On Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, here's what I did: I staggered into my house, dumped all the stuff I was carrying on the floor, pulled off my shoes, and collapsed. First on the couch, then into a hot bath (which got stone-cold by the time I mustered the energy to climb out of it), then into bed. I never, ever sleep on my stomach, but still found myself lying with my face plunged between the pillow piles on Saturday night, thinking "Oh, this feels unusually niiiiiizzzzzzzzzzzzz...."
What wrecked me? Vogue Knitting Live. Between the pre-party at Unwind, which I attended with a new-knitter friend who then came over for (YUM!) chicken and dumplings, and the three looooonnng days of lectures, demos, classes, steel-willed resistance of the opportunity to purchase even yet still more yarn (I limited myself to some decadent silk ribbons and a handbag), and inter-knitter mingling that followed at VKL, I'm absolutely bushed. I also think I'll be digesting all the lessons, discoveries, and facts from this for several weeks to come. Here are some of my initial thoughts on the event, though:
1) I should not have to work this hard to sign up for something I'm paying this much to attend. The worst, and yet most fixable, problem was the online interface for class selection and signup--Vogue Knitting, I love you, I really do, but speaking as an information scientist, your usability could use some serious evaluation. No calendar view for classes and workshops, so you could actually SEE what's happening in which time slot and avoid conflicts when selecting things? The "schedule" printed on the back of my conference badge doesn't list events in day/time order? The conference-at-a-glance listing in the program booklet is organized by instructor...and they're alphabetical by first name, even though the badge "schedule" lists them as first initial, last name?? Whoever is doing this stuff for you is really bad at it, and it's probably costing you a lot of money in the form of failed registrations from frustrated, not-so-Web-savvy knitters. Please, please address these issues! We will all be grateful.
2) One jerk per thousand knitters...that's not half bad. Lots of folks were, shall we say, taken aback by the discovery that the parking garage at the Century Plaza Hyatt was unable to process credit card payments for most of the weekend. Yes, that was a bummer--but really, nothing to pitch a fit over. The fact that I only saw one person the whole time being kind of nasty about any of the difficulties we all coped with (never-ending lines at Starbucks, not enough staff in the bar and restaurant to manage the lunch rush, especially on the weekend, confusing signage and late-arriving speakers and really mediocre banquet food at the Gala Dinner) just goes to show you how great knitters in general are. I'm proud to be one of ya. Not only that, but the big stars of the knitting world that I met there (Nicky Epstein, Cookie A, Cirilia Rose, Amy Singer, Kristy Porter, and many more) were even nicer than the average knitter...not to mention funny, whip-smart, and generous with their time and considerable knowledge.
3) Thinking about knitting, talking about knitting, and actually knitting all day is frickin' intense. We all say we'd love to spend all of our days knitting, but now I'm not so sure. This program was eye-opening in so many ways, especially for me as a fledgling designer--I have a much better sense now of what this would be like as a full-time job, for one thing. As I was heading home after my last workshop (a really fun session on menswear design with Josh Bennett, aka boymeetspurl, who is a terrific teacher and made us all feel like we were design geniuses), I realized why my chaotic state of mind felt so familiar. It was just like when I first went back to grad school for my PhD: I went in thinking I was really something special, with my awesome test scores and my generous fellowship funding, but then I got hit with this tidal wave of expert knowledge and high expectations and I just did NOT feel READY for it. It was really destabilizing for a few months there...but then the next time I gave a preservation workshop, I realized that what I'd learned in those few months had been a huge advance, and that I really did know my stuff even before that. The next time I teach a class or do a knitting demo myself, I bet I'll have that same feeling again, too...
VKL was absolutely worth the time and money and mind-bending effort for me, in short. I'm tired but happy. Pictures of all my fun acquisitions from the event to follow!