Get Ready for Craft Con!

Midwest Craft Con is coming up fast! If you haven’t already gotten your ticket, you can get a weekend pass or day pass right here until noon on Feb. 14, and then day passes will also be available on site. The con officially kicks off at 1 p.m. Friday and runs through 4 p.m. Sunday, but if you arrive early on Friday we’ve got a few activities you can enjoy, like this bus tour, or some yoga and a painting party!

We have so many good things for you and your creative business. You can see the full conference schedule right here! There’s good stuff going on every single day. We’ve also got more details on our craft workshops and evening craftivities, which will include karaoke, a craft crawl and introvert hours. You’ll be able to meet and shop with many crafty businesses in our trade show, and many of our speakers are offering one-on-one meetings with Conners in sessions you can sign up for on site. None of this would be possible without the support of our fantastic sponsors from across Ohio and across the country!

craft competition midwest craft con

Phew! With so much going on, it pays to be prepared. We created this list of essentials to help you pack!

The basics: Our program doubles as a place to take notes, but you might want to pack an extra notebook and pen. We also recommend that you bring a water bottle and snacks to get you through the day. Remember to wear comfortable shoes!

Crafty things: During our evening craftivity time and in the introverts’ room we have plenty of space for you to work on your in-progress projects. We also won’t judge at all if you want to knit while you listen to talks!

What to wear: Many crafters wear really spectacular outfits — often handmade! Wear whatever is comfortable for you, and feel free to be as crafty as you wanna be. Bring sequins for karaoke night if you want to sparkle! As for outerwear, the temperature in Columbus is likely to hover around freezing, so bundle up! If you’re a freezebaby, no worries — you never have to leave the hotel if you don’t want to.

Extra cash: The hotel has a free breakfast for guests, and we’re covering lunch Saturday and Sunday, and then dinner is on your own. If you wanna go DIY, you can always bring Tupperware! There will also be opportunities to shop at our Trade Show all weekend. Save a few bucks for raffle tickets for some amazing gift baskets from our sponsors and community partners. And remember to tip housekeeping a few dollars each day!

A smart device: You might not want to drag along your laptop, but we encourage you to bring a smartphone or tablet to access the internet and take pictures. Connecting with other conners directly by trading numbers or following each other on Instagram is easier than busting out business cards. And, of course, don’t forget your charger and backup power source!

Personal items: This is YOUR weekend. Bring your must-have toiletries, maybe a yoga mat, a book for downtime, your bathing suit for the pool, or anything else you’ll need to make this your home away from home.

MWCC 2016

What NOT to bring: Leave your stress at home! This weekend is about improving your business, reinvigorating your creative spirit and having some fun with fellow crafty folks! Make sure to take a look over our Code of Conduct, which is made to ensure everybody has a good time.

Get your ticket for Midwest Craft Con if you haven’t already, and we’ll see you at the con!


DIY your dreams with Vickie Howell

vickie howell, the knit showThough 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?

  1. Playlists: Compilations of music you can count on to get you into a zone for writing or otherwise creating.
  2. 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!
  3. 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. 


Explore the Craft Crawl

Inspired by Craftcation’s art walk, Wanderings, we’ve organized a Craft Crawl for the first night of Midwest Craft Con! Experience DIY projects, pop-up shops, games, fun times and crafty drinks in the rooms of select partners and sponsors throughout the hotel on Friday evening from 9 to 11 p.m.

Start things off with Handmade Arcade, where they’ll be playing crafty bingo complete with prizes, drinks and snacks in their suite. From there, grab a flyer with the room numbers of our other hosts. It’s like a crafty treasure hunt!

Love Across the USA Team Akron will be hosting a FriYay finger crochet pARTy! You can contribute to a local slice of an amazing national project with fiber artist Olek, creating a crocheted public installation of a woman who shaped the history of Akron. #LoveAcrossAkron

Purple Hippo Stitches is hosting a craft nostalgia room — think shrinky dinks, spirographs, friendship bracelets and even just some Elmer’s glue if you just want to let it dry on your fingers to peel it off!

Jodi Lynn Doodles will be hosting a drink + draw social hour. Team Crafty Mart will be hosting a Galentine’s Day party, complete with mimosas and brunch crafts! And even though this team of glorious female warriors believes in uteruses before duderuses, men are welcome to get their brunch on, too.

Chicaloo Kate will be bringing supplies for people to make bottle openers, pocket mirrors and buttons! And there will be more surprises along the way. Can’t wait to get crafty with y’all! Get your ticket for Friday or for the whole weekend.


Meet our Speakers in 1-on-1 Office Hours

purposefully restored
Image credit: Purposefully Restored

As Midwest Craft Con approaches, you’ve probably spent some time reviewing our our schedule and plotting which sessions you’ll attend. Our craft business speakers will share their knowledge with you in 1.5-hour breakout sessions that include Q&A time. Many of our speakers also post their notes or slides in the private Facebook group afterward, and our attendees often make their notes available to swap if you have to make tough decisions about which sessions to attend.

In addition to our breakout classes, our generous speakers and community sponsors are offering Office Hours during the con as well. These are 10- to 20-minute consultations and advice sessions that you can sign up for at the con.

Each day we’ll post a new list of speakers offering one-on-one time within the trade show — signups will be available on a first-come first-served basis. You simply write down your name in the time slot and then meet with your coach in the lobby. We will have reserved tables marked for these meetups.

One-on-ones will include sessions with:

  • Mei Pak, who can assist you with social media critiques.
  • Let Olivera Bratich who owns Wholly Craft and Surprise gaze into her crystal ball to tell you your business fortune!
  • Ask our resident account, Allison Rosen, your burning money questions.
  • Esther Hall can field you with advice about nonprofits and grant-writing.
  • The team behind Handmade Arcade will offer booth and craft show advice.
  • Daniella Cortez can help you with PR and and pitching your products to publications.
  • Jodi Lynn Burton wants to interview Conners for her podcast, Detroit Craft Academy.
  • Embroiderer extraordinaire Sarah Fisher can offer technical advice as well as the good, bad, and ugly of the brick and mortar retail life.
  • Keynote speaker Vicki Howell gives tips on making your crowdfunding campaign successful.

And even more speakers will be participating! Stop by the trade show each morning to see the day’s full list of one-on-one time slots and sign up.


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!


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.

Shop the Midwest Craft Con Trade Show

midwest craft con, author book signing, trade show

The Midwest has SO many great independent craft stores and boutiques. One of our many goals at Midwest Craft Con is to help connect these store owners with our  talented attendees.

Whether you’re looking to take a creative keepsake for a loved one, or pick up some books and products from our speakers for yourself, Midwest Craft Con’s trade show is a perfect place shop. You can stop by the trade show to shop from Friday 2 to 7 p.m., Saturday 12 to 6 p.m. and Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

These are the shops you’ll be able to shop with during this year’s conference:

And there’s even more fun to be had:

  • Office Hours: Some of our speakers are open to sharing their knowledge with you one-on-one with office hours you can sign up for at the Con. The hours and experts participating will be posted in the Trade Show.

Craft Caravan: 3 Tours of Columbus!

Craft Caravans, personal tours of the crafty hot spots of Columbus, Ohio, have become a beloved feature of Midwest Craft Con. Passengers get a behind-the-scenes tour of the shops from the owners — and have plenty of time to shop! You are welcome and encouraged bring drinks and snacks on the bus as we chauffeur you around the city.

Our Craft Caravans are presented with generous support by Greater Columbus Arts Council!

Kick-off Craft Caravan
$10 per seat • Thursday, Feb. 15, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
Start the conference off right! You can shop for party supplies at Surprise Modern Party, screen-print a drink cozie with Alison Rose at Blockfort and get your tiki on with drinks and dinner at Grass Skirt Tiki. (FYI: Food and drink are not included in the ticket price.)


#1 Crafty Tour of Columbus: Sponsored by Sew to Speak!
$10 per seat • Friday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Shop some of the longest-running craft shops in town! You’ll visit Wholly Craft, Igloo Letterpress and Sew to Speak. The caravan departs Friday morning from the conference hotel and gets you back in time for the opening session. Bringing your lunch on board the bus is encouraged!


#2 Crafty Tour of Columbus
$10 per seat • Friday, Feb. 16, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
We will shuttle you to beloved modern craft shops The Smithery, Yarn It & Haberdashery, and Dabble and Stitch. The caravan departs Friday morning from the conference hotel and gets you back in time for the opening session. Bringing your lunch on board the bus is encouraged!


Still need your ticket to Midwest Craft Con? Get it here!


Full 2018 schedule, day passes and an important change!

vickie howell, the knit showWelcome to 2018, the year of Midwest Craft Con! We’ve just put up the full schedule of our creative business conference for your perusal. It is three days of business workshops with incredible speakers, hands-on crafting sessions and inspiring keynotes. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, those are available right here — and day passes are now available if you can only join us for part of the weekend.

And speaking of keynotes: We’ve got an important lineup change! The Breeders’ tour schedule is sadly taking Kelley Deal away from Ohio next month, and we will miss her. But we have found a fabulous replacement: Vickie Howell!

Vickie Howell is a broadcast personality, producer, author, designer, and instructor in the DIY world with a penchant for motivational speaking, and social media marketing. Vickie is well-known as the Host of TV shows such as DIY Network’s Knitty Gritty and Stylelicious, her best selling knitting, crochet, and craft books. Vickie strives to motivate and inspire people to both live creatively and make a living being creative — most recently reaching out to people via 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 episodic series: The Knit Show with Vickie Howell. You’ll see her keynote talk Friday evening at the Con, and she’ll be giving a talk about running a successful Kickstarter campaign. Get your ticket here!


How to Apply for a Scholarship!

midwest craft con scholarship fun

We know running a handmade business is really hard work, and sometimes you yourself need a hand. Thanks to the generosity of our conners, sponsors and the Greater Columbus Arts Council, we are able to offer FOUR full scholarships to Midwest Craft Con this year!

If you’re a maker who needs a little boost to come to the con, you are welcome to apply for a scholarship, which covers your full weekend pass (a $249 value) and all the benefits of the conference, including many meals. We aren’t able to cover lodging and travel, but the $99 rooms at the Embassy Suites sleep four, and we have a space in our private Facebook group for people to find roommates. The suites come with mini-fridges so you can pack a lunch if you want!

Midwest Craft Con is a creative business conference happening just north of Columbus, Ohio, coming up Feb. 16-18, 2018. We’ve got a full weekend of activities lined up, so we recommend getting into town early Friday and staying until late Sunday afternoon.

Scholarship applications will close on Jan. 15. We can’t consider any late entries. The three organizers of Midwest Craft Con will review all the applications and select the winners based on the applications by February 1. You can fill out the scholarship application here! Good luck!