Recently I came across a Facebook Ad about an event put on by Knitting Universe called Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg, IL. After briefly looking in to the event, I thought it sounded like a blast and I asked my crafting bestie, Hannah of Just Peachy Crafts, if she had anything going on that weekend. Thankfully, we were both free so we registered and booked a hotel and started counting down the days!
Stitches Midwest 2017 began on August 3 and runs through today, August 6, but our plan was to head down to Illinois after work on Friday and spend the day at the event on Saturday. Since we were having a girls’ getaway, we thought we’d also take a trip to IKEA and The Container Store since they were nearby, but little did we know we’d spend almost the entire day at Stitches…there was so much to do and see!
Our adventure began Friday around 5:00pm. Hannah swung by to pick me up and we were on our way! We had road trip music and snacks, plus we’re both chatty so before we knew it, it was already time for a dinner stop right outside of Milwaukee. Being Wisconsin girls, we couldn’t pass up cheese curds with our dinner so we found a Culver’s. The drive thru line was super long, so we decided to get out and stretch our legs, which is when the first real adventure of our trip happened..my stomach sank as I realized I forgot my wallet. Now this might not seem like the worst thing, but I reserved our hotel room with my card and would need it to check in! I gave my husband a call and asked if he’d be able to meet us half way, which would add about an hour and a half on to our already-three hour trip. I figured it would be a long shot, but I also gave the hotel a call and asked if there was a way for us to check in without my card or an ID, and thankfully there was! As it turns out, our room was pre-paid for so we were able to check in without a problem and Hannah spotted me cash for the weekend. After a call to my husband to let him know he didn’t need to meet us and delicious burgers and cheese curds in hand, we were back on the road!
Hannah and I arrived at our hotel around 8:30pm, which gave us some time to drop off our bags and get settled in before we were off to our first Stitches Midwest event, the pajama party! We had a long day of work and travel under our belts, but we were so excited for our first Stitches event where we’d be able to meet and chat with knitters and crocheters from across the country. We arrived to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center at 10:00pm and headed up to the PJ party and sat with a lovely pair of friends, one knitter and one crocheter (just like us!) who drove up from Nashville to attend Stitches. It was a fun evening of conversation, sweet treats and yarning.
On Saturday morning, we woke up and fueled with some breakfast and headed over to the convention center so we could be there right for opening at 10:00am. We checked in and got in a long line of anxious fiber lovers and waited a few minutes, then the time had finally arrived…the doors were opening! We flooded into a massive event room filled with hundreds of booths and thousands of skeins of yarn – it was seriously a dream come true. Prior to getting to the convention center, Hannah and I ironed out our plan of attack for the expo; we’d go up the left side of an aisle, then down the right, then we’d move on to the next aisle, and also we’d try to view the majority of the booths before making yarn purchases. This was semi-wishful thinking!
After our first few booths, we realized we had no idea what we were in for! Everywhere we looked, there was something amazing going on: knitting machine demos, indie yarn dyers explaining their inspiration, industry celebrities being photographed, a playground full of demonstrations and so much more. Hannah and I even got to try out needle felting at one of the first booths we stopped at. We made adorable watermelon pins! We knew Stitches Midwest was going to be amazing, but the event exceeded my expectations after only a few minutes of being there.
Not too long into being at the show, I made my first purchase; a digital row counter you wear on your finger. I was proud of myself, because it was practical and was on my mental list of things I was looking for, plus it was only $5! Shortly after that, I made another purchase that I was also on the hunt for, cute stitch markers, and did I ever hit the jackpot! One of the exhibitors was selling sets of stitch markers on a wire bracelet, so not only can you wear it like a charm bracelet, but you can also remove the stitch markers to use for your project. I almost left out the best part about my new stitch markers; they’re Harry Potter themed! I also snagged a knitting needle sizing tool which was on my list, and it’s a sheep so I obviously couldn’t pass it up!
Before I knew it, it was already 12:30pm, which meant it was time for the market session that I signed up for, Pleasing Plaits with Beth Whiteside. Not only was this hour-long class helpful in teaching how to do the herringbone stitch, but it was also an incredible value. For $25, I attended an hour-long class, which also included admission into the market, which cost $10 on its own. That means I got an hour-long class with an awesome knitter for only $15! I’m looking forward to practicing this new technique so I can use it to spruce up my projects’ mitten cuffs and hat brims.
After my market session, Hannah and I re-fueled with some lunch at a cafe on the second floor of the convention center. Then, we were back in action! We made it exactly half way through all of the booths before my class and our lunch break, so we had the afternoon to hit up the second half. During the second half of our day, Hannah and I found some amazing deals on some beautiful yarn, so we made our first yarn purchases. At Artisian Yarns’ booth, Hannah got 4 skeins of yarn for $15 and I got 3 skeins of cotton/wool for $10, what a steal…plus it’s my favorite color, purple! We both plan on making some type of big, wearable project for ourselves as a fun way to remember our trip. I’m thinking some type of wrap or shawl. I was also lucky enough to win a skein of Night Owl Fibers sock yarn! I can’t wait to see how the gorgeous yarn I picked stripes.
Hannah and I made it to the end of the expo and we couldn’t believe it was already almost 4:00pm! We knew this was going to be a big event, but I honestly had no idea that we would be there all day. It was fun to be around so many people who were also so passionate about yarn! We were so pooped that we decided to skip IKEA and only take a trip to The Container Store. After a quick trip, we grabbed some Starbucks for the road and were on our way home. We had a blast and are already planning on going back next year and adding a day on to our trip so we can take some more classes. Thank you Knitting Universe for such a great event so close to home!