- Pick a Central Location Ideally, an event should be staged in a high-traffic area in your town or city. Outdoor sites can be considered, such as parks, or indoor locations, such as cultural centers, malls, recreation centers, etc. What's important is to have a central location, which is easily accessible to a large number of people.
- Size of Space — There are no exact space requirements for these events. If possible, consider how many volunteers will be involved and then figure the amount of space they can "cover" comfortably. Having more space for people to sit around and knit and crochet is always preferable.
- Free Space Rental — Local parks, cultural centers or recreation centers will frequently make space available at no charge for events of this nature because they are free to the public, of general interest, educational and are not money-making ventures.
- What You'll Need — Tables and chairs are the most important items that you will need for a Knit-Out & Crochet event, so that people can watch demonstrations, learn to knit or crochet, etc. Easels are helpful for signs, and depending on the location, a portable microphone may be required. Platforms or risers also may be necessary for fashion shows and Show & Tell presentations. Check with the facility you are considering and ask about the availability of these items. They may loan them to you for the event.
- Permits & Insurance — Many cities, especially if you work with parks and recreation departments, require permits or insurance for special events so it is important to ask about these things.
- Easy Access — A site easily accessible by public transportation and by car is the perfect setting. Remember to inquire about parking and parking costs because the event may draw from surrounding areas. Also, toilet facilities must be convenient and food concessions close by and affordable.
- Local preferences, volunteers' schedules, space availability, etc., are all factors that will influence the date selection.
- How long should your event be? CYCA's past Knit-Out & Crochet events in New York City run from noon to 5 p.m. on a Sunday, but our Mall of America Knit-Out run for two days! Again, local accommodations, volunteers' schedules, etc., may dictate the exact schedule. Beginning late morning or at noon and running through late afternoon, allows enough time for a large group to visit the tables and displays. In addition, it provides time for beginners to learn one or both of these arts.
ORGANIZING THE KNIT-OUT & CROCHET EVENT
Volunteers are the key
- The success of this event hinges on a core group of dedicated crochet and knit enthusiasts, who are willing to volunteer their time and share their knowledge with others. It's an ideal project for a local crochet or knitting guild because it raises awareness of knitting and crocheting and of a group's activities.
- Develop a timetable leading up to the event.
- Designate "chiefs," individuals to oversee the three major areas of the Knit-Out & Crochet event:
1. Finding a site and organizing physical set-up of the space;
2. Scheduling events and organizing volunteers before and during the event;
3. Promoting the event.
- Prepare a rough layout of where events and volunteers will be located. Leave enough space for walkways around tables and activities. Stage fashion shows or Show & Tell (see "What to present at your Knit-Out & Crochet Event" below) programs in highly visible areas and remember there must be a cordoned-off space in which models can change.
- Designate sub-chiefs and be honest in evaluating each other's strengths. For instance, if someone has a fashion flair, ask if they would organize the fashion show; if another is an excellent children's teacher, ask her to organize the children's how-to area; and so on.
- When scheduling, remember to arrange to have enough volunteers early in the day for set-up and at the end of the event for clean up and tear down.
WHAT TO PRESENT AT YOUR KNIT-OUT & CROCHET
Learn to knit or crochet and chat areas
Teaching people how to knit, crochet or craft with yarn and providing a place for people to come together is the essential mission of these events. Informal and friendly is the atmosphere you want to create. Keep it simple.
Organizing an attractive fashion show can be a daunting experience. Here are some ideas on how to get started.
- Contact a local crochet or knitting guild and ask for their assistance. Guild members are a wonderful source of attractive, eye-catching projects, plus, they could provide information on how items are made.
- Local yarn retailers are another excellent source for garments and accessories. Often, they may have store models that they would be willing to loan, or perhaps a trunk show, i.e., garments provided on loan from a yarn manufacturer, that they would consider presenting.
- The Show & Tell portion of the Knit-Out & Crochet event can be developed into an informal fashion show, with knitters and crocheters sharing their project ideas. (Show & Share, or "Bring 'n Brag" as it is sometimes called, is always a crowd-pleaser. Knitters and crocheters bring or wear finished garments or accessories and discuss how they were made.)
- If there is a design school and textile department at a local college, consider contacting them for garments.
- You may find a source of non-professional models at a local high school or college who would love the experience.
What's important about any fashion show is to have a script prepared that will help the audience understand how a garment is made and what they have to know in order to make a similar project (skill level involved).
Charity Knitting & Crochet
Adding a charity project to your event is a win/win addition. People like to share their talents to help others, it attracts knitters and crocheters who might otherwise have attended, and you are doing something worthwhile for your community. CYCA always has a special Warm Up America! section at its Knit-Outs and we receive numerous donations. When possible, we also invite other charities to join our events.
Yarn, needles and hooks are the basic supplies that you will need. If you are a knitter or crocheter, you probably have skeins tucked away in closets or under the bed that you would be willing to donate. If not, post a request for yarn at work, church, or the library, etc. Gather extra needles or hooks and label them with your name, so that people are less likely to walk off with them after the event.
Remember, beginners have an easier time if they learn using a medium- to bulky-weight yarn (worsted-weight to chunky yarn) that is relatively smooth. It also is easier for them to see their stitches when they use a lighter color yarn.
CYCA has a sheet of basic how to knit and how to crochet instructions which we make available and which your group could reproduce as a free handout. The Council also offers these basic instructions on its web site, which can be downloaded. (See e-mail and web site addresses below.)
PROMOTING THE KNIT-OUT & CROCHET EVENT
Publicizing your event will ensure a good turnout. It is extremely helpful to develop a press release and to create a simple flyer. To assist you, the Council provides the Knit-Out & Crochet artwork in jpeg files above.
- Determine the media, the groups or individuals you feel should be alerted about the Knit-Out & Crochet event and should receive a release. The media list should include not only your daily newspaper, but weeklies and large-circulation dailies in your state, local radio stations, TV, city and state magazines.
- Ask if volunteers in your group have friends or contacts in the media.
- Compile the list, hopefully on a database, mail the release and follow up to answer any questions they might have.
- Personally contact other groups or individuals who share your love of knitting, crocheting and yarn crafts and alert them to the event. Not only will they want to attend, but they may volunteer to help.
- Contact retail stores in your area to see if they would like to have a table to display their class information and if they will allow you to display Knit-Out flyers in their stores.
Where to Post Flyers
- Retail stores
- Recreation facilities
- Book stores
- Event site
- Any gathering place around town
NOTE: Libraries and bookstores are wonderful places to promote a Knit-Out & Crochet event. Suggest a special display of crochet and knitting titles near the flyer.
THE DAY OF THE KNIT-OUT & CROCHET EVENT
- Designate one coordinator to oversee all aspects of the Knit-Out & Crochet event set-up; someone who can direct volunteers to where they are needed and pull others to cover emergencies.
- Set up a Volunteer Check-In Desk, i.e., a point at which volunteers sign in and receive their assignments for the afternoon. It is helpful to have a simple floor plan of the Knit-Out & Crochet event to provide to volunteers so that they can direct consumers.
- Hand out evaluation forms to visitors and designate areas where the sheets can be dropped off.
- Designate at least one volunteer as Knit-Out & Crochet photographer.
- Make sure some volunteers come early for set up and some stay later to help with clean up and tear down.
- Have a way to identify volunteers, such as name tags or same-color T-shirts.
- Organize a follow-up committee of key volunteers to thank volunteers, to evaluate the success of your Knit-Out & Crochet event and to finalize the event.
- Please forward a summary of your evaluations and any press pick-up to CYCA offices, along with some of your Knit-Out & Crochet event photos.
KNIT-OUT & CROCHET EVENTS ARE NOT JUST FOR GROUPS!
Knit-Outs are all about crocheters and knitters across the country getting out and crocheting and knitting in public: on the bus, on the train, at work, at play, at school, in the mall, or at a ball game.
Share your enthusiasm with everyone! When people watch you crocheting or knitting and see that it's fun, relaxing and rewarding, they'll catch your enthusiasm and want to learn, too.
Let's keep the ball rolling!