Monday, July 23, 2007


Clare and I shook the dust of responsibility from our heels yesterday and headed out to the Midwest Fiber and Folk Art Fair, over an hour away from Chicago in Crystal Lake (north central Illinois). You're off the edge of the map, here there be dragons (Sorry. Sorry. It's just I'm such a parochial urbanite. I get nervous outside my normal habitat). We planned this trip in part as retaliation (did I ever say I was a nice person?). We have to cancel at least one of our Stitches Midwest classes since Marc will be in San Francisco for the ABA convention. Sometimes being able to manipulate guilt is a good thing. Did I mention that Marc brought this to my attention after the no-refund deadline?

Being good little fiber artist wannabe's, we set out in time to check in by 9:00 AM. Which meant we were on the road by 7:30 on a Sunday morning. That was painful. Next year, we'll be a little more relaxed about it.

Well, piffle. I meant for you all to be able to go to the website but it's pretty much shut down. This link might work, but just in case, I'll try to fill in. It's outside -- I have the mosquito bites to prove it -- in a park. A really beautiful park. There were workshops all three days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday: basket weaving, spinning - wheel and drop spindle, felting, dyeing, jewelry, weaving on at least three different types of looms, rug-making, woodcarving, beading, felting, quilting, tatting.

There was a food court with real food (Stitches Midwest, are you listening?). And ice cream.

And live music. And demonstrations. And knit/craft togethers (which we missed). And a silent auction (which we also missed). For those not inclined to play hooky, there's a great beach/park nearby and kid's crafts at the Fair itself.

And a Marketplace - 4 tents full.

Big tents. Over 100 vendors.

The Fold was there. So were Interlacements from Colorado and Sit & Knit from New Buffalo, Michigan. Buttons, baskets, books, rovings, wool, alpaca, silk, corn fiber, spinning wheels, looms, hand-dyed yarns, hand-spun yarns. Mountain Colors, Fleece Artist, Blue Moon, Socks that Rock. I may have bought something.

Oh, and knitting. Lots of knitting. I found out about the fair in time to get into "The Grand Finale: Finishing with Professional Results." The instructor was Nancy Schroyer of Nancy's Knit Knacks. Do I need to repeat that? Nancy of Nancy's Knit Knacks. That gives you an idea of the caliber of the instructors. I love classes like this. It was like finding a really expert knitting mentor. I now know how to customize and put in a zipper. How to make a sturdy one-row buttonhole. How to adjust a hem so it doesn't flip up. Why it's important to end your ribbing with knit stitch. Plus, we got presents. They were, I suppose, part of the materials fee, except the materials fee was only $5.00. The Knit Kards alone retail for $10.00.

We had such fun. It was like Stitches without the insanity. This was, no doubt, in part because it was the first year. Of course, next year everyone who missed the Fair will have figured it out and the place will be mobbed. Maybe I should delete this post?

Edited to add: Artisan Amy sent this link. It works. Thanks Amy!


AmyArtisan said...

Sounds like you & Clare had a lovely time there on Sunday. I agree about "Stitches without insanity" - although we'll be braving the insanity in a couple of weeks. :)

Here's a working link:

diane h said...

This was the fair I was going to this year, instead of Stitches, but work and children intervened. Had to cancel my registration although in my case, well before the *payment* deadline. I had HP7 as some consolation. I spent >$20 on a larger set of those NKK cards. At Sit n Knit.

Bobbi said...

oh that looks like fun! I'm super jealous!