I just got back from VKL in LA. I had a mixed experience, parts awesome and parts less than. I write this for people like me, who rarely attend these types of events, a regular person who knits.
On the awesome end, I bought the package that included a $20 gift card to Vogue Knitting online, a class, a lecture, two market days and entrance to the market preview. (FYI, you *can* make purchases during the preview.) This package was $100, which I considered a pretty good deal, considering that a single class at a local yarn store is usually that much. My class was with MEG SWANSEN!!! and AMY DETJEN, and it was something I will always treasure! They are absolutely delightful ladies, who eagerly answer questions and enthusiastically share their immense knowledge and their incredible chemistry. They were funny and insightful and generous and I LOVE them!
I am an EZ devotee, so that didn't hurt. I love practical knitting. I'm not as interested in whatever happens to be in fashion or the latest innovation in fiber and bling. These things are distractions to me. I think a lot of it is my personal style at work, which is tailored and simple, but also my sewing background comes into play when I choose projects.
I was very disappointed in the market. I bought several bags from a bag sale, and I scored some Chinese wool that was a very good deal (from a lovely Phoenix woman.) Probably my best deal was some huge skeins from Newton's, a company from whom I have purchased cone wool for machine knitting. They had marked some beautiful yarn of various content and then gave attendees a 50% discount. So I made lemonade from lemons. But there were far fewer booths than I expected, and nothing all that earth shaking. The products touted were overpriced and available through the internet. I know, I know, a lot of knitters want to touch and feel. I touch, I feel, I read recommendations, and then I search for the best price, which is usually available through internet shopping. I don't give a rat's ass about buying locally or supporting a local economy. All I care about is making the most of my husband's earnings. Also, I had believed there would be discounts for attendees, and freebies. The only freebie I found was some sample packets of Eucalen.
Houstonians, hear me....our Quilt Show in October is far superior! Which brings me to my other criticism...
The hotel, while nice enough, was so freaking expensive! It was quite a ways from the airport, which meant transportation costs were huge. I felt I was captive to the conference simply because I could not afford to leave. I had to spend over $1,000 to attend this conference, and it just wasn't worth it. Not even for Meg and Amy.
I heard from other attendees that VKL in New York was much better attended. Many classes had open slots, but in order to take them without advance reservation, the price was $95 per. That is crazy. The people are there and the seats are empty. There were something like 10 people in my class.
Also, I felt that the organization was ramshackle. The reservation website certainly was not intuitive. The gift cards were not available at registration, I was told they will be mailed at a later date. In an effort to make some events exclusive, many attendees were unaware of events that were occurring. I expected much more from a behemoth corporation like Vogue on their second try. FAIL
So I seriously doubt I will attend another Vogue Knitting Live conference, no matter where it is. It is quite possible I just do not belong in their target demographic, and I can live with that.