Several months of planning finally led up to this past Wednesday. Twas then my library held it's 2nd Annual Knitting in Public day with yours truly at the helm.
The concept in and of itself is fairly simple: invite local knitters to come and knit in public at your library. Provide snacks, door prizes, a speaker, and some extra materials. Ensure a little local publicity.
The reality? Details were being hashed out right up until the event was over and I already have a list of things I'll do differently next time. Also, does anyone know where I can borrow 25 cafe style tables?
The day was (IMHO) a success. We officially opened the doors at noon and, over the next eight hours, welcomed over a hundred knitters at the main location. I don't have the final numbers from the branch locations yet, honestly I was too tired on Thursday to think about it. Participants included two school groups as well as the kids from the knitting group I lead. I had two incredibly patient women voluntarily bring knitting machines and show a number of "my" kids how to use them, several people just learning, and a number of masters at the craft.
Sibling-the-Elder had been called upon to be an extra set of hands. Along with assisting with set up and clean up, answering questions when the moving target of me was somewhere other than immediately visible, and being our master photographer, she also managed to knit a hat for a friend of mine who has an impending arrival of joy. (I have four friends who are soon to have babies....) Did I mention she's awesome?
While stressful as I was coordinating, mingling, knitting fast enough my fingers hurt, and trying to stay on top of everything, the day was enjoyable. People came and stayed and knitted. The library provided snacks and some beverages. We had needles and yarn on hand for people who didn't have their own supplies with them. The majority of the knitters had their own projects with them but certainly some availed themselves liberally of what was available. Throughout the course of the day door prizes were given. People like winning stuff, even if it's "just a candle."
Local yarn stores gave me their publicity material, some of the door prizes, yarn, needles, and some pretty awesome coupons. I'd reached out to them for publicity also and many many stores were gracious enough to put the poster I sent them up in their shops to alert their knitters. Local restaurants gave the knitters coupons "just for us" for the day and more door prizes.
And in the evening we had Joyce Williams speak. An incredibly dynamic, gifted, and amazing woman, she had a group of sixty plus enthralled with her explanations and descriptions of Latvian heritage knitting and a technique called Armenian knitting. Currently she's making fabulous tops and she let me be the model one of them. It was hand beaded with iridescent beads and made of cashmere. It felt FABULOUS. And it took another person to help me take it off (long earrings plus double pointed needles holding my hair up).
At eight p.m. things came to a close with the dedicated building maintenance crew ready and willing to help me turn the space we'd used (not "officially" part of the library) back into it's actual purpose. People drifted out after getting books signed and asking final questions and asking me when next year's would be.
It'll be once I've had some sleep ladies. And after I've gotten this year's thank you notes in the mail. (Note to self--thank you notes on Monday.)