Tomorrow I’m leading Penfield Library’s first-ever Crochet 101 workshop. I’ve taught a person or two to crochet over the years, but only individuals; I’ve never had to work with a group before. Since I’m now deep into preparation mode, here’s some of what I’m planning / hoping will go down:
The library is supplying some yarn and crochet hooks, although we’re hoping that people who have crocheted before will bring existing projects (and supplies!) with them. We’re going to let everyone take their projects with them when they leave, which means that we will be giving away yarn and crochet hooks to at least some of our participants.
To prepare for this, we bought the cheapest yarn we could find, packs of inexpensive plastic crochet hooks, and a few ergonomic crochet hooks (more expensive than regular hooks, but necessary if we want to be as inclusive as possible). As a happy coincidence, cheap yarn like Red Heart Super Saver (and similar) tends to be really easy for beginners to work with, especially if you buy it in light colors. Plus it’s acrylic, so we don’t have to worry about wool allergies.
Our cost for supplies is about $4-5 per new crocheter, and we bought supplies for a bit over a dozen participants. We considered splitting up the skeins of yarn so that we could reduce our cost per participant, but ultimately decided not to; we don’t have any ball-winding equipment, and doing this manually would end up costing us far more in staff labor than just buying a few more skeins. Supplies will be available on a first come, first served basis; everyone cross your fingers that we bought enough!
I’m also planning to bring a mirror along in case I need to teach someone who is left handed.
MakerBridge’s own fearless leader, Sharona, made a flyer to promote the event:
The flyer is posted around the library and on our social media presence, as well as being linked to from our homepage. Some librarians have sent it out to their liaison departments, too, and we’ve been talking up the event at the maker events we had earlier this semester. We also got the event included in the college’s Daily Digest email of news and events on campus.
This isn’t a ton of marketing, but there’s a surprising amount of buzz for the event, so it seems like this will be enough to get us a creditable turnout.
When I first agreed to teach this workshop, I had no idea how many people would express an interest in it. I thought I might be lucky to get three or four people to come. Since we began publicizing Crochet 101, though, we’ve heard from a surprisingly large number of people. They all tell us how excited they are that the library is offering such an event, and then go on to tell us that they’re planning on coming. Even better, the excited people run the range of everyone at our college–students, faculty, and staff from all over campus. That’s pretty unprecedented in my experience.
Because of the high interest, I made a point of teaching another librarian how to crochet a few weeks ago. She may not be an expert, but even if attendance turns out to be a mob of people who have never done this before, at least someone else will know how to hold the yarn, chain, and single crochet! I’m also hoping that attendees will be willing to work with each other in groups. If all (or even many) of the people saying they’ll come actually do come, we’re going to some more advanced crocheters coming and bringing questions about specific projects. There’s no way this could be a success if I were doing a straight-up instruction session–but this is a maker event! As long as I can facilitate things so that attendees are working with each other and answering others’ questions, everything should work out brilliantly.
After They Leave
I’ve put together a few links on our library’s existing Maker Services LibGuide because let’s face it, I’m a librarian. I can’t just let participants leave without pointing them toward a couple sources that could help them out after the workshop is over! Having just taught someone to crochet a few weeks ago was immensely useful in figuring out what to include here; I had forgotten that there are people who don’t know how to choose a yarn, or don’t understand about different sizes of crochet hook. (The perils of trying to teach something you’re too expert at!) I also tried to include a selection of possible directions that more advanced crocheters could work in, as well as linking them straight to Ravelry so they can search for patterns themselves. Knowing about color work, broomstick lace, or just where to find a pattern might be exactly the inspiration someone needs in order to really get (back) into crocheting.
This is where I am right now. We’ll find out tomorrow if Crochet 101 is a success. What do you think–have I left anything out? Experience, advice, and questions are all welcome. Drop me a comment, or tweet @makerbridge!