Knit, crochet festival: Wool-gathering encouraged

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For the ninth year, knitters and crocheters from all over the country will gather Friday, Saturday and Sunday for the annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival at the Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North in Marshall.

The festival was founded and is organized each year by Barb Grossman of Fox Chapel.

"It started as a fundraiser for the Waldorf School, then just kept growing," she said.

The festival brings in vendors, well-known knitting and crocheting instructors and designers, and offers visitors the opportunity to take classes in different techniques and skills, including beginning knitting and crocheting, fiber dyeing and a free class in woven prayer flags. More than 70 yarn, fiber and accessory vendors will be at the festival.

Mrs. Grossman said the event attracts more than 2,500 attendees who come from as far away as California.

"Of course, the majority comes from the Greater Pittsburgh area, but we have people from everywhere. Our vendors come from all over as well," said Mrs. Grossman.

This year, the festival also will focus on assisting with the "Knit the Bridge" project, an undertaking by local knitters and crocheters to create panels that will adorn a Pittsburgh bridge.

Amanda Gross, lead artist for the project, will be present Friday evening at the festival to share the concept and focus of the Knit the Bridge project.

"The vision of the project is to create a beautiful fiber art installation that is not only huge and wonderful but will serve to unite the neighborhoods and communities in the area," she said.

Yarn companies and stores have made donations for festival goers to knit panels for the project and there will be an open lounge for participants all weekend.

Ms. Gross of East Liberty said the project will require at least 578 panels, with each panel 34 x 72 inches.

"We have a lot of schools and senior groups that are making smaller panels, too. There are a lot of ways that people can participate, not just by making the bigger panels," she said.

There also will be a sneak preview of some of the panels for the bridge along with photos of other similar projects. Ms. Gross said they hope to install the project on a local bridge later this year.

Knitwear designer Kathy Zimmerman of Ligonier, also will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the festival, said Mrs. Grossman.

Just like the attendees, vendors look forward to the festival.

Cosette "Cozy" Cornelius-Bates is the owner of Cozy Knits. Ms. Cornelius-Bates from Squirrel Hill is a yarn-dyer, hand-spinner and knitwear designer who will sell her hand-dyed yarns and teaching classes.

"The event is very festive -- it gives people a chance to get out and see beautiful fibers all day and meet other knitters," she said.

The festival also gives her the opportunity to meet face-to-face customers who purchase her yarns and designs.

"It lets me be connected to them and get to know them," Ms. Cornelius-Bates said.

It is also a boost to local fiber vendors, she said.

"I'm excited that more and more local vendors and farms are involved," she said.



Kathleen Ganster, freelance writer:


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