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!

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!

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!!

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: 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.

 

Time to Sign up for Classes!

I can tell you are excited about signing up for classes at YarnCon this year. How can I tell? You folks have started registering before I could even make the announcement! I love it! And there is so much to love this year! I’ve linked to all of the classes below, so you can get right to it. Given how many requests I have gotten about the classes this year, you don’t want to wait until the last minute, trust me. For the full line up, head on over to: https://www.yarncon.com/classes/

Andi Smith is back, and this time she is bringing her sewing machine to teach you how to make your own boxy project bags in her Sew Your Own Project Bag class! Javier Jara is going to introduce you to Brioche, and when you’re done you will know how to block it to perfection if you take Adrienne Ku’s Blocking class. We are super excited to welcome Annie Modesitt to YarnCon, and she will be teaching Directional increase and decrease basics, cabling without a needle (something Natalia, who always loses her cable needle needs to learn!), and combination knitting basics. We have a great lineup of spinning teachers to take you from introducing you to the basics all the way to spinning Bouclé. Vera Videnovich will teach you how to spin and even make your own drop spindle, Heavenly Bresser will get you Thinking Outside the Braid and Prepping like a pro, and Emily Wohlscheid will take you on a Drop Spindle World Tour, and teach you spin Bouclé. Samantha Lynn is back with her acid dyeing workshops (Dyeing I and Dyeing II) throughout the weekend; in one hour you can learn the basics of acid dyeing and go home with your own hand-dyed yarn, with yarn provided to YarnCon by Wool2Dye4. We’re very happy to have veteran YarnCon teacher, Kathy Kelly with us again this year to teach Tunisian Crochet, Tunisian Crochet Lace, and corner to corner crochet to help you expand your crochet skills. And for the sock lovers we have long time YarnCon vendor, Jenn Watkins helping you choose the right sock heel for your project, and learn more about the variety of sock heels in her Sock Heels Sampling class. And because this is YarnCon, and we can make yarn out of all kinds of things, we are really excited to welcome back Musa Macenyane who will be teaching how to plarn (yes, plarn!) a change purse. Her purses are super cute, you will be amazed at what you can do with old shopping bags.

I will be back to talk about each of our teachers and their classes in more detail over the coming weeks, so stay tuned!