Newsletter #3: February 2016

Vogue Knitting Live January 2016

Dear All, 

I hope you are well.

In January, I had the great fortune to attend  Vogue Knitting Live as a teacher and exhibiting artist. Held over three floors of the Marriott Hotel in Times Square, Vogue Knitting Live is a three day event where you can learn everything and anything about knitting from teachers all over the world. Packed to the brim with exquisite yarns, books and knitting accoutrement, over 6000 visitors attended the event. It was, to say the least, completely bonkers and overwhelmingly wonderful.

Image by Brooke Tredwell for #vklive. More images from the event can be viewed in my  Gallery.

Image by Brooke Tredwell for #vklive. More images from the event can be viewed in my Gallery.

I held one workshop introducing the ins and outs of extreme knitting with K1S1 extreme knitting yarn to first-timers: first-timers to extreme knitting that is, as this was otherwise a class full of extremely competent knitters. This class is never about the knitting though and, as usual, as the class progressed we found ourselves exchanging stories and shedding quite few tears. Everyone has an incredible story and the simple act of sharing is both therapeutic and consolidating in its power to connect us to each other as well as a collective humanity. This group of knitters was inspiring, energetic and highly creative. They were also incredibly supportive with many of them returning to my gallery over the three day event to continue our chats and supply me with much needed water.

Image by Brooke Tredwell

Image by Brooke Tredwell

I also held two lectures where, for the first time, I explained in detail my process of knitting with unspun wool, the qualities of merino unpsun wool, why I felt my made up pieces and how I felt them. This was  big step for me because these learnings have been had earned over a number of years now. However, I am at the stage now where I realise that the tighter I hold onto something the smaller my experience of the world becomes. What is more important is that the market has access to good information.

I also exhibited as an artist in the Gallery. It was here that I met an array of incredible people who have supported me from afar for a long time now. Some of these people are now working with me to help develop patterns for K1S1. Gaye Glasspie from GG Made It and Alexandra Tavel from Two of Wands are currently knitting away with K1S1 creating original designs for you to use. More about that soon though. I also had the pleasure of having breakfast in Central Park with Anne Shayne and Kay Gardiner from Mason Dixon Knitting. These two even had groupies at #VKLive. 

Overall, the experience was humbling, inspiring and fun. There is a shared sense of solidarity amongst knitters. The craft itself is a great leveller: age and even gender are irrelevant. AS with everything, what matters most is your attitude and willingness to learn new skills. A classic example of this occurred in the Gallery. I had started a throw so that others could try their hand at extreme knitting. Every row was completed by a different set of hands, all of which were new to the experience. A lovely woman in her 50's watched on with hesitation. I encouraged her to have a go to which she reluctantly agreed. She knitted one stitch before giving up and announcing she couldn't do it.  I felt for her and tried to encourage her to persist. She wouldn't. Then, a tiny pipsqueak of a ten year old sat down in the chair. The needles were as tall as she was and her hands could barely wrap around the needle. I ran her through the basics and within minutes she was knitting up a storm. This little wonder knitted countless rows. It was magic and a good reminder not to limit ourselves with fixed views of our capabilities. It is so important to push through what we fear the most. It is only by doing so that we won't fear it anymore.

The good news is I am doing it all over again. #VKLive is coming to Pasadena in Los Angeles in May this year. I'll be holding two workshops, one lecture and exhibiting in the Gallery. I will also be a vendor this time around. Although at this point the logistics of it all hurt my head, I'll be shipping bumps of K1S1 and Industrial Needles in my new range of colours for Californians to enjoy. Registration is now open for this event. But, if want to participate in one of the workshops, I encourage you to get in quickly as spaces are limited.

Perhaps the loveliest part of my visit to NYC though was that I got to spend some much needed time out with my Hubby of 19 years, Eric. As anyone with children knows it is terribly hard to eek out some time alone. We trawled the museums and galleries and shared beautiful meals, all recommended by people we met at #VKLive.

Rugged up in Central Park. 

Rugged up in Central Park. 

And so, I will leave you now with words from Theodore Roosevelt, an incredible man who contributed so much to his beloved homeland. I couldn't decide which words were more apt and so you are getting all three. Imagine our world if our leaders dedicated themselves to leaving a legacy beyond what they can get out of public life for themselves.

 Thanks for having me New York. Love you long time. Jac xxxxx