Though we were SO stoked to have Kelley Deal join us and SO bummed when The Breeders’ tour took her away from us, we have found a fantastic replacement for her as our third keynote speaker: the one and only Vickie Howell. You probably know Vickie from TV shows such as DIY Network’s Knitty Gritty and Stylelicious, her best selling knitting, crochet and craft books. Or perhaps from her Facebook Live series, Ask Me Monday, her online courses for CreativeLive and Brit+Co., her podcast, Craft*ish, and her latest project, the first studio-quality, community funded, internationally accessible knitting and crochet series: The Knit Show with Vickie Howell. You’ll see her keynote talk Friday evening at the Con, and she’ll be speaking about running a successful Kickstarter campaign on Saturday. We are thrilled that Vickie will be joining us in Columbus, Ohio, for Midwest Craft Con 2018!
How would you describe your career to someone who isn’t familiar with it?
Oh man, the struggle is real with this one! I dread filling out the “profession” question on medical forms, because I’m sort of a Jill of all trades. The easiest way to explain the core of what I do is: I’m a broadcast personality, content producer, author, designer and community builder in the DIY space. My passion is to empower people to to fit creativity into their lives — usually using yarn as the conduit — via various forms of communication. In short, I’m a maker, talker and doer!
You were one of the first modern or indie crafters to make it big — how have your goals changed since you got started?
I think at its heart my goal is the same — to thrive professionally doing what I love. On a more esoteric level, I think that as my career has matured I’ve become less focused on dominating the DIY world and more interested in nurturing an ever-evolving path towards a sustainable and profitable business. In turn, I strive to take the lessons I learn along the way and share them with other creative entrepreneurs in effort to help them rise along with me.
How was it bringing The Knit Show to life?
Thrilling, challenging, exhausting and gratifying! I think I went through the full spectrum of emotions during the process of conception, fundraising, execution and promotion of The Knit Show. I’m really proud of the result, though, and I’m excited about the prospect of making more seasons!
What will you talk about in your keynote?
I’ll share a few of the crazy, random, wonderful things that have happened to me — all in the name of knitting — and talk about how we as creative types are in the highly unique situation of being able to literally DIY our dreams!
What three things do you recommend to makers?
- Playlists: Compilations of music you can count on to get you into a zone for writing or otherwise creating.
- Mind & body time: Keep a yoga mat in your workspace so you can grab some stretching, strengthening and mindfulness time throughout your day. You can’t have a long career if your mind and body aren’t taken care of!
- Boundaries: Creative types are so often asked to work for free or “exposure.” Sometimes it’s worth it; sometimes it’s not. Setting your own boundaries to keep both your integrity and sanity, are key to the longevity of your business.
How do you feel about the Midwest?
It’s both the middiest and the westiest area of our great nation!
What are your pro tips for crafters going to a conference for the first time?
It’s really important to be present at these conferences. It’s so easy in this day and age to spend all of our time at events documenting them instead of actually absorbing them. Be sure to interact with fellow attendees and speakers. Trade cards whenever you get a chance. Make connections. Networking is the single most important step in broadening the scope of possibilities of your career trajectory!
What are you looking forward to most about Midwest Craft Con?
Encouraging and absorbing all of the creative energy and enthusiasm of fellow attendees. There’s nothing more professionally revitalizing than to be surrounded by others who share the passion and drive to pursue their respective dreams!
What are you going to say to Kelley Deal next time you see her?
Nothing. I’m just going to give her the side eye. Just kidding. I fully respect the hustle, and I can’t imagine what the added aspect of having to be at the whim of a machine like a successful band would be like!
The last day to buy tickets online for Midwest Craft Con 2018 is Feb. 14! Day and weekend passes will be available at the conference after that.