Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vogue Knitting LIVE ~~sigh~~

Good evening!  Well, I'm sitting in my hotel room, wishing I knew sooner that the Rangers home opener was tonight but still thankful I could watch Downton Abbey on a television, and I'm decompressing.  The good news is that the Blackhawks are on the radio (in case you thought all I did was knit).  My status on facebook earlier said, "I'm knitted out."  Wow...what a fun weekend.  Lots of great experiences, new friendships and contacts, some free stuff AND paid-for stuff...and a ton, a TON of inspiration.

In case any of you are curious, here is a recap of the stories I've written this weekend, and there is still one more to come.  Maybe two, but most likely one:

This morning, I audited Franklin Habit's "Knitting Tessellations" class, and of course geeked out because I love math and I'm not ashamed to admit it.  Then I went to the Marketplace...I waited all weekend to choose if I was going to buy anything, because lord knows I don't need anymore yarn, but at the same time, I have been pretty good about knitting stuff and giving it away. I bought two skeins of sock yarn from an independent dyer named Dragonfly Fibers.  Their colors are amazing...I saw her stuff in Chicago and was just 360 degrees of impressed.  And indie dyers are a dime a dozen.  I chose boy-sock colors this time, since my stash is full of girl-sock- and silly-sock colors.

Then...I bought a copy of Nicky Epstein's The Essential Edgings Collection.  Wow.  I don't know how her brain works, but I would love to watch the MRI with contrast as some psychiatrist asked her important knitting questions to see which sections went from blue to red and at what lightning-quick speed.  The book on the left...a thirty dollar value...was absolutely FREE!  So I think I did well, considering how much more I could have spent.

After saying goodbye to Kelly and popping my head in on a few other speakers, I met Peter for a drink and then went back to the hotel to fall over.  I actually finished the infinity scarf I was making out of my friend Renee's yarn...Renee owns an Etsy shop called the Carolina Fiber Company.  If you shop from her, you too can get yourself a gorgeous hank of her hand-spun stuff and look as fly as I do in the picture!

By the way, I cast on 321 stitches, and then just K8, P8 until I was almost out of yarn.  Then I bound off in pattern and was left with...seriously...less than five feet of yarn.  It was about 350 yards if you wanted to do it in a heavy DK to worsted weight yarn.  The yarn is slightly thick-and-thin, so I'm at about 4.75 stitches per inch, if not a bit more.

If you look at my facebook page (The Fiber Friend), you'll see a photo of me and artist Kelly Fleek.  The woman who took it actually invented a knitting tool...more on that later...and when I saw her this morning she said, "Did you see your photo?  You're so damn photogenic!"  I hope that's true...since my brains don't seem to be advancing my career as fast as I need it to, maybe I can get by on my looks.

Just kidding.

My two-year plan is actually going well...I haven't exactly ticked a bunch of items off the list, but I see the vision, and I know where I'm going.  That's actually a pretty big means the pieces will fall into place more quickly.  Trust me.

If any of you can get this blog post to Nicky Epstein...NICKY!  I LOVE YOUR BOOK!  I THINK YOU'RE A GENIUS!  (can i have a job?)

Just kidding.  Again.  But Nicky Epstein's book is amazing...this is the third time I've said that.  I mean it.  I actually met her for about two seconds in Chicago, and I either said, "Nice to meet you," or "Uhh...err...UMM...ahem..."  I honestly don't remember which sentence I uttered.

Oh well.  I'm all coherent now so maybe I'll see her on the street before I leave New York tomorrow.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New York and Famous People

Good morning, everyone...I'm sitting in the lobby of the Marriott New York Marquis, planning my day and realizing that even if there were six of me, I could not do all I wanted to do while I was here.  The flip side, of course, is that I am covering this for an internet newspaper and not here as a bona fide attendee, so I can do a little bit of everything versus doing one or two things from start to finish.

The guy in front of me on the shuttle bus from the airport to the hotel whipped his head around when we were driving down 5th Avenue, and practically knocked me out by saying, "Ooh!  There's Naomi Campbell right there!"  Aside from fearing for my life at the hands of an errant telephone, I am not exactly phased by Naomi Cambpell.  Walking around Vogue LIVE, however, I am pretty damn starstruck.

Many people in the industry of fiber arts can walk past any number of groups and not even cause the bat of an eyelash, mostly because their talent is recognized way before their faces. People like Martha Stewart and Vanna White are knitters and crocheters, but they were famous before their name was slapped on a product they licensed, so assuredly they get stopped on the street anyway.

But when you get 3,000 knitters in a hotel, and Debbie Bliss walks by, the people staying at the hotel who are there for another reason don't see a thing.  The people who are there for Vogue LIVE are squealing, poking each other in the ribs, and asking this classy English lady for her autograph on the back of their expo badges.

Currently, I can see Vickie Howell from where I am sitting; she is having breakfast and tweeted to her over 12,000 followers that she arrived last night. From my vantage point, I can see people walking past her, looking at her, trying to be respectful of the fact that she is eating with friends, but still being starstruck.  I get it.

This is different than the Oscars.  Many of the people here are not in awe of being near someone whose face is on television. Rather, they are taking master classes, taught, in some cases, by a person who actually invented a technique or style.  And this is for a craft that is well over 1,000 years old.  People are starstruck because they can feel the brain power and creativity permeating throughout each lecture hall and classroom.

Not only that, but famous people in the knitting world have one stark contrast from famous people in Hollywood.  They are all...every single one of them...nice, friendly, and humble.  In one of Debbie's lectures yesterday, someone asked her the name of her magazine, and she said, "It's just 'Debbie Bliss magazine.' Oh dear, did THAT sound funny! 'Debbie Bliss magazine...'" she said, tossing her hair about as if it were longer than chin-length.

On Thursday, I met the CEO of a little mom-and-pop company...his name is David Blumenthal.  He runs a family-owned business here in New York, and he and his predecessors (read:  relatives) have made a bit of an impact on knitting.  By the way, he is the CEO of Lion Brand Yarn.  I was standing in his office, and he was showing me all of the souvenirs he has collected over the past several years, including a photo of his grandson, the latest Blumenthal in the empire, modeling a Lion Brand Yarn pattern.  This guy is arguably one of the most powerful people in the industry, and he is essentially showing me how cute his grandson is.

I am starstruck.  Yes, these people are knitters...they are not curing cancer.  But what they are doing is using their immense talent to teach people how to make better chemo caps to donate to cancer victims, make prettier shawls for family members' weddings, and encourage budding designers how to find their way in an industry where even the most powerful of celebrity means that on some level, you are still a peer.

Good, good stuff.

Friday, January 11, 2013

What's In My Bag?

Good morning!  Today's blog post is full of links, photos, and maybe even a bit of humor!

Or not.  I'm only one green tea into my morning and I have to work the next three nights.

Anyway, I'm going to talk about all knitting, all the time.  If you are not a knitter, or you miss my old blog where I talked about disastrous dates (and there were several...if you go to the yahoo group Fraudvixen's Volumes you can read about it and I promise to give you access if you request it), then you may not enjoy this one.  I don't care...I'm not in this silly game to recruit old fans of previous topics.  I'm in it to better my life, make a little bit of money, make a difference in a couple of lives, and...well...knit.  A lot.

First, though, here is the article I wrote yesterday about a Lorna's Laces from behind the scenes...I can't thank Beth and Amanda and the crew enough for letting me into their world like this.  SOOOO fun...only thing that would have made it better would have been a ninja-like fight with the dyer so I could have MY diva turn at the dyeing table!

I also have a new design on both Ravelry and Etsy, inspired by Victorian lace but NOT Victorian lace...check it out:

And next, my non-profit idea is one step closer to reality, although in this case, the LAST step will be filing for 501(c)3 status because it can be done without grant money for a while.  But I had a dear friend draw up some monsters for me, and I am getting ready to sit down and write some patterns with those as inspiration.

Then, the kimono sweater...swear to FINALLY off the needles!  And I don't mean I transferred live stitches to a's actually almost finished.  Really!  Swear!  I just have to seam up the two sleeves and do the i-cord neckline, so I should be done right around 2015 or so.  Yesterday, I went to sleep thinking I would do that during Grey's Anatomy on the internet this morning, but that didn't happen.

I have been thinking of a design for and Franklin Habit's Templeton Square design contest...I am not sure the first idea shall come to fruition, but the second one may.  So yeah...I have to look into that.

In my bag currently, I have a pair of toe-up socks from a Crazy Zauerball, and I managed to find the inside of the ball so I could do them two at a time.  Only I didn't want to try and fiddle with two socks, two needles, and one Crazy Zauerball with string being pulled from two ends, so I'm making them two at a time separately on two separate needles.  I have the toes completed, see?

THEN...I have the cat bed.  During the Yarn Crawl, I bought three skeins of Lamb's Pride Bulky, and I thought I would make Axl a felted cat bed since he winces at me every time I take out the recycling (his current cat bed).  It's on Size 13 needles so it's whipping up in a jiffy.  I also have a cowl in the car on Size 8's that I do at the Bensenville train, or at red lights if I'm driving in rush hour, and the acrylic blanket is still there but I just need to bind it off.

So let's recap:  Templeton Square, monsters, kimono sweater, charity, socks, cat bed, cowl, acrylic blanket square.

My goal was NOT to knit one project at a time this year.  It was to knit through some of my stash.  And look at me go!  Oh, and this is how Bluto watches me knit.  When he's not holding the yarn.