The first ever "Kinzua Knit-Away" will be held in Warren April 19-21, drawing needle crafters from Warren and the surrounding areas.
Local coordinator Coralee Wenzel of the Warren Fiber Arts Group is excited about what she hopes will be a popular gathering.
"The craft of knitting has been around for centuries," Wenzel explained. "It has evolved from hats, mittens and sweaters to wedding dresses, home decorating, fashion accessories and even fine art."
The event in April will explore some of those creations, all made with yarn and needles.
A teachers' reception and early registration are planned for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 19, at the Conewango Valley Country Club hosted by the Warren County Visitors Bureau. Saturday's activities will begin with registration at 7:30 a.m., morning classes from 9 a.m. to noon, lunch at noon and afternoon classes from 2 to 4 p.m. at First United Methodist Church, 200 Market St., Warren. "Market," featuring many vendors, will take place all day, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., giving participants a chance to browse and shop and share their interests with other knitters. A $3 admission will be charged to benefit the church's youth trip to Pittsburgh Project. Lunch will be available to the public staerting at noon (until sold out).
A farewell fun, bring your own breakfast, will be held Sunday morning at Warren Holiday Inn.
Topics and vendors will explore the evolution of knitting from needles made from metal to wood, plastic, bamboo and even casein which is milk protein, Wenzel explained. " Yarn has experienced similar growth from traditional wool yarns to fleece, silk, cotton, bamboo, hemp, linen, synthetic and any combination thereof."
Participants will share their passion for knitting, in unlimited possibilities.
"Knitting has a way of taking you places," Wenzel said. "When I knit, I can talk or not, concentrate or not, depending on the project. I can knit alone or with a group. I can experiment with techniques, fibers, needles, and projects. I can expand my horizons or find comfort in the familiar. I can travel around the world to learn from renowned teachers or I can spend an afternoon at the local yarn shop learning from my neighbor. Knitting offers unlimited possibilities to do and create amazing things."
"The skill has survived on its own merit and the simplicity of the craft," Wenzel explained. "Two stitches, that's all. Once you learn the knit stitch and the purl stitch, you're a knowledgeable knitter! From there, it can be as complicated or as simple as you choose it to be. Manipulating those two stitches, either by printed instructions or by the design genius in your mind, produces tangible results."
Vendors will include yarn shops who will bring samples of their yarn inventory, books, knitting notions and spontaneous purchase items. One vendor specializes in kits; pattern and appropriate yarn already selected, usually at a special kit price. One vendor raises llamas and other fiber animals, spins and weaves and sells yarn and raw fleece from their flocks. One vendor has four generations of her family working in her yarn shop. She has a passion for socks, scarves and the appropriate yarns. One vendor has a passion for wool; she hand dyes, weaves, and manipulates wool fabric. One vendor aside from yarn and knitting supplies also loves cross stitch and will be bringing some of those supplies to the market. The local fiber guild members will also have a spot offering secondhand books, yarn and knitting supplies.
Topics will include needle felting, finishing techniques, beaded cabled headband, earflap hat, toe up socks, domino knitting, Portuguese knitting, scallop cowl, spindle spinning, knitting in the 21st century, ravelry: social networking with fiber art.
Registration is being handled by the Warren County Visitors Bureau. Class registration fee of $60 includes Friday night reception, a morning and an afternoon class, lunch, and admission to the market. Registration closes Sunday, March 31. Visit the website for registration information www.sites.google.com/site/kinzuaknit/home.
Wenzel hopes new knitters will participate in the event and learn the simple craft and share her enjoyment, but participans should know how to knit, purl, cast on and cast off.
"Classes are defined by skill level," she explained. Members of the Warren Fiber Arts Group will be on hand throughout the day Saturday in the Covert Room to provide answers to questions and offer help. Those who are interested in learning or perfecting skills are invited join the group at The Crossing on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 pm. One-on-one arrangements can be made through the group; contact Priscilla Breese at firstname.lastname@example.org.