Normally, I am a very well-behaved journalist, reporting stories as objectively as possible so that readers can get as clear a picture of what's happening as possible. But I knew that covering Vogue Knitting Live at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel this past weekend was not going to be my normal story. Not too many members of the media at the event were knitters—but I am.
Vogue KnittingLIVE is basically a convention for knitters, sponsored by Vogue Knitting magazine. There were talks by well-known authors in the knitting world, demonstrations, a yarn bar where you could play with various yarns being sold in the marketplace, a beginner's lounge featuring author Vicki Howell of the old DIY Network show Knitty Gritty.
So I came to the hotel on Saturday and Sunday, not only to observe and ask questions, but to participate. Which is why I didn't get any pictures of author and editor of Knitty.com Amy Singer. I was too busy learning her really cool technique for knitting socks from the toe up. You see, it's all about fitting the sock as you go. … Never mind.
Knitting is no longer about old ladies with knitting needles making baby clothes and cozies. It's gotten a lot cooler to knit, with exquisite premium yarns and patterns that have real style, flair and some edge. Women of all ages from all walks of life attended KnittingLIVE. I saw traditional grandmas and young women carrying flowered handbags and other women carrying bags decorated with skulls and crossbones.
My journey started Saturday afternoon, when I arrived to catch the tail end of author and designer Kaffe Fassett's talk on color. The man is a knitting and color god. His book Glorious Knits changed how I knit.
While waiting for Fassett to speak with me, I also chatted with some of the women who had come to the event. Catherine Cook, who lives in Brentwood, had also been at Fassett's talk.
"What wasn't good?" she said about the talk. "He's just very accessible. I've got just tons of ideas crawling through my head."
And it was like that all over the event. Fassett, who told me he went window shopping early Saturday over at the Westfield Century City mall before it was open, was finding inspiration everywhere.
"I love to window shop," he said, adding that he was very happy to see all the vibrant displays at Westfield.
Fassett loves color.
"It's sort of like asking, 'What is it about sex?'" he said when asked what is it about color that he loves.
He said that some people are afraid of colors and using many different ones together.
"They're worried about getting it wrong," he said, but shouldn't be.
Another thing I asked about was the fact that so few men knit.
"It's getting better," he said, noting that at this weekend's event there were at least four other men teaching knitting classes. "I know several airline pilots who knit."
So I asked why guys should knit.
"To calm the poor things down," he said with a grin.
Knitting is well known for its calming effects.
"I just like being around this stuff," said Karen Dabbey of Westwood. "You feel very creative. It's very relaxing."
Well, maybe not when things aren't going well, but that was part of the reason I took some time hanging out at the Beginner's Lounge. I have an issue with casting on (getting the stitches on the needle) and binding off (getting the stitches off again so that they don't unravel). I do it all too tightly, making it hard to get my socks on and off my foot. I got a very nice tip on how to fix that.
I did look briefly at the fashion show. But that was only because I was trying to delay going in to The Marketplace. You know, where the vendors were.
You see, as I alluded to earlier, I have a yarn habit. And it's hard to control when you get in this huge room, with at least 50 vendors selling these amazingly gorgeous yarns, especially when you've been talking to other knitters and folks like Fassett and Singer and Howell. Especially when the room is full of the whole rainbow of colors and textures, and there's this adorable vest made up in a mixed color yarn with that wicked cool collar.
It's all about the possibility. You see this gorgeous hand-dyed sock-weight yarn and you can't help but think about how wonderful the socks would look with a tiny cable (twisted yarn pattern) running up the instep. Or you see the really sweet little sweater knit up in this organic cotton that feels like silk. Or, or, or. …
Yes, I left money behind—quite a bit, actually. But I did get some beautiful soy fiber yarn that will make the final part of a sweater I've been trying to make for a couple of years. And some lovely organic cotton that I haven't quite figured out what to do with. And some sock wool to make a pair of socks for my husband.
And I may have made some new friends. I learned about a knitting social networking site that I can't find the URL for anymore. Oh, and that really, really cool sock technique that I'm working on right now—
before I have to go back to being a proper, well behaved, objective journalist.