City Guides · craft shows · Resources

Spring and Summer 2020 Craft Shows of the Midwest

New year, new calendar of indie craft shows across the Midwest! We create this semiannual list of indie craft shows in the Midwest (and within driving distance of the Midwest) for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! We’ll post our list of fall and holiday craft shows in August. If we missed any craft shows, add them in the comments below!

Featuring Midwest Craft Con attendees JuNxtaposition, Lofty Lou Art, Paper Acorn, Sweet Stella Designs

Know any other indie craft shows from the Midwest that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!

keynotes · News

Twinkie Chan

You may know Twinkie Chan as a crochet designer, author, blogger, YouTuber, and Creativebug instructor known for her colorful, food-themed accessories like cupcake scarves, hamburger mitts, and slushee cup purses.

She also happens to be one of our 2020 keynote speakers joining us at the 4th installment of Midwest Craft Con! We found a minute to chat over the phone to discuss her unexpected start and her proudest moment in craft.

What was it like when you first launched Twinkie Chan? 

It all started kind of slowly and accidentally. I launched a website which had only 12 Paypal buttons on it. I’m not a web person so I didn’t know how to update it and Etsy wasn’t yet a thing that everybody was doing. A lot of DIY fashion people were using eBay which was really easy to set up and you could watch everyone bid on things. I was list something for $0.99 and for some reason a bidding frenzy would mean that somebody would buy a cupcake scarf for like $300! I never would have priced my work at that high of a price but it all created a word-of-mouth for my business. There was also a negative response from people, who would get upset, as if I was creating false accounts and raising the prices on my own but that’s not what I was doing.

eBay was really its own unique experience but then I started to sell on Etsy, and I liked the idea of more than one person being offered the chance to buy my items and giving customers more options. At first I had a woman in France who bought multiple items– She was buying everything!

Craft shows for me just didn’t work with crocheted products but it served as great marketing and I viewed the expense as advertising.

Most recently you’ve segmented your business into a download format where people can buy patterns from you. When did you identify that pattern design would be an additional revenue stream for you?

In the beginning I never thought I would share the patterns because I thought it was a secret, but in no way is that true. I thought that if I released the pattern that people would go to make that item and sell it in their own shop and I would be creating an army of competition against myself. 

I would release some patterns on Etsy, but I never really put a lot of time into it like I could’ve. I have a YouTube channel, classes at Creativebug, and advertising revenue from the blogging, but there wasn’t really a turning point for me sewing patterns when people started demanding it.


I initially launched Twinkie Chan it in the fall of 2005. I was doing it full time from 2009-2017, and now I work as a social media manager and digital marketing for a small clothing and gift company.

I’m an English major and worked in publishing as a literary agent for a while. I learned how to turn art into a commodity, which sounds sad, but we are here to make a living. Thinking of it from that mentality helped me with my Twinkie Chan brand. I picked up the skills as my own brand grew and while marketing is not a passion of mine— my love is designing— but when you’re promoting your own work you really need to learn how to market yourself. You really have to be a one women show.

Did the literary job help you in launching your books?

It definitely helped. With the whole process. You don’t just write a book and pitch it. You write a proposal, and pitch that before you start writing the actual book. So I was very familiar with what goes into a proposal and what makes it appealing. For my second book, I wrote my own pitch letter and had a friend who helped pitch the book. I created my own list of editors to seek out.

Then there’s the process for after you write the book. I think a lot of first time authors think the publisher is going to help handle a lot of it— but it’s really on you.

Publishers don’t have the money, the resources or the manpower to market the book, so you really have to find a way to self market after it’s been published yourself. 

My job was really just to help creatives make money through their art, but my book deal really didn’t come from any of those connections at all. My goal in the beginning for my crochet work was to mass-produce the finished designs and have a licensing agent for that. For various reasons it was difficult to break into licensing agreements for my scarves. My first licensing deal was for the books, which was organized by my licensing agent who handles it and not through any of my own contacts.

What is the one either product or experience that you’re the most proud of?

I promised with my first book that I would have my book signing at my local yarn shop, and I didn’t know that my parents were going to show up. It wasn’t as much as they were there, but it was kind of the first time that they understood that this is what I was doing and saw tangible representation of my work. It was actually a thing I was just super proud of! It makes you feel good when your parents understand what you’re about and I don’t think they understood until that point. 

What do you enjoy about conferences?

I’m a fairly introverted person, so any idea of attending or speaking is very intimidating, but I think it’s like summer camp: you’re really stressed out inside with anxiety, but once you start to meet the other people that are there and you all have a common love or common skill, you start to make really good friends. I never assume that it’s going to happen but it always does, especially if you keep in touch with social media. Meeting people that you’ve only really met on social media and making personal connections with people that love doing things that you love doing is so worth it.

What has your creative adventure been like?

Unexpected and unplanned, with an emphasis on creativity!

I never thought of myself as a business person. I started my crochet website and designed because I loved it. I had all these ideas and I wanted to share them. I ended up doing it full time for a small period and went through a licensing adventure in the apparel industry. I’ve published books and had a lot of things happen that I never could have imagined! It definitely wasn’t smooth or easy and there have been a lot of downs that have gone up with the up. You learn things and that it’s okay to fail.

Don’t forget to RSVP for Midwest Craft Con and get ready for grab your early bird ticket on September 1st!

craft shows · News · Resources

Craft Show Bingo!

Crafted by our Social Media Manager, Margot Madison.

Craft Fair season is an exciting and challenging time, isn’t it? You work late into the night, creating new products that blister your fingers and make your eyes go googly. You design and re-design your booth for optimum sales appeal and portability, then pray it will fit into the trunk of your car. If you’re really on the ball, you actually remember to print business cards and takeaways brochures. Ha!

Once you get to the event venue, a new set of challenges arise. Where is the designated vendor parking? How far will you have to carry your boxes of product and your booth display? Did you actually remember to bring your card reader AND your power cord for your smartphone? Will you even have electrical power? Did you remember to bring enough cash to break a $100 that some clueless person brought to purchase your $4 item?

Did you prepare for the weather? Is it going to be torrential rains today? A freak hailstorm, perhaps? Or maybe just 99 degrees and sunny so that you can bake in your crafty little tent oven.

Then, fellow crafting queen, you must be ready for… The Comments. The endless, thoughtless, careless, clueless comments from casual craft show attendees. They mean well, bless them, but it can bring even the most optimistic crafty businesswoman to her knees.

You’re not alone, Craft Warriors. To help you find some modicum of enjoyment from these careless commenters and weather disasters, we created a Craft Show Bingo card (thank you for your inspiration Carey Gustafson!) to help maintain your sanity. Feel free to download and print. Better yet, share a few with your crafting brethren. 

We wish top sales and temperate weather weekends for you to find joy and success in your crafting hobby-turned-business this season.

Download this template for your enjoyment at your next fair!

When you REALLY need a break…The 2020 Midwest Craft Con is happening February 28-March 1. Join us for workshops on marketing, business tips and also for relaxing crafty fun. Bring a friend and enjoy a well deserved weekend of happiness. Click for more information on tickets.


Spring and Summer 2019 Craft Shows of the Midwest

Midwest art by Marcy Davy, All Things Grow

New year, new calendar of indie craft shows across the Midwest! We create this semiannual list of indie craft shows in the Midwest (and within driving distance of the Midwest) for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! We’ll post our list of fall and holiday craft shows in August. If we missed any craft shows, add them in the comments below!

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are open now or soon: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!

Know any other indie craft shows from the Midwest that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!


2018 Fall + Holiday Craft Shows Around the Midwest

Midwest Craft Con was founded by three craft show organizers with the mission to help people grow their handmade businesses. While we are still recovering from our conference — sign up for our emails to get details on the next con in 2020 — we are deep in the DIY craft show scene all year round. This list of craft shows and fairs around the Midwest and adjacent states for the rest of 2018 is our gift to makers who want to branch out to new markets. But it’s also for handmade fans who feel like taking a craft show road trip!

strung by shawna, string art, usa map
Art by Midwest Craft Con alumna Strung by Shawna

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!


Spring + Summer 2018 Midwest Craft Shows

type shy handmade
Paper art by Type Shy

We started Midwest Craft Con after being a part of the DIY craft show scene for many years. As part of our outreach for crafters, we create this semiannual list of indie craft shows in the Midwest and within driving distance of the Midwest! This list is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! Our list of fall and holiday craft shows will go up in August. If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are now open: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!

Know any other indie craft shows that should be on our list? Add them in the comments!

City Guides

The Crafty Guide to Pittsburgh

It’s hard to find a city much craftier than Pittsburgh: It boasts one of the longest-running indie craft shows in the Midwest and is home to a wonderful ecosystem of shows, shops and artisans. We asked the illustrious Al Hoff — the founder of Googly Eye University and the recipient of the 2017 Midwest Craft Con Memorial Fun Run Craft for the Cure Lifetime Achievement Award — to write her definitive guide to crafty stuff in the Steel City, and this is it.

Who will be awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2018? You’ll have to be at Midwest Craft Con to find out! 


4209 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201
It’s a craft fair in a store! This charming shop has everything you need in greeting cards, paper supplies, jewelry, books, artwork, doodads, T-shirts and more. Special emphasis on Pittsburgh-area crafters.

The Artsmiths of Pittsburgh
1635 McFarland Road, Mount Lebanon, PA 15216
You can’t this big barn-shaped store just outside Pittsburgh, which provides a marketplace for local crafters and artists, selling everything from jewelry to housewares. The big space also serves as an arts and cultural center with a gallery, classrooms and a cafe.

Society for Contemporary Craft
2100 Smallman St., Pittsburgh, PA 15222
The decades-old space present contemporary art in craft media. Offers exhibitions of national and international artists in its gallery space, as well as classes, hands-on activities and a retail store. Located in the Strip District, which offers dozens of specialty food stores, everything from local sausage to fresh tortillas.

Commonwealth Press
691 Washington Road, Mount Lebanon, PA 15228
The go-top spot when locals need a snarky T-shirt — to buy, or have made. Pittsburgh-proud rules here, with fun sports tees for the black-and-gold teams, but also shirts that celebrate neighborhoods, bridges and Pittsburgh’s infamous parking chair.


Tech Shop
5423 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
Need to use a laser cutter or a 3-D printer. Gotta do some milling, welding, soldering or CAD? Need to learn how? Tech Shop is an open-access workshop which offers both classes and worker space, because making stuff isn’t all pink yarn and greeting cards.

460 Melwood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213
The newly opened female-run feminist makerspace provides ground-level entry for folks looking to get creative, or learn how to be. Classes and open studio time available. Crazy cheap memberships, and open to all.

Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse
214 N. Lexington Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208
It’s the bargain bin of your dreams — a huge store filled with well-organized donated craft and assorted materials just waiting to be transformed into something else. Paper, fabric, plastic widgets, bits of wood, tiny toys, broken trophies and so on.

Artists Image Resource
518 Foreland St., Pittsburgh, PA 15212
The place for DIY screen-printing, lithograph and letterpress. Stop by on Tuesday and Thursday nights and learn how to do it. Then come back and make posters, greetings cards, T-shirts or whatever you want. AIR supplies the equipment and mentoring, you bring the ink.


Handmade Arcade
Pittsburgh’s first and largest indie craft fair. Started in 2004 with less than 50 vendors, Handmade Arcade’s annual show now features more than 150 vendors and a Hands-On Handmade area for interactive crafting and demos. The next show is Dec. 2, 2017!

I Made It! Market
This long-running indie craft fair is nomadic, popping up in unused spaces several times a year. IMI offers shows tied to events as well as holidays, including Valentine’s Day and the winter shopping season.

Three Rivers Arts Festival
Held in downtown Pittsburgh in early June, TRAF features not only an arts-and-crafts marketplace, but also ancillary gallery shows, family activities, outdoor art (often eco-conscious) and a variety of nationally known musical acts.

A Fair in the Park
An outdoor family-friendly arts-and-craft fair held every September, in lovely Mellon Park (formerly the huge front lawn of a Pittsburgh industrialist) adjacent to the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. A great way to meet arts and artisans while enjoying the (hopefully) sunny weather.


Jerry’s Records
2136 Murray Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Deejays and musicians come from around the world to shop at this massive vinyl emporium with the budget prices. It’s a Pittsburgh institution, and well located in the Squirrel Hill shopping district where you can supplement 12-inch purchases with baked goods, books and cheap Asian food.

Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer
This bi-annual vintage fair is a don’t-miss affair, featuring local vendors setting up drool-worthy displays of clothing, knick-knacks, vinyl, housewares, books and more. Often paired with a preview cocktail night, this is a be-fabulous and be-social shopping event.

Hey Betty / Eons Fashion Antique
5890 and 5850 Ellsworth Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15232
These two long-running shops, located a couple of blocks apart in Shadyside, offer an amazing selection of vintage clothing. Everything you need from vintage evening wear and kicky 1960s beach togs, to jewelry and assorted accessories.

Who New Retro Mod Decor
5156 Butler St., Pittsburgh, PA 15201
A well-curated collection of vintage furniture, housewares, art and knick-knacks. The stock leans toward mid-century, but you’ll never know what you’ll find.


East End Brewing
147 Julius St., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
A friendly brew pub where one can quaff on its signature Big Hop pale ale, plus seasonal beers. It’s a popular place for events such as Crafts and Drafts, which pairs a mini-marketplace with fresh pours.

Biddle’s Escape
401 Biddle Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15221
In a sea of bland chain coffee shops, local joints like this are to be treasured. Funky decor, friendly service, hot and cold drinks, plus pastries and panini. Basically, all you need.

Kelly’s Bar and Lounge
6012 Centre Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15206
This well-preserved neighborhood bar has everything you want in an old-school tavern: neon sign, glass-block windows, cozy booths and a wooden bar. Cocktails are cheap, the mac-and-cheese is a must, and in warmer weather, take the fun times to the backyard patio.

4606 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224
Vegan restaurants don’t need to be bland salads and blocks of tofu. Apteka transforms traditional Eastern European comfort food, like pierogies, into unique and tasty vegan fare. Add in an inventive cocktail program with housemade shrubs and syrups, and it’s a great evening out.

Need to take a road trip to check out Pittsburgh for yourself? Time your trip to a local indie craft show and make a whole weekend of it! 

News · Resources

2017 Fall + Holiday Craft Shows around the Midwest

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene all year round. This list of 2017 Midwest craft shows and fairs is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

And don’t forget to save the date for Midwest Craft Con, returning Feb. 16-18, 2018, featuring Kathy Cano Murillo, Gemma Correll and Kelley Deal! Tickets are on sale now!

us midwest, vintage map, craft shows

News · Resources

Spring + Summer 2017 Midwest Craft Shows

Midwest Craft Con comes just once a year, but we are deeply rooted in the DIY craft show scene. This list of Midwest craft shows (and shows within driving distance) is for makers who want to branch out to new markets, but also for shoppers who are up for a road trip! We’ll also put together a list of fall and holiday craft shows in August. If we missed any events, add them in the comments section.

Vendor applications for our three affiliated craft shows are now open: Craftin’ Outlaws, Crafty Mart and Crafty Supermarket!

City Guides

The Crafty Guide to Indianapolis

Amanda Mauer Taflinger is a pillar of the indie craft scene in Indiana: Not only did she start the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange in 2007, she also runs Homespun: Modern Handmade, a bricks-and-mortar store established in 2010! So when we wanted a tour of the Hoosier capital, we knew who to call. This is her crafty guide to Indianapolis!

There’s still time to get your ticket to Midwest Craft Con, a creative business conference in Columbus, Ohio, happening Feb. 10-12, 2017! Day passes are now available!

I grew up in this city and had to leave to appreciate it. I came back in 2007 after 10 years away and noticed a huge difference. I have seen amazing growth and development in the city since then, particularly in the arts community. It’s a small city, but it’s easy to make your mark here and to gather support if you have a great idea! — Amanda Mauer Taflinger & Amanda Dowdal


Homespun: Modern Handmade
869 Massachusetts Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46204
A boutique, classroom and gallery space all in one, and all focused on contemporary handmade goods and modern design. Named by Indianapolis Monthly magazine as “the best place for cheap (i.e. inexpensive) art” in and “the best selection of same-sex greeting cards.”

Crimson Tate: Modern Quilter
845 Massachusetts Ave., Suite A, Indianapolis, IN 46204
Offering quality fabrics, notions, patterns, and classes in Downtown Indianapolis.

Mass Ave Knits
862 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Mass Ave Knit Shop is one of Indianapolis’ premiere knitting stores, offering a large selection of yarns in all fibers, notions, accessories, supplies and classes.


Ruckus Makerspace
1125 E. Brookside Ave., Door G-10, Indianapolis, IN, 46202
Ruckus is a place where inventors, designers, artisans, photographers, craftspeople and engineers can share equipment, technology and ideas to help launch their next creation.

Cat Head Press
2834 E. Washington St., Indianapolis, IN 46201
Cat Head Press provides area artists and the neighboring community a place to work, collaborate and share ideas in a fully equipped facility space by offering traditional fine art printmaking workshops, gallery space for exhibitions opportunities, art sales, and monthly First Friday events.

Harrison Center for the Arts
1505 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
With studios always in high-demand, the Harrison Center for the Arts is a great place for working artists to connect and create! (It’s also where we host the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange!)


  • INDIEana Handicraft Exchange: The INDIEana Handicraft Exchange is a contemporary craft fair that consciously celebrates modern handmade goods, the relationship between creator and consumer, and local, alternative economies.
  • Alternative Gift Fair: What began as a traditional alternative gift fair has grown into a handmade, locally produced fair that encourages shoppers to be alternative and skip the big box stores for their gift buying purchases.
  • Talbot Street Art Fair: With over 270 artists from across the nation, this juried art fair in the historic Herron Morton Neighborhood continues to be ranked as one of the finest fairs in the country.


Midland Arts & Antiques
907 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Having been a destination for more than 16 years and voted “Best Antique Store” many years running, Midland has over 200 independent art and antique dealers from around the Midwest.

Society of Salvage
1021 E. Michigan St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Society of Salvage rescues the utilitarian, the curious and the aesthetic from aging factories and commercial buildings for resale in our 9,000 square-foot warehouse in Downtown Indianapolis.

Broad Ripple Vintage
824 E. 64th St., Indianapolis, IN 46220
Since 1998, Broad Ripple Vintage has been offering many kinds of vintage pieces to the Indianapolis area.


534 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Milktooth has grown from a passionate commitment to great local ingredients and an inspiration to connect childhood food memories with unconventionally creative morning fare. With an ever expanding love and pride for Indianapolis they invite you to come enjoy a great cup of coffee, a cocktail, a pancake or perhaps some sweet tea fried chicken.

Foundry Provisions
236 E. 16th St., Indianapolis, IN 46202
Located in the historic Herron-Morton Place neighborhood of downtown Indianapolis, Foundry Provisions serves up coffee, breakfast, and lunch offerings in the little red building on the corner.

General American Donut Co.
827 S. East St., Indianapolis, IN 46225
Made fresh daily, these donuts sell out early and the contemporary, minimal interior is heaven for any creative.

Amanda Mauer Taflinger is the owner of Homespun: Modern Handmade and the event founder and organizer of the INDIEana Handicraft Exchange. She loves to run around with her ginger husband, Neal, and two rowdy-ass kids, Zeke and Clementine. From store to school, store to soccer, and store to trying-to-find-adult-time, our lives are never dull!