Why not attend a knitting conference this year? These gatherings of like-minded knitters are great ways to connect with others passionate about the craft. Many kinds of get-togethers abound, from knitting cruises to large-scale gatherings. When considering the latter category, check out the conferences offered by the three main US knitting publishers. Each “brand” offers multi-day events, marketplaces, and knitting fun.
In general, conference providers organize their events using different formats. Conventions typically offer a pick-and-choose schedule of classes in three- or six-hour formats. Attendees can either attend single classes or purchase a bundled ticket that includes a set number of classes and admission to the marketplace. It’s also possible to simply buy a one-, two-, or three-day pass to the marketplace by itself. “Camp” events offer extended classes in specific topics, usually over a long weekend. The latter is an excellent way to work in-depth on a particular area and to really get to know the teacher. Conventions usually offer reduced hotel rates, whereas “camps” usually are all-inclusive bundles. At some conventions, it’s possible to volunteer for part of the event and then receive a discounted price for a class.
Of late, XRX and its primary magazine, Knitter’s, has taken a somewhat low profile, so attending an event is a great way to re-discover all that the publisher has to offer. Six large conferences are offered each year, spanning the breadth of the United States. Each event takes place over a weekend, offered in either a ‘convention’ or a ‘camp’ format. The conventions (Stitches West, Stitches United, Stitches Midwest, and Stitches Texas for 2017 and 2018) are multi-crafting events, with teachers covering topics in quilting, dyeing, embroidery, crochet, and weaving in addition to knitting. The camps (Camp Vermont and Camp Coeur d’Alene) offer the same range of crafts, but in a multi-day format.
At this time, Interweave has become a magazine publishing conglomerate, offering Interweave Knits, knit.wear, Love of Knitting, Knitting Traditions, Knitscene and Piecework, each with its own target audience, in addition to a plethora of magazines covering other crafting topics. With their attention focused on publishing, it’s not surprising that Interweave has pulled back on conferences, offering one convention and one “camp” opportunity for the coming year. Interweaves Escapes, located in 2017 at Lake Tahoe, bills itself as a “knitting getaway,” offering a trip to a yarn store, two three-hour workshops, and luxury accommodations in the company of other knitters. Interweave Yarnfest is similarly low-key, with three days of workshops and two days with an open marketplace.
Vogue Knitting magazine bills itself as ‘the premiere knitting magazine’, and its events are similarly high-profile. Conventions are held across the United States, with 2017 offering events in New York, Las Vegas, and Seattle. In addition, two “destination” vacation opportunities (for 2017, in Camden Harbor, Maine, and in Maupin, Oregon) offer participants the chance to work with a particular instructor or experience life on a sheep farm. As is true for the other “camp” opportunities, the latter getaways include lodging, transportation, and athletic activities in addition to the knitting.
Disclaimer: I am not associated with any of the above publishers. I have paid for my attendance at knitting conventions with my own funds.
Stitches Events http://www.knittinguniverse.com/STITCHES/
Interweave Yarn Fest http://interweaveyarnfest.com/index.php
Vogue Knitting Live! https://vogueknittinglive.com/portal