Archives for February 2016

Vendor Spotlight: Daizie Knits, MayBea Crafted

Daizie Knits’ 3D-printed spindles were a sensation last year, and we’re happy to welcome them back — both DK and the spindles. Owner Jennifer (who also happily answers to “Daizie” when you see her around) specializes in extra-smooshy fibers and bright color combinations. Check out her podcast to see if she’ll tip her hand on what else she plans to bring along!

MayBea Crafted makes their YarnCon debut with a range of bags and fabrics that will make your head spin (one of her fabrics even glows in the dark)! Tanya cranks out bags and knitting patterns from her Michigan studio that we’re pretty psyched to introduce to all of you.

Daizie KnitsDaizie Knits

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
We specialize in hand dyed yarns and fibers. We offer yarns from lace weight to worsted with a mix of different fibers and blends. After partnering up with Madhatter Ideas, we also offer 3D printed Turkish spindles.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
3D printed spindles…

…and hand dyed yarns and fiber:


Dewy Sock in “Smell the Roses”


maybeaMayBea Crafted

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
As a new vendor, I’m most excited for the opportunity for everyone to see my work. I am beyond excited to spend the weekend with all of you; Make sure you stop in my booth and say hi!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
I’ll be debuting a collection of new knitting patterns, but my project bags will be new to many attendees too. My Poppins bags have been a local favorite, because of the quirky fabrics I select, and because they are so well made. A friend calls hers a Tardis bag because they are “bigger on the inside” and can hold a surprising amount of stuff.

Teacher Spotlights: Theresa Schabes and Kathy Kelly

Today I introduce two teachers who are YarnCon veterans, Theresa Schabes and Kathy Kelly. Both have been teaching workshops at YarnCon for years, and we are always happy to have them back.


Theresa will take you all the way from turning a thrift store sweater back into yarn (The Thrifty Knitter,) knitting some fine entrelac patterns (Intro to Entrelac,) and finishing any pattern in a professional and secure way (Finishing School: Weaving in Ends and Finishing School: Blocking.)

Entrelac ScarfSchabes_thriftyknitter1End-to-End or Means to an End



Kathy has been teaching Tunisian Crochet with us for years, and we love her approach. She start with with Beginning Tunisian Crochet, and then offers a second class for those who want to try out their new skills, or for those with the basics already under their belt. This year’s applied offering is the Three Color Tunisian Lace Cowl.


Sign up before they fill up! You’ll be glad you did.

Vendor Spotlight: Cooperative Press, Handmade Hollows

The YarnCon market is awash in yarn and fiber of all colors, weights, and content, but once you have materials in hand, what to DO with all of it? Independent publisher Cooperative Press has a few ideas for you. Returning for a third consecutive year, CP’s pattern books cover socks to shawls, drawing inspiration from pop culture and historical figures. Whether you’re looking for a pattern for a steampunk style top hat or a sweet children’s story starring a pair of yarn shop dogs, Shannon Okey and her traveling book fair have you covered.

Handmade Hollows debuted in the mini-booth area in 2015, and we’re thrilled to welcome Alice back this year into a full-size space of her own. Combining her love of fiber with her mad ceramics skills, her products range from bitty buttons to skeins of her own handspun. We can’t wait to see how she’ll fill her larger space this year!

Cooperative PressCooperative Press

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
We’re a fully independent publishing company dedicated to bringing the best knitting designers to you!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Our most recent book Spilly Jane Knits Mittens is just right for chilly Chicago!

Handmade HollowsHandmade Hollows

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
While my first love is pottery, a few years ago I discovered the fiber world and found I could make and use ceramic tools for fiber arts. I also discovered how much I enjoy taking a fleece straight off a sheep, adding a bit here and there, and making it into shiny, colorful yarn.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
My new yarn bowls:

Also I’ll be bringing rolags this year:

Teacher Spotlight: Miriam Felton

Along with an amazing group of vendors, YarnCon is also host to some great teachers, and I want to introduce this year’s lineup, starting with Miriam Felton. Those of you who take classes on Craftsy might recognize Miriam from her Lace Shawl Design class. We are fortunate to have her in person this year at YarnCon!


Perhaps you already know how to do a bit of lace knitting, but fear of making mistakes is keeping you from doing more? Miriam can teach you how to overcome that fear in her class: Fearless Lace Knitting: How to Fix Mistakes.


Maybe you are a sock knitter, but who wants to wear hand-knit socks in the Summer? The answer is to make footies! Footie Socks for EVERYONEComfy to hang out in, awesome under your clogs, and a great use for leftover sock yarn!



Vendor Spotlight: KnitCircus Yarns, Betty Burian Kirk

It’s been a big year for KnitCircus Yarns, with the opening of their studio and store in Madison! We always look forward to seeing what’s new our resident gradient ninjas, and now that they have even more space to create, we’re betting on a lot of new lovelies in this year’s booth.

Betty Burian Kirk returns to YarnCon a second time with her collection of wearable art, unique hats, and ready-to-wear woven scarves. She’s also an expert in handspinning dog hair, so she’s sure to have samples to feel and try out.

Knitcircus YarnsKnitCircus Yarns

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
We offer hand-dyed luxury gradient yarns, including Gradient Striped Sock Sets. All made with love in Wisconsin.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Gradient stripes; a dyeing technique you’ll only find at Knitcircus. Two exactly-matching cakes of yarn give you short-striping socks that change colors throughout the sock. Just sit back, relax and let the yarn do all the color changing for you!


bbkirk1Betty Burian Kirk

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
I make one of a kind sculpted hats out of my handmade felt as well as felted and handwoven scarves.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Handspun dog hair yarn:


Felt and silk hats, each individually designed and created:


Vendor Spotlight: BunnyBadger Fibers, Oink Pigments

More vendors to introduce today! One will look familiar to those of you who’ve attended before, but one is all new. Read on to meet Renée of BunnyBadger Fibers, along with a first peek at Oink Pigments; both share a focus on USA-grown wool and a love of wild color!

In addition to vending, Renée of BunnyBadger will be teaching two awesome classes over YarnCon weekend: a corespinning workshop for grownups, and a needle-felted soap class just for kids! Registration for all classes is open, so go check ’em out.

BunnyBadger FibersBunnyBadger Fibers

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Fierce and fluffy fibers that are locally produced. All wool fibers are sourced from US farms where the animals are humanely treated and other fibers are sourced through Fair Trade initiatives.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
BunnyBadger Fibers always has a great selection of handspun art yarns, plus all the supplies to make your own! Just take a look at last year’s YarnCon booth to get an idea of all the fun stuff they offer.


And a peek at one of Renée’s stunning handspun art yarns:


Oink PigmentsOink Pigments

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Our bright and playful indie-dyed yarns are 100% USA MADE – even the sheep are Americans!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
We’ve got some new colors available on all our bases, but here they are on our most popular Oink Sock:

And another new color, Spring Fever:


Vendor Spotlight: Cloudlover, Heartland “Criations” Alpacas

YarnCon vendors come from as far away as Colorado and Massachusetts, but today we’re checking in with two vendors closer to home. Cloudlover is based right here in Chicago, and has brought her vibrant hand-painted fiber and yarn to YarnCon from the first. Heartland “Criations” raises alpacas in Rio — the western Illinois one, that is — and is rejoining us after a great YarnCon debut in 2015.

(That name is no misspelling, by the way— for you non-alpaca aficionados, a “cria” is a baby alpaca. But you all already knew that, didn’t you?)

Cloudlover Yarn & FiberCloudlover

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
I specialize in dyeing unique, eye-catching colorways that are inspired by art, nature, literature and fashion.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Merino/Silk hand-painted sock yarn. This sock weight base is 50% merino wool and 50% silk. It’s incredibly soft and glossy and has an amazing drape.


Merino/Silk sock yarn in Séance

Blue-Faced Leicester wool top and roving: BFL wool is soft, lustrous and easy to spin – it’s a perfect fiber for beginners, too!


BFL Wool Top/Roving in Sugar Maple

Heartland CriationsHeartland “Criations” Alpacas

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
At Heartland “Criations” Alpacas, we have been raising Suri alpacas for 16 years. Not only do we raise and show the livestock, we also sell raw and finished alpaca products in a variety of locations. We process all of our own fiber, and we we also work with additional companies to bring you, our customer, the highest quality alpaca products possible. There is no lanolin in alpaca fiber, thus making it hypo-allergenic, and it is a very luxurious and durable natural fiber. It is known for being warmer than wool and possessing great moisture wicking properties.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Mid-weight alpaca socks: ideal to wear with a tennis shoe, hiking boot, or work boot. They are 80% alpaca, are a crew height and have amazing cushion! This is my favorite sock, by far!!!


This 100% alpaca scarf looks fantastic and feels incredible against your skin! This is a scarf that you can dress up or dress down, and is available in a variety of color combinations.



Workshop sneak-peek

I don’t know about you guys, but even (or maybe especially) as an organizer, I can’t stop staring the beautiful goodies our vendors are preparing for YarnCon this year! But, as we all know, YarnCon is not just about the wonderful fiber goodness our vendors have for sale, it is also about learning new ways to put that fiber to use, and we have some great workshops lined up for you.

We are hard at work getting the registration system ready (new and improved, go Team YarnCon!) and we will let you know in the next few days when it goes live. Perhaps you would like a hint of what is in store? OK!

Miriam Felton ( will teach you how to fix mistakes in your lace knitting, and how to make footie socks everyone can wear and enjoy.

Maybe you are just about done knitting a lace shawl, but you want a really special bind-off for it. Corrina Ferguson ( will be teaching a variety of ways to bind off lace shawls and shawlettes, to make that project extra special.

We are so pleased that Theresa Schabes ( will be joining us again this year to teach four classes, with something for everyone. You can learn ways to recycle yarn, entrelac, how to weave in ends, and how to block your finished projects.

If you are interested in learning how to spin yarn, you can’t go wrong with a class from Vera Videnovich! She will teach you the basics of both drop spindle and wheel spinning. You can show up not knowing the first thing about it, and leave with hand-made yarn. Trust me, I was one of her students!

If you already know how to spin, and want to take it to the next level, we have you covered. Emily Wohlscheid ( will be teaching how to spin from fleece and locks (and then you will know what to do with those amazing locks you saw the vendors selling,) and how to add enhancements to your hand-spun yarn. And Renée Jones ( will be teaching a class on corespinning! The possibilities are endless!

Maybe you know some kids who would like to learn to spin? Susan Levitin will be teaching kids how to spin yarn, on both Saturday and Sunday.

Spinning is not the only thing you can do with all of that fiber. Renée Jones will be teaching kids and adults how to make hand-felted soaps, and will be teaching about animal fibers in the process.

Speaking of felt, Denise Handwerker ( is back with brand-new classes on how to recycle wool sweaters into lovely and useful felt creations, and a class on how to take that old sweater and turn it into a warm pair of felt slippers!

So much talk about knitting, spinning and felt, but what about crochet? Kathy Kelly has you covered with two classes about Tunisian Crochet. In her first class she will teach you how to do it, and in the second class you can learn how to make a three-color Tunisian lace cowl.

Speaking of color, our workshop line-up would not be complete without classes that teach you to use color. Susan Levitin can teach you to play with color and learn how to make colors work together. And if you want to dye that yarn yourself, you can’t go wrong with Samantha Lynn’s dyeing workshops! She teaches two workshops, one with Kool-aid dyes (yes, you read that correctly) and one with traditional acid dyes. They are always a hit, and fill up quickly.

So, while you plan your fiber shopping budget, leave some room for some mad new skills to take your crafting to the next level.


Vendor Spotlight: Leading Men Fiber Arts, Jelby, Woolpierogi

Welcome to the latest installation of “Meet the Vendors!” This time around, we’re checking in with Leading Men Fiber Arts, returning for their third straight year, and the dynamic duo of Jelby and Woolpierogi, whose whimsical accessory and fiber creations complement each other beautifully.

Leading Men Fiber ArtsLeading Men Fiber Arts

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Partners Steve and Andy are center stage in the world of color. They specialize in hand dyed yarns and fibers.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
New this year, we will have gradient sets:


as well as our Improv Sock Blanks:



What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
I love coming up with new ideas and designs every year!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
New improved version of Stitch Stoppers will be available, along with new themed stitch marker kits. The kits will include a felted/embroidered tin, snagfree markers and a special charm marker.



What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
In addition to fiber, I have a passion for both color and texture. It is wonderful to find a way to combine all of my passions into the perfect batt or rolag. I love taking a concept like a pencil or a lightsaber or a birthday cake and representing them in wool.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
I’m very excited about my new Twinkle Kits. A batt is combined with a string of LED lights that you can use to core spin. The result is a super cool wool covered decoration that is perfect to decorate any crafty home or space.