Sunday, April 14, 2013

Bike Travel & Vogue Knitting Live Seattle

I'm finally starting to get myself together after an amazing trip to Seattle last week.  I went down to participate in Vogue Knitting Live, working in the Hazel Knits booth, and had an intense and exciting experience.  

The last time I went to Seattle, I traveled by bike and was impressed at how easy the route was, considering I was riding between countries.  So this time I planned to do the same.  The weather was a bit warmer, so most of my layers were packed away.  Wool leggings, a wool base layer, and my mink cowl were just right for the brisk morning ride.  

(This part is going to be all about bike travel, so if you want to get to the yarn, skip to below the next picture.)

I also changed a few things about how I packed my bike for this ride.  First, I carried my new orange handlebar bag up front, which gave me easy access to my phone while I was riding.  Most of my clothes don't have pockets (did you notice I like wearing leggings?), so having a place to get at my maps easily was fantastic.  (The bag was adapted for me by Jessie Kwak, who wrote a great tutorial on how it was done.  She made my belt too!  It's reflective for extra bike safety.)

Second, I decided to move my center of gravity down a bit by eliminating my basket (which slid onto my rack), and carrying the bulk of my stuff in my two lightweight dry sacks on either side of the bike.  One of those dry sacks was almost completely packed full of knitted samples to show off at Vogue Knitting Live.  I attached the dry sacks using webbing straps and giant rubber bands colloquially called "Ranger bands."  They're just pieces cut from a car tire inner tube and we use them all the time.  (That's how my U-lock is attached too.)  Then I just sat my lightweight purple Patagonia bag on top of the rack and secured it with a bungee net.  Carrying the majority of my weight low made the whole thing a little bit more stable for riding.  I also carried some duct tape in my emergency kit in case of dry sack ripping emergencies, but so far, they're extremely sturdy.

Now of course, I just bought a new bike with drop handlebars.  On the new bike, my handlebar bag really only works as a pannier because it gets in the way of my grip up front.  I may put a front rack on later, but for now, I'm carrying it in the back.  We'll see how I pack up the next time I travel.  For the ride home I used two new Basil pannier baskets that I got while in Seattle, but I doubt I'll travel with those regularly since the weight seems unnecessary.  (Pics of the new bike haven't happened yet, but they're on their way!)

Now onto the yarn and Vogue Knitting Live!

Photo Copyright Kathy Cadigan 2013

Because I used to help out in the Hazel Knits dye studio (including at the fun and crazy Sock Summit a couple years ago), Wendee invited me to come down south for the weekend to assist her and the Hazel Knits team at their Vogue Knitting Live booth.  If you hadn't noticed yet, I love this yarn and have designed a whole lot of projects using it.  After Wendee told me we'd be able to attend VKLive Seattle, I managed to get two more designs done in Hazel Knits yarn in the space of about a month.  (Thanks to my turbo-charged testers for knitting like the wind!)  You can see one of them, Orixa just behind us in the photo above, and the other one was Flow, which sold out by noon on Saturday!  I brought a whole lot of that one as well, so next time I guess I'll have to double it!  All of the print patterns and books I sold at the show included a coupon code for downloading the pdf of the pattern and I'm really happy that so many folks have made use of it.  It's good to know that it was worth doing.  

I did theatre as a kid, and I find that setting up for these events is a little like being a stage hand.  It includes lots of heavy lifting, and I get to use my multi-tool a lot.  And when you're done, you get to be really proud of your set.  Thanks to Wendee's genius color-coding and clearly labeled boxes, set-up was achieved in record time.

The colors!

I was really impressed by the beauty and richness of the booth when it was all set up.  Way to go, Wendee and Dave!  

Wendee, the genius behind the company, and Dave, her lead dyer

The booth was pretty packed all weekend, and we got so many amazing visitors from yarn shop folks to designers to old friends.  I didn't get to spend as much time with any of them as I would have liked, but I did get a chance to have dinner with Melissa Goodale Saturday night and lunch with Mary Jane Mucklestone and Gudrun Johnson after it was all over.  The more of these kinds of events I attend, the more fun it gets.  It's great to see the knitting community coming together and to realize I'm not the only one obsessed with yarn and fiber!  

To top it all off, I came home with a bit of Spincycle's new yarn, Dyed in the Wool.  I've been playing with it ever since and am really excited about what it will become.  

What did you bring home from VKLive and what was your favorite part?  

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