conference · News · workshops

DIY at Midwest Craft Con sponsored by Darice

Have you ever thought to yourself – I need a break or a little vacation to make things and get creative with my kind of people? Then Midwest Craft Con is the place where you can make it happen.

  The Con has a wide variety of DIY, hands-on workshops – all geared for skill levels ranging from the beginner to the intermediate crafter and maker. The weekend is guaranteed to have you meeting lots of new friends and learning too. Explore all the making you can enjoy over the three day weekend next February. A big thank you to Darice for sponsoring the 2020 craft programming at the conference.

2020 Con DIY Workshops include:

Block Printed Wall Hangings + Tea Towels  with Yetunde Rodriguez @yatoonday 

Learn how to carve a block and design a pattern to create a block printed wall hanging or tea towel.

Hand Lettering with Natalie Keller Pariano @natterdoodles

New to hand lettering? Natalie will share her techniques to make a hand-lettered, canvas wall hanging. 

She will also be teaching intermediate lettering for those who want to learn new and advanced techniques. 

Voter Engagement Felt Patches with Al Hoff @alhoff2000

Make your own non-partisan, voter engagement patch for use on your jean jacket, bag, or whatever place you want to express yourself.  

Mixed Media Painting with Jennifer Perkins @jenniferperkins 

Jennifer will teach us how to “embracing our creativity” with a unique mixed media painting. 

Inspirational Shrinky Dinks with Betsy Salzman @thesciencebee

Create “words of wisdom” favorite phrases, and words to inspire and motivate with this classic and fun craft now making a comeback. 

Succulent Indoor Fairy Gardens with Nicole Pearch @partynwithplants

Design a magical landscape that tells a story in fun miniatures. 

Darice will also be hosting their own creative sessions at Midwest Craft Con too! Pocket Journal with Darice

It’s made with cardstock and paper bags which create little pockets in each page of the journal.

Beaded earrings with Darice

Plus, there will be lots of casual, evening time craftivities for you to relax, enjoy, and spend time making with new friends.  Experience pop-up shops, fun times, and crafty drinks in the rooms of our Craft Con partners and sponsors throughout the hotel on Saturday evening through our Craft Crawls. 
Midwest Craft Con 3-day conference and one day tickets available now.

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!


Hands-on craft and DIY workshops

At the first two Midwest Craft Cons, we focused on giving great business advice for craft business owners. But we know the creative side of our participants’ businesses is super-important, so for 2018 we’ve added a track of arts and crafts DIY sessions throughout the con so you can break up your business brainstorming to let your creative side shine. All attendees of Midwest Craft Con are able to participate in any of these classes without prior sign-ups. Get your 3-day ticket or day pass here!

DIY Workshops

Shibori Dyeing with Alternative Fashion Mob

Alternative Fashion Mob is a creative collection of fashion designers, industry professionals and couture enthusiasts dedicated to furthering the fashion industry in Columbus.​​ You’ll see them around Columbus at events, fund raisers, pop-up boutiques, and at the mother of all fashion fests, Alternative Fashion Week. Learn the art of shibori dyeing with them at one of three workshops at Midwest Craft Con!


painting wooden bangles


Painted Bangle Bracelets with Craft-a-away Camp

Located up in the woods of Michigan, you’ll find a small group of makers set up in a rustic lodge crafting their hearts off like they’re back in summer camp. Amy Cronkite will be teaching attendees to paint and design their own wooden bracelets three times over the weekend.




Macrame FUNdamentals with smARTStudio

Join smARTStudio founder Jennifer Davis for a Macrame FUNdamentals workshop, a creative opportunity to become a macramaniac! If you attend one of the three workshops, you’ll learn about the macrame process and using basic knots to create a wonderful wall hanging. Beginners are welcome. No experience necessary!

Painting party with Jesi Rodgers

You love her Instagram, and now you can paint with jesiii! She’ll host a laid-back painting party on Friday morning.

Affirmation stitching with Betsy Greer

Stitch a small affirmation Saturday morning to leave in public or give to someone you love (which could very well be yourself)!

Drawing pets with Gemma Correll

Learn to draw dogs and cats with keynote speaker and cartoonist Gemma Correll and make your own button to take home on Saturday afternoon!

Making journals with Igloo Letterpress

Learn how to bind your own journals with local maker Igloo Letterpress on Sunday morning. You’ll keep one and give the other to a charity in Columbus.

Evening craftivities

Once the day’s classes have ended and you’re SO ready to close your notebook, get ready for some more fun! The evenings at Midwest Craft Con are designed for you to let loose, unwind and make new friends over drinks, songs and crafts.

  • Handmade exchange: Attendees can swap handmade items with each another. Attendees must sign up ahead of time in our private Facebook group to participate.
  • Craft Crawl: Experience pop-up shops, fun times and crafty drinks in the rooms of our Craft Con partners and sponsors throughout the hotel on Friday evening.
  • Introvert hours: Play board games, puzzles or bring your work in progress to enjoy in a quiet, intimate space on Friday and Saturday evenings.
  • Pool party: On Friday night we’ve got extended pool hours just for conners, hosted by Surprise Modern Party. Enjoy a screening of The Knit Show with Vickie Howell and a movie TBD!
  • Craft Karaoke: It’s going down once again on Saturday night with One More Round Karaoke! Come prepared to sing your favorite song or just hang out and support your new friends.

Inside Our Trade Show

Midwest Craft Con attendees get to take in sessions and workshops that will build their handmade business tools, but they also can make connections with independent stores while they’re at the con!

At our Trade Show you’ll find a variety of independent retailers offering up their knowledge and inventory to conners. Whether you are looking to take home a crafty souvenir, dabble your way into a new medium or add to your existing stash, our trade show exhibitors will be set up ready to take sales and talk shop. Speakers Lesley Ware and Nicole A. Taylor will also be selling and signing their books on Saturday and Sunday! The Trade Show is open to conners during the following times:

  • Friday: 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Saturday: 12:30 to 2 p.m.
  • Sunday: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Yarn lovers will swoon over the brightly spun selection of fibers from Yarn It & Haberdashery

MWCC 2016

Stock up with modern fabrics and independent patterns with Dabble & Stitch.

Homespun: Modern Handmade will be offering a selection of contemporary handmade items from their Indianapolis shop.

Learn about screenprinting from Alison Rose, who will once again live print our Craft Con shirts and also have apparel for purchase.

MWCC 2016

Igloo Letterpress will be back sharing century old techniques and showcase the many ways letterpress has made a comeback.

Scour through gently used fabrics, notions and craft knicknacks with The Supply Closet. You also get to name your own price for what you want to buy!

Stock up on modern supplies for cross-stitch and embroidery from The Hoop & Needle.

Wholly Craft will showcase their Midwest-made artisanal goods.

Create your own party with supplies, tools  and barware for every crafty occasional with Surprise Modern Party.


Megan’s Craft Con Experience

When we first started plotting and planning Midwest Craft Con, we three organizers had a unified vision to create an environment for makers that would provide an educational experience unique to our handmade world while building up our community.

To put it simply and to steal a phrase that was on a sticker and slid across a table to me on the last day, Midwest Craft Con was “DIY as F^@#.” (Uncensored sticker credit given to Betty Floored of Toledo.)

Midwest Craft Con was a labor of love. We hacked our way through contracts of the abbreviated variety: LLC’s, AV (audiovisual), F&B (food and beverage). Tweaking, editing, cutting and revising our budget spreadsheet was the mother of all chores. Navigating proposals and sponsorship agreements were responsibilities I have executed for years through craft show organization, but nothing could have prepared me for how engrossing this project became or how rewarding the results felt.

I consider Midwest Craft Con to be a highlight of my handmade career, and I am so grateful to everyone who played a part.

So now that I have had a moment to reflect, I wish to thank everyone who attended Midwest Craft Con. Everyone who bought a ticket, volunteered, won a scholarship or was a guest of ours for the weekend — all of you. Thank you for giving us the gift of community that we’ve been lacking here in the Midwest. Thank you for being creative and dedicated in your craft.

To our sponsors, I thank you for your support of Midwest Craft Con. Your patronage allowed us to create fun and engaging opportunities and experiences. Working together we helped build new partnerships and relationships. Thank you for letting us expose your world to other creatives who appreciate your work.

To our keynote speakers and presenters who took a weekend away from their own businesses to share their insight and personal stories with us: I can’t thank you enough. I spent many hours “doing my homework” by listening to your podcasts, scouring your websites and blogs for inspiration. Thank you for being an ongoing source of knowledge and for being so approachable.

To Brit and Grace, who taught me so very much. Working beside two highly motivated, extremely talented, driven, educated, gifted organizers whose passion is on the same level as mine was a luxury I have never experienced. You both continue to push me to be better and work harder. Thanks for all the laughs, drinks and text messages.

While I did not have a chance to sit in on all the panels and sessions I wanted, I can’t help but feel the ones I did sit in on were the ones I needed. Annal Vyas will help me keep myself accountable and keep my legal contracts on the up and up. Allison Chapman reignited the passion in my handmade business to keep me motivated when I’d like to call it quits. Handmade Arcade showed me how to work with vendors to create great booth displays. And if possible, I would like 5 minutes of Tara Swiger in my day every day.

I hope the sessions you experienced were what you needed and that you make the time to put those lessons into your handmade business. And if you are ever in doubt, remember you are DIY as F^@#.

We’ll be announcing dates for Midwest Craft Con 2017 soon! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be the first to know about it.