Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2016 / by jen geigley

I just returned from a crazy spectacular weekend at Vogue Knitting Live NYC 2016, and jeez. I have a ton of photos that I'd love to share. I personally enjoy reading people's blog post recaps of special events, and maybe you do too. Especially knitting-related special events. But how can you sum up a weekend that was bursting at the seams with new experiences, new friends and yarn as far as the eye can see? I will try.

I arrived in NYC on Friday afternoon, and had just enough time to check into my hotel room at Row NYC (highly recommended) and change into my gold pants for my book signing at the StevenBe + Do Ewe Knit booth. Vogue Knitting Live happens in Midtown near Times Square, so the buzz of the city hits you right away. After I had smoothed out my ragged traveling self a bit, I ran over to the Marriott Grand Marquis (VK Live headquarters), went up the escalators and found myself in the Marketplace.

This is what the Marketplace looks like and it was crazy. Steven and Karen's booth was buzzing and there were knitters and yarn everywhere! Just as it should be.

I ran up to Steven, we gave big hugs and then discovered we were both wearing gold pants. Mine weren't nearly as gold as his, and I wasn't wearing light-up shoes, but still. We were pretty on point. And we didn't even plan it. I cannot express (with words) my love for the StevenBe family. Jeremy, Missy, Tara and everyone at the shop are truly a StevenBe family – I love them so much and they have been so kind to me.

At the booth, I got to check out 'Knit York', the first episode of Steven's new reality t.v. show. WOW. You absolutely need to watch it immediately because it's out of this world fantastic. Go now. I'll wait.

As I was getting acclimated to my new glitter-filled environment, I plopped down some books on a table and did the whole book signing thing. I quickly discovered that I had brought just the right amount of books for each day in my carry-on, but they sold out quickly. Such a whirlwind ... and so much fun to meet so many knitters who had made a Gap-tastic cowl early on in their knitting days, along with fellow bloggers and friends from Facebook and Instagram. I love talking with knitters! All day long ... bring it.

Then, I happened to notice a very special person who was also signing books nearby. Yup, the one and only Susan B. Anderson. We exchanged books and each looked through each other's pages and projects, one by one. (While I completely geeked out ... I tried to be cool about it but no.) Her new book is called 'Kids' Knitting Workshop' and it's fantastic, and you can find it right here. I definitely urge you to grab a copy because she is the best. I know this for a fact because we hung out for a couple of hours that evening, chatting about knitting and family and books and the Midwest. It was so incredibly cool to meet her.

Outside the marketplace were a variety of extremely talented fiber artists. I got to meet Jacqui Fink, who creates hand-knit oversized scale textiles and installation works made from a selection of beautiful natural fibers and raw materials. You can find her (huge) custom yarns here at Little Dandelion. I also got to meet London (of Made by London). She is a Brooklyn-based street artist who crochets fantastical displays of all kinds, including this David Bowie piece at VK Live. Please please please check out her website to see the amazing things she has done.

That night, I walked around and explored a bit on my own. In all the times I've visited nyc over the years, I haven't really spent much time in Times Square. (I'm normally with my pals Jamaica and Kristi and we like to hit Brooklyn pretty hard.)

Day 2 (for me) was Saturday. I took a sweater design intensive with Amy Herzog for most of the day (which was amazing.) But after class I had another book signing at StevenBe's booth and that's when I had the chance to meet my FRIENDS! I was so overjoyed to see these faces when I got to the booth with my books. I finally got the chance to meet the sweetest and most supportive knitting pal ever, Gaye of GGMadeIt. (Go read her blog – do it.) I felt like I already knew her of course, so we hugged and squeezed each other pretty much all day and started gabbing right off the bat about yarn and life and everything under the sun. I was so happy to have enough time over the course of the weekend to actually talk and hang out with her; she is genuine and fun and just a joy to be around. I also met Kelz from MarCheleKnits and her sweet mom and so many other knitting friends! Plus I got to chat with Carina and Kristen from The Third Piece. (Have you seen their amazing new yarn, Funky Chunky!?) So yeah, the people. The people are the best part of this whole experience and that's the biggest thing I've taken away from VK Live. I wouldn't call it 'networking' ... it's definitely just meeting new people who are just like you. Knitting enthusiast friends who completely understand your world. I loved every minute and the days went by much too quickly.

(Are you exhausted yet? Hang tight, because I promise I have some great stores ahead.) So, Saturday night, I had no actual plans. That day, Karen (of Do Ewe Knit) and her sweet husband Fred had invited me to join them and the StevenBe gang for dinner. I shyly waffled for a bit and said I didn't want to impose, but they insisted. Fred said 'Just be at the Empire State Building at 8:00.' My face went blank and I said 'Okay ... okay!' And wouldn't you know it – Fred is the owner of the restaurant at the Empire State Building. He has quite a history there, along with lots of stories and trivia to share. We enjoyed a delicious dinner with drinks and a gorgeous cake celebrating Karen and Steven's friendship. Fred took us all up to the observation deck on the 86th floor ... then up to the very top viewing area on the 102nd floor. It was spectacular and I felt like the luckiest girl in nyc. It was a night I'll never forget and these people are so very special and wonderful. I'm so grateful to know them. And Steven. He is my honest-to-gosh knitting hero.

On that note, Day 3 – Sunday. The day started off with me popping into Steven's class (New Perspectives on Knitting) to share some of my samples and my book. Watching him do his thing and listening to his stories is just a dream – I loved having the chance to just absorb some of his brilliance and I could honestly listen to him talk about fashion and knitting all day long. After class, there were VK Live fashion shows and extreme knitting, selfies with Karen Posniak of Do Ewe Knit, putting my pin on the 'Where does your stash live?' map, meeting GG's daughter Shelbey and exploring the marketplace with my new knitting friend Tee Maniluwhua-Rivers. So much fun packed into one day! Sunday was the last official day of VK Live, so before long it was time to pack up and say our goodbyes. It had all gone by so quickly and I already can't wait until next year. I've decided that I cannot miss this event and hope to make this a yearly thing.

But my NY adventures in knitting weren't over yet. After the Marketplace closed on Sunday, I decided to walk to Purl Soho. In what you could call a small snowstorm. Giant, heavy snowflakes were falling into my eyes and face and this Iowa girl got a tiny bit lost-ish because I had buried my head deep down into my coat, head down, moving forward through Manhattan, Chelsea, then Soho ... and ended up walking a bit too far. I don't even know. Whoops. But I managed to end up at Purl well before closing time, and decided to 'visit' my book in the shop. I stepped into the warmth of the shop, smiled at all the gorgeous samples that I recognized from The Purl Bee and shook off the snow. And there it was. My book was right there, sitting on a big table of super bulky deliciousness. It was such a thrill to see it there. At Purl Soho. One of my favorite shops in the world. And the staff there has been SO kind to me. After quite a few re-orders, they've said 'Weekend' has been quite popular with nyc knitters and that makes me so extremely happy. I wrote 'Weekend' for fun, just to see if I could really do it. And all along, my secret ultimate dream was to see it on the shelves at Purl Soho one day. And this was the day. Dreams come true, my friends.

I said goodbye to my lovely hotel (and the awesome food at City Kitchen/coffee at District M) on Monday morning. I had such a perfect time at the Row and I'd definitely stay again. I still had a tiny window of time that morning before I had to be at the airport, and I decided to spend it doing something I really loved. So I hit the streets and walked to the MoMA.

Be still, my contemporary art loving heart. It was without a doubt the best use of my time and being there made me so happy. I jumped into the 'Making Music Modern: Design for Ear and Eye' exhibit first, which was a graphic designer's/music enthusiast's absolute dream. I wanted to move in. To the exhibit. Then I hit up some of the greats – Pollack, Lichtenstein, Warhol and Basquiat. On my way out of MoMa and on the walk back to the hotel, I got a little teary-eyed. This weekend had been such a departure from my everyday mom life in the midwest, even though I obviously love that life so much. And as my friend Gillian pointed out, art just 'hits you where you live.'  It was all just a reminder of who I was, who I am and what I love. I was walking my last few city blocks in the freezing cold. I was feeling all the feels. (Thanks, nyc.)

I ended the trip feeling the same way most people feel when traveling; I jumped on that plane feeling not quite ready to go home ... but also totally ready to go home. With a smile on my face and new memories made, I'm already looking forward to next time.