Swatch: Vogue Knitting 35th Anniversary


My son is 30 years old, so it is easy for me to track how long I’ve been knitting–30 years. When I was learning to knit, I assumed Vogue Knitting magazine had been around as long as the sewing patterns (1899). As a beginning knitter I regarded Vogue Knitting as the hippest, most fashionable knitting resource. Like the sewing patterns, I found the patterns more challenging. Within a few years I stretched my skills to knit entrelac and intarsia patterns from Vogue Knitting.

A few years after that it was with a huge sigh of relief when a yarn store employee remarked that Vogue Knitting often printed patterns with errors. It gave me permission to question Vogue’s authority. All the same I give Vogue Knitting a straight needle salute for inspiring me over the last 30 years. I especially enjoy the knitting events, Vogue Knitting Live, they host in New York City and Seattle.

Check out the 35th Anniversary issue of the magazine on newsstands until 11/7 for US $7.99.

Postscript: Sometimes when I travel I find a favorite food. In New Zealand I always look for Arnott’s chocolate mint cookies. They are as close to the old Mystic Mint cookies that were available in USA until the recession of 2008 put so many cookie companies out of business. The other day I found these TimTam’s in mint! At first I was concerned I wouldn’t have the self control to keep from pigging out on them regularly. However, I can’t remember in what store I found them, so I look forward to my next visit to New Zealand to be able to eat my favorite store bought cookie.





Big Day Out at BrickCon in Seattle

BrickCon in SeattleI learned about BrickCon in Seattle in the movie A LEGO Brickumentary. I looked up the dates and was pleased that it was only a month and a half away. The tickets were affordable so I bought a group of four–a kind of family discount. I invited my son Tevis to join me and we figured out how we could fly up and back for the day. I have never thought to go to Seattle for the day from Sacramento. Thanks to Alaska Airlines it is very easy, affordable and pleasant. We were even able to change our ticket at the last minute to return earlier for just $25 fee per person.

Alice Finch coordinated the creation of Mouse Guard.
Alice Finch in the center of the photo (in green shirt) is one of the most popular and talented LEGO designers.

The documentary gave the impression that the premier LEGO hobbyist expo was bigger than we found it. Still we enjoyed seeing the many expressions of creativity in LEGO brick. People are clever.

Robotic R2D2 in LEGO ready for new Star Wars release.
Robotic R2D2 in LEGO ready for new Star Wars release.

There is also a fair amount of shopping opportunities. Memories of stepping on LEGO brick while Tevis was growing up inspired me to purchase a Swoop Bag that keeps LEGO brick together and speeds clean up.

Swoop Bags
Swoop Bags

After we satisfied our curiosity about designers and played with R2D2. We walked around the Exhibition Hall. We ate lunch at Dick’s and walked round the Space Needle and compared it to the LEGO version.

There is a nifty light rail option for getting to the airport. We were fortunate to have Spezia cousins willing to take us back to the airport.

Seattle Space Needle in LEGO
Seattle Space Needle in LEGO
Actual Seattle Space Needle
Actual Seattle Space Needle

Tevis was definitely inspired, And I made some good contacts with LEGO designers for a work project.

Vogue Knitting Live in Seattle Inspires

Vogue Knitting Live is a terrific showcase and provides inspiration from workshops to art, to new fibers, and new designs.

Sweater designs displayed at entrance t Vogue Knitting Live
Sweater designs displayed at entrance t Vogue Knitting Live

My knitting enthusiasm seems to have disappeared with the rain in California. I have plenty of projects to work on, but I lack motivation. Then I read about Vogue Knitting Live in the Knitter’s Review blog. I found the basic information on the website. I had work and church commitments that limited my time so I signed up for one afternoon workshop and planned my trip to Seattle so I could spend the afternoon learning to speed steek and then shop for a few hours in the Expo.

Yarn tasting where knitters could try out different fibers.
Yarn tasting where knitters could try out different fibers.

Steeking is a technique used in Nordic knitting where you knit in the round and then crochet a safety edge and then take scissors and CUT an opening in the yarn. When I was in Norway last summer I bought the yarn to make a Norwegian style sweater and thought this class would be both challenging and practical.  I arrived in the nick of time to take my class from Ragga Eiricksdottir from Iceland. She did a great job explaining the properties of Lopi, the technique of steeking plus passing along tips. As we knit she shared some of her current projects, information on her wool cooperative in Iceland. She also explained how they bring the sheep down from the mountains at the end of summer and sort them by their ear tags to their proper owner to over winter.

Rigga and her friend like to find Icelandic sweaters in thrift stores and rework them in cool ways.
Ragga and her friend like to find Icelandic sweaters in thrift stores and rework them in cool ways.

I would LOVE to participate in sheep sorting in 2015. I added it to my travel wish list.

The expo included the usual booths with yarn shops and specialty items. It also offered “yarn tasting” with dozens of different fibers to touch and try out. Plus there was an outside aisle featuring many yarn artists.


I spun the “wheel of fortune” and kept landing on “spin again”. After about 7 spins I finally won a bag of yarn and a pattern book. Yeah!

I enjoyed so much about my trip to Seattle that even if Vogue Knitting Live had been a bust my trip would have been worthwhile. The one frustration was how far the event was from downtown Seattle, thus requiring me to rent a car. The Meydenbauer Center is in the suburbs surrounded by a sterile neighborhood.

Did my knitting mojo come back? Not exactly. I do not know whether it is my preoccupation with cycling that has dampened my enthusiasm, or just a slump. I am trying some advice I read to knit every day for 10 minutes regardless of how you feel. I am trying this and one benefit is that you steadily make progress.

I recommend checking out one of the Vogue Knitting Live events already scheduled: in Chicago in October and New York City in January, 2015.

Eat, Sleep, Bike in Seattle

Seattle skyline from ferry
Seattle skyline from ferry

A blue sky day like this one is the kind that suckers Californians into moving to the Pacific Northwest. Of my three days in Seattle I had this stunner, and rain, and clouds and rain. I traveled to Seattle for a combination of personal and business reasons. I have not been to Seattle in a few years and it has increased its cool factor in my absence.


Pizza from Serious Pie
Pizza from Serious Pie

I ate so well that I am glad I took my Brompton to get some exercise each day. And it was Pi(e) Day on my last day there!

Dahlia Bakery
“Bite” of Pie at Dahlia Bakery

I stayed in the hip and chic Hotel Andra, centrally located in the heart of downtown and surrounded by a number of Tom Douglas restaurants. My colleague and I had a great meal at Serious Pie. I ate a tasty greek salad at Lola, although the slab of feta was a challenge to eat in bite size pieces. And after seeing the Pi(e) Day reminder, I started my day with a slice of coconut cream pie and coffee at Dahlia Bakery.

Starbucks Coffee
Drinking local means Starbucks

I also enjoyed coffee guilt free at Starbucks. Where else can you drink local coffee, at Starbucks? My colleague and I had an adventure trying to find the Pike Street Fish Fry that UrbanSpoon said had amazing fish and chips. We started at Pike Place Market and walked most of the way to Capitol Hill before we found it. It was worth the effort.

Pi(e) Day inspired me to seek out a berry pie at A La Mode Pies across from the Woodland Park Zoo. If I did not already have my heart set on Marionberry Hazlenut, I would have been torn between Chocolate Caramel Pecan Tart and Star-Spangled Sour Cherry.

Slice of Marionberry Hazelnut
Slice of Marionberry Hazlenut


I received an email from Stash Hotels telling me about Hotel Andra. I looked up the reviews in Trip Advisor and then making my reservation via I enjoyed every aspect of my stay. The staff especially excelled in making my stay a success. the bellman especially offered great advice about biking routes. My room was very comfortable and the wifi very fast. I will gladly stay here again.


Bicycle and jogging path through the Sculpture Park.
Bicycle and jogging path through Sculpture Park

I brought Black Beauty along so I could be sure to keep my commitment of riding my bicycle every day for 30 minutes. I had a terrific ride along the shoreline one morning. Another day I rode to the Seattle Center and around downtown. Seattle has invested in bike paths and there were large numbers of bicycle commuters on the street. Impressive considering the inclement weather.