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.

Check out our Vendors!

Are you getting excited about YarnCon? It’s a week and half away, and maybe you want to check out our vendors in advance of the show? You can always check out our Vendors page to see who is coming this year, but if looking at the logos is a little hard on you, or you just prefer a written list, we made a table for your use.

2 Guys Yarn2 Guys Yarn
912 Yarn912 Yarn
AJHC WoolsAJHC Wools
Apothefaery Luxury FibersApothefaery Luxury Fibers
Backyard FibersBackyard Fibers
BaH YarnsBrenda and Heather Yarns
Beautiful SysterBeautiful Syster
Black Cat FibersBlack Cat Fibers
Bumblebee Acres FarmBumblebee Acres Farm
BunnyBadger FibersBunnyBadger Fibers
Bur Oak StudioBur Oak Studio
Carpooln/a
Chasing AcornsChasing Acorns
cjkoho Designscjkoho Designs
Considered ClothConsidered Cloth
Cooperative PressCooperative Press
Critical Sheep YarnCritical Sheep Yarn
Daizie KnitsDaizie Knits
DarnYarnMNDarnYarnMN
Deitricks' Alpaca RanchDeitricks' Alpaca Ranch
Dimensions ButtonsDimensions Buttons
Esther's PlaceEsther's Place
Fairy Tale KnitsFairy Tale Knits
Fiber AddictionFiber Addiction
FiberstoryFiberstory
Good for Ewe YarnGood for Ewe Yarn
Grinning GargoyleGrinning Gargoyle
Heavenly KnitchetHeavenly Knitchet
Heidi & LanaHeidi & Lana
Honey Girl FarmsHoney Girl Farms
Hopkins Sewing StudioHopkins Sewing Studio
Hummingbird MoonThe Hummingbird Moon
I Feel Like DyeingI Feel Like Dyeing
Icemelon's StashIcemelon's Stash
Indian Lake ArtisansIndian Lake Artisans
JelbyJelby
KnitspinKnitspin
Knitting NotionsKnitting Notions
Leading Men Fiber ArtsLeading Men Fiber Arts
Lisa Whiting ArtistLisa Whiting Artist
Lorna's LacesLorna's Laces
MayBea CraftedMayBea Crafted
MidMitten DesignsMidMitten Designs
Mochimochi LandMochimochi Land
ModeKnitYarnModeKnit Yarn
Mondo MojoMondo Mojo
Nebula Fiber CollectiveNebula Fiber Collective
Northern Bee StudioNorthern Bee Studio
Oink PigmentsOink Pigments
OMG Yarn (Balls)OMG Yarn (Balls)
Operation Chemo ComfortOperation Chemo Comfort
Orange Jellyfish DreamOrange Jellyfish Dream
Passion YarnsPassion Yarns
River's Edge Fiber ArtsRiver's Edge Fiber Arts
Sassy SongstressSassy Songstress Yarns
Shirsty Cat DesignsShirsty Cat Designs
Spinning Chicken StudioSpinning Chicken Studio
The Miller GirlsThe Miller Girls
TLD Design CenterTLD Design Center
Toad HollowToad Hollow
Twisted Fiber ArtTwisted Fiber Art
V YarnsV Yarns
Why Knot FibersWhy Knot Fibers
Wild StitchersWild Stitchers
WoolpierogiWoolpierogi
Yarn Geek FibersYarn Geek Fibers
Yarn HollowYarn Hollow

We hope that helps! Don’t forget, we will have vendors on three levels this year! You can find them on the ground floor, in aroma distance of the Dark Matter Coffee and Tea bar (and hot cocoa if you are so inclined); in the main hall on the second floor; and in the balcony. All three areas are accessible by stairs and elevator, and there is a ramp to the ground floor area.

Ch-ch-ch-Changes

Every year we try something new to make each YarnCon better than the one before. Some changes are in the inner workings, and hopefully you won’t even notice. Others we really want you to notice, and this year’s change is one of those.

A view of the main hall and balcony from the stage.

We are a small, but growing fiber festival, and this year we received more applications than we thought possible (thanks for the love!) Although we still had the sad job of turning a lot of really great artists down, we decided to try to add a few more this year, meaning this year we will have the most vendors ever at YarnCon! (I mean, just look at this list! (https://www.yarncon.com/vendors-2/ ) But, where will we put them all?

The balcony (accessible by stairs and elevator) is hopping with shoppers.

So glad you asked! Now you can shop in the main ball room on the second floor, up in the beautiful balcony in the ball room, and downstairs in the hall with the coffee bar. What? Coffee and more yarny goodness? You read that right!

The Coffee Bar, and some of last year’s organizations spreading the word. If you could turn your gaze to the right, you would see vendors this year!

Stop by the bar* for some delicious Dark Matter coffee, or choose from a fine selection of teas or hot cocoa, and then check out the vendors and guilds in the room! You can also have your yarn wound into a cake for you for instant yarn gratification, and then sit and start swatching. All of this in one room!

And just outside this room, we still have tables and chairs so you can enjoy a tasty lunch from some of our food trucks, and play with your new yarn. You will also find the YarnCon Merchandise table, Operation Chemo Comfort, and don’t forget the raffle tickets!

Speaking of don’t forget, we still have spaces available in a few of our classes, but tickets are selling fast! You can find more information about our brilliant teachers, and what classes are still available here:
https://www.yarncon.com/classes/

*Did you know JFK had a drink at that very bar? He did! Yarn, coffee, and some history. We have it all!

10-Year Celebrations and Other Thoughts

A lot can change in ten years.

Ten years ago, I was single. Childless. Spent my disposable income on, well, yarn.

Flash forward to now:  I’m happily married. We have three children. I still love yarn, but disposable income and free time to knit are largely things of the past (and, I hope, the future; this too shall pass).

Ten years ago, there was no YarnCon. Can you even imagine?

And yet in 2017, we’ll celebrate our tenth show. So much can change.

This month, in preparing for a knitting/dry-felting class I’m teaching at my children’s school, I visited one of our longtime YarnCon vendors, Esther’s Place. I needed some wool for the kids to use in needle felting, but really I wanted an excuse for a quick trip out of the city on a gorgeous spring day.

Mother and daughter team Donna and Natasha have transformed a lovely Victorian house in Big Rock, IL, into a colorful playhouse for fiber fanatics. Lush roving dyed in every shade and whimsical felted creatures are all around. I was drawn to the curly fleece locks dyed like little rainbows. My three-year-old instantly spotted the needle-felted Star Wars figures. It’s a fun place.

IMG_3863

And guess what? Esther’s Place has been around for a decade. Another ten-year celebration! In fact, this weekend they’re hosting a Farm Days Open House to commemorate. If you’re in the western Chicagoland suburbs (and even if you’re not), head out to Big Rock this weekend for some fibery farm fun.

donna_natasha

Donna Lehrer and Natasha Lehrer Lewis


Newsflash: Kids Love Wool

Armed with a pound of roving dyed in 16 distinct colors, a bulk order of felting needles and foam pads, and a basket of cookie cutters, I made my way to the Chicago Free School, where two of my kids attend.

We talked briefly about how felting works: how the wool fibers are built to cling to each other, and that with a little help from an absurdly sharp and skinny needle, we can mold and sculpt the wool into shapes.

They loved it. They dove right in.

IMG_3919

There’s something about working with your hands, feeling the fuzzy wool and blending different colors together, and yes, stabbing something with a sharp object, that kids just GET. (Incredibly, in a room of kids ranging in age from 7 to 13, we only had one pricked finger.) As someone who works in the fiber world, I’m so gratified and rewarded at how excited these kids are about working with wool.

IMG_3920

 

We started out with simple cookie cutter shapes this week, and next week we’ll explore creating landscapes on flat felt “canvases,” as well as sculpting 3D objects and figures.

IMG_3926

 

Such a fun time.

Have you taught kids to knit, crochet, spin, or felt? How did it go? Let us know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Vendor Spotlight: A Riot of Color, Brew City Yarns

Welcome to YarnCon week! Are you as excited as we are?

While the blog will be packed full of info this week, we wanted to introduce you to two more vendors you’ll see this weekend. Last year’s attendees will almost certainly remember Susan of A Riot of Color, with her space-age purple spinning wheel! A Riot of Color returns this year (we can’t vouch for the wheel), with her palette of wild and fun hues. Susan will be teaching classes in Playing With Color and Spinning for Kids as well, so you can get a close-up view.

Brew City Yarns makes their YarnCon debut with another wild range of saturated color with a pop-culture twist. Their rotating monthly themes keep things lively!


riotofcolor2A Riot of Color
http://ariotofcolor.etsy.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
We dye vivid colors that make your heart sing!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
We will have Four Elements kits — four mini skeins inspired by earth, air, fire, and water — perfect for color work, and kits to make “My Head’s in a Whirl” hats, a two-color worsted hat with a horizontal cable brim.


Brew City YarnsBrew City Yarns
http://www.brewcityyarns.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Brew City Yarns is a family business that specializes in hand-painted artisan yarns. Each month we release a new theme of yarns that includes full skeins and mini-skein sets. Past months have included: My Little Pony, Star Wars, and Disney Villains. Our April theme is inspired by the Welcome to Night Vale podcast.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Because we carry so many yarn bases, from laceweight to bulky, if you see a color you would like made on a certain base, we will ship it to you for free if ordered at YarnCon. There are also many fiber and kits that we keep exclusively for fiber shows.

 

Vendor Spotlight: Deitricks’ Alpaca Ranch, Esther’s Place

We welcome back two returning vendors in today’s post!

Deitricks’ Alpaca Ranch brings their own naturally colored alpaca fiber in all the pettable forms you can think of; yarn and fiber, along with plenty of finished items.

If you’ve never tried needle felting (and especially if you have), the Esther’s Place booth is always a fun hangout. Loads of demos, kits, and felting tools for all skill ranges, plus fiber in every shade for concocting your own creations.


Dietricks' Alpaca RanchDeitricks’ Alpaca Ranch
http://www.deitricksalpacaranch.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
We are a family farm currently home to 70 huacaya alpacas (and growing!), raising our own luxurious alpaca fiber. We are dedicated to bringing the most environmentally friendly/sustainable fiber to our clients in all natural colors; we don’t dye. We offer our own farm-raised fiber made into yarn, roving, felt, fiber batts, hand woven rugs, hand knit hats, gloves, scarves, cowls, raw fiber and more!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Yarn! Yarn! Yarn!

 


Esther's PlaceEsther’s Place
http://www.esthersplacefibers.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Great selection of hand dyed merino top roving..hand blended batts and needle felting kits and supplies!! Free demos…a fun booth to visit!!

Any special or featured products you want to share?

Needle felting kits and supplies of all types:

esthers2

Vendor Spotlight: Resheeped 4 Ewe, Mondo Mojo

Resheeped 4 Ewe is a new name on the vendors list, but the wares — and the face behind them — will be familiar to longtime attendees. Formed by Carmen of The Green Yarn Company, Resheeped 4 Ewe continues to offer reclaimed yarns that might otherwise have gone to waste. Carmen’s added new products to the lineup, too, including her own handspun!

Mondo Mojo debuts at YarnCon with glass buttons, some of which are truly tiny works of art. Like little jewel decorations for your own handcrafted beauties.


Resheeped 4 EweResheeped 4 Ewe
http://www.resheeped4ewe.weebly.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Resheeped 4 Ewe is a company started up by Carmen Ballman after The Green Yarn Company closed. Carmen brings customers the same great recycled yarns and fair trade items as before, but now offers hand-spun and dyed yarns, along with a few of Carmen’s favorite yarns.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Reclaimed and then hand-dyed 100% wool sport:

reseheeped2

My own handspun (shown here in Mesa):


Mondo MojoMondo Mojo
http://www.mondomojo.net/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
I make glass buttons.

Any special or featured products you want to share?

Vendor Spotlight: Dragonfly Fibers, Cottage Stitches

Two more first-time YarnCon vendors to introduce today!

The first will be no stranger to many of you; Dragonfly Fibers’ gorgeous colorways are beloved by designers and crafters alike. But we are thrilled to welcome them in person this year, making the trek from Maryland to meet all of you!

Cottage Stitches brings their cute vintage style to YarnCon, with an assortment of finished home accessories, plus tools for your own fibery endeavors.


Dragonfly FibersDragonfly Fibers
https://www.dragonflyfibers.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
At Dragonfly Fibers we create bright, vibrant, rich colors on scrumptious yarns and fibers. We hand paint every skein using all the colors of the rainbow. You’ll find bright greens, rich purples, and variegated yarns in sometimes shocking color combinations.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
“Masterpiece Knits: The Modern Collection,” published in February, is the first publication by Dragonfly Fibers. Fifteen bold new patterns in exciting new yarn colors based on modern works of art. The Dragonfly team started by selecting paintings that represent the full color spectrum of modern art. We created colorways and challenged a talented group of knitwear designers to create new pieces inspired by both the paintings and the colorway. The results are a fabulous new book celebrating the intersection of color and modern art. A fractal shawl designed by Toby Roxane Barna inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe’s poppies, a pair of Rothko-inspired hats by Rosi G., Picasso-esque socks by Fatimah Hinds, Tanis Gray’s colorwork cowl that is an homage to Warhol and Marilyn Monroe and more!


Cottage StitchesCottage Stitches
https://www.etsy.com/shop/CottageStitching

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?

I crochet and knit handmade decor and accessories as well as sell supplies for crocheting and knitting, all in a vintage, whimsical style.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Hand Painted “Toadstool” Knitting Needles:

cottage1

Knitting Needle Gauges:

cottage2

Vendor Spotlight: Posh Fibers, Hopkins Sewing Studio

Not one, but TWO vendors new to YarnCon to introduce to you today!

Posh Fibers makes its fiber show world premiere, with a line of alpaca and alpaca blends sourced and spun domestically. Penelope is an alpaca farmer herself, so really knows how to get the most out of this super-soft fiber!

Hopkins Sewing Studio is bringing project bags with panache. Emonieiesha knits and crochets as well as sews, so she makes bags that she would want to use to stay organized, as well as stylish.


Posh FibersPosh Fibers
http://poshfibers.com/

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
Making the shift from alpaca farmer to dyer of fabulous alpaca yarn! All of my yarns are 100% sourced and spun in the US, and dyed in my Michigan home! Each yarn is a carefully thought out blend of alpaca and other natural fibers, like silk, bamboo, mohair, wool and nylon, spun into weights from lace to DK.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
This is our debut show! Free gift with every purchase of $50 or more: a project bag and links to patterns that have been tested with our yarns!

 

posh1


Hopkins Sewing StudioHopkins Sewing Studio
https://www.etsy.com/shop/HopkinsSewingStudio

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?

Unique fabrics, and project bags that feature:

  • Snap Yarn Guides so you can remove your project (Snap Yarn Guides allow you to keep the project *inside* your bag)
  • Pocket for your iPad or pattern
  • Pocket for Pen or pencil
  • Attached snap pockets for your notions

Any special or featured products you want to share?
Here’s a look at my large project bag:

Vendor Spotlight: Lindsay Streem DIY, Spinning Chicken Studio

Whether or not you crochet, Lindsay Streem’s booth is definitely worth a stop. She’s loaded up with tools, supplies and patterns for the avid hook wielder, to be sure, though most of her supplies have craft-crossover appeal. She also creates lovely crocheted jewelry and accessories that anyone can enjoy, no assembly required!

Spinning Chicken Studio returns for a second year in the mini-booth section. All of Sonji’s yarns are spindle-spun (!!), and you can see the care taken in every detail. Each of her skeins is a self-contained work of art.


Lindsay Streem DesignsLindsay Streem DIY
http://lindsaystreemdiy.etsy.com

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
I am a crochet designer based in Chicago, with over 25 years of experience. My crocheted jewelry has been featured in Family Circle, Easy Crochet, 1000 Jewelry Inspirations, Jewelry with a Hook, and most recently Interweave Crochet (Winter 2015). My patterns can be found on Ravelry, Craftsy and in my Etsy shop. I also create unique accessories using crochet and recycled felt that are sold online and in boutiques around the country.

Any special or featured products you want to share?
The majority of my DIY products are geared toward crocheters, like my roll-up hook pouches, but I also carry a big selection of buttons, purse handles and other tools for all fiber arts.

lindsaystreem1


spinningchicken2Spinning Chicken Studio
https://www.etsy.com/shop/sonjihunt

What would you MOST like YarnCon shoppers to know about you?
All my yarn is spun and plied on spindles. I LOVE LOVE LOVE making yarn from start to finish…washing and dyeing fibers, combing or carding them (of course, once in a while I am seduced by someone else’s incredible dyed roving or art batt) and spinning it all on spindles. I tried wheel spinning; in fact, I have 3 in a closet because whenever my friend goes on a trip and sees a wheel she brings it back for me (how thoughtful is that?), but I truly enjoy making beautiful one-of-a-kind yarn the slow way, and I believe you will be glad that I do too!

Any special or featured products you want to share?
I went crazy for turquoise this year, so it’s in a lot of the yarns. I think my signature yarn is one of colorful bamboo shreds carded with natural alpaca and spun into a textural sport weight(ish) single.