Holiday Goodies 2018 (kind of)

Welcome to 2019! Before jumping in my 2019 fiber arts goals I want to recap the holiday, and some new goodies!

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Ya’ll – I didn’t make any handmade gifts this year.   I spent Christmas with my family, first in Illinois and then in Missouri, and then spent the following week with my brother at my house.  We watched a lot of Star Trek (I know, shocker) and Disney movies. Exact same as last year.

On to the goodies (related websites are linked – check them out!):

Advent Calendar

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I bought myself an advent “calendar” of yarn this year to make an advent shawl.  Please note – as of January 11, 2019, I’m still on Day 9 of 25.  So more than a bit behind.  Each day contains a 20 gram mini of fingering weight yarn from Pancake and Lulu Yarn.  I’ve knitting about 15 grams of each mini plus 3 grams of a neutral gray for each day.  I typically don’t do “surprises” because I want to see colors ahead of time (this is also why I don’t do mystery knit alongs).  I’m still not sure how I feel about how it’s coming out but dang-it I’m committed to finishing it.  I would like to continue on the advent shawl but I do need to switch over to some design knitting so the advent shawl is going on the back burner.  I will do a full review of the advent calendar at a later date when I finish the shawl.

 

Yarn Studio in Casey, Illinois

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Shortly before the holiday I saw on Facebook that one of the local yarn shops I frequent (and where I bought my first spinning wheel) was changing their business model to operate more as an online business.  I was excited to hear that she would still be offering classes/workshops and that she would be having a sale immediately after the holiday.  The shop, Yarn Studio, is in Casey, Illinois, right off of I-70 about an hour west of Terre Haute, Indiana.  So, on our way from Missouri to home in Indiana my brother and I popped in for a visit.  And then I bought some yarn.  Shocking, I know.  Also had a nice chat with the owner and I can’t wait to see how her business evolves.

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My brother actually picked this out.  I think I’m going to make hats for each of us.  The colorway is Verde Azul and Malabrigo Yarn Rasta is a bulky weight merino yarn.

Dream in Color Classy

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This I picked out.  All me.  I love Dream in Color and have been trying to choose non-fingering weight yarns.  So this was perfect.  The colorway is Kiss Me Kate and Class is a worsted weight merino/cashmere/nylon yarn.  Just gorgeous hand-dyed yarn.

Gypsy Girl Creations Transitions

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I’ve seen this yarn at this shop multiple times and never bought it, solely because I knew I would need two cakes.  Gypsy Girl Creations is a midwest dyer (I think in northern Illinois) and I’m excited to try out her yarn.  Transitions is a gradient merino yarn and I bought the colorway Pharaoh.

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Cyber Monday Christmas Shopping for Me

As a single gal I have got into the habit of buying myself a Christmas present (or group of presents) each year.  This year I did my shopping for myself on Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday.  I bought from two vendors, both makers in the fiber arts space: Erin Lane Bags and Stunning String Studio.

Erin Lane Bags

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If you’ve followed my blog for even a few months you know I love Erin Lane Bags.  I have many of her bags and organizers, including many Sheeple prints (sheep doing people things).  She frequently has live sales on Facebook and I tuned in Small Business Saturday.  I got one bag that night, and then ordered a few more during the Cyber Monday sale (when Sheeple prints were on sale).

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Both of these are called sock bags – I like the size of these and the snap.  The bag on the left is a new print featuring Larry the Foul Mouthed Sheep.  So, appropriately, his new logo says FML and stands for Foul Mouthed Legion.  The bag on the right is the Game of Thrones Sheeple in the quotes print.  I actually didn’t have any in the quotes print and I’m such a Game of Thrones nerd, I needed to have this.

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The notion pouch has zippered vinyl pockets for storing notions in a way they CAN’T. FALL. OUT. Print is Outlander Sheeple.

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The pattern keepers feature a non-glare vinyl pocket so you can slide your pattern in.  Then the pattern keeper folds into a triangle so it stands up on its own.  Print is Wonder Woman Sheeple.

 

Stunning String Studio

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Stunning String is a maker I came across at Stitches Midwest.  My friend bought a kit from them this year and asked if I would knit the shawl for her.  I fell in love with their yarns. A pre-made kit, a kit I put together, mystery yarns (I know – crazy for me) and some fun accessories.

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I have been eyeing the Vacillate Shawl from Stunning String since Stitches Midwest and they offer it as a kit.  However, I wanted to make it out of a different yarn base.  So I essentially put together my own mini-kit.  The gray is the colorway “Charcoal” and the red is the colorway “Lipstick Red”, both on the opulent base.

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Cute little beading tools and stitch savers, both of which have a clip at the top.  The cute rhinestone just gives it that extra touch.  I also got a set of wine stitch markers.

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This kit was a Cyber Week special and is called the Let it Snow Kit. This includes sparkle yarn (base Twinkle, colorway Deep Water), a bag, a shawl pin (beautiful), stitch markers and an online code for the pattern Singularity.  Oh! And the beads! What I really love about their kits it that it truly includes everything except for the needles.

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This is a super cute infinity cowl with sheep on it.  You can get different background colors and it’s a good length (you can double wrap).  I was surprised at how soft it is and how lightweight.  I can’t wait to layer this on and plan to buy more in my next order to give as gifts.

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For any of you that know me you know I don’t like surprises in my yarn.  I’m VERY picky about color (no fluorescent, no pink, no brown) so the fact I bought mystery yarn surprised even me.  So how this worked: for $11 you got one skein of yarn and a coupon code for a free Stunning String pattern.  The patterns are usually $5-6 so you’re paying $5-6 for a skein of really nice yarn.  I ordered three, thinking I’d probably not love at least one of them.  But, I actually loved all three colors I received.  All three colors are one of a kind and bases included Twinkle, Serenity (which has SILK), and Superwash.  I’m really happy that the Twinkle I got is in a color similar to that in my Let It Snow kit.  While a different color, it’s close enough that if I run out (or am running out) of the yarn in the kit, I could use the mystery yarn in the same base for the border of the shawl. I’m so happy with the mystery yarn, so much so I might try a mystery kit next year!

 

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2018 Holiday Gift Giving Ideas

As we’re now upon the winter holidays, gifting buying season is ramping up.  As I knitter I feel like I’m pretty easy to buy for.  But, I realize that maybe you’d like a handy-dandy gift list to provide your family or significant other.  Or perhaps, you’d simply like some non-yarn gift ideas.  Well, here you go! These five products are all from indie makers and sellers.  All photos property of the respective maker.

Knitting Needle Jewelry – Bur Oak Studios

So many beautiful options! Jen, who is local to me, takes aluminum knitting needles and turns them into jewelry, wine stoppers, ornaments and other items I probably haven’t seen yet.  My favorites are the earrings and bracelets, especially the bracelets that are flat stamped.  If you like re-purposed items, you will love these guys.

On my wishlist: Not So Simple Bracelet in Red or Purple (I have green)

 

2019 Planner – Erin Lane Bags

So remember last year I recommended some bags and organizers from ErinLaneBags? Well now they’ve upped their game and are making a 2019 planner! As a planner girl (normally Happy Planner), this excites me to no end.  The calendar will feature the ErinLane sheeples and is designed for crafters, with places for keeping track of monthly projects.  The planner has not been released quiet yet, but you can get on a list to get one when it is released.

 

Sheep Scarves & Stitch Savers – Stunning String Studio

I met this vendor at Stitches Midwest anything.  I didn’t buy anything that day but my friend bought a Wine Country shawl kit and asked if I would knit it for her.  The yarn is beautiful and saturated, which you know is a requirement in my book.  Come Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday though I did some shopping and found some goodies you might love (ok, and some knitting kits, honestly).

What could be better than this sheep infinity cowl? It comes in eight colors (I had a lot of trouble choosing) and it is generously sized at 35″ wide by 70″ around.

I drop a stitch (or think I did) on almost every project at least once.  I love these stitch savers for their size, portability and fun factor.  There are two sizes available and nine different colors.

On my wishlist: Orient Express Shawl Kit

 

Travel Beading Kit – Nelkin Designs

I love knitting with beads, and it’s actually one of my favorite classes to teach.  If you’ve followed me very long you know I travel for work and knitting with beads on a plane is a risky endeavor.  Also, your seatmates think you’re weird.  Knit designer and teacher Laura Nelkin sells a small kit that is perfect for traveling.  It comes with a metal tin, two different sizes of crochet hooks (one for size 6 beads and one for size 8 beads) and a dental floss threader (for stringing).  One of the things I really like is you can put your beads in the tin and pick them up from there with your hook.  Very handy.

 

Yarn Bowl – Pawley Studios

So last year I recommended mugs from Pawley Studios.  This year I bought my first yarn bowl from Pawley (owner Amanda made me a custom one to look like Betty) and I love it – both from a functional standpoint and an aesthetics standpoint.  In addition to simple bowl shapes in her normal beautiful colors, she makes many animal shaped bowls, including cats, cows, bunnies, sheeps and more.  You can also have a quote or image placed on the bowl.

On my wishlist: Bunny yarn bowl (in white to match Winston)

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New to Me Goodies Fall 2018

This will be pretty short post because I have been pretty reserved in my yarn/fiber/crafting purchases this fall.  Aside from the items below, I haven’t purchased any yarn or fiber since August.  Crazy, I know.  I will skip mentioning the fiber and socks I bought last weekend at the farm retreat since I already gushed over those.

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I went home to Missouri a few weeks ago and my mom had tore an ad out of the local newspaper for a holiday sale by the local weavers and spinners guild.  The Columbia Weavers and Spinners’ Guild had their exhibition and sale at the local history center, which was neat because you could also look at those exhibits.  I bought some alpaca inserts for my boots to keep my toes toasty warm and my mom bought me some gorgeous turquoise and black suri alpaca and merino yarn to go with a black coat she got me the day before.  The yarn is from Alpacas d’Auxvasse, a local farm in Auxvasse, Missouri.  400 yards of super soft yarn just waiting to become a cowl.

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One of my friends that came to the retreat (she wins the award for longest driving distance) brought me these little cuties.  They’re actually tiny magnets you put on the edge of your wine glass.  We tested them out tonight and they worked great.  It looks like you can find them at Simply Charmed.

 

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Fall Farm Retreat 2018

Cabin Front

I’m back from our fall 2018 farm retreat near Kokomo, Indiana.  This is a private retreat some friends and I put together when we found a cool farmstay opportunity in August.  There is a suri alpaca farm near in Flora, Indiana, called Heritage Farms.  They have a couple different options but the one that appealed to us was an 1850 log cabin that was available for rent.  We stayed for three nights and had a fun time.

Fireplace

Now let’s discuss the fact it was crazy cold.  Normally in mid-November it is highs in the 50s, lows around 35 degrees (F).  The morning of the day we left we were under an ice storm warning.  At night the temperature sunk well down into the 20s.  Daytime highs were in the 30s.  You may be thinking “that’s not so bad” and you’d be right if you were in a home with central heating.  And if you didn’t have to step outside to get to the bathroom.  The gas heat stove did a pretty good job, even at night  The wood for the wood burning fireplace was wet so that fire was very challenging to keep going.  I functioned with a lot of layers and hot drinks (more on that in a minute).

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The farm is located in a fairly rural area.  While some of our little group did go to a nearby town to visit a quilt shop and an antique store, I stayed on the farm for all of the three day weekend.  I spent my time taking pictures of the alpacas, knitting, spinning, drinking and eating.  Taking the photographs was COLD since I couldn’t wear gloves.  So I figured out it was smart to take pics, put the lens cap on, stick camera down in bag, then stick hands in pockets where I had some of those hand warmers.  That made it amazing.

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There was also a small shop on the farm selling alpaca products.  There were finished goods like sweaters, scarves, socks, shawls, etc. as well as yarn and fiber.  My friend Becky nabbed some gorgeous handspun (from an alpaca named Jeremiah) while I picked up some suri alpaca handdyed fiber.  The softness of of the fiber rivals Winston’s (angora rabbit) fiber.  I can’t wait to start spinning it. I also bought a pair of alpaca/nylon socks.  Could I knit some? Yes.  But I’ve been knitting on the same pair of socks for over a year so probably best I should buy some.

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Lastly, food and drink.  Since we were a ways from town we fixed all our meals at the cabin using the grill or the slow cooker.  Fajitas, chili, and pizza, as well as a LOT of munchies.  Like, we could have survived for a full week.  For drinks we used another crockpot to make sure warm beverages were available.  The first (full) day we made mulled wine and the second day we made an apple cider and vodka drink (apple cider + apple vodka + caramel vodka).  Having warm drinks made a world of difference in staying warm.  We also learned one of the girls can open a wine bottle in under 15 seconds – easily.  Talk about a useful skill!

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September Blog Hiatus

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Happy Fall Ya’ll! I have an aggressive schedule this month between work and family vacation so the blog will be going on hiatus until October.  I expect to have all sorts of fun things to share by then – finished objects, exciting news and maybe even a few vacation pictures!  I hope everyone has a great start to the fall season!

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Yarny Friends Weekend

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This past weekend my friend from Wisconsin came down to visit.  She is an accomplished crocheter but has been learning to knit.  She had a long drive down (fairly certain her GPS was smoking something) so we had crockpot fajitas and hard cider for dinner, then watched TV and knitted.  Betty was immediately in love and wanted constant attention. My friend brought me some goodies, including a tribble, a magnet from Scotland and a Star Trek themed shower disc.

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Saturday morning we had french toast and set off to to have some fun! We went to my local yarn shop, Nomad Yarns, where owner Dave gave my friend a detailed tour.  While they were chatting I found some 100% llama yarn (Miski from Mirasol Yarns) on clearance that of course had to come home with me.

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We then headed to Who North America (a retail store and museum relating to all things Dr. Who). First off, they had a giant Tardis (see first picture).  We walked through the museum and I found some goodies on the retail side.  Yes, there are sock below with Tardises (Tardi? What is the plural of Tardis?) on the toes.

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We went to another yarn shop (Starstruck Cat in Greenwood) and headed home.  Saturday night several of my friends came in for a knit/crochet/spin in with pizza, potluck dishes and adult beverages.  Winston decided Heather was his best friend and was quite happy to lay on her chest for a long while.  Great evening of food, drink and friends!

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Unfortunately, my friend had to go home Sunday morning.  Betty was sad for her to leave!

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Stitches Midwest 2018 – The Goodies

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This is probably the post you’ve *really* been looking for – the yarn and other goodies that came home with me.  I’ve linked to each vendor, if available, in case you’d like to check them out.

Non-Yarn Goodies

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From Erin Lane Bags – A pattern keeper, sock bag and Zippity View Da in the Game of Thrones sheeple, and a dice bag in the Wonder Woman sheeple.  Oooh, and a wristlet in a red stitch fabric.

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(upper left) From Pawley Studios – a red yarn bowl and the custom Betty yarn bowl I talked about in my last blog post

(lower left) From KnitBaahPurl – a shirt that says “Baahd to the bone”; From Buffalo Wool Co – socks made out of bison/silk/nylon; From Bar-Maids – O’ Feet Sake and some Cuticle Intensive

(lower right) From MissPurl – two tins (they had so many fun patterns) – one is Dr. Who and one is black cats and wine; From Honey Girl Farms – a small pouch that has a unicorn vomiting kittens.  Yes, you read that right.

(upper right) From Knit Picks – two emergency crochet hooks, a free pin and bent tip needles; From Signature Needles – one circular needle in a size I use for most of my shawls

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So technically I didn’t buy these but here are the stitch markers I swapped for in the swap.

 

The YARN!

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(upper left) From new to me dyer T’ewe Knit Wits – a sock yarn set (two 50 gram cakes) of a purple and rainbow gradient.  I saw the sample knit up in a sock and it actually made me want to knit socks.

(lower left) From A Hundred Ravens – A mini skein set (Iachos base) in the colorway Rainbow.  I also got a skein of Jet (same yarn base) so I can make a larger shawl.

(lower right) A kit from Three Irish Girls to make the Chalk Drawings Hat and Mittens by Paper Daisy Creations.  The yarn base is Adorn Luxe and the full skein is au naturel.  The mini skeins are from the Fall is Near Collection.

(upper right) From White Birch Fiber Arts – A self striping skein of sock yarn (80/20 merino/nylon) in the colorway “Does this rainbow make my black look big?”

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(left) From Dreaming of Hue, a 4-ply superwash merino/nylon base fingering weight yarn in the colorway “Unicorn Tails”

(right) From Destination Yarns – both on the sport-weight base Trinket in the colorways Glen Coe (left) and Witching Hour (right).

 

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Stitches Midwest 2018 – Everything But the Goodies

Stitches Midwest

I’m coming down off that Stitches high.  I missed last year so this year was especially important to me.  I drove up to Chicago on Thursday where I stayed with a friend in the city until Sunday.  It was a wonderful trip full of friends and yarn.

Thursday

After physical therapy  I loaded up the car and drove from Indianapolis to Chicago, Illinois, where my friend lives.  We ran a few errands, including a stop at Salvation Army, where I scored several books at $2 a piece.

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Later that evening we went to Captain’s Catch, which is a Cajun Creole restaurant.  We had shrimp, crab legs and lobster, in addition to some sides.  After we got back home I packed up my bags for Stitches the next day! I even went to bed early!

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Friday

Friday morning I took the train from near my friend’s place to a train station close to Schaumburg, where Stitches Midwest is held.  Stitches was running a shuttle from that train station to the convention center, which was a real bonus.  I picked up my badge and went in to get that shopping started.  I bought a pair of socks from Buffalo Wool Co. before my friend Tori (check her out on Twitch at www.twitchtv.aDorned_ – she is a creative streamer) arrived.  She had driven down from her home in Wisconsin and stayed the night with us on Friday.  Our first stop was Pawley Studio so I could see my custom yarn bowl that the artist made to look like my cat Betty.  Her attention to detail is amazing, right down to the white feathering on her throat.  I’m so happy!

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Next, we went to Erin Lane Bags to grab Tori a stitch marker swap button and then we started our shopping in earnest.  New to me Black Cat Fibers had not only gorgeous yarns, but some amazing samples.

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I saw many of my favorite vendors – BarMaids, CraftyFlutterBy, Destination Yarns, A Hundred Ravens, KnitBaahPurl and Pawley Studios.  Also, several new to me vendors such as T’ewe Knit Wits and Stunning String Studio.  Friday afternoon I took a one-hour market class called Knitting in Both Directions, which was basically to learn how to knit backwards.  I figured out how to knit and purl backwards but not how to still do so continental.  For it truly to be more efficient for me, I will need to figure that out.

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After class Tori and I headed to my friend’s place.  We ran to Michael’s and Joann’s for stitch marker supplies for Tori and then went back home to order pizza from Lou Malnati’s.  We ate pizza, drank wine and root beer, and I looked through patterns on Ravelry while Tori and my friend made stitch markers for the stitch marker swap.  As I mentioned in my prior post, there is a stitch marker swap at Stitches Midwest each year and the swapping is so much fun!

Friday Night

Saturday

Saturday morning all three of us headed back to Schaumburg for some more shopping.  Outside we saw a car with a knit stitch wrap, which I have since learned is from 614 Knit Studio, a yarn shop in Illinois.

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I found another yarn bowl from Pawley Studios.  They had a few on a clearance shelf due to small defects (so small I couldn’t find the defect on some) and I found a red one I loved. Plus I got a picture with ceramic artist Amanda!

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I ran into knit designer Lisa Ross (paperdaisycreations on Instagram) in the Leading Men Fiber Arts booth.  She is a local designer that I have known for a few years and love her work.  We were all in red on Saturday.  That is her shawl, Double Dipper, up behind us in the photo.

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As we were getting ready to leave I saw Stacy Trock, a crochet amigurami instructor on Craftsy.  Her class is finally what got me to the point where I could crochet a 3-d object.  So, in a bit of a fan girl moment, I got a picture with her.  She was very sweet and down to earth.

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And with that, our Stitches experience was done.  Tori headed back to Wisconsin and my friend and I headed back to her home, where we ordered Indian food and vegged out watching movies.   What a nice relaxing end to the weekend!  The next morning we went out for breakfast, where I had red velvet french toast and a mimosa, before I headed back home to Indiana.  So long Stitches Midwest until next time!

 

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Stitches Midwest 2018 Prep

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Stitches Midwest starts in just a few days! I am beyond excited since I haven’t been in two years and so many wonderful friends are coming.  I made that a priority this past weekend and have piled up most of the items to be packed on the guest bed.  I will be at the event most of the day Friday and part of the day Saturday.  If you see me, please say HI.  I will not be at the pajama party this year as I am staying at a friend’s place closer into the city.

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Step One was was to make lots’n’lots stitch markers for the Stitch Marker Swap.  This annual tradition involves participants bringing stitch markers and trading with other participants.  I’ve already had several people ask for one so I made an additional 28 markers, in addition to the 68 I had already made Friday night.

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Step two was registering for the market class I want to take on Friday afternoon – knitting in both directions.  I do still need to get together the items I need for that class.

Step Three was going through the list of vendors and noting those I am particularly interested in for various items.  I also noted on my map which vendors are participating in the Stitch Marker Swap and the Scavenger Hunt. I also noted which session in The Playground I’m interested in.  I like having a one page cheat sheet so that I only have one page to tuck in my purse.

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Step four was getting everything together that I could.  Some gifts for the friend I’m staying with, a surprise for another friend staying with us one night, wine and snacks, shawls, and more.  I’ve piled up everything that can already be packed and will finish up the rest on Wednesday.

 

 

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