Vogue Knitting Live - Lessons Learned
I recently attended Vogue Knitting Live in New York City and came away with some unexpected lessons. I have attended this event several times in the past. It is a short train ride from home, and I typically buzz in for the day, check things out, do a little shopping and I’m back home. This year I actually spent the whole weekend in New York. I stayed at my son’s apartment in Brooklyn with this awesome view
I participated in two classes, which on the surface could not have seemed more different, but actually had many similarities. The first was “Rethink Your Knitting” with Catherine Lowe and the second was “Extreme Knitting” with Jacqui Fink. Catherine is known for her Couture Knitting, paying very, very close attention to detail. While Jacqui is know for knitting on an extreme scale. My take away from these two classes is that both women’s approach to the craft is uniquely their own. Rather than being confined by conventions, they have both looked at the process with a keen eye and questioned how to look at what has been tradition, apply changes and make it their own.
Catherine’s approach considers fabrication first. From this standpoint the materials used and testing the stitch pattern are key ingredients in the success of the garment. Yes, this means swatching, and on a large scale. If you have not jumped on the swatch bandwagon yet, just think of how many projects you have ripped out and started again because your gauge was off. She also has a very specific way of approaching construction that I have not come across in many, many years of knitting. She questions the convention of sewing pieces together. Why not use knitting techniques in the construction to produce results that are unique to knitting. Seeing the beautifully finished pieces in person has made me a believer. While Catherine's patterns could be knit in other yarns, she has developed a line of yarns to her exacting specifications. The results are heirloom pieces that you will wear for years to come.
I would consider Jacqui a textile artist. She constructs large-scale accessories and art installations using the most gigantic knitting needles. Her fiber of choice is Merino Wool in both roving and yarn on an extreme scale that she has made to her specification. There are several of these types of yarns on the market, but Jacqui’s is unique in that she has taken great care in the fabrication of this yarn to produce a yarn that is soft and that will resist pilling. In her class we learned how to manipulate these huge needles and work with our gauge to produce beautiful results. In telling us her backstory and how she came to doing this Jacqui revealed that it is not really about the knitting. It is about the journey and the making that draws us to this craft.
So, while Catherine and Jacqui work on opposite ends of the knitting world their aspirations for taking the craft to a higher level share similar qualities.