We spent a few days last week in Chicago at the H+H Americas for Handmade Business show. Having never been to a fiber convention, we really didn't know what to expect, so we were happily surprised by everything we experienced and learned over the three days. We got to put the names with the faces of some of our favorite yarn makers and purveyors, including Kate and Courtney from Kelbourne Woolens, Meredith from Woolfolk, Amy from knitty.com, Marianne and Katy from Katrinkles, Michael from Blue Sky Fibers, Sandy from Shibui, and the whole ChiaoGoo team. Maybe the highlight on the yarn side of things was meeting Bea Bonnano from Wooldreamers. Her story (and her grandmother's!) is as amazing as her yarn, and we'll be bringing you more information (and yarn) in the coming months.
We were also fortunate to take part in some very thought-provoking information sessions. Cecilia Nelson-Hurt, whom many in the fiber community know as "Creative Ceci," and Jewell Washington, founder of the Northknits design label and co-founder of the Our Maker Life community, led a very open, sometimes uncomfortable, and thus productive conversation about diversity, equity, and inclusion in the fiber world. For more on their work, click the links above, and follow them on Instagram: @creativececi @northknits @ourmakerlife.
Austin Rivers and Marquez Linder from NYC shared news of Austin's organization, Knit the Rainbow, which works to educate people across the country about the housing crisis LGBTQ+ youth are facing. Knit the Rainbow serves these youth by coordinating volunteers to knit or crochet at home and donate the garments to KtR, to be distributed in New York City for now and eventually across the country. We're making plans for how the Spun community can be a part of this effort.
We also met Sara Trail, who founded the Social Justice Sewing Academy. She brought SJSA's Remembrance Project to the show and talked about the work her organization is doing to empower individuals to utilize textile art for personal transformation, community cohesion, and social change. We will have news soon about how we might support SJSA's mission. In the meantime, you can explore ways to get involved here.
Of course, we are happy to be back and very much looking forward to sharing more with you in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!