We started out the year at the new, but provisional Hopkins District Library with more hope than resources. We hoped that people would be generous with our requests, attend our programs, and frankly just come to the library! And almost from the first of the year we realized that this would be the year that would make this tiny, former village library, and its crazy programs a success!
As with most small towns, we don’t have a community center but we do have lots of hobbies and love to share them! From that thought our work started! The Library would serve this area as the best community center we can be. We started with grant applications and that’s where the Michigan Fiber Festival came into the picture. Having just started felting but being surrounded by veteran knitters, crocheter, and all manner of fiber artists, the library saw an amazing opportunity – get more people hooked on fiber arts.
But we had a couple of problems, with a budget already running on our reserves, we couldn’t spend money on the program which means no supplies or teachers… what to do… Well, we asked! I knew enough about felting to be mildly dangerous and could teach some basics but where to get some roving? I set out emailing the fiber mills I could find in Michigan and received several helpful responses and two amazing roving donations! Zeilinger Wool Co. emailed back asking for our address and about a week later a huge box of roving showed up on our door. Suzanne Pufpaff of Pufpaff Fiber Processing emailed me and asked me out to her place for tons of information and lots of roving! I couldn’t believe how helpful she and everyone else is. To have so many people support a tiny unknown library who is trying to get programs off the ground and believe in us, was an amazing experience.
After our first program (felted balls) as part of our summer reading program, I realized that we needed to do more! And I remembered that the Michigan Fiber Festival offered scholarships for classes. With Allegan only about 20 min. south of us, this was the most fortuitous solution. And after writing my letter and agonizing for some weeks, I got that wonderful email: “Congratulations…!!”.
Two weeks ago, I took my two scholarship classes (Felted Fascinators with Kelly Brandt and Introduction to Felt Flowers with Suzanne Pufpaff) and one additional class (Beginning Broom Making with Bev Larson). I think I’m ready to schedule two felting classes in the very near future! And thanks to the donations and classes we can offer them free to our district and at a very minimal cost to everyone else. If I am even a tiny portion as talented or knowledgeable as the ladies and gentleman that teach for the Michigan Fiber Festival, everyone who makes their way to Hopkins will learn something new and have fun doing it!
And what about the knitter and crocheters, you might ask. Don’t worry! We started our Sticks & Strings group and then proceeded to Yarn Bomb Main Street in the Village of Hopkins! Now its time to make the other fiber arts shine (or at least bring a smile to everyone’s face when they see what we can do).