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Needlearts Zone Rocked Maker Faire Detroit!

Posted By TNNA Staff, Wednesday, August 03, 2011
Updated: Friday, August 12, 2011

This post was submitted by Frederikka Payne, owner of Aurora Yarns and our TNNA Maker Faire Chair . . .

Detroit Maker Faire rocked!

Maker Faire Detroit
The Needearts Zone
Needlepoint across the generations
Needlepoint across the generations

Mona Rummel sharing the joy of knitting
Mona Rummel sharing the joy of knitting
Dakota teaching other young men
Dakota teaching other young men
What a fun, exciting and uplifting weekend! Who wouldn’t be excited and uplifted by seeing 800-1000 people (at least 50% of them children) learn to knit, crochet, needlepoint and cross-stitch in two days? The TNNA Needlearts Zone was indoors this year in the fabulous Henry Ford Museum – out of the heat! We were in a very large open space and were allowed to spread out. As a result, we only had to turn a few people away and ask them to return (and they did).

Once again, we got a lot of parents to join in with their children, and they enjoyed the experience. One family really sticks out in my mind. One of the daughters wanted to learn to needlepoint and had picked out a kit, but the rest of the family was hungry. She asked if I could hold it for her until after lunch. An hour or so later, three generations of her family were learning to needlepoint, cross-stitch, knit and crochet. It became a blur, as nearly every family member went on to learn all four disciplines!

In fact, that family was not alone – quite a few people made the entire circuit of our booth, either in one day or two. They were at Maker Faire to experience, learn and make and they did all of that for sure in our booth.

TNNA’s Needlearts Zone won two Editor’s Choice blue ribbons! I was able to speak with both of the awarders and both said we had the best booth in the Faire (so did many of the attendees – many told us that throughout the whole weekend). I spoke at length with the second awarder. He was very impressed with the diversity in our booth – all ages, both sexes, different races. We bring people together from all walks of life, but in our booth they are all just interested in the same thing – teaching and learning needlearts.

He pointed to various groupings – a grandfatherly man teaching two young girls to needlepoint, a teenaged boy teaching a mother and her teen son and daughter to knit, a motherly woman teaching young boys to cross-stitch, a left-handed woman teaching a left-handed man to crochet (we love our lefty teachers!) – and said "where else could you possibly reach all these different people?” Pointing at various people, he asked, "without this experience, would that person have ever been likely to go to one of your member’s stores?” In each instance, I had to respond "no” because he had pointed out the people who looked most unlikely to even to know a yarn, needlepoint or cross-stitch store existed.

Because of TNNA’s booth at Maker Faire, they have been exposed to and welcomed into our needlearts world and their lives have been changed – we hope forever.

Our volunteer teachers in Detroit are phenomenal. Many of them were returnees – and after giving up anywhere from 4 hours to more than 3 full days of their time and talent, they thanked us for the opportunity. Every one of them wants to come back next year to teach. In addition, we collected nearly 50 names of people who are interested in teaching in the Needlearts Zone at next year’s Maker Faire, simply because they were so impressed by what we are doing.

One woman (Suzanne) worked with us from the first moment of set-up to the last moment of tear-down. In addition, she agreed to represent us on Wednesday in a segment of a program Maker Faire has set up with a local teacher’s group. The segment is a miniature version of what we and other "Makers” did at Maker Faire, to show teachers what they can do to stimulate their students’ imaginations and inspire them. I can’t wait to hear her report!

Suzanne stitching the new needlepoint canvas

Suzanne stitching the new needlepoint canvas

Next up, New York — September 17-18. If you are in the New York area and would like to join us and teach, contact us at tnnamaker@gmail.com. It is more fun with needlearts than you can possibly imagine!

Tags:  crochet  cross-stitch  detroit michigan  embroidery  Henry Ford Museum  knitting  Make magazine  maker faire  Marketing Needlearts  Needlearts zone  needlepoint  needlework  Needlework News  The National NeedleArts Association  TNNA 

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