It's about time I posted my take on Stitches Midwest. The conference took place the weekend of August 23rd in Schaumburg, IL at the Renaissance Hotel and Conference Center. There were classes which went on for three days, covering all topics from wire knitting, to pattern design and fair isle knitting. The market place was a large shopping arena with vendors for beads, roving, books, spinning wheels, patterns, and of course, plenty o'yarn. Several book signings took place, mostly fiction, even murder mystery. There were also fashion shows.
Since this was my first time there, I decided to pass on the classes and just be the observer. I got there right at opening Saturday, waiting in line with many other knit clad and crazed women. Half naked men doused in cologne worked the crowd, handing out samples of soy yarn. I was ready with camera and backpack, even snacks for that extra umph.
As soon as I was released into the market, I headed straight for the Webs booth. Webs is a popular yarn store in Northampton, MA with their own catalog and podcast. I wanted to buy a skein of each of their own brand, Valley Yarns, and conduct my own "taste testing." I also was dying to meet the owners and podcasters, Steve and Kathy Elkins. They're a young, cute couple with small children. They travel to each of the yarn shows themselves. What a dream job! I asked if they did "photo ops." I don't think they quite understood that I wanted to be in the picture too. Oh well, they'll get the hang of stardom someday.
Soon after that I found out photos weren't allowed in the marketplace, so you'll just have to use your imagination.
I made about three laps around/through the vendors. I watched a lady make a beaded necklace and almost bought her $40 kit until I realized the beads in the kit were far from representative of what she was doing the demo with. I saw a World War I sock knitting machine in action. I sat down at my future spinning wheel, the Kromski Sonata, and determined that my love is still going strong. I found adorable patterns for baby sweaters and Christmas ornaments and ended up with a nice size pile of yarn to take home. My favorite is a jewel toned wool/silk that I'll use to make a scarf. My morning ended by watching the style show. The styles were as trendy as any major fashion show, enough so that I couldn't really see myself wearing many of them.
I had a great time, but I could only have so much fun being alone. I'm sure I can recruit some friends to go with me next year, maybe take some classes and stay overnight. Maybe Charlotte will be up for it by then!