Tag Archive | knitting conferences

Knitting in the Heartland

This weekend is Knitting in the Heartland, a weekend-long conference that happens every other year and is put on by the Sunflower Knitters’ Guilt. They usually have a big-name keynote speaker who also gives classes. This year they have two big instructors, Edie Eckman and Franklin Habit, and Franklin was the Keynote speaker. I had so much fun the last time around that I signed up immediately, and last night the Knitting SIL and I joined my work knitting buddy and her friends for the Keynote. Franklin did not disappoint!

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His speech centered on five important women in his life, and the shawls he designed in their honor, and his speech was funny, often in very dry way, but also touching and thought-provoking. It made me think about the people who have inspired my creative life, and whether I can be that person for someone else. I really enjoyed listening to him, but I also loved just being in a big room full of knitters! You can’t go wrong with a room full of knitters, am I right? You look around and see all these gorgeous handknit items and there’s no wondering if they made it themselves: you know they did! And we could knit while he talked and nobody was judging us or thinking we were being disrespectful or not paying attention because they all KNOW. They know that we knitters are so clever that we can use our hands and our ears and our brains all at the same time. Whew. Yeah. Good times. And that was just the appetizer, because honestly, as much as I loved Franklin’s talk, the vendor fair was the main course for me.

I beelined for Show Me Yarns immediately. I’d seen a couple of special show-only items on Instagram that I really wanted, and I’m proud to say I was the first one to their booth, where I immediately snatched up a gorgeous matching set of project bag and sock yarn, made especially for KITH. This booth was my favorite two years ago, and my favorite this year too. They had the yarns I wanted the most, gorgeous colors and the self-striping sock yarn that is my obsession right now. And they’re such delightful women too, so funny and happy to joke around and have a great time with their customers. I was more than happy to give them the bulk of my yarn money last night. Their Etsy shop is on a break right now, but you should totally check back with them. I love them. That’s all.

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Then I grabbed more yarn, and basically didn’t stop for about an hour. It was terrible, or do I mean wonderful? Yeah. Both. Mostly wonderful. And I saw fun fun stuff. Nerd Girls Yarns was awesome, as always. Not just the yarns, but her displays too.

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Isn’t that Captain America shield so cool?? And the Wonder Woman shawl is the crochet version, which I hadn’t seen in person. I still like my knit version better, but the crochet version was beautiful too, very drapey.

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And I saw these sock hangers, which I thought were SO COOL!! I mean, look at them! You could totally hang your socks in your closet! If I didn’t have such a small closet, I would be all over this idea. As it is, my socks will have to stay in a drawer.

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Whew, it was such a fun night. I just get such a high from being around so many neat people who understand why knitting is so important, people who love it as much as I do.

What? You want to see the yarn? Well. Okay. I mean, I’m not going to do individual photos because that would be too many and too long and I’m almost embarrassed as it is to do a group shot of it all. But since you insist, here you go.

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I KNOW. It’s a lot. And it’s all seriously gorgeous. Most of it (top row) is from Show Me Yarns. The purple/gray and blue/purple are from Nerd Girl Yarns, and the orange/pink/green and purple project bag are from Supernatural Yarns.

And now I just want to wind yarn and knit all day long and all day tomorrow and all day for the rest of forever. That’s not unreasonable, is it?

The Yarn Harlot Speaks

Have you ever had an experience that was so fantastic, so true and honest, that it speaks to you right at your core? That it leaves you feeling high afterward? Maybe the word verklempt applies here. That was me last night, after spending the evening at the Knitting in the Heartland event. It was AMAZING. No other word for it. I can’t believe I even considered not going. It was my first knitting conference and now I know how wondrous it is to be in a big room filled with people who speak your language, who understand what knitting means, that it’s not just an idle hobby. It’s so much more.

I mean, I walked into the hotel and there were people in the lobby just hanging out, knitting. Not one, but several. I got in line with all these other nice women who were friendly and helpful, and they were knitting! Or if they weren’t, I could see the yarn in the project bags they were carrying. I think they said there were 300 attendees. IMG_5653As I waited, a nice knitter sat next to me and we chatted about our knitting and friended each other on Ravelry. Then the magic truly began: Stephanie began her speech.IMG_5654

If you ever have the chance to hear her, GO. She is hysterical, so down-to-earth and casual and then she’ll drop these lines and have the whole room laughing. Plus she’s Canadian so she says things like “arse” and “eh” and it’s not an act, it’s just her and it’s delightful. She had me in tears at one point from laughing so hard. But it was more than just the funny stuff. It was about the “more”: How generous knitters are. How smart and persistent and creative we are. How knitting does wonderful things for our health, particularly our mental and emotional health. It was about self-esteem. She talked about how we need to own our power as knitters, embrace our talent and skill. We need to stop belittling ourselves before we can expect others to stop belittling us.

One of my favorite parts was when she pointed out often we deflect compliments of our knitting by saying “it was easy”, or “I just followed a a pattern”. Yep. I do that. No, she said, just say “Thank you.” Because it wasn’t easy. It took time to learn the skills, to practice to a point to where you can correctly follow the pattern to create that piece of art. To take it further, it takes creativity to match yarns with patterns, to put together color schemes and stripe sequences. It’s NOT easy, but we sometimes think it is because we love doing it so much. Like Stephanie, like so many other women, I am guilty of low self-esteem much of the time. There are a lot of things I don’t do well. It’s hard to be a mom–I mean, it’s great, but you don’t get a lot of validation that you’re doing a good job on a daily basis. It’s hard to be a writer–the writing is great but sharing it and being rejected sucks. So for her to tell me that yes, my knitting is beautiful, that it speaks to my talent and skill, well. I needed to hear that. Maybe we all did, because after the speech, I had women stopping me to tell me how gorgeous my Hitchhiker was (I wore this one. Loved it, except it gave me a rash where it touched my neck. Oops.) and I practiced saying, “Thank you!”

Okay, so the talk (which lasted an hour and a half, including questions) was fantastic, but then she signed books, and I’d brought one with me, of course. When I got up there, I mentioned that she’d tweeted me and told me I should come, and that I was so glad I had, and I could actually see her face light up with recognition! And then she was gracious enough to allow me to take a selfie with her. IMG_5656See? Amazing. Sighhhh. I want to move to Canada and live next door and be her best friend. (Except that’s really hard, apparently, moving to Canada. They don’t let just anybody in.) Heck, I want to BE her.

That would have been enough. That experience made the long drive in heavy traffic and construction worth it. But there was MORE: the market! However, this post is long enough, and that one will be equally long because OMG the market! Yes, I bought stuff. Probably too much. Tune in tomorrow to see what I got!