Top Ten Reasons you should go to the Knit & Crochet Show

I see a lot of questions and conversations about whether or not a person should try to go to these shows. Yes, they’re a bit pricey. However, my first one I went to I paid for by saving spare change (I paid for classes by picking up a design job a few months prior, but to at least get there I paid for it with change). So, here’s all my reasons for why you, a crocheter, should really try to go (I’m assuming you’re a crocheter if you’re reading this…if not you’re family and y’all can either read ’cause you love me or skip on by this one…lol).

#1: It really is a balanced show. Many many shows that say they cater to crocheters, actually put us as second billing. Granted, Offinger needs to remember how the alphabet goes and put the words in the correct order, but this show is really great for crocheters. It’s the National Conference for the Crochet Guild of America (and the Knitting Guild Association, so it’s nicely equaled out). There is so much for crocheters to do! Classes, events, and even just hanging out with other crocheters.

#2: It’s a whole bunch of “our people” together. That sounds weird, I know. But unless you’re in an area where there is a huge crochet chapter, you have never seen this kind of presence. People wearing crochet everywhere! People crocheting everywhere! People knowing that what you’re wearing is crochet! It’s inspiring and dizzying and thrilling all at once. Want to swatch with that new yarn you just got but don’t have a hook? You can ask the group of people at the table next to you, chances are good someone has the right sized hook and will gladly let you borrow it for a bit.

#3: The market! Okay, before going to my first conference, I’d only been to a couple of small yarn shops. And most of them weren’t really crochet friendly. So while there was a lot of yarn, there wasn’t a lot of tools that I could use. Not so in the market at conference. Now, granted, there still is a large percentage of knitting focused tools, but I’ve watched that get better over the past two years. And it’s still better than most of the other general yarn related events (I’m looking at you, Stitches). There is yarn EVERYWHERE! There are tools and hooks and bags and shirts and so much stuff you just won’t believe. Some vendors are learning that many of us like sparklies, too, and there are beads and buttons and other shiny things.

#4: Classes. Oh, the classes you can take. Now, I’ll throw in that I’m teaching four classes at the Summer show in Minneapolis. You know, if you wanted to come and learn some stuff from me. More on that when the full class list goes live (but you can see my descriptions in a previous post). I learned so much in the classes I took my first year. Yes, they seem a bit pricey, but honestly? $70 for three hours is awesome. Especially considering the amount of information that the teachers put into the classes. And you get to meet really cool people while you’re sitting in class.

#5: Events. Last year there was a dance party sponsored by Caron yarns. I really hope they do this again as it was so much fun to hang out, chat, and party with fellow crocheters. There’s also the fashion show and dinner which is great fun. There’s the wall of Design Competition entrants (I think this year it’ll be at the North Carolina show) which is inspiring and awesome to see.

#6: Networking. If you’re a professional or an aspiring professional, then you want to be there on Wednesday. That’s Professional Development Day and I always leave it inspired and with lots of great information to help my business. Sitting and chatting with other professionals at the presentation, lunch and then the breakout sessions is fabulous. There’s also the Designer Meet and Greet which is great if you’re wanting to meet with publishers and editors. It’s the main reason I’m going to try to go to both conferences (I’m scheduled to teach all day Saturday in MN, so I won’t be able to make the meet and greet and eat lunch. I’m going to hit the meet and greet in NC).

#7: The fun! Most of my best memories from the show are not in the classes or events. It’s sitting around with my new friends and laughing and talking. It’s the jokes that carry on past the event (if you follow me and other designers on Twitter, you’ll see these pop up from time to time).

#8: Meeting designers! I had a moment of total fan girl my first year at conference. I was standing there with Doris Chan and Drew Emborsky and could barely talk. Now, of course, I can do it without freaking out (too much). 🙂 But the thing I loved about conference was just how accessible the big name designers were. We don’t have a super secret room where we hang out. We’re right there on the floor with everyone else, chatting in the coffee line (which really, that’s where you can find most of us), sitting in the lounge crocheting or chatting, hanging out in the hallways. I have yet to see a designer at conference that isn’t happily chatting with anyone who comes up to them.

#9: Fellowship. Last year when I went to conference I was close to quitting. I was tired, I was overworked, and I wasn’t sure this is what I wanted to do anymore. Let’s be honest, being a designer is sometimes very lonely work. But getting to hang out with my fellow crocheters gave me that boost I needed. It gave me inspiration and confidence and support. Which is why I think it’s great for everyone, not just designers.

#10: Support the shows! This is something I strongly believe in. If you want crochet magazines to stay in publication, support them. If you want crochet shows to stay, support them. The more we show our presence, the more we show what we want, the more shows will accept and support crochet (still looking at you, Stitches). The overall numbers support us, but sometimes there needs to be action behind the numbers.

I do hope you’ll try to make a Knit and Crochet Show. At least once. I honestly believe it’s an experience every crocheter should have. This year there will be two. The summer show is July 28-30 in Minneapolis, MN. The fall show is September 23-25 in Greensboro, NC. You can find more information about the shows here at their website.