Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Knit-Out Report

The Knit-Out and Crochet 2007 was quite the event! Judging from what some vendors told me about their give-away numbers (lots of yarn, knitting needles, crochet hooks, patterns, canvas bags), there were at least 6,000 participants. There were booths along several main halls of the Mall of America, mostly taken by yarn companies and pattern publishing companies, but also some local needlework clubs. Michaels had a booth also, and they were promoting the classes offered at their 19 stores in the Tiwn Cities area. They had samples of knit and crocheted items made by the teachers from each of the stores, and I chuckled to see that all the items but one from my store were made on the KK looms!

There was a designated area with knitting instructors offering free lessons, and another area with crochet instructors. Also an area to attach afghan squares for Warm Up America. In the main rotunda, there were ongoing events, including fastest knitter and fastest crocheter contests, awards presentations (Minnesotans made the most newborn hats for the Caps to the Capital Campaign), fashion shows, etc. There was an author's table where many knitting & crochet book authors autographed their books, and demonstration tables where various techniques from Kool Aid dying to knitting with beads to crocheting cables were shown.

My demos were well attended. They were advertised as my teaching a variety of stitches on the looms, but most people didn't know much about knitting with looms, so I covered the basics quite a bit. One person brought her own loom and yarn and sat next to me for a good part of one demo so she could learn a 4-row repeat stitch pattern -- it was great! I also got to meet another loom knitting instructor that I had only talked to via e-mail previously. She just stepped in and started helping to answer the multitude of questions people had -- we didn't get a chance to introduce ourselves for about 15 minutes! It was a challenge to do 360° demos -- even though I was seated at a table, people were surrounding me from all sides! There really is a lot of interest in loom knitting.

I have so many new ideas for projects I want to make, and I saw so many yarns I'd like to try. I wish the major yarn companies' product lines were more widely available; they produce so many more textures and colors than are available in the chain craft stores. I like to see and touch before I buy.

It was an incredible week-end, and I am thrilled to have been invited to participate.


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