I was off in Vancouver this weekend, doing one of the nerdiest things imaginable. I travelled, internationally, to go to a knitting conference. This was my first solo trip out of the country, my first solo yarn adventure, and really the first time I’d done anything all by myself, in a long time. I won’t say it was a COMPLETE success, personally speaking, but I did alright. :)
But, this isn’t about me and my social anxieties, this is about me sharing a ton of awesome stuff! So, first up lets talk about the show in general. It was held in the Pacific National Exhibition campus (imagine Seattle City Center, but with a roller coaster). We were in the Forum building, I believe, and it gave me the feeling it used to be a roller-derby rink at one point, with stadium seats in one end, and a large open area on the other. The exhibition hall was about half as big as the winter Urban Craft Uprising in Seattle, smaller than I expected, but still plenty big! The one disappointment I had was that their classes were in the same large open area that the rest of the show was, divided only by 6’ tall cloth curtains, in a room with easily 25’ ceilings. Sound was sucked out into the tall spaces, echoed and amplified around unreliably, and generally made it hard to present anything. Much props to the teachers who were patient and probably blew their voices out, trying to make do.
Ancient Arts had a huge booth full of amazing hand-painted yarn. I managed to make it out with just one skein of their gorgeous show-specific Vancouver colorway, but it took a great exercise of will not to leave with an entire arm full of different colors. Truly a visual feast. I’m really looking forward to picking a project and knitting up the skein i came home with!
CaterpillarGreen Yarns specializes in various self-striping yarns. The skein I brought home with me is dyed so that as you knit a triangular shawl, the stripes stay the same height!! Mind. Blown.
Indigo Dragonfly, run by one of the most kind people I have ever met on the internet, is full of gorgeous tonal yarn in beautiful bases, named in amazingly nerdy ways. (For example, I have a sweater’s worth of yarn in “See No Attle, Hear No Attle”, and a sample-swatch in “Daleks don’t Give Pink Slips”. Also, this is Beige.) I knew about this one before, I’m currently participating in both their Smart-Ass Knitters/World Domination Club, and the first-year Sweater Club, so I didn’t pick up anything additional at the show, but getting to meet Kim in person and give her a hug was definitely a highlight of my weekend.
Krystan MacIntyre’s work was stunning, and “have you seen the woman with the copperwork?!?” was a phrase I heard multiple times throughout the weekends.
Rain City Knits was full of amazingly bright yarn, and the owner Krista was a super charming person to meet, as well. :) If you’re interested in finding colors you probably won’t see elsewhere, like bright pinks and yellows, this looks like a great place to check out!
There were a lot more vendors, but these were the ones that really stood out to me. You can see a full list at the Knit Social site linked at the beginning of the article.
Also on the floor was some assorted gorgeous work that I didn’t get a chance to get much information about. Check out this cable!!
This sweater was in the Sweet Georgia booth. I’m not sure if I’d ever wear it, but I thought it gave a lot of neat personality to the garment!
I took three classes during my weekend, they were each 3 hours long, which meant i was a busy cookie, and quite tired by the end.
First up was Creative Sweater Design for Custom Fit, given by the aforementioned Kim McBrien Evans of Indigo Dragonfly. We talked about what kinds of customizations could be made to a basic sweater template like the ones that the Custom Fit system produces, and interesting and creative ways to take advantage of them. Kim brought lots of great examples (even teasing the next sweater club pattern!), and was a patient and clear instructor. I’m honestly not entirely sure what kind of information i was looking for in the class, but talking about making a croquis to design on based on a picture of YOURSELF so that you could test out things like “what would it look like if I wore something with a hem this long and a neckline that falls like so…” is a suggestion that really charms me. Googling images of croquis’s used for fashion design i’m a little horrified. Is that how designers really think we look?!? I was also somewhat excited to see that Kim, and all the instructors, using iPads both as presentation tools and as everyday knitting tools. I love to see how technology has crept into unexpected corners of my world. :)
Sunday morning saw me in Digital Camera Secrets for Knitters, with the amazing Amy Singer. I’d chatted with Amy on twitter, and of course am excited by every new Knitty that comes out, but this was my first time meeting her in person. I was a little disappointed with the class, not because the class wasn’t amazing, because it was, but because i was hoping for secrets of photographing your knitting in nice poses, how to cope with a lack of models, what to look for presentation-wise for a good knitting photo. Instead, I got an intro to photography course which was very well done, and some hints on pieces of software and filters that could be useful. This was all well prsented and matched what I already knew on the topic, but generally WERE things I had already picked up from my husband or the internet at large. It did give me an excuse and a chance to take some lovely pictures of the park outside the venue, though!
Lastly, I spent Sunday afternoon listening to Stephanie Pearl McPhee, aka the Yarn Harlot, talk about Knitting For Speed and Efficiency. I already knew how charming Stephanie was from her writing, brutally honest, quick-witted, and hilarious, even when telling awful knitting jokes! Stephanie talked about all sorts of interesting things, like some reasons why North American knitters (and Americans in particular) are some of the slowest ones out there. She also talked about the three basic knitting techniques, their strengths and weaknesses, and how we screw them up. Her explanation of tapping each stitch on the head after knitting it, complete with fairy princess dance, was quite amazing! Lastly, she introduced a new technique to all of us, lever knitting. Omni-knitters & curious parties, I will try to remember to bring in long needles to show off my new skill (you know, after 30 minutes of doing it i’m totally a master!), and talk about some of the kinds of things that I found myself doing inefficiently. Look for me this week at lunch in Plant-Forte!
If you ever get a chance to take a class on ANYTHING from any of these ladies, you should go for it, it was well worth my time and money, and i had an amazing time in all three classes!
I had a lot of fun spending my weekend in Vancouver. I think i may be back next year, although I’ll probably try to get someone to come with me to share driving duties, the 3 1⁄2-ish hour slog behind the wheel was a bit unpleasant for someone who rarely drives more than 15-20 minutes anymore! I do hope that someone considers moving the class location, even having them outside in the park might’ve made an easier-to-listen-to experience.
Thanks so much to Amanda and Fiona of Knit Social who threw this shindig, to Kim, Amy and Stephanie for imparting wisdom and being patient with my complete and total awkwardness, to the amazing woman at the Ancient Arts booth who spent 15 minutes talking to me about socks, in the middle of the show, to Krista from Rain City Knits for being a friendly face when I was feeling just a little out of place, and for all the vendors & ladies and gentlemen that I ran into this weekend, sharing lunch tables and hotel lobby couches, letting me try their food-truck food before I bought any, and just generally being wonderful people!