I am excited to share with you my experience at Interweave's first annual Yarn Fest in Loveland Colorado. It was the first yarn/fiber conference I have been able to attend and it was AMAZING!!!!
As most of you know, Interweave is one of the premier knit/crochet publishers today. They are located in Fort Collins, Colorado (my town!) and publish magazines, books, and videos about all kinds of different crafts. This year they brought together incredible vendors, designers and fiber lovers to one place and called it Yarn Fest. And what a Fest it was!
I took 3 classes: Charted Entrelac Knitting with Annie Modesitt, Crochet Finishing Master Class with Robyn Chachula and Fine Shaping in Crochet Stitch Patterning with Lily Chin. I also got a sweet goody bag for signing up for 3 classes that came with 3 magazines, fiber samples, patterns, 3 skeins of yarn and other samples and coupons for fiber washes, notions and other goodies. Not to mention a great project bag :)
Annie Modesitt's teaching technique is similar to mine. She presents each step a few different ways so each person can learn their own way. She shows how to do something and then walks around and connects with each student one on one. This is great to make sure that each student has a clear understanding of the material and no one is left behind. The downside to this is that you tend to run out of time and can not cover all of the material. This has happened before in some classes that I have taught and happened in this class as well. I was excited to learn how to Entrelac knit, but we didn't get even cast off our sample, let alone do anything with lace charts. On a positive note, we did get handouts with charts and written instructions to complete our samples at home. The best part was that I took the class with my yarn partner in crime :)
Next, I got to meet Robyn Chachula, the engineer turned crochet designer that wrote a series of books using charts as instructions called Blueprint Crochet. She shared with us how different fibers should be blocked and how they wear over time. She showed us different ways to join, seam and finish pieces. I was very appreciative to see some of her sample garments in person. The most exciting part was cutting stitches out to put button holes where there once was solid fabric. Her technique is similar to what I did in the Granny Square Repair. Although she was feeling under the weather, Robyn was a fun and informative teacher. She has a great sense of humor and makes you feel like you can accomplish beautiful garments, even if you make a bunch of mistakes along the way. On a personal note, Robyn is an inspiration to me as a designer. She was kind enough to give me some advise and guidance on how to submit a pattern proposal. I am very grateful I had the chance to meet her.
My last class was with World's Fastest Crocheter, Lily Chin. Lily is a powerhouse of crochet (and knit) fashion design experience and knowledge. Her personal story is incredible and after designing for many big names she is now her own boss. We had a bit of homework, which I appreciated because I knew it meant we were going to dive right in. Her technique of designing uses photocopies of stitching and large graph paper to make patterns. It is simply GENIUS. We learned how to create patterns to our specific measurements and how to modify complicated stitches to make the pattern pieces. I also got some great insight on how to write a garment pattern and how to give changes for sizes. It was a wonderful wealth of information that will really help me move forward with my designing career.
Between my classes, I spent my time at the Marketplace. It was a huge room with more yarn, fiber and accessory vendors than you can imagine. I had to discuss a budget with my husband before I went so I had a limit. Otherwise, it would have been a free for all! Some of the notable yarn vendors were: Greenwood Fiberworks, Spruce Dragon LLC, Skeindalous Yarn, UDesignit Yarns, just to name a few. It took me three days to finally make a purchase. I learned the true meaning of "you should have bought it when you saw it" and that budgets are for the faint of heart. It is such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by other fiber lovers that understand my obsessions. All in all, Yarn Fest was a huge success in my eyes. I already have my calendar marked for next year :)