I am so excited to have a brief interview for you today with the terrific Stacey Trock of @FreshStitches. I’ve been a Stacey fan for a long time, not only because I think she makes a great contribution to the world of crochet through her patterns, books and podcast but also because I have a true respect for her crafty solopreneur business sense, which she shares through transparency in her crochet blogging. Stacey is going to be vending and teaching at the upcoming Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival and I’m honored that she’ll be representing my book, Crochet Saved My Life, while she’s there.
Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival
The 9th Annual Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival happens March 15 -17th. From the website:
“What has become the annual Pittsburgh Knit & Crochet Festival started small in 2005, as a fundraiser for the Waldorf School of Pittsburgh. But the event was such a success that the following year it was moved to a much larger venue, the Parkway Center Mall. Lily Chin was the headliner for this second festival and a lively entertainer at the fashion show and reception. The next two years the festival was held at an even larger venue, the Crowne Plaza in the South Hills, and in the fifth year found its permanent home at the Four Points Sheraton in Mars, PA. The festival has grown into a three-day event in order to offer additional classes.”
Crochet teachers at this year’s event include Robyn Chachula, Marie Segares, Misty Ledbetter and of course Stacey herself.
Interview with Stacey
Stacey’s super cute crochet animals in the Fresh Stitches booth last year
Q: You went to the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival last year, right? Can you tell us a little bit about your experience? What made you want to go back again this year?
Stacey: I did! And it was so fabulous!
Actually, the Pittsburgh Knit and Crochet Festival was my first event as a vendor (selling my books & kits), so I was really nervous. There’s a lot more set-up involved in doing a show than I had suspected: for example, if you want to accept credit cards, you need a machine to do it! So, I ordered my first smart phone (!) and card reader for the occasion. There’s also a lot of ‘little things’ to get: a tablecloth for your table, a sign for your booth & even bags for customers’ purchases.
My husband, Tim, came along to help out and we loaded up the car and drove 10 hours to get to Pittsburgh… As soon as the show started, all of my nerves melted away. It was the funnest group of people! We had an absolute blast! From my experience (and from chatting to others), the Pittsburgh festival is very crochet-dense: that is … a huge proportion of the folks who come are crocheters. That makes it a fabulous place for us crochet designers & authors to be!
It’s funny, but I think Tim might have loved it even more than me. He’s incredibly supportive of what I do, but he had never seen it ‘in action’ before (since my work is done online). He couldn’t get over how much people loved my designs! It made him so happy.
We had so much fun that we decided that we definitely wanted to go back… so here we go!
Q: I think it is wonderful that Tim is so supportive of your work. As solo crafty businesswomen we often do so much just on our own but that’s a lot easier to do when we have the support of others in our lives. And that also ties in with the crochet community that you’re talking about; these festivals give us a chance to really connect with the bigger community and that fosters support for everyone’s work. Speaking of that community, you’ll surely get to see some of your online friends at the event … is there anyone you’re especially looking forward to seeing or meeting?
Every year, I’m practically jumping out of my skin to hang out with Stephanie (@spacecadetyarn) from Space Cadet Creations. We met one year at TNNA (the needlearts convention), and we really clicked. She dyes beautiful yarn, has a brilliant business head on her shoulders and is so much fun to talk to.
I’m also really excited that Anna from @MochiMochiLand is going to be there this year! I’m a huge fan of her work … everything she makes is so cute! I see her at a lot of shows, and every time she puts together something new and exciting. I can’t wait to see what it is, this time!
I’m also really excited that Robyn Chachula (@crochetbyfaye) will be at the festival again this year. She’s such a great designer and also a real sweetheart… I love meeting up with her!
Q: It’s going to be so much fun. I wish I could be there! You’re teaching a class this year, right? Tell us more!
It’s true! I’m teaching an intro to amigurumi class again, since it was so popular last year! Most people don’t realize that if they can single crochet, they can make a stuffed animal. In only 2 hours, we go over enough tips that folks are mostly finished a small animal.
It’s so fulfilling to me to see students, who thought making amigurumi was too hard, walk out with confidence!
Q: And you’ll also be vending. What can we expect to find in your booth?
I’ll have my crochet kits all fancied up in their cute little packages, including the new 2013 kits and maybe a new one just for the show (hint, hint.) I’ll also have my project bags (featuring adorable owls), which were so insanely popular at their release that I couldn’t keep them in stock!
I’ll also be accepting early sign-ups for my kit club. We’re in the middle of the first subscription period, and folks are loving it! It’s so exciting, and I know the next 6 months is going to be just as fun!
And, of course, I’ll have oodles of samples! Who can resist cuddling a stuffed animal?
And your book, of course :)
Q: Yes! I’m super excited that signed copies of my book will be available from you at this event! Can you share a little bit about why you were interested in representing Crochet Saved My Life at the booth?
I read Crochet Saved My Life when it came out, and I just adored it. It combined two issues that are very dear to me: needlework arts and mental illness. I think it’s important that we move past the point where a mental illness is a stigma. It needs to be viewed like any other condition (like arthritis): something that needs to be managed, and we should encourage open and productive conversations, sharing tips and ideas. I think it’s amazing that you had the courage to share your story, and it’s a really powerful message.
Even for people who aren’t suffering from a diagnosed issue, I think it’s a great book that points out that crochet has a soothing and calming effect. It’s a great way to relax and shrug off the stresses of the day.
Spreading the love of crochet always sounds like a good idea to me!
Giveaway Copies of Crochet Saved My Life
I’m hoping to do a giveaway of five signed copies of Crochet Saved My Life. If funding for my next book reaches $3000 before the funding period ends (which is really soon!) then I’ll do the giveaway. Learn more.