Make it uniquely yours

When you wander the aisles at YarnCon, it is hard not to be inspired by the beautifully hand-dyed yarns. And every dyer creates colors that are uniquely theirs. But how do they do it? And it’s not just dyeing yarn, what about all the gorgeous batts, roving, top, braids, etc., just waiting to be transformed by your hands into yarn or felted art. But how does it all work? How do you dye yarn or fiber so that it is color-fast, and approximates what you have in mind? How do you transform that unspun fiber into yarn, and how much equipment do you even need to make it happen?

We have answers! To be more precise, our teachers have the answers, and they are waiting to teach you their methods to you at YarnCon.

Let’s say dyeing yarn is what you want to explore. Samantha Lynn can teach you to dye yarn, even with something easily accessible like Kool-Aid! And thanks to a generous donation by Wool2Dye4, the yarn will be provided for you! These are fun, and short workshops, leaving you time for other classes and shopping, and you go home with a baggie of yarn you dyed yourself! She has two classes, Dyeing I (the one with the Kool-Aid dyed yarn) and Dyeing II which explores professional acid dyes (believe it or not, Kool-Aid does count as an acid dye, so don’t let the name intimidate you.)

Dyeing with Samantha Lynn
One of Samantha’s dyeing workshops from 2014

Our next post will delve into the many spinning workshops we have in store for you. We can take you from never having tried it at all in our DIY Handspinning classes with Vera Videnovich (Vera taught Natalia how to spin on a wheel, and let’s just say her fiber stash is starting to rival the yarn stash) to blending your own fibers with Heavenly Bresser (take classes with her now while you can still get into them, she was just accepted to teach at Stitches Midwest, and once more people get to know her, she is going to be in demand big-time!), or even learn to make wire-core jewelry with Emily Wohlscheid.

DIY Spinning class
Vera has been teaching at YarnCon since our second year, back at the Pulaski Park Fieldhouse. Circa 2008.

Let’s talk steeks.

I know, I know, the very idea of cutting our freshly knit or crocheted sweater breaks us out into a cold sweat. So much so, that many of us prefer to stitch our sweater in pieces over doing it in the round and taking scissors to it. But, think about the time it saves, and so much less purling for those who prefer the knit stitch. If you have ever thought about learning how to steek your sweaters, but were too nervous to jump in, then Lori is here to help.

Freshly steeked sweater.

Lori Grady is teaching Cut Your Knitting: Steeks on Saturday at 1pm. Spend the morning checking out all the yarn, fiber, and accessories, and then do something for yourself, learn a new skill! It’s a lot less scary with an expert to show you how.

Getting ready for the big cut!

Interested in taking a class, but with less cutting involved? You are in luck, we still have spaces in our spinning and dyeing classes. More on that in our next post! Stay tuned!

PS Don’t delay on signing up, a few of our classes have already sold out!!

YarnCon is a month away, and we have updates!

Hard to believe it is already well into March with such cold weather, but hey, we’re stitchers, we know how to do cold. (Spring, we want you anyway, please hurry!)

YarnCon is just a month away, and we thought it would be a good time to remind you to sign up for workshops before the class you want is sold out (some already are, so get on it!) We still have spaces left in our fantastic spinning and dyeing classes, look for our next post with more information on those classes, or head over to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/yarncon-2019-tickets-55954541540 to read the descriptions and sign up.

This is just one thing you can learn how to do if you sign up for Art Yarn:Bubbly Beehives by Heavenly Bresser.

We also want to share our superb list of vendors for 2019, now with more vendors than ever before! https://www.yarncon.com/vendors-2/

We have one more fun thing to share with you! We teamed up with Threadless to offer something many of you have requested in the past: hoodies! We also added some coffee mugs (traditional and travel), and stickers! You can buy your YarnCon gear, and come to the show in style right here: https://yarncon.threadless.com/

Available in other colors as well!

We are really excited to once again be offering Dark Matter coffee, thanks to their amazing support! See us at the beautiful bar downstairs for all of your hot coffee (and tea) needs.

Keep an eye on the blog, we’ll keep updating you on what to look forward to at YarnCon as the date approaches.

YarnCon may be months away, but the 2019 application is live today!

Fall is just settling in, and spring seems an eternity away, but as far as Team YarnCon is concerned, April is right around the corner!

The 2019 application is live now! We are taking applications until November 2, 2018, OR SOONER IF THE SHOW FILLS UP, so head on over to the Vendor Application and tell us about yourself. And please spread the word to any friends who want to join in the fun.

Due to an increase in the volume of applications we receive, the jurying process will be more competitive in 2019 than in the past. It is hard for us to choose among so many creative vendors! We will do our best to accept vendors in a way that balances out the offerings and reflects a broad diversity of yarny goods. We thank you all for understanding.

In the meantime, happy making and happy Fall!

Food Truck Spotlight

YarnCon happens in THREE DAYS! Are you ready for this much fun?

Because fiber fanatics cannot live on yarn alone, we are thrilled to announce the food truck lineup for YarnCon 2018. This year, returning favorites Corner Farmacy and the Fat Shallot will be on hand alongside newcomer Yum Dum.  It’s going to be another tasty year!


 

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 options are available as well.

 

 

 

 


 

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. Think BLT…but with truffle aioli. Yep.

 

 

 

 


 
Yum Dum Truck

Yum Dum

New to YarnCon this 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 to our annual fiber party!

Teacher Spotlight: Kathy Kelly and Tunisian Crochet

It’s time for another guest blog post, this time by long-time YarnCon teacher, Kathy Kelly. Kathy has been teaching Tunisian Crochet at YarnCon for 5 years now, and her classes are always a hit. Her workshops range from beginner level classes, to more advanced techniques. But, Kelly can tell  you herself, so I will turn it over to her.

Kathy Kelly

Kathy Kelly

 
Hi, Kathy Kelly here. This my 5th year teaching at YarnCon and I’m excited to be conducting a brand-new workshop on Corner-to-Corner Crochet, or C2C. It’s a great technique for making square and rectangular projects that have a unique look and feel. Think scarves, wraps, capes, baby blankets, and afghans, as well as motifs.

C2C crochet

Corner to Corner Crochet

 
We’ll be working diagonally using the box stitch, which takes projects in the beautiful new cake and gradient yarns to a new level! We’ll also make a 2-color design sample that can be used as a coaster, or as a first motif in a larger project. For this class you’ll need to know how to double crochet and chain. 

C2C heart

Corner to Corner Heart

 
I’m also teaching a Beginning Tunisian Crochet class that requires no prior crochet experience, but if you know how to crochet a chain and work into it, all the better. Once you’ve taken the beginning class, you’ll be ready for the Tunisian Lace Class where we’ll explore a new way to create unique projects you’ll love.

Tunisian Lace scarf

Tunisian Lace scarf

You can sign up here:

C2C Crochet 

https://www.yarncon.com/c2c-crochet/

Beginning Tunisian Crochet

https://www.yarncon.com/beginning-tunisian-crochet/

Introduction to Tunisian Crochet Lace

https://www.yarncon.com/intro-tunisian-lace/

You can find me on Ravelry as Vibeskat, and check my blog at crochetbird.wordpress.com.

Teacher Spotlight: Andi Smith gives us a sneak peek at bag making

Full disclosure here: I love project bags, and have gotten picky about them over the years. I might have crossed the line into a collector (I know I am not alone here.) There are some great bag makers, and Andi Smith is definitely amongst the greatest. And, she is offering to teach you how she does it at YarnCon this year in her Sew Your Own Project Bag Class! You can bring  your own sewing machine (we will even safely stash it for you so you can shop before and after class unencumbered), or borrow one of ours. There are still seats available for this class, and we can’t recommend it enough. Not to mention, if we know Andi, and we do since she is a YarnCon veteran, you will have so much fun! Enough from me, I will turn it over to Andi!

 

I love matching a project bag to yarn, to my mood, and to particularly to a friend. What began as gift giving, soon grew into a small business, and then selling at Fiber Festivals throughout the country. 
 
 
I’ve sewn thousands, and like to hope that each one is an improvement on the last. Each season, I modify things, improve the designs, spend months finding attractive fabrics, always with a polka dot lining. I don’t quite remember how that started, but it’s tradition now, it adds a little whimsy, and never fails to make me smile when I open up a bag and see dots peering out at me. 
 
Andi's project bag 
 
Last year, a friend asked if I’d consider teaching her how to make bags, and of course I said yes. I love to teach, and enjoy the challenge of thinking through all the steps, determining how to share knowledge to all types of learners. 
 
At this point, I’ve streamlined the process for my bags, and taught my friend how I did so; the shortcuts, the tips and tricks, how to avoid pitfalls, and how to fix mistakes. 
 
I’ll teach you how to get the most out of your cut of fabric, to perfect zippers each and every time.  How to choose the right materials, and methods that will ensure your bags last for years, I hope this class will be a springboard for all of you to create your own bags, and give you the confidence to sew like the wind. 
 

Seriously, go sign up! Here’s the link: https://www.yarncon.com/sew-your-own-bag/

Teacher Spotlight: Emily Wohlscheid’s spinning workshops

Today we are pleased as can be to have Emily Wohlscheid take over the blogging duties! She will be talking about her spinning workshops, Try Spinning Bouclé, and Drop Spindle World Tour. You can see more of Emily’s work on Instagram, where she is @bricolagestudios and her online store, Bricolage Studios. And now, here is Emily!

 

Hi YarnCon fans, Emily Wohlscheid here! When Natalia asked me to write this I sat down and the first thing I thought was, “Holy cow! This is my 5th year teaching at YarnCon!” I started my involvement with YarnCon when it was still held at the fieldhouse* and I have been so thrilled to watch it grow and change over the years. I love YarnCon so much!  The excitement and energy that surround it and how absolutely fabulous the organizers and volunteers are at the show makes it easy to come back year after year. I’ve always used this show as my kickoff to teaching new workshops because the vibe is so great that my nerves melt away (mostly.) This year I am offering two spinning workshops. I am incredibly excited to finally be sharing my favorite materials and techniques for making complicated loopy textural yarns as a short form workshop in my Try Spinning Bouclé.

try spinning boucle

 


My other offering this year is the result of my explorations with various drop spindles in the past year. I was determined to learn how to wrap my Turkish spindle in that beautiful God’s eye patterns I was seeing spindlers post on Instagram and wondered why I hadn’t been spinning on spindles more in general as I worked through it. I also began to play with more simplistic drop spindles like the Scottish dealgan that had been intriguing me and the primitive Peruvian spindle a dear friend brought back for me. Drop Spindle World Tour is the results of these explorations. I know it was intimidating for me to invest in and try some new spindles, but with guidance and the permission to explore, I hope to share that wonder with several more spinners in this laid back exploratory workshop! 
 
drop spindle world tour
 
I can’t wait to see you all at YarnCon! 
 
*Natalia’s note: The Pulaski Park Fieldhouse, back when YarnCon was a one day affair from 2007-2011.

Teacher Spotlight: Javier Jara talks about Brioche

We are excited to bring you a guest blog post today by one of our teachers, Javier Jara. Javier is teaching Introduction to Brioche Knitting, and will tell you more about why you should take his class. Without further ado, I bring you Javier!

It’s all about brioche!

Hi everyone, Javier here, your favorite Chicagoan brioche teacher also known as “thejavioriginal” on Instagram and Ravelry.  I’m super excited about teaching at YarnCon for the first time! Brioche is probably one of my favorite knitting techniques and I can’t wait to share it with you! Let me tell some of the reasons why I love brioche so much. First of all, brioche can make a very versatile fabric that is REVERSIBLE. This is a huge advantage, so no right or wrong sides! Secondly, taking advantage of interesting yarns and needle combinations, you can either achieve a more classic and squishy ribbing look or a more modern lacy look. Imagine using different yarn textures and colors to make fabulous accessories that will be the envy of everyone such as the “Javi’s first brioche scarf”. Finally, during the last two years we have seen brioche go mainstream and the brioche designs keep getting better! There are so many choices to not only make shawls and scarfs but also beautiful garments with fascinating shapes by using different combinations of decreases and increases. Who wouldn’t want to be part of the brioche family? So, come and join me at YarnCon and learn the basic concepts of one and two-color brioche. After this class, you will have the necessary tools to continue your amazing brioche journey!

Javi's first brioche scarf

 

Workshop Spotlight: Sew Your Own Project Bag!

So, this is a yarn show, and this is a sewing class? Yes! And this is important. Sometimes you need to sew in a lining, or a zipper, or maybe you have a bit of beautiful fabric in your stash (come on now fiber people, fiber stashes can cover A LOT of bases) and you want to make your own project bag with it. This is the class for you. In this class you learn to make your own project bag with one of the best, our own Andi Smith, and the skills you will learn will help you in all kinds of sewing applications. 

We have a classroom reserved for this class, so please bring your sewing machine with you, and we can stash it safely for you. If you don’t have a machine, we will have a few you can borrow. All you need are basic sewing machine skills, black and white thread, and scissors. 

I don’t know about you, but I have almost as much of a bag stash as a yarn stash, so being able to make my own sounds like a pretty good idea. Sign up for Andi’s Sew Your Own Project Bag, and visit her at the Cooperative Press booth.