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Reports on shows, trends, and more

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Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival Report

Changing the date boosted attendance.

by Heather Gooch (April 15, 2013)

We had not been to Tucson in two years, so we were looking

Moving the Ninth Annual Festival from Valentine's Day weekend to St. Patrick's Day weekend led to better weather and more turnout this year.

From March 15-17, the Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North in Mars, PA, was a mecca for all things fiber. At every corner, every hall, there were knitters, crocheters, spinners, vendors, teachers -- and about 3,000 smiling attendees.

Now in its ninth year, the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival has transformed from its humble beginnings as an elementary school fundraiser to a destination event attracting visitors from Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, and vendors from as far away as Florida and Colorado.

"We were so pleased to be able to give our fans -- both old and new -- many, many wonderful reasons to spend the weekend with us at the Festival," notes Barb Grossman, who founded and continues to coordinate the event.

Festival highlights included a lifetime achievement award presented to national-level teacher and mentor Kathy Zimmerman, who also owns Kathy’s Kreations in Ligonier, PA.
There was also a "Revolving Trunk Show" wherein designers and manufacturers had their latest patterns on display, and where an exclusive presentation highlighting each one changed on the hour. Another highlight was a "PJ Party" reception with snacks, games, prizes, and a special presentation by Steven Berg, owner of Minneapolis’ Yarn Garage and StevenBe, of his recent fiber-centric adventures in Europe and Africa.

While Grossman was initially unsure about pushing back the Festival, which had previously always taken place over Valentine’s Day weekend, to March, the outpouring of class signups confirmed to her it was the right move. "My wedding anniversary is also in February, so my husband was glad not to have to share me with the Festival this year," she notes with a laugh.

In fact, the dates for the 2014 have already been set, along with a very special announcement: From March 14-16, Festival-goers will have the chance to meet with No. 1 New York Times best selling author Debbie Macomber, the author of the Blossom Street series, among many other books, and owner of A Good Yarn Shop in Port Orchard, WA.

In the meantime, Grossman is keeping busy planning her next event, the Bedford Springs (PA) Knittreat in November. Learn more at www.knittreat.com.

Begun in 2005, the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival was named a "Top 10 Best Bet in Pittsburgh" by Pittsburgh magazine this past February. Learn more at www.pghknitandcrochet.com, or follow its Twitter hashtag at #pghknitfest.

xxx

 

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