And Now for Something Completely* Different

*Okay, not completely, but very new!

We are proud to announce the inaugural YarnCon Symposium! We have wanted to expand our workshops for some time, but the limiting factor has been availability of space at the Plumbers Union Hall. We love being at the Plumbers Union Hall, and we have no plans to leave, but it has made hosting classes more and more complicated. So: a new space was in order if we wanted to expand our class offerings. That led to another change we have always wanted: to be able to attend classes and parties while registered as a vendor at a show.

Intro to Dyeing class at YarnCon
Intro to Dyeing class at YarnCon

The solution is the YarnCon Symposium: two days of classes at the lovely Crowne Plaza West Loop!

On Thursday and Friday, April 2 and 3, 2020, we will host our first annual symposium, with classes on both days and a reception on Friday evening. Then on Saturday and Sunday, April 4 and 5, 2020, we will have YarnCon at the Plumbers Union Hall, as we have since 2013. We will still have beginning dyeing and spinning workshops over the weekend during YarnCon, but sit-down classes in classrooms with all of the amenities will take place at the Crowne Plaza. The hotel is just down the road from the Plumbers Union, and is the perfect place to stay if you are coming in from out of town!

If you are a teacher and have thought about teaching with us, but weren’t so keen on the open layout we used to have, now is your time to join us. We think you will be pleasantly surprised, as we have put lots of thought into the care and feeding of instructors. This means competitive pay, lodging, and travel expenses. You can see the details, and fill out the application at the following link:
https://forms.gle/z6CdUUx2DgC8FX4F7

Seeing as we are growing and expanding, we also thought it was time to have a party to celebrate! We are planning a reception at the Crowne Plaza on Friday night after classes have wrapped up. We will have more information on that soon, so be on the lookout, as tickets will be limited. Sign up for our mailing list to get the info!

On your marks…

Just kidding! No need to race to get your vendor applications in. Sara and Natalia took a weekend off to re-work the application process, and we hope it will be a better fit for all of us as we grow.

Natalia and Sara in front of the Sandpiper, home of the Hoof to Hanger Fiber Mill.
Natalia and Sara in front of the Sandpiper this summer,
home of the Hoof to Hanger Fiber Mill, a 2019 sponsor.

As many of you who applied to vend at YarnCon in the last few years know, we filled up in record time, and many of you who planned to apply never got a chance. That was never our intent, so this year we are changing how the process works.

Applications will go live on October 1, 2019 at 10am Central Time, and will close on October 8, 2019 at 10pm Central Time. There are no bonus points for being the first, but we will not take applications after they close.

Edited to Add the application link: https://forms.gle/2G6tADKn1eCPe1S58

YarnCon has always been a juried show. We will judge all the applications according to our posted guidelines, and send our acceptance and rejection emails on October 15, 2019. You will be able to find the application on the homepage of our website. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at info@yarncon.com. If you want to be on the vendor mailing list, please sign up on the homepage.

We will also make an announcement about workshop proposals in the near future, so stay tuned! There’s also a sign up for the teaching mailing on the homepage.

Let’s hear it for YarnCon 2019!

Oh my goodness, what a show! I know it has been over a month (sorry, I really intended to get this out sooner!) but I am no less excited now about the great show we had this year than I was a month ago. We couldn’t have done it without each and every one of you who vended, taught, volunteered, and especially all you who attended! Yes, you. It is all of you together that make this fibery community so special. You line up in the mornings, you come and meet up with each other in this space we have made, you make new friends, meet old ones, learn new skills, and seriously enhance your stashes. But more than anything, you make it the most special weekend of the year for us.

And I am not joking about the morning lines! I took a video less than an hour before the doors opened on Saturday. Stitchers are well prepared folks, look at all of you with chairs, blankets, and working on projects.

Can I show you how Sara and I feel about this community, and this event?

Natalia and Sara a moment before we opened the doors on Saturday, April 6, 2019.

Now, let me show you just a moment in time on Saturday morning, after we saw a record number of people come through our doors. Over 700 of you arrived within the first half hour of the show! I am still in awe.

A view of the ballroom from the balcony.

And it just kept getting better all day long. We not only saw old friends of ours, we saw you connect with your friends, and enjoy a yarny day together. We met lots of new friends, and hope you did as well. We watched people learn how to prepare fiber and spin it into yarn right on our stage, and so much more! How about we show you in pictures?

Selfie Station at YarnCon
Visitors enjoying the Selfie Station
Heavenly Bresser teaching fiber preparation at YarnCon
Heavenly Bresser teaching fiber preparation at YarnCon
Mochi Mochi Land!!
Mochi Mochi Land! Did you do the scavenger hunt?
Sara calling out the raffle winners!
Sara calling out the raffle winners!
Vera back on stage, teaching DIY Handspinning. Vera's been teaching folks to spin at YarnCon since our second show, back in 2008.
Vera back on stage, teaching DIY Handspinning. Vera’s been teaching folks to spin at YarnCon since our second show, back in 2008.
This is what YarnCon is about, great friends and great yarn! Lauren and Karen are two amazing volunteers and supporters of YarnCon, and wonderful people.
This is what YarnCon is about, great friends and great yarn! Lauren and Karen are two amazing volunteers and supporters of YarnCon, and wonderful people.

And it just kept being amazing all day long! Check out some faces you might know from the larger yarn-crafting community:

Kristy Glass and Natalia at the YarnCon Selfie Station
Kristy (Kristy Glass Knits) and Natalia at the YarnCon Selfie Station
Sara, Louis (Brooklyn Boy Knits), and Natalia at YarnCon
Sara, Louis (Brooklyn Boy Knits), and Natalia
Natalia and Cecilia (Creative Ceci) at YarnCon
Natalia and Cecilia (Creative Ceci)

I’m not going to lie, seeing Kristy, Louis, and Cecilia at YarnCon was so exciting! I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them before at other shows, and have wanted to share YarnCon with them, and we got to this year! Kristy did more than just visit, she filmed a video tour of YarnCon, embedded below (her tour of YarnCon begins at about 30:43).

Kristy Glass celebrating her 40th birthday, and her tour of YarnCon at 30:43

Friends, this was all just on Saturday! Sunday was another day of fun, and fun on two floors, I might add. What? Yes! For the first time we had vendors on the first and second floors, plus of course the balcony. It was our biggest YarnCon yet, and we have been so happy by the response. Check out the first floor (I didn’t get all of it, but hopefully you will get the idea):

Check the new vending area near the coffee bar!
Check the new vending area near the coffee bar!
Check the new vending area near the coffee bar!
Check the new vending area near the coffee bar!
Toad Hollow and Yarnify in the new vendor area.
Toad Hollow and Yarnify in the new vendor area.
Midmitten Designs and Heavenly Knitchet in our new vendor area
MidMitten Designs and Heavenly Knitchet in our new vendor area
And yet more vendors on the first floor!
And yet more vendors on the first floor!

Needless to say, I can go on and on. YarnCon is definitely a labor of love for Sara and me. We have a terrific team of friends who help us put this together every year with their ideas, connections, knowledge, and hard work. We can’t thank them enough. We didn’t get everyone we wanted to in the picture below, but we love you, and thank you for making this community event happen. And thank you, fiber community, for making it so special. We couldn’t do it without you.

Team YarnCon posing in front of the YarnCon Selfie Station
Team YarnCon (from left to right), Layne, Lauren, Natalia (being her foolish self in front), Sara, Shannon, Andi, and Lindy.

Last chance to pre-register for classes

Woo! It’s almost time for YarnCon! Natalia’s minivan is chock full of gear so Team YarnCon can start setting up the floors for our vendors. We have three levels of vendors! Ground level, main hall, and the balcony, and don’t forget the vendors in the hall outside the main hall! We are putting amazing fiber artists everywhere we can because they are just so good! And don’t forget to enjoy some delicious Dark Matter Coffee at the coffee bar next to the ground level vendors. Yum!

Natalia has crammed all the set up gear into her van, and is ready to layout the floors for our vendors!

Along with filling the building up with vendors, our classes are filling up with students, and we are thrilled! A number of classes have sold out, and many only have a seat or two left, so if you have been putting off signing up, time is running out! You can still sign up online right here:
https://www.yarncon.com/classes/ until Friday at 6pm Central time, after that, any seats still open will be available at the show, but for cash or check only.

Don’t forget to stop by our low-tech selfie station by the stage in the main hall! Please tag us with #yarncon and have fun, like this:

So many of us got into this picture that the whole frame made an appearance!

We’ll see you this weekend at YarnCon!

Food Truck Spotlight

YarnCon happens next weekend! Are you ready for this much fun?

Because fiber fanatics cannot live on yarn alone (although we try our best), we are thrilled to announce the food truck lineup for YarnCon 2019. This year, sandwich and American comfort food experts Fat Shallot will be on hand alongside newcomer Yum Dum.  It’s going to be another tasty year!

The Fat Shallot Food TruckHow do delicious, made-to-order sandwiches sound? Just about perfect, that’s how. The Fat Shallot team grills up comfort food, elevated. Think BLT…but with truffle aioli. Yep.
Back at YarnCon for a 2nd year, Yum Dum has been serving tasty dumplings, Baowiches, and their signature Kimcheesey rice balls to lucky Chicagoans since 2014. We’re happy to welcome them back to our annual fiber party!

Last few days to sign up for classes

One week from right now YarnCon will be happening! That means time is running out to sign up for classes!*

We have some really great classes this year, maybe you have thought about taking a class but aren’t sure if you are up to it. You are!

Let’s say you were thinking about the Steeking class with Lori Grady, but don’t know if you can bear to cut your own knitting, or have knitting ready in time. No problem! Lori says you can bring in a thrift shop sweater to learn on. Added bonus, you might end up with a pretty great cardigan!

Steeked Sweater
freshly steeked sweater by Lori Grady

How about learning to make jewelry by knitting an unfamiliar material? In Knit Wirecore Jewelry, Emily Wohlscheid she shows you how to knit with wire that has been core spun with colorful wool. She has the kits ready for you, all you need are knitting needles, and you come out with unique jewelry that speaks to your love of knitting. What better souvenir than new skills and a fancy new piece made by you?

Finished wirecore necklace
Finished wirecore necklace

A perennial favorite at YarnCon is our Dyeing workshops I and II wwith Samantha Lynn. In Dyeing I you can learn to dye yarn, provided by Wool2Dye4, with Kool-Aid! In Dyeing II you learn to use traditional acid Dyes, also with yarn provided by Wool2Dye4. In both classes you go home with a bag of yarn dyed by you!

Color control is not just for finished yarn, you can also control the colors in your fiber for spinning, before you ever get to the wheel, and while at the wheel. Heavenly Bresser shows you how to use Blending Boards to your best advantage; how to combine colors that won’t look muddy when you spin them, and how to make rolags and really take advantage of what a blending board can do.

Blending Board with wool
Blending Board with wool

Heavenly also has a great workshop on a technique for making self-striping yarn on your spinning wheel: Fractal spinning! Learn how to control your colors to get your desired stripy effects!

Fractal Spun Yarn
Fractal Spun Yarn

*Pre-registration for classes ends at 6pm CST on Friday, April 5th. We will happily register you for a class with openings during the show, but you risk missing out on the class you want if it is full.

You can check out the whole roster of classes here:
https://www.yarncon.com/classes/

See you at YarnCon on April 6-7!

Getting to YarnCon

One more week to YarnCon! We are guessing many of you are planning your trip, and we are here to help. (You can see the direction page here: https://www.yarncon.com/directions/ )

YarnCon is held in the Plumbers Union Hall, and it has a fairly large parking lot (both the lot and admission are free, yeay!!), but it’s not limitless. So, we have a few suggestions.

Plumbers union wrench sign with YarnCon logo
We always love seeing our logo on the Plumbers Union Wrench sign next to the parking lot!

One of the reasons we choose to host YarnCon right in the middle of the city, instead of at one of the large convention centers in the suburbs is that we want everyone to be able to come, whether they can drive over or not. We are close to public transportation (about a third of a mile from the Ashland Green Line stop, and only .2 miles from the Madison and Loomis bus stop) and close to the Kennedy Expressway (I90). If you are in the Western Suburbs, for example, you can take the Metra into the Ogilvie Station, and take the Madison (20) Bus over to Loomis. If you live not too far from downtown, you could bike over. Or, you could share a Lyft or other ride-share/taxi over. Lots of options, and that’s what we wanted. Lots of ways for everyone who likes yarn to come and be part of the community.

That brings us back to parking. If you can carpool, please do. We know the parking lot will fill up, and we know street parking can get tight. There isn’t much we can do about that. So, please plan accordingly, we would hate to see not being able to park easily get in the way of a fun day at YarnCon.

We look forward to seeing you at YarnCon next weekend! Safe travels!

Check out our Vendors!

Are you getting excited about YarnCon? It’s a week and half away, and maybe you want to check out our vendors in advance of the show? You can always check out our Vendors page to see who is coming this year, but if looking at the logos is a little hard on you, or you just prefer a written list, we made a table for your use.

2 Guys Yarn2 Guys Yarn
912 Yarn912 Yarn
AJHC WoolsAJHC Wools
Apothefaery Luxury FibersApothefaery Luxury Fibers
Backyard FibersBackyard Fibers
BaH YarnsBrenda and Heather Yarns
Beautiful SysterBeautiful Syster
Black Cat FibersBlack Cat Fibers
Bumblebee Acres FarmBumblebee Acres Farm
BunnyBadger FibersBunnyBadger Fibers
Bur Oak StudioBur Oak Studio
Carpooln/a
Chasing AcornsChasing Acorns
cjkoho Designscjkoho Designs
Considered ClothConsidered Cloth
Cooperative PressCooperative Press
Critical Sheep YarnCritical Sheep Yarn
Daizie KnitsDaizie Knits
DarnYarnMNDarnYarnMN
Deitricks' Alpaca RanchDeitricks' Alpaca Ranch
Dimensions ButtonsDimensions Buttons
Esther's PlaceEsther's Place
Fairy Tale KnitsFairy Tale Knits
Fiber AddictionFiber Addiction
FiberstoryFiberstory
Good for Ewe YarnGood for Ewe Yarn
Grinning GargoyleGrinning Gargoyle
Heavenly KnitchetHeavenly Knitchet
Heidi & LanaHeidi & Lana
Honey Girl FarmsHoney Girl Farms
Hopkins Sewing StudioHopkins Sewing Studio
Hummingbird MoonThe Hummingbird Moon
I Feel Like DyeingI Feel Like Dyeing
Icemelon's StashIcemelon's Stash
Indian Lake ArtisansIndian Lake Artisans
JelbyJelby
KnitspinKnitspin
Knitting NotionsKnitting Notions
Leading Men Fiber ArtsLeading Men Fiber Arts
Lisa Whiting ArtistLisa Whiting Artist
Lorna's LacesLorna's Laces
MayBea CraftedMayBea Crafted
MidMitten DesignsMidMitten Designs
Mochimochi LandMochimochi Land
ModeKnitYarnModeKnit Yarn
Mondo MojoMondo Mojo
Nebula Fiber CollectiveNebula Fiber Collective
Northern Bee StudioNorthern Bee Studio
Oink PigmentsOink Pigments
OMG Yarn (Balls)OMG Yarn (Balls)
Operation Chemo ComfortOperation Chemo Comfort
Orange Jellyfish DreamOrange Jellyfish Dream
Passion YarnsPassion Yarns
River's Edge Fiber ArtsRiver's Edge Fiber Arts
Sassy SongstressSassy Songstress Yarns
Shirsty Cat DesignsShirsty Cat Designs
Spinning Chicken StudioSpinning Chicken Studio
The Miller GirlsThe Miller Girls
TLD Design CenterTLD Design Center
Toad HollowToad Hollow
Twisted Fiber ArtTwisted Fiber Art
V YarnsV Yarns
Why Knot FibersWhy Knot Fibers
Wild StitchersWild Stitchers
WoolpierogiWoolpierogi
Yarn Geek FibersYarn Geek Fibers
Yarn HollowYarn Hollow

We hope that helps! Don’t forget, we will have vendors on three levels this year! You can find them on the ground floor, in aroma distance of the Dark Matter Coffee and Tea bar (and hot cocoa if you are so inclined); in the main hall on the second floor; and in the balcony. All three areas are accessible by stairs and elevator, and there is a ramp to the ground floor area.

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Every year we try something new to make each YarnCon better than the one before. Some changes are in the inner workings, and hopefully you won’t even notice. Others we really want you to notice, and this year’s change is one of those.

A view of the main hall and balcony from the stage.

We are a small, but growing fiber festival, and this year we received more applications than we thought possible (thanks for the love!) Although we still had the sad job of turning a lot of really great artists down, we decided to try to add a few more this year, meaning this year we will have the most vendors ever at YarnCon! (I mean, just look at this list! (https://www.yarncon.com/vendors-2/ ) But, where will we put them all?

The balcony (accessible by stairs and elevator) is hopping with shoppers.

So glad you asked! Now you can shop in the main ball room on the second floor, up in the beautiful balcony in the ball room, and downstairs in the hall with the coffee bar. What? Coffee and more yarny goodness? You read that right!

The Coffee Bar, and some of last year’s organizations spreading the word. If you could turn your gaze to the right, you would see vendors this year!

Stop by the bar* for some delicious Dark Matter coffee, or choose from a fine selection of teas or hot cocoa, and then check out the vendors and guilds in the room! You can also have your yarn wound into a cake for you for instant yarn gratification, and then sit and start swatching. All of this in one room!

And just outside this room, we still have tables and chairs so you can enjoy a tasty lunch from some of our food trucks, and play with your new yarn. You will also find the YarnCon Merchandise table, Operation Chemo Comfort, and don’t forget the raffle tickets!

Speaking of don’t forget, we still have spaces available in a few of our classes, but tickets are selling fast! You can find more information about our brilliant teachers, and what classes are still available here:
https://www.yarncon.com/classes/

*Did you know JFK had a drink at that very bar? He did! Yarn, coffee, and some history. We have it all!

That’s so wirecore!

So, you have knit with wool (or some kind of fiber), and maybe you have knit with wire, but have you tried the combination of the two?

Wirecore yarn is what it sounds like, it is fiber spun around a wire core. The beauty of knitting with wire is you can make jewelry and sculptural objects with it. Once you add fiber, you get the same features of knitting with wire, but with the look and color of yarn.

wirecore yarn and tools
Wirecore yarn and tools

Emily Wohlscheid spins up some beautiful wirecore yarn, and in Knit Wirecore Jewelry she will teach you how to make jewelry and accessories with it. For this class, you don’t have to spin your own, Emily will be selling kits for the class.

Wirecore jewelry
Wirecore jewelry
Finished wirecore necklace
Finished wirecore necklace

Bring your knitting needles and your imagination, and learn to make jewelry at YarnCon!