Saturday, September 7, 2013

Stitches Midwest

I have an awesome husband.  He took me to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Fair for our anniversary at the end of June and happily looked through all of the fiber and yarn with me.  In mid-July, I realized that Stitches Midwest was coming up in August.  I hesitantly mentioned that there was another fantastic yarn expo to him, expecting him to sigh and say that he JUST took me to one... but to my surprise as soon as I mentioned another expo this summer he responded, "Awesome, we should go!"

Stitches is a much bigger fiber event than the Midwest fair and draws amazing teachers from around the country.  There were many classes that tempted me (both design and dyeing), but between CFS and pregnancy (30 weeks as of the time of the event) I'm just not comfortable driving myself 50 min for a full day event only to have to drive myself home.  This is why Vogue Knitting Live Chicago worked perfectly for me because I could take the train downtown.  Unfortunately Vogue Knitting Live this year is taking place 2 weeks after my due date, so I won't be attending!

I failed at my yarn diet for the year (I blame it on the pregnancy), but I am still trying to be good about adding fiber to my stash.  While at this expo I was looking for things that would catch Keith's eye so that I could make a special project for him.  While I didn't come home with any yarn, I did come away from the expo testing out two new fiber based techniques: Needle Felting and Tunisian Crochet.

Keith tried needle felting, too!

At the needle felting demonstration in the Esther's Place booth, we got the chance to make felted beads.  This was the first time I had ever tried needle felting and I loved it!  In fact, I liked it so much that I purchased two little kits to bring home.  One of the kits includes the foam piece (to protect yourself) and needle.  I will be making a 2d purple seahorse ornament from the first kit and a 3D penguin from the second.  I hope I can do this new craft justice.


The second new craft was tunisian crochet.  I have been curious about this technique that is a combination of knitting and crochet, but with just one long crochet hook.  You crochet and keep many stitches on the needle in one direction, and then in the other you "cast off".  The most basic stitch gives a really nice pattern, as you can see on my lap below.

I can see this being a technique I explore more in the future.  I know that KnitPicks sells crochet hooks that can screw into the interchangeables needles set, so I think this would be a perfect chance to fill in my collection of hooks at the same time as plying with a new way of stitchery.  

If you have never been to a yarn expo, I highly recommend it.  It is certainly worth the admission fee, even if you aren't planning on purchasing a lot of yarn!