There are many reasons for yarn lovers to attend the annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival in the Cranberry area, and chief among them is Steven Berg.
Better known as StevenBe, the Minnesota-based founder of Yarn Garage is a rocking knitter of national acclaim who happens to bear a striking resemblance to a certain “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” singer.
“He’s the Rod Stewart of the knitters' world,” festival organizer Barbara Grossman said. “He really does look like him.”
Fibers arts enthusiasts will be able to judge for themselves this weekend when Berg returns for the second year in a row that takes place Friday during the knitting festival.
Now in its eighth year, the three-day event is scheduled through Sunday at the off Route 19.
“It's the biggest show at the Four Points,” said Grossman, of Fox Chapel.
Grossman said she expects about 2,500 knitting enthusiasts from across the nation to attend the show. Among them are visitors from Georgia, Michigan and New Mexico as well a mother-daughter duo who fly in every year to bond over their shared hobby at the festival, she said.
Things are set to kick off at 1:30 p.m. today with the knitting and crochet market and classes. Grossman said 59 vendors plan to display a variety of wares. There also will be exhibits and demonstrations in knitting, crocheting, weaving, spinning, basketry and more.
“A lot of the people who are vending at my event sell out their products,” Grossman said.
She added that it's hard for her to believe how much the show has grown in the decade since she organized it as a fundraising event for her daughter’s elementary school. That first venture had only 10 vendors but was such a success that it moved to a larger venue—the Parkway Center Mall in Pittsburgh—the next year and to the Crowne Plaza Pittsburgh South in Upper St. Clair.
These days, Grossman said the show easily could fill the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, but she prefers to keep the festival in the Cranberry area.
“As soon as you go into the convention center, it becomes more dry,” she said. "The hotel lends it that tremendously intimate feeling it deserves."
This year’s show headliner is celebrated knitwear designer and author Iris Schreier of ArtYarns. Grossman said Schreier is known for creating yarns with her jewelry and other sparkly items interwoven into the material.
“They’ve got all these gems in them, and it’s so pretty and so delicate,” she said.
Attendees at the show will be given free supplies courtesy of craft retailer Pat Catan’s to make a square that will be donated to Warm-up America, a nonprofit that distributes afghans, caps and other items to people in need.
Grossman said this is the first year the show will feature a full three days of classes and exhibits. For next year, she’s already considering adding a fourth day in which knitting and crocheting instructors develop their teaching methods.
“It will be a forum to give them an opportunity to share with one another what works and what doesn’t work,” she said.
If you’re going:
Online registration for the Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival is closed, but tickets to the show and classes will be available at the door. For more information about the show, including a schedule of events and class descriptions, click here.
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