I'll Take Manhattan

Last week, accompanied by my friend, Dawn, and her daughter, Tia, I traveled to New York City, on my annual pilgrimage to Vogue Knitting Live (VKL). Other highlights of my trip included getting to be a member of the audience of The Dr. Oz Show, dining out in a variety of ethnic restaurants, seeing the musical Beautiful, about singer Carol King,  and spending a soul-soothing afternoon at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

At VKL I took I took a six-hour class entitled Fresh Fair Isle, taught by designer Mary Jane Mucklestone. Her class delved into color theory, with a particular focus on color value. (For those unfamiliar with the term, value refers to the lightness or darkness of a color based upon how close it is to white.)  Paying particular attention to value is essential when choosing dominant and background colors for Fair Isle knitting.

Mary Jane ended our time together by having a class discussion about our creations, where she and the members of the class provided feedback.  

My finished samples, not perfect but good practice.  (I needed to go down a needle size on the ribbing.)

Homework before our class was to cast on 48 stitches and join them in a circle using fingering weight yarn, preferably of the Shetland variety, and to complete eight rows of ribbing.   We were also supposed to bring a variety of different colors to use to create fingerless gloves/wrist cuffs. I loved having an excuse to order some Jamieson's Spindrift from Loveknitting to meet the criteria for this assignment.  I do have a wonderful assortment of this yarn sent to me by a dear friend in England, but I’ve already cast on a multi-colored shawl using that yarn.  (I really need to get back to that WIP!)

This mosaic by Tiffany on display at the Met provides its own lesson in color theory.
Love the blues and greens.  

An afternoon learning about color and Fair Isle design and knitting techniques provided an escape from navigating throngs of people on sightseeing excursions with my friend and her daughter.   While I do love the visual and physical stimulation of trucking miles around the city, the room where I sat, learned, and knit with like-minded people was a pleasant oasis in the middle of teeming Times Square.

On Friday and Saturday, the marketplace at VKL was jammed, but on Sunday morning the space was less densely packed, so I spent a wonderful couple of hours browsing the stalls and chatting with the vendors. I purchased a gorgeous hand-painted skein of Hedgehog Fibers Kidsilk Lace from Steven Be’s booth that morning. The day before, I’d also bought some balls of Rauma Tumi yarn from Wall of Wool and a pattern to make a cowl with geometric colorwork. I tried to be pretty frugal on my trip, so the only other purchases I made were a  canvas VKL tote bag and Wrapped in Color, a book of shawl patterns featuring Koigu yarns. 

 A high point of the trip to the marketplace was the opportunity to meet women representing Shetland Wool Week, including Crofthoose Hat designer, Ella Gordon.  One of the trio told me that they were in “culture shock,” so I reassured her that I would most definitely have the same sense when I visit Shetland this coming July.  I am thankful I found the three at a rare quiet moment on Friday night, as they chatted with me for a while and gave me some information that would come in handy on my visit, such as the necessity of renting a car.  When I expressed a bit of hesitation about driving on the left side (stemming from a harrowing experience in the summer of 2015), they reassured me that traffic was light and that the island where Lerwick is situated isn’t too crowded.  “You’ll probably see us,” one of them stated.  

Designer Ella Gordon is in the middle.  I believe the other two women represent the Shetland Textile Museum. 

Another positive experience was the chance I had to share knitting confessions on camera, an opportunity provided by Lion Brand Yarn.  Not only did I get to practice my public-speaking skills, I walked away with a bag of goodies that included two skeins of cashmere yarn! 

Now that I’m home, I’m looking forward to viewing The Dr. Oz Show I saw taped (when it appears on TV), and I will have to check out Lion Brand's Facebook page, to see if I made the cut in the compilation of video confessions the company is putting together.  It’s definitely time for me to stay put for a while. I went to Costco yesterday and weighed myself down with hundreds of pounds of supplies, so I plan to do a little cooking in the coming days and also to complete real estate broker orientation activities for my new company.  I also hope to finish up a shawl I am making. Like the rest of us, I have so much to cast on (and so many WIPs scattered about) and so little time.

At the airport in Charlotte, we are eager to get on our way.  


  1. What a lovely peep at your weekend! Looks super! A wonderful few days to lose yourself in I hope. Can't believe you just rustled those wrist-warmers up as a sample! Have sent you a parcel but I'll email you about that separately! E x


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