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Welcome to Esther's Blog

The World According to Esther

Summer Adventure Part 2- Stitches Midwest and Twist Festival

The second part of the whirlwind summer adventure was spent in Chicago and then French Canada!  We played with yarn and fiber at Stitches Midwest, then played with more yarn and fiber at the Twist Fiber Festival- with more playing with yarn and fiber, and a few museums and shopping in between!

The photos really tell the story, but I’ll try to fill in the details of awesome. It’s hard to fit it all in!
We started at Stitches Midwest in Schaumburg!  I had a wonderful booth, that I filled with awesome handspun and batts!  I had worked really hard to spin and card and spin and card. Everything came together and looked amazing! _MG_2951 (Large)

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This year Vithard joined us in the booth with his samples and patterns!  It was great to have him knitting in the booth! He even shared his ideas for a future collection he’s working on with some of the friends who hung out for the weekend.
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We attended the fashion show with our friends from Interlacements Yarns and Friends and Fiberworks.
We made new friends with the folks at Skacel yarns (more on that later), and Cirilla Rose, Vithard and I proved we have the balls it takes to knit…
It was an incredibly sucessful weekend! I taught an amazing corespinning class! I sold lots of yarn! I got to hug old friends!!  All Awesome!  After Stitches Midwest we had some time to enjoy Chicago!  We were lucky enough to catch the Fashion in Impressionism exhibit at the Art Institute.  It was an amazing display of garments and the paintings they inspired.   Surprising.. we knit in the museum!
There was also an amazing case of fashion magazines from the 1800’s.  It was incredible to see how detailed the fashion drawings were.
And I never miss a chance to see the Chagal Windows. They are always a favorite stop when I visit the Art Institute.
We were also lucky that my family got everyone tickets to see The Book of Mormon. We used to go see musicals as a family when I was younger, and we would all go out together to the Italian Village for dinner before.  The Italian Village is one of the oldest Italian restaurants in Chicago and holds happy memories and has great food. It was such a great way to celebrate Bryan and my 5th wedding anniversary.  And  it’s not surprising.. that Vithard and I knit while we were waiting for dinner..  I was SO close to being done with my feather shawl!
Vithard gave a wonderful trunk show and lecture and taught a class at Windy Knitty in Andersonville at the end of the week.  We spent the rest of the time in Chicago eating great food and hanging out, knitting around my favorite places! We went shopping at my the best fabric and trim store, VOGUE Fabrics in Evanston.  We went shopping at my favorite boutiques and we got our hair cut downtown with my Mom’s awesome stylist.   And of course we knit!   I think my favorite was knitting in the garden at the Bahai’ temple
Vithard and I also had a photoshoot of a new pattern that he released today!  It is what he was knitting the entire first part of our adventure. It was fun to take photos of all the ways you can wear the Ponchawl, and I was thrilled to get to model it in my new outfit!
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After a packed week full of fun, we ended our Chicago stay with a blowout night of dancing in BoysTown until 3:30am and then jazz at the Green Mill until 4:30am!  We made it home as the birds began to chirp their morning songs. We had enough time to shower, get our things together and get to the airport for our flight to Montreal.  We were exhausted, but it was worth it for the SUPER fun!
We got to Montreal and spent the rest of day getting to know our neighborhood, the Mile End. We found a nice spot for lunch, which was also a great bar we ended many nights there with a drink.
We walked around the neighborhood and discovered we were surrounded by amazing thrift stores and boutiques, hip restaurants and bars and a general creative vibe.  We were ready to crash early, since we had danced the hours away the night  before, so we had mellow evening hanging on the porch with fresh guacamole, white wine and the September fashion magazines
Over the course of the next few days we shopped at those amazing boutiques and thrift stores! We went in every one (some more than once) and found treasures galore!   This one we saw and thought of our friend Lexi. We knew she would have been all over this one!
In one particular boutique, Poeme, not only did we both buy fantastic made in Quebec clothes (and jewelry) , but the shop had amazing crocheted jewelry and it’s own line of yarn!!
We ate at the amazing restaurants (Including some of the best sushi I have ever eaten) , enjoyed gelato from the neighborhood shop and enjoyed the bars in the evenings. And of course we knit..
We also spent a day walking around downtown Montreal.  We were lucky to catch the Chihuly exhibit at the fine arts museum. I never miss a chance to see a Chihuly exhibit. The museum housed a small but nice collection of works including a few Monets, a couple Rembrant and PIcasso etchings and a large modern art gallery.
We walked around Notre Dam.
We watched the sunset as we ate french onion soup at a yummy bistro in the Olde City.
Montreal is full of color and texture inspiration! Everything from sweater stick horses, subway tilework, tomato can planters,  duct tape art in the storefronts and colorgasam explosions in the Jean Talon market
Before we knew it, our time in Montreal was over and it was time to head up to St. Andre Avellin for the Twist Festival.   We drove about an hour and a half up into the mountains. It was a beautiful drive. We stopped at an amazing cheese shop with fresh local cheese.
We arrived at the Twist Fest and was shown around by our wonderful hostess Amelie Blanchard.
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We set up our classrooms and hung our artwork in the gallery display. In the exhibit was my Mennorode shawl, that I wove with my handspun yarn on my Majacraft Dynamic Heddle Loom. DSC01002 (Large)

We enjoyed a fun evening with new friends, at a yummy bistro in town. We laughed and drank and big surprise.. we KNIT!
The rest of the weekend was full of fiber fun! I taught 3 days of classes! Fiber prep, corespinning, concept spinning..  there was color and sparkle and fiber galore!
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The festival was fantastic! There was an arenafull of vendors! 80 I was told were there! There was hand dyed yarns, amazing wearables- more wearables and finished products than I have seen before in a market and it was just beautiful! There was fiber and more fiber! It was just wonderful! There was also a beginners ‘learn to knit/crochet’ area, a kids area, and of course all the awesome classes! It is definitly a festival not to be missed! Sadly the weekend came to an end in a blink!
We spent as much time as we could with Amelie on her farm.  Her goats are happy and have the most incredible personalities. The cashmere they produce is some of the finest I have ever felt. They are so cute and love attention!! They yell for their breakfast and even give kisses.
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She has a TO DIE FOR studio with a totally droolable wall of cone yarns!   We spent some time there before we left and Vithard had his first spindle lesson!
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Before we wanted, the time came for us to head back to the Montreal airport for our flights back home.   It had been such an adventure. we were excited to each be heading home, but we were sad that the fun had come to an end.  After we figured out how we were going to fit all of our new stuff into our luggage, we gave  big hugs to our new friend Amelie we headed back with promises of returning soon.
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So now I’m home. SAFF prep is now in full swing. Fleeces are being washed and dyed. Colorways are being prepped, yarns are being planned and my spinning wheel is purring.  There’s LOTS of things going on with workshops being booked and articles being written..  I’ll write more about that later this week.  Until then, there are more photos of the Twist fest here.  Thanks to them for letting me use their photos of my workshops for this blogpost,.  Also, many thanks to Vithard for being such a good travel partner!  Couldn’t have done it as well as I did without a partner in crime!
_MG_9760 [etsy]The shop has been updated with the inventory that came home from Stitches Midwest! Watch the blog this week and next, there will be updates, workshop announcements and exciting news!!

_MG_3448 [etsy]My scores from Twist-  from Amelie, the MOST  amazing cashmere pelt from “Curly” and 5oz of fiber from “Poodle”, and the yarns I spun during the weekend in a Twist yarn bowl thrown by our new friend Johanie Bernard.