East Side and Third Ward Today


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Stitches Midwest, Schaumburg, IL


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Stitches Midwest is a giant fiber conference where one can take classes and workshops on various fiber techniques. In the market area are lots of knitting and crocheting, spinning and weaving supplies and, of course, gobs of gorgeous yarn are for sale.

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These gorgeous babies were $80-something a skein. I took a photo instead of making a purchase.

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These braids are hand-dyed rovings, or unspun wool or other fiber, that can be spun alone or in conjunction with other fibers to make yarn, or used for needle felting projects. Crafty people will have other uses as well, but those are the most popular uses.

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You can see the beautiful drop spindles for hand-spinning on the table in the background. I want to try that some day in my spare time, if I ever find any . . .

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Many vendors displayed finished items featuring their yarns. Buy the yarn and get a free pattern! Bargain! The various patterns can require several skeins of yarn and can cost upwards of several hundred dollars, but you do get to make the garment yourself. Bonus! Did I mention the pattern is free when you purchase the yarn?

Individual patterns typically range about $3-$15 or you can go online to the best knitting website/community ever, Ravelry.com, where you can sign up for a free user account and choose from thousands of patterns, tips, and forums. You won’t (usually) find patterns that are for sale at the fiber show here, but there are so many to choose from that are free. You can pretty much find a pattern (or 100) for whatever your heart desires, and loads of things that you never imagined you or anyone would desire. Fido need new knitted pajamas?

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This vendor was demonstrating how to use a spinning wheel, and getting more product ready to sell at the same time.

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So many attendees were wearing their own lovely creations. Here you can see vendor samples on display and one lovely knitted cardigan sported by a shopper.

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Demonstrations going on daily! And here is a spotting of the rare male fiber artist. We know they’re out there, but they are no where as numerous as the ladies. I only saw a few men and can’t even say for certain if they were into fiber or into the ladies . . .

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Extreme Stash display in the lobby.

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Hand-dyed hanks of yarn, ready to be wound into balls for your next project.

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Knit artwork – 3-D! I think she fell asleep knitting in her underwear . . . haven’t we all?

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Lots of pattern and how-to books for sale. Among my favorites: Literary Knits. As a librarian, there are many similarities between library conferences and knitting conferences. One obvious one is BOOKS and a love for them.

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Specialty buttons – gorgeous.

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The color displays made me want to swoon at times . . .

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Many vendors were selling project bags for carrying around your stash and needles, etc. I didn’t take obvious photos of these because I didn’t want to make vendors feel uncomfortable or think I was trying to steal their ideas. Sort of makes me uncomfortable to take those photos too. I did find an abso-feck-a-lutely to die for gorgeous teal and purple handcrafted knitting bag that went for upwards of $400. Did I mention the patterns are free with the purchase of yarn? Unfortunately that didn’t apply to this bag or it would have been an absolute steal.

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I was hoping and praying there would not be any combinations of two of my favorite things, knitting and schnauzers, but of course there were these sock knitting blockers. You get your final project damp and then stretch it out to a proper finished size to let it dry. I love to knit socks. I love my two miniature schnauzers. I took a deep breath and kept walking after snapping this shot. I am so strong!

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These needles are a size 50. I tried them out knitting on this practice garment the woman in black was making after the seated lady had her turn. There are five strands of different yarns together on the needles. It felt different from my easy size 6 needles I used in the car on the ride down to the conference, but not too bad. The hardest part was getting all five yarns where they were supposed to go.

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Piles and piles and piles of gorgeous fiber. It was really a sensory overload of the most pleasant sort.

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Wool carder in the back right and a couple small looms for sale.

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Beads of all shapes and sizes for embellishment. Many people string them onto yarn and knit or crochet with them, periodically lifting a bead up and into the pattern, or spinning them along with fiber into yarn.

Local Traveling Billboard From Hell


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This guy drives around campus and through downtown Milwaukee in his old station wagon covered with religious propaganda. There are baby dolls on the roof that seem to tie in with his anti-abortion messages that can be found pasted on the vehicle and sometimes heard from his outside-mounted speaker system. He blares hate speech and assorted far right diatribes as he cruises slowly down the road. He was doing this 30 years ago when I first arrived at UWM as a freshman. Still going strong. I wonder if that’s the same station wagon?

Look Ma – No Hands!


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My daughter just decided, seemingly out of the blue, to do a front walkover on the sidewalk while she, her brother and I waited for a bus. I asked her to do it again and this was the moment I captured. She’s on her way to standing upright again, but where the camera froze her was so strange.

I told her I could do that too at her age. I’m not sure she believed me. 😉

Olympic Ice


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The Pettit National Ice Center is an Olympic speed skating training facility in West Allis, Wisconsin, a southwest suburb of Milwaukee. Inside the oval rink are two hockey rinks. Runners also use a track that runs around the outside of the oval, which is what I was doing on this frigid day.