Tag Archives: cgoa

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: How to make the most out of your first (or next) yarn show or fiber festival

#HowTo make the most out of your first (or next) #yarn show or fiber festival | #Crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground CrafterYarn shows, also called fiber festivals, are wonderful social events that span the course of a day or even a weekend. At a yarn show, you can visit the booths of many yarn companies and shops, see firsthand and purchase different types of yarn, take classes at a variety of skill levels to improve your crochet/knitting/yarn spinning/yarn dyeing knowledge, and interact with other likeminded attendees.

Whether you know many other crocheters (or knitters), or you feel like the only one in your community, attending a fiber festival can be a wonderful experience.

At the same time, going to a yarn show or fiber festival for the first time can be overwhelming. Here are four tips for planning your first trip (or your next trip) to a yarn show or fiber festival so that you have a great time.

This post contains affiliate links.

Find the Right Event for You

Many crocheters and knitters prefer to have their first festival experience close to home, while others want to combine travel with their love of yarn. The Knitter’s Review maintains one of the most comprehensive lists of fiber events throughout the world, organized by date. Although some of these events are knitting focused, more and more cater to crocheters, others are all about spinning, and some welcome a variety of yarn crafts.

Full Moon Farm booth at Vogue Knitting Live (New York) 2014.

Full Moon Farm booth at Vogue Knitting Live (New York) 2014.

Your local chapter of the Crochet Guild of America (or your local guild of The Knitting Guild Association) is another great source of information. Many chapters/guilds organize trips to local or regional festivals. If you want to spend several days away from home and meet enthusiastic crocheters from around the world, consider traveling to the annual Knit and Crochet Show, co-sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America and The Knitting Guild Association.

Plan Your Schedule

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed once you get on site, particularly at a large fiber festival. It helps to look through the agenda in advance and set up a tentative schedule.

Meeting the animals at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival is always fun.

Meeting the animals at the Finger Lakes Fiber Arts Festival is always fun.

If you’re on a budget, look for free events such as fashion shows, lectures, or book signings. You may want to ask local chapter or guild members, or friends from online forums like Crochetville or Ravelry, for suggestions about favorite activities. (If you are traveling for to an unfamiliar venue, don’t forget to ask about great food near the festival, too!)

Keep in mind that at events that are primarily knitting focused, crochet classes may be cancelled if enrollment minimums aren’t met, so registering early is important.

Although you may have planned out your schedule in advance, remember that flexibility is key. Your favorite speaker may be sick on the day of the event, or you may find that you would rather go to lunch with some new friends than shop.

CraftsyDress (and Pack) for the Festival

Your wardrobe and packing list should be customized for the festival you choose. Many attendees will showcase a special project by wearing it. Some crocheters or knitters spend the months before a large event working on show-stopping garments. A shawlette in a pretty yarn, crochet or knitted jewelry, or a fun hat are great last minute projects to wear.

Comfort is also important as fiber events typically involve a combination of walking, sitting for long periods, and carrying bags of yarn. For a large festival, comfortable footwear is critical. Dressing in layers can help at both indoor and outdoor festivals as temperatures may fluctuate.

Here's a quick project I made to wear to Vogue Knitting Live (New York) in 2013.

Here’s a quick project I made to wear to Vogue Knitting Live (New York) in 2013.

Bring a small day bag or purse rather than a large bag or backpack as you may find the marketplace crowded with limited aisle space. Don’t forget to charge your camera or phone so you can take pictures. If you are attending classes, bring the required supplies and any homework listed on the registration form.

Expand Your Knitting SkillsBudget for the Marketplace

It can be easy to go overboard on your first trip to a fiber festival, especially since most vendors now accept credit cards. You will be exposed to new yarn lines, fibers, brands, and colors that aren’t usually available in your local area, as well as delightful tools and accessories.

Before going to the festival, consider setting a budget. You can set your budget as a dollar amount, or as a limit to the number of yarn skeins or books you will buy. If your budget is strict, keep your charge cards at home (or in your hotel room) and bring only cash with you.

My yarn and roving haul from the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in 2012.

My yarn and roving haul from the North Jersey Fiber Arts Festival in 2012.

At a smaller festival, you may be able to walk through the marketplace once before purchasing anything. At a larger festival, that will be infeasible. If keeping to a budget is important, bring along a wish list so you can separate an impulse buy from a purchase you’ll feel good about later.

With a little planning, you can have a wonderful time at your first fiber festival. You may even find yourself hooked!

What tips do you have for yarn show/fiber festival newbies?

#FlashbackFriday Crochet Link Blast: Week 10: Baby Blankets & Layettes

#FlashbackFriday #crochet #linkblast - roundup of 15 free patterns for baby blankets & layettes on @ucrafter
On Fridays, I share a link blast on Twitter and Facebook to get you excited about crocheting all weekend! Keeping with the #FlashbackFriday meme, I’m sharing patterns were first released at least 12 months ago.

Today, I’m sharing a roundup of more than 15 free crochet patterns for baby blankets and other items for a layette set. Baby projects are small and easy to carry around when the weather gets warmer. All photos are used with permission and are copyright the respective designers. Unless otherwise noted, all patterns are free.

This post contains affiliate links.

Roundup of 15 free #crochet patterns for baby blankets & layettes on @ucrafter

Rectangular Sampler Baby Blanket (picture #6) by me!: This variation on the “granny square stitch” is easy to customize.

Rectangular Sampler Blanket, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

Rectangular Sampler Blanket, free crochet pattern by Marie Segares.

Celtic Weave Blanket (picture #4) by @PatternParadise: This delightful blanket includes a photo tutorial and a link to a video tutorial.

TCBB cover (Medium)

Tunisian Crochet Baby Blankets (for sale) by Sharon Silverman: Explore Tunisian crochet with through these 8 patterns. You can read Sharon’s guest post about the booklet here.

White Baby Bolero by Marumin Crochet: This adorable pattern is available in both Spanish and English. You can read my interview with Maru Minetto here.

Call the Midwife Inspired Baby Blanket (picture #5) by @LittleMCrochet: This baby blanket has a classic vintage look. You can read my interview with Rebecca Langford here.

Honey Sweet Baby Blanket (picture #10) by @CrochetKim: This striking cabled Tunisian crochet blanket pattern includes links to video tutorials for both right- and left-handed crocheters. (If you like Tunisian cables, read my review of Kim Guzman’s Tunisian Cables to Crochet on the CGOA blog here.)

Car Seat Blankets

Car Seat Blankets (for sale) by Becky Stevens: This booklet includes 8 car seat blankets. You can read my complete review on the Crochet Guild of America’s blog here.

Sugar Candy Stripes Newborn Dress (picture #12) by @erangi_udeshika: This pattern is part of a coordinated layette set including patterns for a hat, booties, and blanket.

Woven Rainbow Baby Blanket (picture #8) by @MazKwok: This vibrant basketweave blanket is also a great stash buster!


Crochet Daisy Afghan (picture #1) by @RepeatCrafterMe: The adorable daisy appliques add texture to this simple blanket.


A Year of Baby Afghans (for sale): This booklet includes 12 crochet patterns by various designers.

Calming Seas by @KatiesCrochet: This unisex striped blanket is a great beginner-friendly project.

Chevron Lace Romper (picture # 2) by @MelodysMakings: This downloadable tutorial pattern includes instructions for making this adorable romper in 5 sizes from newborn through 2 years old.

Joseph’s Puff Stitch Blanket (picture #3) by @Jessie_AtHome: This unisex textured blanket pattern includes both video and photo tutorials.

Baby Hats

Baby Hats (for sale) by Annastasia Cruz: This pattern booklet includes 10 crochet hats, each sized for 3, 6, and 12 months.

Shell Stitch Baby Blanket (picture #7) by @stitchin_mommy: This classic baby blanket style is updated with contemporary colors.


Summer Shells Dress (picture #11) by @BustingStitches: This adorable pattern is available in four sizes from 3 months through 18 months.

Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket (picture #9) by @mooglyblog: This colorful pattern includes a photo tutorial and links to a video tutorial. You can read my interview with Tamara Kelly here.

Sweet Potato Baby Sweater by Erica Jackofsky via @aboutdotcom: This cute unisex sweater is part of a layette set including patterns for a beanie, blanket, and slippers.

If you enjoyed this roundup, follow my Crochet and Knitting for Kids board on Pinterest!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Crochet and Knitting for Kids on Pinterest.

#Crochet #TipsTuesday: 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash… perhaps so you can get more!

5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash so you can get more on #crochet #TipsTuesday on Underground Crafter

As crocheters (and knitters), we’re always on the hunt for amazing yarns that inspire us. But let’s face it – most of us have far more yarn then we can actually use in our lifetime. You may have heard (or used) the acronym, SABLE (Stash Acquisition Beyond Life Expectancy) to describe this phenomenon.

As a New York City apartment dweller, I definitely have to prune out my stash periodically, or there’d be no room left for me, MC, and the cats.

Whether you’re reducing your stash as part of a move towards a minimalist lifestyle, to prepare for a move, or because you just want more space for the yarn you want to own RIGHT NOW, here are 5 easy ways to reduce your yarn stash.

This post contains affiliate links.

Share it with your local crochet or knitting guild chapter

Many local guilds offer yarn swaps and related activities. If you aren’t already a member, you can find a list of Crochet Guild of America local chapters here and The Knitting Guild Association affiliated guilds here.

Drop it off with an organization that crochets or knits for charity

Groups that crochet or knit for charity are often looking for yarn. These organizations may have specific requirements based on the type of charity projects they work on regularly. For example, some organizations that make children’s projects prohibit the use of black yarn and other organizations may have a ban on wools due to allergies.

You can find a searchable list of these organizations through Lion Brand’s Charity Connection. Always check with the contact person about updated requirements before dropping off or shipping yarn.

Bring it to a local school, hospital, or retirement community

Many local schools, hospitals, and retirement communities include yarn crafts in their recreational and educational activities.

  • If you don’t have a relationship with a local school, check out DonorsChoose.org. This search for the keyword “yarn” brings up some really interesting projects seeking yarn donations!
  • Contact your local hospital and ask to speak with the “Child Life Specialist,” a person who helps promote coping for hospitalized children through play and other activities.
  • Your local government may have a department of aging that can refer you to retirement communities, government centers, and non-profit organizations that provide recreational activities for retirees.

Always check with the local organization to see if there are any restrictions (for example, by fiber content) on the yarn you can donate.

Bring it to textile recycling or a local thrift shop

Another way to keep your yarn out of the landfill is to bring it to your local textile recycling drop off. In New York City, we are lucky enough to have several weekly options for textile recycling.

If your local area hasn’t yet instituted a textile recycling program, most local thrift shops (also known as secondhand stores, charity shops, or opportunity shops) will accept yarn donations.

Post a listing on your local Freecycle message board

Freecycle is “a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own” communities. Membership is free and most local groups have an online message board where you can post offers.

I have listed yarn on Freecycle many times and it is always claimed quickly. (In contrast, I’ve also listed brand new appliances, furniture, and other items that might take weeks to get picked up.) While sharing yarn on Freecycle allows you to meet some great crafters, for safety reasons you may not want to arrange to meet in your own home. I usually set up a meeting a few blocks from my apartment.

Creativity is Contagious - 1 month free

Enter Promo Code SUMMER2015 to redeem access to Creativebug PLUS a free class to keep forever. A free pass to Creativebug is a great way to kick off a creative summer!

But what about…?

You may have noticed that I haven’t listed any ways to sell yarn. In my opinion, that isn’t as easy as you would think. In fact, selling yarn is often very time consuming – especially if you are actually trying to recoup your initial purchase cost or something close to it – and, it can even be more costly (in terms of your time, sellers fees, and storage space) than donating or giving away yarn.

I also didn’t recommend tossing large amounts of yarn into the trash. It isn’t very environmentally friendly, and, in some local areas, it’s also illegal.

Here’s one more tip (a freebie)

Yarn makes great packing material! If you have something fragile to ship or are moving, consider using some of your unloved yarns as cushioning!

What are your favorite yarn de-stashing tips?

If you enjoyed these tips, follow my Yarn Tips and Tutorials Pinterest board!

Follow Underground Crafter’s board Yarn Tips and Tutorials on Pinterest.