Changes to Virtual YarnCon

Sometimes in life, you try for something big and it works. Sometimes, you fail.

Team YarnCon decided to host a virtual event this year, since it is not yet possible to gather in person. We contracted with a company that hosts virtual and hybrid conferences, and we had such high hopes for a virtual show! Unfortunately, the promises made by the company we were working with have fallen far short, and we have come to the agonizing conclusion that going forward with the virtual event they could host for us would be worse for our vendors and marketplace attendees than canceling. Please believe us when we say this was not what we wanted to do, and we are heartbroken that we can’t provide the experience we’d hoped for.

HOWEVER: We don’t give up that easily, friends! We are going to work with our vendors to feature them on the YarnCon Facebook page and livestream vendor chat sessions on April 10. We still plan to offer the classes that are already open for registration, and by taking control of the reins, we think we can offer a great virtual class experience via Zoom. We will refund all General Admission registration fees over the next few days, as well as all fees that vendors have paid.

Plus, we want to do something fun to mark YarnCon weekend. After classes wrap up on Saturday evening, we’re hosting a virtual Stitch Night over Zoom, and we will be giving away prizes in order to show our appreciation for everyone sticking with us through all the upheavals the last year has thrown our way. We love our fiber community, and we will continue to do our best to support you, just as you have always supported us. 

Thank you for hanging in there! 

YarnCon 2021 registration is open!

We are very excited to announce that registration for Virtual YarnCon 2021 is now open!
Sign up now to experience YarnCon virtually! At virtual YarnCon you can visit with your favorite vendors, and find new ones to love. And we have workshops to help build your skillset, and inspire you with new ideas for the new yarn and fiber you’ve been looking forward to. It’s YarnCon from the comfort of your own home!

Register now!

Virtual YarnCon: April 10-11, 2021

It’s official: we will host an online fiber fair this year! Shoppers will be able to see and interact with many of their favorite YarnCon vendors without having to leave their own home. Check out the vendor list and start planning your budget!

COVID-19 Updates

Dear Friends of YarnCon,

Your health and safety are our top priority, and we want to update you on the most current recommendations of local, state, and federal health authorities regarding health risks associated with Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Based on what we’ve seen in affected countries, COVID-19 can cause mild to severe respiratory illness. The virus appears to be transmitted through person-to-person contact and health authorities expect more cases may occur in Chicago and the United States. Practicing basic hygiene such as washing your hands regularly with soap is the best way to stop the transmission of the virus. 

In order to keep everyone involved with YarnCon safe, we are sharing the guidelines from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). The Plumbers Union Hall is also sharing the same information, and is staying in touch with us as well as we monitor this situation.

 If you’re sick, stay home.

Practice good hygiene.

  • Washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if they are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a suitable alternative.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.

As testing of COVID-19 becomes more widely available, we may begin to see new cases in the coming days and weeks. CPDH along with state and federal authorities may issue new guidance, and we will keep you updated on changes and its impact on YarnCon.

Finally, COVID-19 does not distinguish between race, nationality, or geographic borders.  Stigma and discrimination against the afflicted discourages early reporting of symptoms and further perpetuates community spread. 

For the most reliable information, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus or www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the CDPH Coronavirus hotline at 312-746-4835 or email coronavirus@chicago.gov  

We will post updates as the show approaches, and if any of the CDPH recommendations change.

Community

Hello yarny friends! As you can imagine, we are working hard on getting YarnCon ready, and we hope to have classes up in the next few days. We will be sure to let you know when they go live.

Today, we want to tell you about two different members of our Yarny community: Stitch and Hustle, and Dye Hard Yarns in Oak Park.

Stitch and Hustle is the host of Stitch Up Chicago, now in its 4th year. Michele Costa started this event as a way to build community, and give us a weekend to immerse ourselves in knitting and crochet, and spend time together. From the web site: “Stitch Up Chicago was born from the idea of taking an online group offline to share fiber love. In the past year we have seen our community face the divisiveness of our times and focus on coming together to create a more diverse fabric. That is what every single Stitch Up is about: creating safe spaces and celebrating our common fiber.”

The event is on February 28-29, and Michele has just a few tickets left, and she wants the YarnCon community to have a chance at them, with a discount just for us! Just use the code: YARNCON2020 when you register, and get 10% off. It sounds like a fantastic weekend, and we hope some of you will have the chance to attend. Thanks, Michele!

The next person we want you to know about is Chastity of Dye Hard Yarns. Dye Hard is more than your neighborhood yarn store, it is also a community dye studio! As Chastity explains on her web page, “The studio will be fully outfitted with professional equipment. Classes will be held on dyeing, knitting, crochet, macrame, spinning, weaving, and more! Community members like you can create, connect, learn, and teach!” it is literally a dye studio for anyone who want to either give it a try, teach, or even work on their own line. This not only gives back to the yarn community, it creates a place to gather, it becomes a hub of our community, and we want to support her efforts. Chastity is raising money to make this studio a reality, and we want to spread the word, and help her raise funds. Please consider donating to Dye Hard’s Community Dye Studio. Every little bit helps.

Thanks!

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!

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!