the event, but they're on my phone, and I'm not sure if I'm allowed to share them, as most of them are of one of the shows.  Sorry.

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