| Setting up the Stitch Zone|
|The Needlearts Zone display |
pointed the way to fun with fibers!
The needlearts were hot at Maker Faire Detroit the last week of July . . . but not because of the weather. Although we were outside (under a tent), our Needlearts Zone volunteers seemed cool and comfortable . . . even as they feverishly taught over 500 new stitchers throughout the two-day event.
Following a fantastic Maker Faire in San Mateo . . . the second year for TNNA there . . . we looked forward to the Detroit event with excitement and a little bit of trepidation. This was a new venue, and we weren’t sure how it was going to work out, especially since we were going to be along a causeway on the Henry Ford Museum grounds. But we really didn’t need to worry.
Set up went amazingly well thanks to the help of the Maker Faire organizers and the Henry Ford Museum people. Cherry pickers can be great fun.
Our display rose over 17 feet, pointing everyone towards TNNA’s Needlearts Zone.
Our enthusiastic volunteers (around 40 total) couldn’t have been more fantastic. There were times when a single volunteer would be teaching four or more new stitchers. Even when we weren’t overloaded with "makers,” the volunteers kept busy with their own projects or teaching each other new techniques. We even had people come by just to sit and stitch . . . or spin . . . with everyone else.
Sharing the joy of stitching seems to transcend the simple act of knitting or crocheting a stitch, or drawing a fiber through a canvas. One of our volunteers expressed her heartfelt reaction to seeing the light of accomplishment in a young girl’s eyes with her first row of stitches. Another volunteer noted how teaching renewed her own spirits as she watched new stitchers feel the first fires of passion for the fiber arts.
At least a thousand "makers" stopped by. They were attracted by our giant needles, as well as our lavish display of yarns, knitting needles and crochet hooks . . . or by the people working on hand painted needlepoint canvases. Half already knew how to knit, crochet, needlepoint or cross-stitch . . . or embroider or quilt. It appears, in the midwest the fiber arts are definitely alive and thriving.
The others came because they always wanted to learn how to stitch. There was a young man who had tried knitting before but just couldn’t get it right . . . because he was left handed. Frederikka Payne of Aurora Yarns (a TNNA distributor who has been involved in all the TNNA Maker Faires . . . taking care of all the yarn donations and teaching her fair share as well) turned him into a new knitter! He left with a ball of yarn and a bounce in his step.
Everyone had a great time and offered to come out next year again.
Because it was the first year, the numbers of visitors was somewhat lower than in California where Maker Faire originated and has existed for a while now. Organizers estimated over 25,000 . . . as compared to 90,000 in San Mateo. But the event was definitely a success, and we’ve been told they have already reserved the last weekend in July at the Henry Ford for the next two years.
|Volunteers taught needlearts|
to over 500 new stitchers