Stitches Midwest was held again this past weekend. It was so great that I’m already looking forward to next year’s event to be held July 30-August 2, 2020.
Stitches events are sponsored by XRX, Inc. XRX publishes craft books, both print and digital, but their primary focus at this time is the Stitches events around the country.
Stitches Midwest, Stitches Salt Lake, Stitches SoCal, Stitches West, and Stitches United are similar events held in different areas. They feature a large vendor hall, three days of classes, and other special events. In addition, XRX offers some smaller Camp Stitches events.
I arrived at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Schaumburg. Illinois, with one of my daughters. We didn’t plan well and arrived nearly an hour before the market place opened. We picked up our registration badges and tried to check in to the hotel (we were too early). Then, we found a place to sit, knit, and talk to other early-bird attendees.
Since we were first in line, we had our choice of which booth to shop at first. I had already decided that I wanted to visit Destination Yarn; we walked straight there.
Destination Yarn, owned by Jeanne Stevenson, is located in Cleveland, Ohio. I had the opportunity to visit her studio last fall. 2019 was her fifth year vending at Stitches Midwest. I’m not sure I attended her first year, but I’ve visited her booths several times at both Stitches Midwest and Vogue Knitting Live New York.
I love Jeanne’s yarn! Her idea of basing yarn colors on her travels is right up my alley. I’m especially drawn to her Paris collection. This year at Stitches, Jeanne introduced a new line based on artwork from the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s amazing!
Although I call this next group “old favorites,” I haven’t really known them that long. I started knitting about 12 years ago. The first Stitches event – or yarn event in general – that I attended was Stitches South in 2016. Still, knitters and yarn people are wonderful and quickly become friends.
I don’t remember when I first met Steven Berg, but he has been at several Stitches and Vogue events. I’ve also shopped at his store, StevenBe, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. If I’m ever looking for a special or unique yarn, I look at his booth first.
Three Irish Girls have a studio in Superior, Wisconsin (across the river from Duluth, Minnesota). I am hoping to visit the studio sometime. I was told that the three girls in their name refer to the two owners and me…or you… As individual customers, we are the third person in the group. Their yarn has always been a favorite and I’ve purchased several skeins in the last year.
Sun Valley Fibers is another Wisconsin company, located in the town of Mount Horeb. They carry a rainbow of yarn in different weights. Most of their yarn is solid or tonal, although they have a few speckles and variegated offerings. I find it extraordinary for a sweater, because of its consistency. Sun Valley Fibers is the sponsor of the January Thaw Retreat, a small knitting retreat similar to the Zombie Knitpocalypse (ZK) I attended in June.
I’ve been familiar with Leading Men Fiber Arts for some time – and have even purchased some of their yarn – but I met one of the owners at ZK, so now I feel more of a connection. Their yarn is gorgeous! A unique aspect of their booth is that they have samples of every colorway knit up so customers can more easily imagine what the yarn will look like in their own project.
Lindsay from Erin Lane Bags was a friend of a friend of my daughter – that’s how I first came to know her. She makes project bags and needle cases – I use one of her cases for my knitting needles and also have a couple of project bags. Lindsay has been at every Stitches event that I have attended. She is one of the hosts for the Pajama Party that we love to attend.
I first met Samantha from Lavender Lune Yarn last fall at the Vogue Knitting Live event in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She was interesting to me because she is from northern Minnesota, close to where I’ve vacationed. I met her again at ZK, and now count her as a friend. Her yarn is beautiful – I especially like what she does with speckles. I purchased some mohair yarn from her at Stitches – I’m anxious to see how it knits up.
Another company from Northern Minnesota is Cherrywood Fabrics. I met the owner, Karla, last year at Stitches when she gave a lunchtime presentation about her fabric and marketing concept. Stitches has always included fiber arts other than knitting in its offerings, but over the last couple years the other categories seem to be growing in popularity.
This year I was introduced to several new companies. One of my favorites was Apple Fiber Studio. I loved the shawl that owner, Andrea, was wearing and immediately began looking for the yarn it was made from. The sample was purple – my favorite color – but, after much deliberation, I opted for coral. I couldn’t resist and started knitting it last night.
I Just Want to Knit
Whenever I attend an event like Stitches Midwest, I come home fired up about my knitting. I can’t wait to get started on projects with the new yarn I purchased. A few skeins of yarn I purchased this year coordinated with yarn I already had – some which I dyed myself. I am planning to design the patterns for these projects, so it might be awhile before they are finished.
In the mean time, I have some travel planned. The project I started with the Apple Fiber Studio yarn will make a good travel project.
Have you been to a knitting event or one associated with a different hobby? When you get home, are you as excited as I am to delve back into your latest projects or start new ones?