Let’s plan some classes!

Planning for YarnCon 2018 is moving along at a fast clip this year, dare I say we turned up the dial to 11? (Yeah, I went there.) We have never filled the vendor spaces as quickly as we did this year! You really like us! And now it is time to show the same love to the educational side of the show. 

If you have ideas for a workshop, now is the time to send those proposals, and here is the form you need to fill out: https://www.yarncon.com/yarncon-2018-request-for-workshop-proposals/

We can’t wait to see what you have in store for us!

YarnCon 2018 is full!

Well, that was fast. YarnCon 2018 is full to bursting!

We had an incredible response this year, and all full-size booth spaces filled up in a record NINE DAYS. Many amazing vendors, new and returning, will be on hand to woo and wow you in April. Soon we’ll start previewing them and their luscious goodies on our Facebook page, so tune in starting in January to see those.

Technically, there are still a few mini booths available (4’x4′), so if you are interested in one, email us asap at info(at)yarncon(dot)com.

Swatching 2018

Team YarnCon here, excited to announce that the vendor application for YarnCon 2018 is now open! You can find the link right here: https://www.yarncon.com/yarncon-2018-vendor-application/

This part is like swatching for a project you have made before, but you have new yarn, and you want to be sure it will fit. And the beauty of handmade is you can customize as you go! Maybe you didn’t like the neck on the sweater last time, or the sleeve length; you can change those parts and still end up with a great sweater. That is how planning for YarnCon feels every fall, like a familiar project you get to start again and make even better.

The applications are coming in a terrific speed, so please apply now if you want to be a part of YarnCon 2018. This one goes to 11!

 

Food Truck Spotlight

YarnCon happens in TWO DAYS! Are you as excited as we are?

We are thrilled to announce the food truck lineup for YarnCon 2017! On Saturday, we’ll welcome Bruges Brothers and the Corner Farmacy. Sunday brings La Cocinita and the Fat Shallot AND the Bruges Brothers again! It’s going to be a tasty year!


Bruges Brothers

Back at YarnCon for a record THIRD year, Bruges Brothers brings crispy Belgian-style frites with a selection of tasty, hand-crafted sauces. These guys are a perennial favorite.

 


 

 

 

cornerfarmacy

The Corner Farmacy

The Corner Farmacy offers a seasonally rotating menu that features fresh, locally sourced ingredients — hence the “Farm” in “Farmacy.” Also, they offer breakfast items all day! Vegetarian friendly.

 

 


 

 

La Cocinita

Literally “the little kitchen,” La Cocinita serves fresh, authentic, gourmet street food from Latin America. Their build-your-own style means you can customize your order to your own taste, to boot.

 


 

 

The Fat Shallot Food Truck

 

 

The Fat Shallot

How do delicious, made-to-order sandwiches sound? Just about perfect, that’s how. This husband-and-wife team grills up comfort food, elevated.

Our Common Thread…

…And What You Should Know.

While preparing for YarnCon, I am often listening to public radio (I being Natalia), listening to news of the world, what’s happening in the White House and here in Chicago. One of the things I love about Chicago, as segregated as it is, is its diversity. That is a big reason for keeping YarnCon in the heart of the city. We want everyone to be able to come, people with cars and without. You can get to the Plumbers Union Hall via public transit, or even by bicycle if you are so inclined, but it is still easy enough to get to from the expressway. Everyone can come.

That means there will be lots of different types of people, and all types of people are welcome at YarnCon. All of them. And we want all of them to feel welcome. To feel included. We all have a common thread (excuse the pun) and that is yarn. We are all here for the yarn. We all like to work with it, look at it, play with it, smell it, squish it, make it, make with it, etc. 

Why am I reminding you of this? Aren’t yarny people generally cool, you might ask? I hope so. I like to think so. But, sometimes we all need reminders, and last year we were reminded when one of our visitors was made to feel less than welcome. We handled that privately, and this blog post is not for pointing fingers or laying blame. It is a reminder to be our best selves, and to treat those that look different from ourselves, be they of a different race, gender, religion, or anything else you can think of, exactly the way we would want to be treated.

We expect this of our vendors, our teachers, of ourselves, our volunteers, and our visitors. Be kind, and come and enjoy the beautiful handiwork of our artisans. Artisans, please treat our guests with kindness, some came from great distances, and others are our neighbors, and we are happy to see them all. 

And if you ever feel that you have been treated unfairly, please come to one of the organizers. We take this seriously. (Now, let’s have some yarny fun!)

 

Thank you to Ysolda for the Sticker!

 

Community Cast On

Today we bring you a blog post written by Society for the Lost Arts Board member, and designer at Lisa Lucia (http://www.lisaluciaknits.com/), Lisa Whiting. She will be bring her Community Cast On knitting performance piece to YarnCon this year, and will tell you all about it below. Thanks, Lisa!

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Back in 2005, I was living in Detroit, going to school at the Center For Creative Studies and working at a Yarn Shop, City Knits. It was in this time that I combined my love of art making and my love of knitting together in one huge piece, “Community Cast-On”. I documented it in a blog which is still up to this day.

The blog, http://communitycaston.blogspot.com/,  documented the progress of this performance knitting piece conceived by me, Lisa Whiting, BFA, (CCS 2005) and assistant manager of City Knits. “Community Cast-on: A Knitting Circle” engaged eight knitters and 16 hands simultaneously knitting around a 16 foot circle to create a giant tubular soft sculpture. The piece was cast-on at Noon July 2, 2005 to kick-off the Knit Fest at City Knits, using yarn donated by Cascade Yarns and needles donated by Skacel Needles.
 

At the time I chose ecological wool in various natural shades to reflect the diversity of our community and region. The piece was not about the product itself, but the proximity of people, who may be strangers, working closely together as neighbors to create a community. The sculpture was the evidence of the joint effort to create something beautiful and meaningful with the simple elements of sticks and string. The performance traveled to several area festivals throughout that summer, and was bound off in a celebration at The Detroit Institute of Arts in September 2005. Knitters of all skill levels were invited to jump in and knit a round (or portion thereof) and are invited to donate in any amount to the Stitch to WIN campaign.

Fast forward to today, having been engrossed in a amazingly inclusive knitting community here in Chicago, I have been wanting to recreate this piece with my current community of friends and adopted YarnCon family. I was super excited to share this idea of resurrecting this piece with Natalia and she and the other Yarny folks of YarnCon all agreed in this day and age where communities are split down political, racial, and religious lines, it is now more than ever that we need art that brings us all together. 

 So I am inviting you, my knitters, my family, to come and sit and knit a row with me as we start a new “Community Cast-On” the weekend of YarnCon, April 1st and 2nd. We didn’t get a chance to have yarn donated like I did for the original piece, however, let’s make this all a true community effort. Bring your scrap yarn, or yarns you want to donate, so we can make this version of the piece the technicolor dream knit that represents all of us. We are not just black and white, we are every color of the rainbow and this piece will reflect the hues of all of us, together, working for a common goal, unity!  Donations of Yarn will be used for this piece. Donations of money will go to local charity (TBD) that brings diversity and unity to our Chicago communities.

Buy yarn, and learn to make your own! (and an announcement)

Spring is here, and YarnCon is right around the corner! April 1 and 2 to be exact, and we are busy getting everything ready! Anyone who has attended YarnCon in the past knows there is a wealth of stunning hand-dyed and hand-spun yarn with which to enhance your stash, but what about all that lovely unspun fiber? You can learn to needle felt it, or you can learn to spin it, and we have four different teachers ready to share their knowledge with you!

Vera Videnovich has not only been teaching an introduction to spinning since YarnCon was in its infancy, she also taught Sara, Lindy and Natalia how to spin. If you want to get a feel for spinning, DIY handspinning is the class for you. 

If you want to expand your skills, you will not want to miss Emily Wohlscheid’s classes! Emily will teach you to make your own batts in order to create a custom tweed effect in her Tweed: Custom Blend! workshop.

Another clever trick to learn is how to blend your fibers to create fractal color repeats in your finished yarn, and you can learn how in Emily’s Fractal: Blend and Spin workshop.

Have you ever wondered how hand cards work, or want an opportunity to take a class with your kids and make colorful batts? Maegan Burkart has you covered in her Kids Color Blending on Hand Cards workshop. Maegan has more color skills to add to your arsenal, she can teach you to prepare and manipulate your singles yarn and make your colors match up in striping plied yarn in her Controlling Color Changes While Spinning and Plying workshop.

And finally, newcomers to YarnCon, Tom and Joanne Blodgett will be demonstrating the process of turning flax into linen in Straw into Gold!, and will even have a young flax plant to show you. This should be a fascinating presentation, with some hands-on components.

 

That only covers the spinning classes! We encourage you to to head over to the Classes page to see all of our amazing workshop offerings, with small class sizes and experienced teachers, you really can’t go wrong.

And, you made it to the end to see what the announcement is! We are really excited at YarnCon HQ about our 10th birthday, and birthdays mean birthday presents, right? So, for our birthday, we are giving you presents!! Instead of 50 goodie bags each morning to the first 50 people in line, this year we are giving out 75 goodie bags to the first 75 people in line! The bags alone are worth it, they are our organic cotton, fair trade Work + Shelter bags that we are so fond of. But, because it’s our 10th YarnCon, we asked some of our incredibly talented vendors to dye up some YarnCon birthday limited edition colorways just for the occasion, and you will find some in those bags. Say what? (Please don’t start camping out yet.)

 

YarnCon’s Birthday KAL / CAL

Hey, yarn friends! As you may know, YarnCon is celebrating its 10th birthday this year. To get into the party atmosphere, we feel like decorating! This is where you come in.

Join us for our first-ever YarnCon KAL / CAL! We’re making bunting — you know, those fun little triangular flags you see at celebrations?

We thought it would be great to knit and crochet a WHOLE BUNCH of them and hang them up at our venue. And we’d like to invite you to knit and crochet along with us.

Some lovely designers on Ravelry have agreed to let us use their free designs, so choose one and get crafting!

Bunting Fit for a Queen by Vero Pepperell (knit)

Bunt Bunt Bunting by Shelley Husband (crochet)

Both patterns offer tips on gauge and choosing yarn, but don’t feel you have to conform to any particular flag size or weight of yarn. Use what you have on hand, what you think looks festive, or just what you feel like working with. This is purely for fun and celebration! The bonus is these little flags are super quick to finish. Show us your FOs on Instagram with #yarnconsbirthday!

The crafter who makes the most triangles just might go home with a special something from YarnCon. A small token of our yarny love and affection.

Two exciting new additions to the line up!

This is the time of year I get to see the workshop registrations fill my inbox. I love that our instructors’ expertise is appreciated, and that so many people are eagerly signing up for workshops! If you haven’t signed up, you should go take a look!

This year we have a couple of exciting new additions to our workshop line-up.

First, we have a demonstration called “Straw into Gold!” by Tom and Joanne Blodgett. Tom and Joanne will demonstrate the steps traditionally used to extract fiber from the flax plant, spin the fiber into thread, and then weave the thread into linen fabric. We have expanded into an extra classroom for this event, and it is limited to 20 people per session (2 sessions, both on Saturday). There are hands on components to this demo, so it will be a lot of fun, and very educational. 

Straw Into Gold!

I am so thrilled about this next announcement! YarnCon veterans Tanya and Carla of Maybea Crafted and cjkoho Designs are offering a free workshop called Sheep to Needles detailing how they have created an artisan kit from a local shepherd’s flock, local processing, indie dyer and local designer to create hat/cowl kits. This will also be held in our fancy new classroom, and we will have one session on each day. We are so grateful to them for offering this free presentation as a gift to our students! You can sign up right here or on the registration page.

Sheep to Needles

YarnCon is less than a month away, so don’t wait! Register today!

Volunteer at YarnCon!

Lately, many of you have written us to ask if YarnCon needs volunteers. The answer is a resounding YES!! Every year, we could use extra hands in many areas: helping vendors unload their wares and schlep them to their booths, womanning various information tables, booth-sitting for vendors who need a break or are teaching a class, and then on Sunday, helping the vendors schlep their remaining goodies back to their vehicles.

In return for your help, you’ll get one of the elusive YarnCon goodie bags! And a t-shirt! Also, our undying gratitude. Seriously, it’s one of the best gigs going.

Interested? Head over to our Volunteer Form and let us know!

Only 36 days until YarnCon! See you soon!