Monday, January 30, 2012

Okay, let's get this raffle started

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about a fundraiser I wanted to do to benefit Summer Search Philadelphia, a fabulous organization that helps high-risk teens stay in school, get into college and graduate from college.  You can read my post here. My husband has been working with this non-profit group for a while now, and we have been so impressed with both the kids who are part of the program, and the staff and volunteers who help make it happen.

I'm ready to begin the raffle and I have been so grateful for the outpouring of support from all of you. Check out the amazing prizes that have been so generously donated so far in support of Summer Search:

  • A selection of patterns from StephCat, donated by (of course!) Stephannie Tallent (her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • A knitter's goodie package full of handdyed yarn and patterns, donated by Black Bunny Fibers
Representative skein shown; I'll select for you based on your color preferences and available inventory
  • Lovely-to-spin shetland/mohair/silk roving, donated by Puff the Magic Rabbit
  • A spinner's goodie package full or handdyed roving, donated by Black Bunny Fibers
  • A copy of Hunter Hammersen's upcoming book full of beautiful patterns, The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet, in either PDF or printed form (expected publication date spring 2012)
Crocus Sock (from The Knitter's Curiosity Cabinet)
  • An advance signed copy of my new book, which will be published this fall (target date October 2) by Lark Crafts -- I will give you one of my author copies as soon as I get them and sign it for you.
  • An accessory handknit by Somebunny's Love
  • A selection of 5 PDF patterns from Sailingknitter/Liann Originals (link to her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • A selection of PDF patterns from the Lady Wyvern (link to her Ravelry pattern page is here)
  • Goodies from Ancient Arts Fibre Crafts....
  • A gift certificate to WEBS, generously donated by Caitcreates
  • Three skeins of gorgeous Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn in the winner's choice of color and the Sakura shawl pattern donated by Loop Yarn in Philadelphia
Brooklyn Tweed's Sakura Shawl
  • A wonderful Delicious Hors d'Oeuvres Wrap kit, designed by Lorna Miser and  donated by Universal Yarn (features six lovely Fibra Natura yarns! and pattern with skill-building techniques)
  • A prize to be announced, donated by designer Chrissy Gardiner of Gardiner Yarn Works
  • A prize to be announced from KnitCircus magazine
  • A signed copy of Knitting Knee-Highs, by Barb Brown

To be eligible to win these prizes, all you have to do is make a donation to Summer Search Philadelphia. For each five dollars you donate, you will get one chance to win. So if you donate five dollars, you get one ticket in the raffle; ten dollars gets you two; and so on.

To try to maximize participation, there are 3 ways you can donate money. The best is to go directly to the Summer Search Philadelphia website right here and use a credit card to donate directly. When you receive your email confirmation, forward it to me at summersearchATblackbunnyfibersDOTCAHM and I will create your tickets and put them in a Safe Place until the drawing.

If you would prefer to send me a check or even cash (although I cannot be responsible for anything getting lost in the mail), email me at summersearchATblackbunnyfibersDOTCAHM and I will provide you with my mailing address. I will give the money to Summer Search Philadelphia and put your tickets in the raffle.

If you are a Paypal person, please shoot me an email at summersearchATblackbunnyfibersDOTCAHM and I will provide you with the email address associated with my paypal account. Once again, I will give that money to Summer Search Philadelphia and put your ticket(s) in the raffle.

I will check the special email addy several times a day so I can respond quickly but if takes a couple of hours, please be patient!  

If you can't donate but would like to help, please don't overlook the best, most important thing you can do:  SPREAD THE WORD.  Link to this blog post on whatever social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) you use, tell your blog-readers about the raffle, post the link in appropriate Ravelry groups, tell your knitting, crocheting and spinning friends, and so on.  

The raffle is open as of the time you read this post, and to be eligible for a prize, donations must be received by midnight, EST, February 29th, 2012.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart (and the bottom of crusty old Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat's heart) for your help with this!

Let's get the thermometer going up, shall we? I've set a goal of a thousand bucks.  Can we hit that?  Might we even top that? 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No-Bull Book Review: Knitting with the Color Guys, by Kaffe Fassett & Brandon Mably

While I was at VK Live, I picked up a couple of books simply because I couldn't help myself.  One of them was the brand-new knitting book by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably.  Knitting with The Color Guys: Inspiration, Ideas, and Projects from the Kaffe Fassett Studio (Sixth and Spring 2012; MSRP $24.95, available for $15.80 through the link above as of the time of this writing), is a lush, gorgeous book full of, well, color.  From the endpapers featuring a knitted motif to the gorgeous photographs throughout to the projects inside, Fassett and Mably live up to their billing as "the color guys" (although shouldn't it be the "colour guys"?).  Let's take a closer look.

KWTCG is a hardback book, about 9 x 10.5 inches, with about 176 pages. From the very beginning, you know what this book is about: indeed, in his introduction, Kaffe Fassett characterizes his style as "full-on color."  The approach is intuitive, focusing on experimenting and playing with color, rather than giving the knitters a set of hard-and-fast rules. For example, Fassett urges knitters to be bold and try things, reminding them "don't judge too harshly till you have at least ten inches of knitting on those needles." To make it easier to customize projects and color combinations, Fassett notes that many of the book's motifs are done in different colorways, making it easier for a knitter to pick one that suits her taste or home decor. (A special note of commendation must be given to photographer Debbie Patterson both for the lovely photography and for including a nice shot of Mr. Fassett's well-turned leg in her portrait of him.)

Mably's introduction tells a bit more about the duo's design process.  "I was intrigued to see Kaffe using a bright palette in bold contrasts, as oposed to his more usual tone on tone palettes -- usually I am the one to reach for bolder colors and be more graphic with my design work."  Mably notes that he and Fassett design "directly on the needles from simple charts" but echoes Fassett's direction to put the work up and stand back to view it before deciding whether one likes it.  Interestingly, he reveals that the collection grew without "an ordered plan," as the pair would begin by casting on, then pin up a piece of work before deciding, based on factors like the weight of the yarn or the nature of the pattern, whether a given piece of knitting wanted to be a pillow or a scarf or a throw.

Multistripe Stole (KF)

One aspect of this book (and something that I've noticed in other Fassett books) is the inclusion of photographs showing various sources of design inspiration. Before we even get to a single pattern, we see a close-up of paintings, cushions, pottery, sources of the shape and color and texture that end up in the knitting.  It's fun to page through the book, paying special attention to things other than the knitting -- the circular weaving of a chain seat, the geometric wooden inlays of a desk, brightly colored pieces of tile in a mosaic.

Half-Circle Throw (KF)

Ah yes, there I go, getting lost in the color and pattern and texture.

Dark Dot Scarf (KF)

Let's get back to the nuts and bolts:  The heart of the book is divided into four sections:  "Soft Tones," "Singing Color," "Moody Hues" and "Rich Shades." As you can tell from the headings, each section revolves around a general color scheme.

Trapezoid Throw (KF)

"Soft Tones" is inspired by "the delicate, restrained end of the color palette," items like spring flowers, beach pebbles, all-white or all-gray outfits, weathered wood.  There are six patterns:  a striped stole, a baby blanket featuring a triangular motif, fingerless gloves with a zigzag pattern, a second stole knit in Rowan Kidsilk Haze for a "mossy" texture, a scarf with a very easy but effective dot fair isle pattern, and a checkerboard hat, fingerless gloves and legwarmer ensemble.

Checkerboard Ensemble (BM)

"Singing Color" features the vivid hues of crayons, party balloons, carnivals, fresh fruit and vegetables. Nine patterns use bold, bright color: from a zigzag throw to a shadowbox cushion and throw, a pineapple blanket, a zigzag cushion, a triangular cushion, a throw featuring a half-circle motif, a wide scarf with broken stripes and a cushion with all sorts of striped patterns and an hourglass shape in the middle.

Multistripe Cushion (KF)

"Moody Hues" emphasizes faded, stonewashed textures, "the colors of old tapestries or ethnic wraps that have seen a lot of wear." A cleverly-designed blanket featuring diagonal stripes that form blocks, dotted cushions, a blanket knit in striped blocks, a softly striping scarf, variations on the triangle cushion and zigzag cushion, a throw and cushion with trapezoidal pattern, a diagonal garter stitch scarf typify the moody, chalky hues of this section.

X-Factor Blanket (KF)

Last is "Rich Shades," obviously using deeper, darker, more dramatic shades. The red circle stole is a good example; the relatively simple shapes gain drama and depth when knit in ruby red and navy blue. A variation of the dot scarf, diagonal scarves knit in the rich hues of a color-changing yarn, a stole with accordion-style pattern, a ridged scarf, a scarf featuring the half-circle design, and scarf and legwarmers with a "wiggle" pattern use these rich shades to perfection.

Red Circle Stole (KF)

The "Useful Information" section gives some directions on color knitting techniques (like one- and two-handed stranded knitting, how to weave and twist strands, intarsia, duplicate stitch, and information on yarn categories and substitution.

The numbers are as follows:  a total of 31 patterns (although some are variations on each other, I counted each separate pattern entry in the table of contents), of which 4 are stoles; 8 are blankets or throws; 2 pair of fingerless gloves; one hat; 9 are scarves; 8 are cushion covers; plus two pairs of legwarmers.

Accordion Stole (BM)

I know that some knitters will take a quick look at the patterns in this book and say something like "The patterns are all so simple; why should I buy the book?"  But really, this book isn't about patterns per se. The patterns are on the basic side because the focus is on the color -- combinations of color, unexpected pairings, bursts of hue that can rev you up or relax you.  And an equally important part of the book is encouraging knitters to play with color; not to simply copy the combinations that Fassett and Mably have created, as fabulous as they are, but to find something that inspires you, colors that make you happy, to play with shape, to go out on a limb a little and add colors spontaneously and see what you get.

Opal Dot Scarf (KF)

Likewise, I am sure that some knitters will look at the patterns, see that they call for numerous skeins of yarn and freak out.  But I don't think that the point is necessarily to have you run out and buy every single color of every yarn used in a given pattern. Yes, if you have the money you could, and more power to you, but you could just as easily pull together a bunch of leftover balls, single skeins and other odds and ends in about the same weight or category, and use them to craft your own color combinations. Each pattern includes several paragraphs discussing how the colors interact, with suggestions for additional palettes.  Knowing, say, that a pillow requires a lighter and darker shade of the same color, plus a border color, makes it easier to play around with one's own favorites, with some assurance of getting a pleasing result.

Zigzag Fingerless Gloves (KF)

The yarns used in the book all come from Rowan, and range from Kidsilk Haze (airy baby mohair with silk), fingering weight sock yarn, dk-weight cotton, heavy worsted Summer Tweed, chunky color-shading wool, bulky-weight Big Wool and more -- just about every category of yarn is used somewhere. The patterns are for items other than sweaters -- stoles, throws, pillows, scarves, and a few pairs of fingerless gloves and a hat -- and are one size.  You'll find thorough directions if you want to duplicate the colors shown in the sample patterns, and the patterns feature charts (mostly in color) and diagrams to help with color layouts.

Trapezoid Cushion (KF)

There are all different kinds of knitting books, and I value them all. This is a book that I will turn to over and over again when I need a jolt of color, when I'm looking for inspiration, or when I need my spirits lifted by gorgeous photos of pretty things. Of course, the lovely projects packed with color will also provide many hours of knitting enjoyment, especially if one follows the Color Guys' advice to "play with these ideas in any way that occurs to you as you sit down with your own yarn stash."

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What a difference a year makes

A year ago, a little girl was born prematurely. Her mom had a nightmarish pregnancy with many complications. Her mom even had a difficult time during the emergency C-section (and we're very thankful she is okay today). We were so grateful when both Lily and her mom made it home from the hospital, and I am thrilled to report that today we attended Lily's first birthday party.  It should not come as a surprise that such a darling little girl was given a tiara to wear

and although she looks a little skeptical in the above photo, she quickly warmed up to all the guests.

Lily is now a smart, healthy and gorgeous little girl.  Indeed, she proved she was related to me by immediately recognizing the inherent goodness of cake.

About a year ago, I started knitting premie caps for Lily; this January, I made her a quilt I knew she could romp on.

 Lots of bright colors for a bright girl.

(Thanks to Boy Twin, my quilt holder....)

What a difference a year makes.  Happy birthday, Lily!  We're delighted to have you as part of our family, and we hope to celebrate a hundred or more years of birthdays with you.

Friday, January 20, 2012

No-Bull Book Review: Stitch London, by Lauren O'Farrell

Having just spent several wonderful days with some incredible Brits at VK Live, it is perfect timing for me to show you a book called Stitch London: 20 Kooky Ways to Knit the City and More, by Lauren O'Farrell (David and Charles 2011).  I recently received a review copy of this book, which was released last fall, so let's set off on another No-Bull Book Review.

Stitch London is a paperback book, roughly 9 inches square, and it's bursting with color, line drawings, photos and funky design (MSRP $22.99, available for $14.99 through the link above as of the time of this writing). Its mission is simple:

In the midst of pointy spires, shiny skyscrapers, sloshy riversides and scurrying stitchers, Stitch London was born of the fact that I can't help but see London knitwise. And I'd like everyone else to see London knitwise, too.

O'Farrell goes on to assure the knitter that her book consists of "squee" knits -- knits that will inspire in the viewer the uncontrollable urge to shout "squee!":  "The patterns aren't fancy-schmancy and they don't require you to be a sage of stitching. All you need is basic knitting knowledge, a willingness to switch on the part of your brain that has crazed ideas and let it run things for a while, and a total lack of yarn snobbery."

She urges the reader to experiment and riff off her patterns, advising "Grab them by the stitches, twist them, shake them, turn them purple, love them, hug them and call them George. . . . Mix buttons, pipe cleaners, watch cogs, cat hair, glitter glue, beads and all manner of crafty bits togehter with your knitting and see how they get on."

Before launching into patterns, Stitch London provides the reader with some introductory material.  O'Farrell explains her difficulty ratings and abbreviations; lists essential and non-essential supplies; provides some knitting translations to ease the transition from UK to US; gives a needle/hook conversion chart; and (my favorite) provides some London slang.

Next up are the patterns.  First chapter is "Little London Landmarks," and provides miniature knitted versions of Big Ben,

the Tower Bridge, and the characteristic red phone box -- all adorable and charming.  "Little Londoners" focuses on people, from the Queen (with corgis), a beefeater (with black fun fur for the hat, natch), and police officers.

"Rat Race London" takes the focus away from knitted minis to full-sized items -- a scarf with a knit-in pocket for your Oyster card (a transportation e-pass), a book cozy to protect your reading material, and a bag cover (with mulitple versions, including the Union Jack version shown below).  "Work work work" provides you with a laptop cover, in several versions, and mug cozies (also with several versions).

"City Critters" looks at the non-human citizens of London, including Cooey the Pigeon (I think I met Cooey when I was at Trafalgar Square), a raven, a mouse, and a fox. "The Great Outdoors" features a picnic blanket made from recycled plastic bags, bugs (also made from recycled plastic bags) and Umbrella Fellas, little stuffed creatures to hang from your umbrella handle.

Stitch London concludes with technical information, including about a dozen or so pages on how to knit and other skills (e.g. cast on, decreases, increases).

My book even came with yarn, teeny needles and pipe cleaners (for whiskers) sufficient for the knitting of Cooey the Pigeon. (Visit the book's web site for more gratuitous knitted pigeon photos.)

These patterns are all one size or accessories, so other than the designs meant to cover things (like mug and laptop covers), where you'll have to keep an eye on gauge so they fit the object, there aren't any sizing issues. The patterns generally take relatively small amounts of yarn in various colors, good for using up stash and leftover balls. The yarn weights tend to be middle-of-the-road thickness, mostly DK to worsted weight. Newer knitters need to know that O'Farrell has a very loose approach to yarn category, quantity and thickness, and this may cause agita if you are used to following instructions exactly. For example, yarn quantities are given as ounces and grams rather than yards and meters.  Yarn categories are fuzzy; for example, patterns list "DK (worsted) yarn", by which O'Farrell suggests that "DK" is used in the UK for the weight of yarn called "worsted" in the US.  Rather than bicker over it, allow me to suggest that since the vast majority of these patterns are for things that aren't going to require fit in the sense that a sweater does, and since most of them require only small amounts of yarn since they are for small toy-like objects, that you can use small amounts of either category 3 or 4 yarn, depending on what you have.  If you use all the same yarn weight within a single project, you should be okay, although the finished object may end up a wee bit bigger or smaller.  You can also fiddle with changing needle size to compensate for small variations in yarn weight.

To sum up, Stitch London is a breezy, fun book filled with adorable models of various British icons, as well as some patterns for cozies and a picnic blanket and other odds and ends. Most of the projects require relatively small amounts of yarn and are perfect for using up leftover bits. With the London Olympics round the corner, and a new season of "Downton Abbey" on the telly, Stitch London will go down easier than a cup of Yorkshire Gold or a pint of bitter.  God save the Queen!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In which I go to VK Live, meet Alice Starmore, kiss a bald head with lipstick on, and ride in a clown car limousine of awesomeness

Last night, my train pulled in at around 7:30 p.m. and my family was waiting to pick me up. It was wonderful to see them and I missed them so much. Yet I had such an incredibly fun time in New York at VK Live. I have said it before and I'll undoubtedly say it again: nothing beats spending a weekend with your tribe. Catching up with old friends, making new ones, teaching classes to eager and enthusiastic students, getting a small taste of New York, coming home with a few goodies to play with?  Could. Not. Be. Better.

 I put the kids on the bus Friday morning, and then Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat drove me to 30th Street Station. (All hail, Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat who worked from home Friday so he could drive me and tend the kids.) Quick train ride, with extra pleasure of listening to the woman two rows in front of me tell the whole train car about her near-death experience. I am a nervous traveller so was not amused.  (FYI:  She saw her deceased mother and St. Therese, who asked her if she was ready to die or wanted to go back. This caused me to spend the rest of the trip wondering how she recognized St. Therese. Was she wearing a nametag? Did she have sweatpants that said "St. Terry" instead of "JUICY" across the bum?) My reverie was interrupted by the bomb-sniffing dog. Okay, for a minute I was a little freaked out wondering if there was some reason the dog was in our train car, but in the end, the doggie laid down in the front of the train car and just sat there looking extremely cute, which was kind of sweet.

Once off the train, I cabbed it to the Hilton and was able to check into my room even though it was technically earlier than check-in time (yay). I debated what to do with my precious few hours in NYC and although I was tempted to find some of the Manhattan knitting shops I'd never been to, or take the subway to the Lion Brand Studio, I decided to forgo shopping temptation and try the American Folk Art Museum (which also was a walkable distance away).

Central Park

The museum was closed so that they could install an installation.  Cue the sad trombone. (That's what I get for trying to avoid buying yarn.  You know what I'll do next time.....)

Central Park

I walked around a little bit, but headed back to the hotel to chill for a while. Now that I am no longer a newbie at teaching, I have come to understand how exhausting it is, and how you need to grab those hours here and there when you can rest up. It was a good thing I did, because that night was a teacher's cocktail party (a brilliant idea, since it allows us all to catch up with each other before the morning that classes start).

The first time I met people whose patterns and articles and books I'd admired for a long time, I could not get past the fact that I was actually face-to-face with, say, Amy Detjen.  But after I started to get to know them, and spend time with them at shows, my reaction went from fangirl to "Amy Detjen is fun and funny and wicked cool and I can't wait to catch up with her." Thus my genuine pleasure at seeing people in the industry that I hadn't seen for a while. It's also fun when you get to meet new people and realize that they, too, are extremely fun and cool and wonderful.  At the cocktail party I got to meet Patty Lyons, of Lion Brand Yarn Studio, who was absolutely lovely, and Fiona Ellis, whose worked I have admired for a long time but never met before.  Fiona and I got on like a house on fire. Fiona, if you are reading this, you are now an official Friend of Go Knit In Your Hat, with all the privileges, perquisites and responsibilities that entails.  (Basically which means you have to hang out with me whenever we see each other and I will flatter you unctuously in my blog.  Deal?)

I spent some time hanging with Rosemary Drysdale, the Empress of Entrelac, and she is an absolute delight. We closed the party down, along with Brooke Nico (Our Lady of Lace) and Doreen Connors.....although we are still trying to figure out what happened to an entire bottle of Glenlivet that went missing.  (If I had thought of it sooner, I would have volunteered to strip-search Fiona Ellis....)

I was extremely fortunate to not have class until 2 pm the next afternoon, so I just wore my jammies to the teachers' meeting (AT SEVEN A.M. thank you very much!) and then went back to bed.

I was too excited to sleep really late, though, and ended up getting up to check out the marketplace. (I have to apologize for how lousy most of my photographs are. I didn't take a camera, since I already was hauling a lot of stuff and didn't want to lose or break it, so these were all taken with my cell phone. It also happens that I had to replace my cell phone the day before I left for NY, so I really had no idea how to work it.)

While at the marketplace, I browsed and browsed; made a special attempt to visit some of my homies, like Linda Pratt (God bless her, she has knit more ruffle scarves in the last six months than you can imagine!) and Ron and Theresa Miskin, and I popped by to see some of the Koigu samples from Magazine No. 2, which were at the String booth:

I know, I know, pretty crappy photo.  My bad.
While I was there, I couldn't stop myself from picking up the new book by Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably, which was premiering at the show.  (I'm going to do a book review of it very soon but it's really wonderful!)

My first class was "Yarn Substitution Made Easy," which may be my favorite class to teach, and as per usual for VK Live events, I had a fantastic crop of students. They were eager, enthusiastic and full of energy.  It was a blast!  One thing that absolutely blew my mind was that one of my students came to class wearing a sweater that I designed for Vogue about a year or two ago:

This photo simply does not do justice to the beautiful job she did. The handpaint yarn looked terrific, and she also did an outstanding job on fit -- unlike the model, who was shown wearing it as a slightly oversized tunic, she had made it a more fitted size, and it was absolutely wonderful. You have no idea how thrilling it is when you run into someone who has made one of your patterns.  Thank you so much, dear one, for being so thoughtful as to wear it to class!!!!

After class, I'd arranged to meet my sweet Cockney rose Sarah Hatton for drinks at the hotel bar. I have said before that Sarah Hatton is made of win, and we are totally sympatico.

We were extremely fortunate to find seats in the bar area (since Nicky Epstein, as many of you know, had callously run over my foot with her rolling travel bag.  She'll pay for that.  Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next month, but I hope she looks over her shoulder for the rest of her life because ONE DAY SHE WILL PAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).

Here's the part where I had to strap on my Depends adult undergarment, for who did we end up sitting with but Debbie Bliss (!), her charming daughter and spokesmodel Nell (!), Martin Storey (!), with cameo appearances from Carla Scott and Linda Pratt and Josh Bennett. It was truly lovely and fun.  (I'm also waving to the lovely Barbara and to Theresa, Nell's BFF....)  As a Rowan/Debbie Bliss fan from way, way back, this was absolutely a dream come true for me to be hanging out with such amazing talent.

The VK banquet was that night and due to a snafu with my ticket, and my complete exhaustion from having spent an hour or so in the company of some of my favorite Brits, I had to take to my bed.  Yes, I was asleep before 9 p.m. on a Saturday night whilst in New York City.  Sad, innit?

The bright side to my early bedtime was that I was very well-rested for Sunday, which was a darn good thing, because it was another busy and fun day. I think I may have neglected to mention that while at the bar Saturday night, I slipped my extra hotel room key to a buff, handsome young gentleman about 20 years my junior.  So he woke me up early Sunday morning, if you know what I mean....

Hah!  It was merely Josh "The Knituation" Bennett, bon vivant hipster designer man.  He didn't want to schlepp his teaching materials back and forth to his apartment so I let him store his stuff in my room.  (A girl can dream, can't she?)

Another terrific class on Sunday afternoon, and some more time in the marketplace -- I managed to snap up a copy of the sold-out-but-being-reprinted Deborah Newton book that is getting such rave reviews

as well as Meg Swansen and Amy Detjen's new book on color knitting:

and I decided to try out a couple of balls of Marion Foale wool, in fingering weight:

Thank goodness I didn't miss Franklin Habit showing off his glorious gams in his kilt.

Thanks, Brooke, for taking the photo! That's crochet and knitting
designer Mary Beth Temple, of LSG fame, with us.

At this point, I felt I was suffering from a Koigu deficit, so after finding some exquisite Buffalo Fiber yarn dyed by ... Kersti???? ....

 I received a text from Taiu Landra that read: "Ready to party?"  Yes!   Yes, I was.

VK was participating in a wonderful effort to raise awareness of heart disease, and fundraise for research to fight it, called Stitch Red. There was a cocktail party and silent auction benefiting this fine cause, and it was there that I was able to spend some more time with Taiu and Kersti:

VK had arranged for the cocktail party to be held at a really fabulous warehouse/loft kind of space in Tribeca. They arranged for buses to drive us over, and we were literally met at the door by hunky waiters carrying trays of drinks. The room itself had huge windows lining the walls that showed off the New York skyline to perfection. The food was fabulous, too -- including little spoons filled with macaroni and cheese with lobster on top, crab cakes, satay, egg rolls and all sorts of delicious things. We guzzled sipped champagne and then they brought around trays with teeny tiny cheesecakes and chocolate mouses and pecan pies.  Nom, nom, nom.

While all of this was going on, the silent auction was taking place. Designers, yarn companies and others had donated great prizes, including a needle set owned and used by Elizabeth Zimmerman:

and a painting by Nicky "Reckless Suitcase Roller" Epstein:

(I had no idea Nicky painted!  If I had any spare cash, I would have totally bid on the painting....)

In the end, over $18,000 was raised for a good cause -- and more to the point, we had such a fun time doing it.  I actually got to meet and chat with Alice Starmore, and I even got to bring her a glass of champagne. She was lovely. (I didn't tell her that I used to be a lawyer, though.....)

By the end of the night there was dancing and lipstick kisses planted on the top of bald heads (yup, I did), and so much laughing....

from left, Nell Bliss, Debbie Bliss, Shawn (sp?), Theresa
When the party place began turning up the lights and playing Cee-Lo (oh yes they did), we reclaimed our coats and went to find cabs. Outside on the street was a man with a stretch limo. He told us he'd drive us to the hotel for five bucks a head, which seemed like a good deal, since we'd have had to take several cabs anyway.

Somehow we managed to cram over 15 people in this limousine, including Alice Starmore, Josh Bennett (who was wearing a very Hef-like smoking jacket), Sarah Hatton, Trisha Malcolm,  two hilarious Kiwi ladies who came to the show to promote their lovely yarn, and many more amazing knitting folks.  It must have been an absolutely hilarious sight watching this limo roll up to the Hilton, and then seeing all these knitting people come pouring out like clowns in a Volkswagen at the circus....

I had carefully alternated club soda with my champagne, so I was not too tired the next morning.... good thing, because I had class at 8 a.m. and again at 2 p.m.  My students really seemed to enjoy the morning "Sockknitter's Seminar," and I even had some repeat students who stuck around for the afternoon "Yarn Substitution" class, which was great.  Again, I can't say enough about how fun the students were; we all enjoyed ourselves and I hope they learned a lot.

In between classes I managed to get in a little bit of MMO stalking (I had been painfully deficient in this regard):

I also got to stop by Liza Lucy's patchwork class, which was really wonderful. Seeing her students creating gorgeous quilts out of Kaffe's fabric was such a pleasure.

Alas, after my second class on Monday, I had to pack up my things and zip back down to the train. (Cue the sad violin....)  By that point, I was in zombie mode. Mr. Go-Knit-In-Your-Hat and the kids were kind enough to meet me at the train station, and I got home, took a quick shower and went to bed.

So there you have it:  VK Live New York, 2012 version. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I'll get to teach in Chicago in October (where I can show you all the book, which is scheduled for release on October 2d).

It was a wonderful event. Kudos to Trisha Malcolm and the rest of the VK staff (including all the lovely volunteers who help things run so smoothly)!  If you get a chance to attend one of the VK Live shows, you really ought to take advantage of it.  Great classes, lovely people, fashion shows, a fun's a knitter's dream come true.