Michele Costa of DeKalb describes her job as a fiber arts blogger, designer and teacher as “hitting the lottery.”
“I can’t believe that it’s really my job, to be able to find a creative way to connect with people,” Costa said.
Costa is a crochet and knitwear designer, the creator of the blog Stitch & Hustle and the founder of Stitch Up Events.
When Costa heard about the lack of inclusivity and diversity in the fiber arts industry, she said her heart broke and she saw a need for community.
“I heard stories I didn’t know happened, and I knew something had to be done about it,” Costa said. “I think it’s important to create a safe and inclusive space and to offer more opportunies so that there’s a seat at the table for people that want it. I felt compelled to act and not be a bystander, to be inclusive.”
Costa will be part of a free panel discussion, “Creating a Culture of Connection and Inclusion,” at 12:30 p.m. Friday during Stitches Midwest, a four-day trade show at the Schaumburg Convention Center. She also will teach three workshop classes during the event on Saturday.
Stitches Midwest is the largest knitting and multi-craft consumer show in the Midwest. The show will feature a market with more than 250 booths, more than 120 different intensive classes for crafters of all levels, a professional runway fashion show and a discussion panel.
The panel will feature Costa, Louis Boria of Brooklyn Boy Knits and Phyllis Miller, teacher and educator, as panelists. It will be moderated by Cecilia Nelson-Hurt.
Entrance to Friday’s panel is free, but attendance to Stitches Midwest costs $25 Thursday through Saturday and is free Sunday. A one-day ticket costs $14 and a two-day ticket costs $20.