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Things I dared to hope would happen actually happened

Pru Raymond with Norah Gaughan, knitting designer, teacher and author

The full moon a few nights ago confirmed it: it’s been a month since I went to Vogue Knitting Live. I arrived in New York on Feb 6 on the last full moon, with a heart full of excitement and anticipation for the learning, creativity and connection in the days to come. Having attended VKL in 2020, I knew the quality of the event: world-class teachers, designers, and authors hosting classes, catwalks and talks; a marketplace full of beautiful yarn, tools and notions; displays from fibre artists and community groups- so much colour, beauty and texture.

2023 promised to be even more incredible, with Norah Gaughan now in place as editor in chief at Vogue Knitting Magazine, which has really reinvigorated the publication, and widened the participation of designers. It was also the first time we were coming together again for this event in Times Square since Covid, which added to the heightened emotions of this event: friends and colleagues coming together again for the first time to squish yarn, knit, learn, share a meal and stories.

I prepared for this event by reaching out to a bunch of old friends, and people I wanted to connect with at/ around the event. I researched the class schedule and planned my learning for the weekend. I scrolled through articles about travelling in a post-pandemic world…I’m a learner. I want to know everything!

The reality of the eight days I enjoyed in New York was that I got to do lots of things I wanted to do, lots of things I dared to hope I could do, and somethings I couldn’t have anticipated!

Things I planned to happen that actually happened…

  • attended workshops with exceptional designers, teachers and authors Lesley Anne Robinson, Aleks Byrd, Melissa Leapman
  • listened to Carson Demers‘ lecture to hear about the ergonomics of knitting from the no.1 world expert who literally wrote THE book on this topic.
  • learnt about Denise Bayron‘s design process at her interview session
  • spent time with best selling author of my favourite fiction series The Vampire Knitting Diaries, Nancy Warren
  • had a reunion with my friend and spiritual sister Claudia who I met on the Camino de Santiago de Compostella in 2015
  • caught up with knitrepreneur extraordinaire Meika of Salt and Stone Knits for a drink and brainstorm!

Things I dared to hope would happen that actually happened:

  • I met Norah Gaughan, my idol, while I was wearing a jacket that she designed and I knitted.
  • lunch with Carson Demers- such an awesome human and it was so good to chat about our work and plans for the future!
  • bumped into Tabbethia from Long Island Yarn and Farm in the marketplace- in 2020 she started on a journey to learn more about farm to yarn businesses… I also met a bunch more incredible women steering their own farm to yarn businesses like Junction Fiber Mill, Aker Farm and Knudson Knits at this year’s event.
  • met Joji Locatelli and give her some yarn from South Australian indie dyer Nicole of Colagirl Collective
  • visited an art gallery, yarn store, and eat cheese and cake for dinner on my birthday- thanks Claudia for being up for it all!!!!

Things I couldn’t have anticipated that happened:

  • attended Dee Hardwicke‘s book signing at Brooklyn General Store and meet some amazing people who are part of the Brooklyn General Store community as well as Dee, and Paivi from Laine.
  • met Irina of Fiber Chats and I’m going to be on her podcast soon!
  • warmly welcomed and invited by American knitters to join them for dinner
  • received a hugely positive response to my Zoom insights and opportunities session on my return, and now am working towards an Australian involvement in Vogue Knitting Live in 2024!

There are always some plans that don’t happen… I was hoping to get to the weekly knit night at String Things Studio, I was hoping to go to the gala reception and hear Joji Locatelli’s key note address… I was also hoping to visit more yarn stores in town but on the whole I had an amazing experience that has seeded many ideas and opportunities for future designs, collaborations and workshops. Can’t wait to see where I end up before the next Vogue Knitting Live in Jan 2024!!

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