Workshop spotlights: Make your yarn!

Learning new stitches and techniques is grand, and I highly recommend it! Yet, there is more to learn about yarn than how to use it, what about how to make it and how to customize it? We are here to help with a number of fabulous workshops!

Let’s start at the beginning (well, not quite the beginning, we cannot bring sheep into the Plumbers Union Hall!) We have some great spinning instructors that can take you from learning to spin your spindle and draft your fiber, all the way through making amazing art yarns that will be like no others out there.

Vera Videnovich is well known to many YarnCon regulars, and even taught yours truly how to spin on a spinning wheel. She has been teaching DIY Handspinning since our second YarnCon, and we are always happy when she can join us (this woman is seriously busy teaching and organizing craft shows all over town, so I am not kidding about being lucky!) In her class you will learn to use, and even make, a drop spindle, and the basics of wheel spinning. If you have ever been curious about spinning, but not sure where to start, start with Vera.

4022774540_b5e5b15a1c_o

Vera teaching DIY Handspinning at YarnCon 2009

This year we are introducing a spinning class for the kids, so bring them along for a fun and hands on introduction to spinning with Susan Eiseman Levitin in her Spinning for Kids class.

_MG_3276

For those who already know the basics, and are ready to learn to make new kinds of yarn we have classes by two more of our YarnCon veterans, Emily Wohlscheid and Renée Jones. Emily will be teaching Spinning from Fleece & Locks and Handspun Enhancements.

Wohlscheid_Handspun Enhancements3 Wohlscheid_Spinning From Fleece and Locks1 Wohlscheid_Headshot

Renée will get you to work your core in Work Out Your Core! aka Corespinning 101. In these classes you will learn so much about all those interesting fibers and locks, and how to make core-spun yarns and bee-hives, and so many other cool and lovely things! Bring your wheels and your imaginations!

Maybe you already have the yarn, but it needs color! We are always happy to welcome back the ever popular Samantha Lynn! On both Saturday and Sunday she will take you through the basics of acid dyeing (not scary, I promise! think Kool-aid!) in Dyeing I: Kool-Aid Dyes and in Dyeing II: Acid Dyes. These classes sell out every year, so hurry up and register. You will not be disappointed. Plus, thanks to a generous donation by Wool2Dye4 the yarn for the class has already been provided! How Kool is that? (see what I did there?)

Samantha teaching Intro to Dyeing at YarnCon 2013

Samantha teaching Intro to Dyeing at YarnCon 2013

All this and more, at YarnCon 2016!

A Damn Fine YarnContest: FAQs & Rules

Hey, yarn friends! We’ve already had an enthusiastic response to the contest announcement for the Damn Fine YarnContest, and folks have raised some good questions. Thanks, all! 

Here are some things you might want to know about the Damn Fine YarnContest:

  • Everyone is eligible to enter, excluding judges and organizers. It would be hard to explain if we made off with all the prizes.
  • You may enter up to three items per category (let’s not overwhelm our awesome judges!).
  • Items may be entered in more than one category (i.e., a toy made out of handspun yarn could be entered in both the Toy and Handspun categories).
  • Entries may be knitted, crocheted, woven, or felted.
  • The Handspun category must be made of yarn spun by the entrant. No restrictions on yarn used in any other category.
  • Sorry, no photos accepted. Judges have to be able to see the quality of your work in person.
  • Entries must be brought in person to the contest table at YarnCon on the designated day for your category:
    • Saturday 4/2, Drop off from 10am-2pm:
      • Best Twin Peaks Prop
      • Best Accessory
      • Best Use of Handspun
    • Sunday 4/3, Drop off from 10am-12pm:
      • Best Garment
      • Best Toy
    • Note: Entries in Sunday categories may be dropped off Saturday, but must be picked up Sunday after judging (see below).
  • Pickup
    • Best Twin Peak Prop, Best Accessory, Best Use of Handspun entries: may be picked up Saturday 4/2 between 3pm and 5pm.
    • Best Garment, Best Toy entries: may be picked up Sunday 4/3 between 1:30pm and 3pm.
    • All entries must be picked up by Sunday at 3pm, when YarnCon closes. Any entries not picked up by then will be held until 4/17 at YarnCon sponsors:
  • Entrants agree that pictures of their work may be posted on social media; winners’ names may also be posted.
  • There is no fee for entry; this is all purely for fun. You will have to fill out a small form for each item entered and be OK with us pinning it to your entry, though.
  • All judges’ decisions are final.

Still curious about something? Let us know! 

A Contest, YarnCon-Style!

Ready to dig out your best work, or whip up a little something new, and win prizes for it? In partnership with Great Northern, the upcoming release of knit patterns inspired by the evergreen Twin Peaks TV series, we invite you to enter a Damn Fine YarnContest.

DFYC-Final-logoBWe have five categories to enter, with outstanding judges in each category:

  • Best Twin Peaks prop, judged by Great Northern author Leah Coccari-Swift
  • Best Accessory, judged by Midwestern Knits author Allyson Dykhuizen
  • Best Toy, judged by Anna Hrachovec of Mochimochiland
  • Best Use of Handspun Yarn, judged by Vera Videnovich, spinning instructor and proprietor of Atelier Videnovich
  • Best Garment, judged by Yarnbox creative director Lisa Whiting

One winner will be declared in each category, with all five judges conferring on one Best in Show grand prize to rule supreme (and get a extra-special prize package).

Further entry details will be announced on the blog next week, but start thinking about what you want to enter or make, and get ready to strut your stuff!

(Clarification note, since you asked: the Great Northern book does focus on knit patterns, but all fiber arts are welcome to enter; knitted, crocheted, woven…we want to see ALL your awesome work!)

Check out more about the Great Northern project here. And remember: the Log Lady‘s log may not judge, but we will!

 

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 (http://www.miriamfelton.com/) 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 (http://picnicknits.com/) 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 (http://woolly-wits.blogspot.com/) 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 (http://www.bricolagestudios.blogspot.com/) 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 (https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheBunnyBadger) 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 (http://www.feltwerker.com/) 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.

 

Gearing up!

Are you as thrilled as I am that holiday knitting is over? As much as I love making things for my family and friends (no really, I do), I usually reach my crafting-for-others limit by Christmas Eve, when I’m glued to the couch, furiously working last rows and weaving in ends.

So the arrival of January means I’m getting back to knitting for myself, and while I’m not one for resolutions, my first task is to tame my UFO pile. I always have multiple projects going for variety, but the “put-aside” queue has become, um, a bit unwieldy. I’m tackling my languishing sweaters first; they DO take up the most space in the pile, after all.

UFO 1: Rosamund’s Cardigan

I’m actually looking forward to wearing this, and even have buttons already made for it. But I found a glaring mistake three inches back, put it aside, and just can’t seem to get around to fixing the error. And so it sits.

UFO 2: Bonnie Cabled Pullover

Love the yarn (Malabrigo FTW!), love the color, love the pattern. So why has this been in hibernation for *cough cough* more than three years? Short answer: the needles. I’m a small-needle knitter and rarely venture larger than a 6 – so doing the whole front and 2/3 the back on size 7 was about my quota — apparently three years’ worth.

So that’s my plan for the start of 2016. I make no guarantees how far I’ll get, as just the words “new beginnings” makes my fingers itch with start-itis… so much pretty yarn I could be using to cast on new projects instead!

What fibery projects are you tackling this month?

January also means shifting YarnCon planning into high gear! As we make our lists (and check them not only twice, but six or seven times), what are YOU most looking forward to seeing at YarnCon this year? A particular vendor or teacher? A special item you’ll be shopping for? A pattern you’ve been saving for *just the right yarn*? Leave us a comment below!