Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Still Blissed Out

I haven't updated the blog over the past several days because I was attending the first ever Vogue Knitting LIVE! event in New York City. Or, more specifically, I volunteered to work the event, and attended when I wasn’t on duty.

To say that it was a jam-packed three days would be an understatement. Since I’m still in the process of developing my film, I’m going to wait to provide my overall commentary until I have photos at the ready.

There are thoughts from two subjects I do want to share with you right now – my review of Vogue Knitting’s latest book, Vogue Knitting Knitopedia: the ultimate A to Z for knitters, and my Tunisian II class experience.

Initially, let’s talk a little book. As volunteers, each of us received an advance copy of Knitopedia.  Trisha Malcolm, editorial director of Vogue Knitting, informs in the introduction that Knitopedia is a book five years in the making. Its goal is not to be the end-all, be-all guide to knitting, but to provide a guide to knitting and knitting culture that is purely from a Vogue perspective.

So, what’s that? Well, as best I can tell, it’s a guide to knitting that is fresh, young, complete with entries for most every knitting term found on Ravelry and the Internet (can anyone say UFO? WIP?), as well as good (and in many cases) helpful photos. Additionally, this book is imminently readable. There are many entries on knitting history, as well as topic essays from notable names in the knitting world (Vicky Howell, Meg Swanson, and Kristin Nichols just to name a few). One small drawback: the editors opted for a category index, so you'll need to know that to find all the entries for, let's say, Vogue Knitting in the book, you'll need to look in the "magazine" category section of the index. A little clunky for the non-librarian set, but, c'est la vie and all that.

So, if you are looking for an all-inclusive, multi-hundred page book filled with nerdy, obtuse entries, this isn’t for you. If, however, you are looking for a solid knitting resource that is, for the most part, reader-friendly and one that you will actually want to read and consult, Knitopedia should definitely make it to your book-buying short list.

Finally, my Tunisian II class. Mary Beth Temple taught a beginner Tunisian crochet class and an advanced section – both on Sunday. As we learned in class, she wasn’t initially supposed to teach an advanced Tunisian course in the afternoon, but broomstick lace. That got shelved by the Vogue Knitting PTB. However, since the beginner Tunisian class was so well populated, organizers might have wanted to play to that seeming strength. So much for broomstick lace.

 We were seven of us, plus Mary Beth, which worked out well for everyone. Mary Beth was very good at juggling the speed of the information given to accommodate multiple levels of knowledge, as well as provide good individual instruction. As you can see from the class samples I plunked onto my scanner, we learned an entrelac technique (and she provided instruction for one additional entrelac piece), as well as some Tunisian lace. The lace was taken from a Japanese Tunisian pattern book, and it is really pretty (don’t let my sample, done in a worsted weight yarn, fool you). The lace, as well as the chart reading exercise to accomplish the sample, was totally fun and something I can’t wait to do again.

One small, niggling issue: I asked Mary Beth if she had designed anything using these techniques, and she honestly replied no. I do appreciate and respect her honesty, but wished organizers would have thought about this prior to switching up the course contents. While Mary Beth’s instruction was fine, her knowledge depth on advanced Tunisian techniques was weak. Guess that’s my own 3+ years in the classroom talking.

Needless to say, I’m excited that I have so much to chew on from the conference. Stay tuned for more about … well … everything else, complete with photos, later in the week.

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