March 27,28,29, 2015

About The Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival

After traveling to yarn festivals all around the country, I thought it was high time Pittsburgh had its own.

What has become the annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival started small in 2005, as a fundraiser for the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh. But the event was such a success that the following year it was moved to a much larger venue, the Parkway Center Mall. Lily Chin was the headliner for this second festival and a lively entertainer at the fashion show and reception. The next two years the festival was held at an even larger venue, the Crowne Plaza in the South Hills, and in the fifth year found its permanent home at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA. The festival has grown into a three-day event in order to offer additional classes.

Festival headliners over the years include Annie Modesitt, Kathy Zimmerman, Candace Eisner Strick, Melissa Leapman, Maggie Jackson, Robyn Chachula, Andrea Wong, and Nicky Epstein, as well as many local teachers and designers.

The Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival has been expanded in order to embrace other forms of fiber art, including weaving, tatting, spinning, needle felting, rug hooking, and jewelry making.

Each year Coats and Clark graciously sponsors free Teach Me 2 Knit and Teach Me 2 Crochet classes. The festival now offers a wide range of classes, including free classes that have given visitors the opportunity to make necklaces, belts, needle-felted wall hangings, amulets, and brooches.

Pat Catan’s sponsors a Warm Up America Lounge, supplying attendees with yarn to knit or crochet squares for blankets that are donated to local shelters and other charitable organizations.

My family and I plan and prepare all year long for each festival, and we are grateful for the suggestions from vendors, teachers, designers, and visitors to the festival who help us to make each year even better than the last.

The fiber arts, especially knitting, have enjoyed a vibrant comeback, thanks in large part to the Internet, where fiber artists can connect with each other in so many ways (Ravelry, Linked In, Twitter, Facebook, blogs). The times they are a changin’—so are the yarns. The variety of luxurious colors and fiber content, the fabulous patterns for everything from socks to shawls—what a difference from just fifteen years ago! And yet the technique is still the same. We all still knit and purl just like our grandmothers did, and we honor the tradition by continuing to make wonderful things for our families and friends to treasure.

I hope to see you at the next festival or at one of the retreats I offer! And check out the new event I am starting with my sister Ann, the Creative Arts Festival.

Warmly,