Lawrence Public Library

The Lawrence Public Library will bring in experts to teach a large variety of skills and talents at the How-To Festival.

The Lawrence Public Library’s How-To Festival features a variety of talents and hobbies, ranging from sword fighting to learning how to use a voting machine.

Sara Childers Gillum, a Lawrence resident who frequents the Lawrence Public Library, is taking a craft she learned from YouTube to the classroom. Gillium’s teaching focus is on crochet — specifically amigurumi.

“I thought about offering to just teach beginning crochet, but I’ve met a lot of people who already know the basics of how to crochet, so it would be interesting to do something a little bit beyond that,” Gillium said.

Amigurumi perfectly fit her idea of teaching slightly advanced crochet.

“Rather than working with intricate stitches, amigurumi is the most basic crochet stitches there is," Gillium said. "You create a stuffed animal. It’s cutesy and simple."

In just one day, festival attendees can hit up Gillium’s workshop, attend a session on fiber art and even learn how to use a fire extinguisher, courtesy of the Lawrence Fire Department.

The categories are unpredictable and interesting, which is exactly what Information Services Coordinator Melissa Isaacs Fisher had in mind while planning the event.

“This is a family-friendly event where people of all ages are able to find something that they enjoy,” Fisher said.

According to Fisher, how-to festivals are not exclusive to Lawrence, but are a rather growing trend across public libraries throughout the country. This is the Lawrence Public Library’s second year holding the event.

“The idea behind the How-To Festival is to provide a platform for the community to share skills and interests and ultimately learn from each other," Fisher said. "I think this festival is a great fit for the community because Lawrence has so many creative and inventive folks here with interesting skill sets."

Gillium said she is excited to showcase the hobby she picked up 11 years ago while going over to her grandma’s house for lunch breaks. Since her grandmother was left-handed, Gillium struggled to learn the craft with her right hand.

It wasn’t until she finally took to the DIY world of YouTube the process finally clicked.

While her handmade stuffed animals are incredibly detail-oriented and adorable, one of Gillium’s proudest creations was a crocheted Viking hat and attached beard her husband wore to the Renaissance Festival. Her custom crochet work was even featured on DIY website The Nimble Knot.

“People were raving about it. I haven’t taught many people how to crochet, so the How-To Fest seemed like a great opportunity,” Gillium said.

The event will be held at the Lawrence Public Library from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Admission is free and talent demonstrations from locals will be ongoing throughout the event.