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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.

Stitches Midwest

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!

Stitches Midwest

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!

Stitches Midwest

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.

Black Cat Fiber

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.

Stitches Midwest

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.

Stitches Midwest

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!

Stitches Midwest

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.

Stitches Midwest

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.

Stitches Midwest

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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Knitting Pipeline Retreat 2017 – The Weekend

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I’m back from the Knitting Pipeline retreat in central Illinois and have so many fun things to share with you.  As usual, there will be one blog post about the retreat and another about the goodies I picked up.  I went with my friend Patty and we made a four-day weekend out of it.  Yeah, we don’t pack light.

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The retreat actually started Friday afternoon but there were some optional activities before.  We drove over Thursday morning and had lunch before taking a class Thursday afternoon, which was held at a local yarn shop in Morton, IL.  The class was Beginning Brioche with Amy Detjen (you can see her patterns here). Now I’ve tried to knit brioche before via a book and YouTube but it just didn’t click.  This class made it click.  To learn Brioche we started knitting Amy’s Chromatic cowl, and I bought one of her kits of yarn (a 50 gram gradient ball and a 50 gram solid).  I almost picked a red/gray combo but ultimately decided on the rainbow and cream.  Fun, right?  I made good progress but ripped it out later that night to restart on smaller needles.

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After class we went to our hotel in Peoria and then to dinner at Granite City.  I loved that the restaurant was right down along the river and we could watch the sun set over the river.

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The next morning we went to our second class with Amy Detjen, which was essentially the “part 2.”  We learned a brioche cast on, and then did increases and decreases.  Not sure I have those nailed quite yet but I guess I will need to figure out the decreases if I want to knit a brioche hat.  After lunch the retreat started!

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I made some wonderful new friends at my table and some new friends from other tables.  There were some free break-out sessions during the retreat, although I did not attend.  Saturday afternoon there was a vendor market with a lot of indie makers (more on those goodies in the next post).  We had a little more knitting time before the retreat wrapped up and we had to say goodbye.

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After the retreat we headed down to Springfield Illinois to stay the night with my aunt.  We had dinner, some wine and some “show and tell” before wandering off to bed.  Sunday morning Patty and I went to have breakfast with Kristi of the In a sKnit podcast before heading back to Indiana.  Stay tuned for next week’s post on the amazing goodies I got, complete with links for enabling.

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Stitches Midwest 2016 – Everything But the Goodies

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I’m coming down off that Stitches high.  This was a different year for me – travel was a little different and I went with family instead of my normal friends.  I want to run through what all happened on my trip, and then next week I’ll post all about the goodies that came home with me.  However, some of those items will be popping up on social media later this week and next.

Wednesday

After work Wednesday I drove from Indianapolis over to Springfield, Illinois, where my aunt lives.  On the way, I listened to podcasts from Prairie Girls Knit and Spin and Unraveling with Grey and Joey.  My aunt and I had dinner at a local lodge-like restaurant and went back home to watch television (and I knitted).

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I should also introduce you to Buddy, my aunt’s cat.  He was an outdoor (and technically feral) cat 100% of the time.  In the last several weeks she’s been letting him in the house (only the living area and only when she’s right there with him).  He seems to enjoy being outside and is still young enough he loves to play with toys.

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Thursday

Thursday morning I went to have breakfast and some knitting time with the wonderful Kristi of the In a SKnit podcast.  We talked about Fred the dog, Stitches, baseball, and, of course, knitting.  We also swapped stitch markers and took a picture.

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Then I went straight to lunch at an Indian buffet with my uncle and back to my Aunt’s where we hung out for the afternoon, idly packing, playing with the cat, napping and knitting.  Early in the evening we loaded up the car (side note – we had enough wine and snacks to survive for at least four days if stranded), picked up my cousin’s wife and headed to Chicago.  We had a few drinks, some snacks and then off to bed! Usually I stay at the hotel at the convention center, but this time we stayed at another property across the interstate.  Not particularly impressed with the hotel but it was ok for the limited amount of time spent there.

Friday

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Friday morning we headed over to the convention center at 10am to get into the market.  I shopped with my family for a few hours and then darted off to a market class on knitting with two circulars.  Still struggling a bit with ladders at the ends of the needles, which was why I took the class, but I’m hoping that will improve with practice.

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The family headed off to the mall while I had a quick snack and went back to shopping.  All throughout the day I swapped a LOT of stitch markers.  The stitch marker swap is such a great idea because it encourages you to talk to random strangers.  It was great to see some of my favorite vendors, including Ron of Buffalo Wool Company, Lisa of White Birch Fiber Arts, Kate of A Hundred Ravens and Lindsay of Erin Lane Bags.  One of the coolest purchases of the day was the sock bag with a print designed especially for Stitches Midwest.  It had sheep with corn, sheep with deep dish pizza, sheep at the Indy 500, etc.  Had to have one of those (which you can find here).  I also ran into (multiple times) and hung out with one of my local Indy knitting friends and her sister.  Shopping with a friend (or friends) is always great because a)its more fun and b)color/style input is important.  Mostly so you don’t get home and go “what the heck was I thinking?”

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In the late afternoon my family picked me up and we went to Ikea (bought two jar candles) and then dinner (RAM Brewery).  The hard cider with dinner was a welcome treat.  We looked up some patterns for my cousin-in-law’s yarn purchase – a 200 gram worsted weight rainbow gradient cake that was beautiful.Since the pajama party wasn’t for several hours we went back to the hotel to watch the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics.  That also gave me the chance to do some yarn and pattern research.  Lastly, we went back to the convention center for the Stitches PJ Party.  There I ran into designer Adrienne Ku of Mushroom Knits, which of course caused some squealing.  I actually got a fair amount of knitting done between the “audience participation” lip sync dancing.  Which then my cousin-in-law and I then took part in on stage.  Yes, totally made possible by alcohol.

Saturday

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Saturday was our last day in Chicago so I packed up everything before my aunt took me over to the convention center.  They went to brunch at Wildberry, which I’m bummed I missed! Not that I needed the calories.  Around lunchtime a friend that lives in Chicago came by.  We shopped in the market and caught up.  She bought a wool shrug (which she then put on!), some BarMaids products for her and her sister and then some shoes for her sister.  She also gave me some good color advice.  While she was shoe shopping I ran into Sarah (aka Mrs. Shoo) of the Cultivate and Create podcast. We caught back up with my family and my aunt and cousin-in-law each bought a kit from Universal Yarn for a really pretty stole.  I went back to A Hundred Ravens a final time for a a mini-skein set and some complimentary deep gray yarn, which Kate is going to dye and send to me.

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We left mid-afternoon to drive back to Springfield, where we had pizza at my cousin’s house.  My aunt and I went back to her house to watch the Olympics and play with Buddy the cat.  Despite Buddy’s insistence I should be playing I did manage to take pictures of my loot and enter everything into Ravelry.  That felt pretty awesome!

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The next morning (or rather, early afternoon) I drove back to Indy, which ended my Stitches adventure.  Until next year. . .

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Yarn Crawl 2014 (Part 1 of 3)

passportEight local yarn shops are holding an inaugural yarn crawl called Roving Indiana from February 21 – March 2.  I’m going to break this up into three blog posts. This post will be about the trip, the second about the shops and the last post about my “haul.”

Here’s the basics of the yarn crawl.  You buy a passport from one of the participating LYSs and go around to each LYS.  At each LYS you get your passport stamped, receive one-eighth of a shawl pattern and, if you make a purchase at that LYS, an entry in that shop’s raffle drawing.  At the last shop they certify your passport, take out the last page and it enters you into drawings for larger prizes.  Oh, and you get 10% off your purchase! If you’re local and interested, here’s the link: http://nomadyarnshop.com/roving-indiana-explore-the-wool-trail/

To say I was excited about this event might have been an understatement.  I made plans with a couple friends to visit several of the shops on Saturday and mapped out a route. We left around 9am for the first shop and hit six shops throughout the day.  We took turns driving, which happily gave me some time to knit.  Nothing says yarn crawl like knitting in the dashboard.

car dash

We capped off our Saturday trip with a visit to a local winery and then dinner with some friends who own our LYS.   Here’s our Saturday haul:

trunk haul

We visited the remaining two shops, including our LYS, on Sunday and turned in our passports. Woohoo! We are done! It was fun to visit the different shops (I had only been to 3 of the 8 before) and spend the day with friends.

Next post: A summary of the yarn shops!

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