Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Tipping Point

Sorry that today's post is going to seem short and a bit scatter brained. I have been working 12-13 work days for the past two weeks now along with traveling back and forth to Boston every weekend for wedding planning. Needless to say, Broke Knitter is about to crack! I knew I had reached the tipping point when I was looking at funny Disney gifs on the bus this morning. HELP!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Yarn vs. Wine

It's a debate as old as the ages - like which came first? The chicken or the egg? How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood? - which is a better cap to a bad day? A glass of wine or some knitting?

I know this is a struggle that many of us (no, maybe it's just me?) go through every once and a while when work, personal life and commuting gets to be very stressful. With just 45 days until Randy and I tie the knot the pressure is building. Throw in the fact that I haven't been home from work before 10 pm in two weeks with no end in sight and you have all the makings for a toxic ulcer.

However, I have found the cure. It isn't yarn vs. wine - it is yarn + wine. Now of course this has to be done in moderation. Too much wine and your knitting project takes a nose dive. Too much yarn and you wind up crawling under furniture when you pull your ball for more yarn and it goes flying across the room. What you need to do to make this a perfect combination is work on an easy project - like a garter stitch hat in the round or a long and simple scarf.

It's like they always say - when life hands you grapes, make wine! Hehe

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Here Comes the Stress...I Mean Bride

With just 46 days until the wedding, I am starting to get a little bit stressed. Well, that is putting it lightly - I am super stressed! I feel like a huge big ball of nerves. Between correspondence with vendors, friends wanting to bring guests, numbers, finances, budget, it is all a blur!

But it isn't all stress. I had my first dress fitting last Saturday and it was AMAZING! I went with my mother, my sister (my Maid of Honor), and my brother's long time girlfriend (who is a bridesmaid and will be a future sister-in-law, I just know it). We all had our dresses on for the wedding together and I was so amazed at how beautiful everyone looked. My vision is finally coming together. Not everything is so up in the air now.

I was very nervous for my fitting since I haven't put the dress on in over a year. The moment I saw myself in the dress though all of my fears disappeared. I love my dress more now than the day I bought it. Now time to hit the gym!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Monday, January 28, 2013

Dollar Dollar Bills

The long wait is over! Time to talk about the Vogue Knitting Live New York City Marketplace. While this is by far one of the biggest draws for me to attend the conference, I must admit that I was very tame in the marketplace this year. I think that was mainly because I was so disappointed this year.

I mean no disrespect at all to the vendors. Each and every vendor had beautiful displays and was wonderfully helpful. However, the venue had the marketplace set up to fail.

I never minded the split level marketplace at the Hilton, but at the Marriott it just did not work out. You had to completely leave one floor's marketplace to reach the second floor. I found that very annoying. Also, the marketplace was WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY too small and narrow. In case you didn't catch my point, the marketplace was frighteningly small. I had to leave several times because I was so claustrophobic I was panicky.

I think my last major disappointment with the marketplace is that Vogue Knitting still has not figured out the timing right. If you are attending the conference in the package you have barely anytime to shop! The marketplace should be open for the preview hours the night before the conference begins when you can pick up your registration materials (i.e., Thursday of this year). It should then be open ALL DAY on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Who is with me?

I would love to hear your thoughts about the marketplace this year. Tomorrow's news - Broke Knitter had her first wedding dress fitting and a bit about the upcoming nuptials in 47 days!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Gala-Galore

I promise I will get to my comments about the marketplace, but I have to keep you guys wanting more right? Today I want to talk about the cocktail party and gala dinner at last weekend's Vogue Knitting Live.

I enjoyed this year's cocktail party much more than last year. While the venue was beautiful last year the whole process of getting on the bus and then having to wait in the lobby for a half hour before the venue opened was a pain in the behind! This year it was so lovely to simply take the elevator down a few floors. I really liked the large open layout and especially loved finding the small side room with tables and chairs to rest. I thought the food was splendid and the drinks were flowing. People really seemed to be enjoying themselves. It was also great to have some time to speak one-on-one with the teachers. It still amazes me how the celebrities, the Kniteratti, will mingle with us pleebs. I loved spending time chatting with Rosemary Drysdale about our class - boy is she a riot! The one thing that bummed me out was the silent auction and sweater auction. For starters, the sweaters were beautiful but they were displayed so far in the back of the room that I didn't see them until the party was almost over. Also, I know that the money was for a great cause but I think after spending hundreds on the conference people did not want to spend $350 on a sweater that they have the pattern for. The silent auction this year was a bit of a let down as well. Last year's auction had some really unique items like collectibles, signed book collections and artwork. I think this year the baskets were a bit of an easy way out. I was disappointed by that.

I am still not exactly sure how I felt about the gala dinner. For starters, the wait staff was incredibly rude! If you put your fork down for half a second they were sweeping up your plate and bringing the next course. I felt like I was in some sort of speed eating competition. I also was very disappointed by the keynote speaker, Karen Allen. I enjoyed the beginning of her presentation where she talked about how she fell in love with knitting but then she spent over a half hour talking about machine knitting. I am not trying to put anyone down who is a machine knitter but I just felt that the majority of the room was very let down by her emphasis on the machine knitting. I know a lot of people were also very disappointed by the fashion show winner. I was rather indifferent about that. I did really like the handsome gentleman representative from Zealana. A nice looking Kiwi if I may say so! The best part of the gala dinner for me was sitting with Jean Moss and her son. She had our whole table wearing the silly orange paper glasses from the goody bags all night. As you saw from the photos, we looked ridiculous! The funniest part about that was a woman at my table went outside after the dinner to have a cigarette and totally forgot to take them off! To make that better, she was wearing the paper glasses over her real glasses. Boy did we look like crazies in Times Square!

Who else had thoughts on these two events? I would love to hear your thoughts!!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is It Just Yarn Ladies?

It's over. Go home! It's over!

Anybody else in the post-Vogue Knitting Live blues state? I can tell you that I certainly am! It is always such a bummer when the conference ends and the high wears off. Another year until the next one? I cannot wait!

Today I wanted to talk about the add-ons for the weekend but I have to spend some time talking about a lecture I attended that really opened my eyes this past weekend. I have to admit, I skipped many of the lectures to spend time with family in the marketplace. However, I could not skip John Brinegar's lecture "It's Just Yarn Ladies." But after the class I left thinking, is it just yarn? Isn't it so much more than just yarn?

I took a class with John last year and he made me laugh so hard. He is such an amazing teacher. I know that I have been guilty of having my shoulders pushed down by John in a class. I need to relax more! This lecture was hilarious! John had knitters go around the room and share embarrassing knitting stories like how you hide your stash.

I loved that John told his horror stories from working in a knitting shop when customers would come in needing help and just being very upset. My mother, Diane and I were in stitches ( my pun here?). I know that a lot of times when I get frustrated with my knitting I get totally irrational.

The best part of the lecture for me was when John asked people to raise their hands if they were 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th generation knitters. I was amazed at how many were 4th generation knitters. As a 4th generation knitter myself I find that knitting is not only a great hobby but a way of life. A way of learning and connecting with the wonderful women in my family who came before me.

With my wedding coming up in just a few weeks I often find myself thinking about my grandmother who passed away in November of 2009. She was such an inspiration and role model for me growing up. I cannot remember her without a pair of knitting needles in her hand. I think I have mentioned before that we have home videos of me at a year old with two knitting needles and a ball of yarn in my lap and I am just smacking the needles at the yarn because my grandmother was asking me to show her how I knit. Not having her there in person on my wedding day will be very hard, but I know that she will be there in spirit. Spending time knitting when I am stressed with wedding planning reminds me that my wedding is just one day - the knitting, the family, and the memories will last a lifetime. I am so fortunate to be a part of such a wonderful family who celebrates such a great tradition to pass down from generation to generation - knitting.

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

VKL: The Classroom Experience

As promised, today I wanted to share my thoughts on my classes from the weekend. I enjoyed my classes so much this year - much more so than in years past. I think the biggest difference for me this year was I really challenged myself and took classes outside of my normal realm of interest and knowledge. If I am going to pay a lot of money for this conference, I might as well get new things out of it.

Here is a breakdown of my classes:

1. Beyond Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale
I took Entrelac with Rosemary at Vogue Knitting Live New York last year and I really enjoyed the class. I was really interested by how unique and different the yarn worked up from last year's class so I decided to take a second level course this year. In this year's class we learned how to work more intricate patterns into your Entrelac, like ribbing or cables.

This class was the perfect way to start my weekend. It was very very challenging trying to refresh my memory from last year and incorporate the new material. I will honestly say that I made MANY mistakes during this class BUT I learned so much! Rosemary and I were talking during the cocktail party after class about the material and she told me that she purposefully puts some challenging and deceptive pieces into the material and chart so that we have to learn from our mistakes. This was so wonderful for me personally. I feel that having learned from such accomplished knitters I have spent a lot of my knitting "career" just following a pattern or chart and when I need help, Mom fixes it. I need to learn more about the process of knitting, the mechanics, and that learning from your mistakes is often more important than the ability to straight read a pattern or chart.

2. Two Color Double Knitting with Melissa Leapman
Anyone who follows my blog knows that I am quite a Melissa Leapman fan. I have made it a goal to take a class with her every Vogue Knitting Live and I have never been disappointed. This class was especially great for me because it combined my love for Melissa with a new and challenging course. I LOVED this class. It was so much fun to work on something completely new but that you see the effects of the pattern-work immediately. The only thing that bummed me out was that Melissa sold out of her book "Mastering Color Knitting" before I could buy a copy and have her sign it! Sad face!

3. Icelandic Chevron Mitten with Ragga Eiríksdóttir
The Icelandic Chevron Mitten class was the one I was most intimidated by. I do not know why I was but maybe the combination of the instructor's name with the fact that I knew I would be knitting a mock little mitten on dpn's did it for me. (Just a side note, I HATE knitting on dpns because I feel like I am always one odd move away from impaling myself or losing an eyeball). However, I was VERY happy with this class.

Ragga is such an interesting woman. She made me laugh so much during this class. There were so many great aspects to this class but I think the part that really sold it for me was Ragga's incorporation of the Icelandic culture into this learning experience. First things first, Ragga asked us to purchase Einband, a traditional Icelandic yarn for the project. It had such a different feel and (I know my mother is going to love this comment), the most amazing natural smell. Once we got going on our mittens, Ragga then started playing Icelandic music and showed us a slide show of images she has taken while on knitting tours throughout the country. This was such a neat experience. I do not know much about Iceland at all so I LOVED getting to learn a bit about knitting and about the Icelandic culture as well. Sign me up for an Icelandic knitting tour!

4. 10 Things Your Mother Never Taught You with Candace Eisner Strick
The last class that I took on Sunday morning was with Candace Eisner Strick. My mother has been telling me for years that I have to take a course with her. Candace was A RIOT! I was dying laughing all class. This was a very good nuts and bolts type of course and I think it is important to take one of these every lecture. While I did not learn as much in the ways of knitting techniques, I did greatly enjoy spending time with Candace. I will never forget, for as long as I live, how to do a double decrease because of her jokes.

All in all, I really enjoyed my classes this year. I am happy to say that I think I am learning more and more every day that I knit.

Tomorrow we talk about the extras - the cocktail party, gala dinner and the lectures! Please share your comments with me about what you liked or didn't like about your classes!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Coming Down From the Clouds

I apologize I have not been on here sooner to blog about Vogue Knitting Live New York City but I have just been so tired! The high from this three day event is amazing, but boy does it wear you out! Like the past two years, I am going to spend a few days debriefing you all on the conference and today I would like to talk about the venue: The Marriott Marquis in Times Square.

I had very mixed feelings about this year's venue. My favorite part of this was that all of the classrooms, and parties and celebrations took place inside the hotel. This was a vast improvement since last year's cocktail party was off-site and took forever to travel to via bus.  I enjoyed the classrooms more in this venue as well and I liked that the knitters had taken over! The knitters lounge area was nice and large, however the lighting was TERRIBLE.

I do have one major complaint about the new venue - the marketplace. It was WAY too narrow and way too crowded. I actually had to leave the marketplace twice because I was starting to have a panic attack I felt so claustrophobic. I know I am not the only person who felt this way and I am sure it negatively impacted the vendors sales throughout the weekend.

Who else had thoughts on the venue? Tomorrow I talk about my classes!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gala Dinner

More to come tomorrow but here are a few quick photos of Broke Knitter, Mama and Ms. D enjoying our gala goodie bags!

Cocktails in Paradise

Last night's VKL cocktail party topped the last two years by far. Year one I felt like 500 women were chasing around one tray of appetizers. Year two's party was beautiful but the long bus trip and waiting outside was excruciating.

I had a wonderful time chatting with Rosemary Drysdale, especially after having spent so much time and effort in her Beyond Entrelac class. That class was wonderfully challenging but at the end I had experienced a great brain workout. Rosemary is so funny and I really enjoyed getting to know her.

I also enjoyed getting to talk with Carol Sulcoski who I took "Yarn Substitution Made Easy." That is by far the best class I have ever taken and I pull out the notes from that class all the time! I think it important to remember the nuts and bolts no matter how experienced you are.

Day 2 has me rearing to go!

Until Next Time!
Broke Knitter

Friday, January 18, 2013

Class #1

First class begins - Beyond Entrelac with Rosemary Drysdale! Lets see how it goes!

And So It Begins....

Stay tuned this weekend for live updates from Vogue Knitting Live New York. I will be uploading photos, comments, and maybe even a few quotes from notable Knitteratti members! I am so looking forward to my lecture at noon!!

Until Next Time.
Broke Knitter

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Packed - Sort Of

With Mom on her way to the Big Apple and only hours away from registration for Vogue Knitting Live, Broke Knitter is getting a little bit worried. Let's just say the mounds and mounds of laundry she did last night was impressive! However, staying up until 11 PM (which is late for this one on a weeknight) doing laundry stinks! I have yet to pack but I did put all of my supplies/homework for each class into individually labeled Ziploc bags to make the weekend much easier to maneuver.

Who is excited? VKL in T-8 hours!!!!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

P.S. Anybody have a suitcase I can borrow? I want to stay in the hotel and feel pampered with Mom and Diane!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Blogger on the Go

EXCITING NEWS! I just installed the iPhone app for Blogger. Now I can post on the go! Look to this blog for up to the moment news and photos from Vogue Knitting Live NYC! I will chronicle everything I am doing for those of you who are missing out on the big weekend.

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Prepping for the Party

Phew - we have almost made it! Just 48 hours until the start of 2013 Vogue Knitting Live NYC! With Mom and Diane packing their bags to make the trip down tomorrow I am getting horrifically excited! A whole weekend of yarn! It really is a dream come true.

I have to say an extra special huge thanks to my mother for this year's conference! With my wedding just 59 days away this was a huge expense for us to undertake and I am so grateful to spend an amazing weekend with great friends and great fibers! Thank you very much Mom!

I had a very pleasant surprise this year as compared to previous years - almost no homework! I cannot wait to get home tonight and pack for the party! I will post pictures tomorrow of my wares and projects for the weekend!

Happy Packing!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pre-Marketplace Shopping

One of the best and worst things about the Internet I discovered today - the ability to scope out the websites of many of the vendors who will be selling at the Marketplace of Vogue Knitting Live New York this weekend. This has been a great way to learn a bit about the local shop vendors and their products (not to mention that the holes in my pockets have no been pre-selected!).

I am very excited to explore this weekend's marketplace, but I am going to share with you the three booths I am dying to visit:

1. Annie and Co. Knitting -
As a new resident of the Upper East Side I am looking forward to meeting Annie and Co. Being very close to my new home I would love to learn about the local yarn shops and get a feel for a new shop to call my NYC home.

2. Full Moon Farm -
You need to visit this website! I cannot wait to see what they bring. Here is how they describe themselves on their website,"Family owned and operated, Full Moon farm offers grass fed beef, lamb, and goat as well as pastured pork and chicken. And that's just what's edible! From our herd of happy sheep, we produce fine wool as well as a line of handcrafted clothing and accessories." I cannot wait to support this 300+ acre farm from Upstate New York.

3. Long Island Livestock Co. -
The products available on this website run the gamut from bath and body products to yarns! I cannot wait to see this Long Island company - especially since I spend so much of my summer just down the road from them!

I hope you are all getting as excited as I am to shop till you drop this weekend!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Monday, January 14, 2013

Badge Central

Just a few days until Vogue Knitting Live! I was so excited to receive my official entry badge for the conference via the mail this weekend.

This badge is especially important to me because it is probably the last official thing I will have with my current last name on it! With the wedding just two months away I am starting to get very sentimental. Changing my name is going to be so weird!

Until Next Time,
Counting my pennies for the marketplace
Broke Knitter

Friday, January 11, 2013

Seven Days!

With only a week left until Vogue Knitting Live I decided to peruse through my stack and UFOs last night. With Randy out for the evening it was the perfect time to lay everything out and see what projects I have not finished. I am actually a little upset at myself! I found a project I bought two VKL conferences ago that I never started.

Moral of the story - you are called Broke Knitter for a reason.

Trying to control my excitement for the marketplace. I cannot buy anything at the marketplace until I finish my three UFOs!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Proper Send Off

With just a week until the start of Vogue Knitting Live NYC I can barely contain my excitement! This annual conference has been the highlight of the past two years for many reasons - from the vibrant marketplace, amazing classes, chance to rub elbows with the Knitteratti, and most importantly, a weekend with my mother.

This VKL will mark a special occasion for my mother and I - the send off of one of our dearest friends. Miss Diane joined us last year for New York's VKL and I do not know if I have laughed harder in any three days in my life. Diane will be joining us again this year and I am sure hilarity will ensue. However, Diane is moving to the West Coast this spring and will have a much harder time spending this amazing weekend with my mother and I in New York.

So Diane, this weekend is for you!!!! I love you!

Until Next Time,
Broke Knitter

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Snug as a Bug in a Rug

Have you ever had one of those weeks where it seems like nothing is going right and you just don't want to do anything? Well, I am having one of those weeks! With just 67 days until my wedding my life has been taken over by wedding planning, calls with vendors, and, of course, sweating for the dress. Randy and I are starting to feel settled in our new apartment, but this morning, after waiting a month for our new couch to be delivered, we were informed that the couch will not fit through the doorway into the apartment. UGH!

But, all is not lost! While I am so unbelievably frustrated I do have amazing news to share - Broke Knitter's best friend is pregnant with her second child! I am so excited for her and her husband! You know what this means - back to the baby knits! Knitting for a baby is by far the most enjoyable knitting experience. Nothing makes me happier than when a new mom or dad sends you a photo of a happy little baby all snuggled and cozy in something you personally hand made for them. I think it is also one of the most personal and thoughtful gifts you can give to new parents. We all know that knitting ain't cheap, but it means so much more to personally hand make something than to just go out and buy a onesie or a stroller.

I cannot wait until January 23rd to know if I should get out the pink or the blue!!!

Until Next Time,
"Auntie" Broke Knitter