Day One at Vogue Knitting LIVE traditionally includes a cocktail party reception and meet-and-greet for expo attendees who purchase the most inclusive package of the event. Some attendees, however, are more interested in learning their craft than letting loose.
"I actually had tickets to the cocktail party last year," says Jane DelFavero, a New York resident taking in the event, "but I didn't go. I was just too exhausted by the end of the day!" DelFavero is not alone in her sentiments; the organizers at Vogue Knitting LIVE offered an array of classes to be held on Friday night, in both three-hour and two-hour increments. Not only are these classes during the cocktail party, but they are also intense, interesting, non-fluff classes designed to teach the knitter a skill that can translate to lifelong improvement in his or her knitting.
In one of the three-hour classes, approximately twenty students attended "Demystifying Knitting Patterns: What the Patterns Don't Tell You," taught by Patty Lyons, director of the Lion Brand Yarn Studio located a mere thirty blocks from the event. "I teach cookie math," said Lyons to the class, indicating that there was nothing more complicated than multiplication and division when figuring out how to convert patterns to the correct size, yarn gauge, and yarn substitution.
Still, it was noted, grownups tend to over-complicate things. "Back up just one second," said one student, gaining her confidence in how to determine how much yarn is needed for a project. Lyons had an empathetic sense of humor with her pupils, going from table to table and gauging their faces to make sure they were not lost.
Across the seventh floor in the Empire Room, Portland, Oregon-based knitwear designer Star Athena taught a two-hour class entitled "Walk on the Wild Side," showing knitters different ways to use variegated yarns and how to determine what is the best way to use them. In addition to teaching the ten students how to make an appropriately-varied gauge swatch to determine how colors "pool," or sit next to each other by color within a few rows, Athena wrote charts on a flip-board and passed around a dozen samples of knitted variegated yarns in various patterns to illustrate her lessons.
The dedication of the students is shown in the class choice; the majority of classes held in the evening either had previously-emailed homework, or they required an accessory such as a calculator. Still, though, students would not have received a failing grade for not completing their homework, which in the case of Athena's class was a gauge swatch on three different-sized needles. "The great part of a two-hour class is that there is plenty of knitting time," said Athena, encouraging the class to continue knitting their own yarns while they listened and took notes.
Whether the attendees at Vogue Knitting LIVE decide to learn, shop, network, or just watch people, all will get the satisfaction knowing that the learning never stops, whether or not a cocktail party is involved.
(Click "Subscribe" to have the Chicago Knitting Examiner's articles emailed directly to your inbox.)