Stitches Midwest: First Impressions + Marketplace

Plane bound for Stitches MidwestThe Trip

I left for Stitches Midwest on Friday August 8th on an early flight to Chicago. It was a beautiful, sunny morning in the Northeast, but I was a bit delayed due to a broken wheel on the plane. After that 30 minute delay I was on my way! I knit in the airport while listening to podcasts and then used the nearly 3 hour flight to catch up on some sleep.

Remember that tip of being well rested before you jump into the stimulation overload that is a knitting convention? Yeah, I neglected to follow that good advice. Dan and I spent Thursday night watching Season 3 of the Killing and got fully absorbed! Oops. That’s where napping comes into play.  I felt like myself again when I landed in Chicago.

Jen & Michele

 

A very kind listener and new friend, Michele, picked me up at O’Hare and we enjoyed the drive to Schaumburg. We had such a lovely chat the whole way there (and then some)… between some GPS issues, my inability to troubleshoot a Droid navigation system and getting lost in conversation, we overshot the convention center by about 20 minutes and had to backtrack! Ooops. At least we were enjoying each other’s company! Thank you again Michele! I really appreciate it!

The Arrival

Stitches This Way!I purchased my ticket for the Market upon arriving.

Tip: I got a coupon from Webs which saved me a good bit of money. I think they do this for each Stitches Event so check their website if you’re planning to attend. I pulled this up on my phone and showed it to them. No printing necessary.

 

Welcome to StitchesWhile the allure of the Market was strong, it was nearly noon when I arrived, bags still in hand, so I headed through the convention center up to the second floor for the podcaster meet up.

RenaissanceThe Renaissance hotel and convention center is beautiful, isn’t it? I’m not sure when it was built but everything felt so fresh and clean as if it was just built for this event. And they had some fun touches to welcome all the crazy knitters.

Yarn at the Hotel
Fireplace AreaThe podcaster meet up (both Friday & Saturday) was held here, on the second floor of the lobby near that really cool fire pit. Friday’s meet up was a bit quieter than Saturday’s but both were so much fun and a great opportunity to meet new people! I had a blast and it was a great way to ease into the event on Friday. {More on all of the great people I met later this week}

The Market

From there I headed down into the Market. The showroom floor is huge, which makes it really hard to capture on camera. This is a view from the back, right corner of the space (where the concession stand is– I had to grab a snack to act as lunch on Friday so I’d have enough energy for all the shopping).

Stitches Midwest Market FloorI was thoroughly impressed with the quality and variety of the vendors at Stitches Midwest!

I have been to NY Sheep & Wool (Rhinebeck), NH Sheep & Wool and Fiber Revival in MA which are all wonderful events that I would recommend to any of you, and while I enjoyed shopping at those markets, they pale in comparison to the selection at Stitches Midwest.

Kismet Fiber Works[Kismet Fiber Works Booth: Stephanie & Angie]

I’ll tell you more about my purchases and some other fun antics from the event in upcoming posts, but in the meantime I wanted to share some sights from the Market itself. I’m always fascinated to hear about events others have been to, even if realistically I’ve never get to them myself, but then I’m usually left wondering what it looks and feels like there so I hope you enjoy this little virtual tour of the Market.

Gnome Acres[Molly, Susie & Danie shopping in the GnomeAcres Booth]

Lost City Knits[Lost City Knits]

IMG_3228[ Sara demonstrating her Sirka Counter in the Grellow Gray Booth]

IMG_3311[Cary of Jelby, Becca and Sarah from Another Crafty Girl in their shared booth]

Market Tips

  • If possible, allow plenty of time to look around. There is a lot to see and its really easy to be overwhelmed by all of the sights, sounds and temptations. If you’re anything like me, you’ll need a break. It was great to go sit and enjoy lunch or just relax and knit in one of the sitting areas and enjoy some down time.
  • Wear comfortable shoes. I know, I’m a broken record, but this concrete floor is completely unforgiving.
  • Bring a water bottle with you. You can purchase water but the lines are often long and the cost is high. If you bring your own you can refill periodically (there are water fountains, or as we call them, bubblers, at the end of every couple aisles) so you don’t have to carry around a full, heavy bottle all day.
  • Shop with friends! Why, you may ask?
    • You may be drawn to a particular color only to get it home and look in a mirror to realize its a terrible color for your skin tone. Shopping with a friend can help you avoid this costly mistake.
    • Even if you don’t specifically ask them to, your friends will likely keep an eye out for things they know you’re looking for. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of beautiful yarn + fiber that you may miss something (gasp!).
    • You’ll have more eyes on the crowd! Looking to spot Franklin Habit, Stephen West, Amy Herzog? Four eyes are better than two. Six or eight are even better than that!
    • It’s just MORE fun to shop with friends… to have someone to show your best finds to! Someone to laugh at how ridiculously excited you are! Someone to tell you you’re getting cranky and need to go get some food. Someone to knit with when you need a break.

I stayed with 7 great girls and met so many more! More tales about that in upcoming posts, but here’s a sneak peek at the damage 8 girls can do in 2 days at Stitches Midwest!

The haul!until next time…

One thought on “Stitches Midwest: First Impressions + Marketplace

  1. Emily Straw

    It really was amazing how many vendors were there! There were several I would have liked to purchase from but there just want enough in the budget. I’m so glad I went with friends like you, you were great at spotting people for me and it was SO MUCH FUN to get to know you! Muah!

    Reply

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