Workshop in Mackinaw City: Fabulous Bags!

Last month (September 2009) I traveled to Mackinaw City Michigan (at the tip of the mitten) to teach a two-day intensive workshop on finishing bags.  The premise of the class is straight-forward:  pick any Nonibag pattern, do the knitting ahead of time, felt the bag and bring it to class damp.  Participants can bring as many bags as they want.  Some of the Mackinaw ladies brought as many as FIVE!  The workshop, then, is centered around teaching folks how to finish the bags they have made so they look as fabulous as possible.  I want your bags to stop traffic, or at least stop people in their tracks to get a better look.  Lots of the bags that left this workshop will, I think, do just this.

But first a little about Cynthia’s Fine Yarn & Gifts, a shop owned by Cynthia herself, and the shop and hostess who invited me to Mackinaw.  The shop is picturesque, a brightly painted bungalow surrounded by pots upon pots of gorgeous flowers that seem to love the cool weather afforded by northern Michigan.


Unlike the flowers in more Southern climes such as my own Maryland, the petunias, impatiens, celery (for the foliage), geraniums, and others less common blooms (I mean, there were still foxgloves blooming in mid-September!), seem more luxurious in front of Cynthia’s shop.


The flowers overflowing the pots outside give you a sense of the lusciousness you will encounter within the shop.  Every available space is just a feast for the eyes and other senses.  Bins and shelves full of yarn, windowsills covered with beaded baubles and lovelies all for sale.  Wonderful books, samples of sweaters, scarves, bags.  You can wander through the shop for hours and never tire of looking at this, and that, and yet something else you hadn’t yet noticed (but why not!?).


For such a tiny shop, there is scarce anything lacking.  You will want to make the special trip to Cynthia’s if you are anywhere close by.

The workshop itself was held in the spacious conference room of a nearby hotel.  The room was beautifully lit by huge windows and had the added bonus of a laundry room nearby–we took good advantage of this and felted or re-felted a number of bags.  Cynthia outdid herself, too:  goodie bags, chocolate at every participant’s work-station (great big tables set up as a large horseshoe with lots of space for everyone), catered lunch both days, dinner included at a local restaurant (delicious!), games, give-aways–you don’t just leave workshops at Cynthia’s with your project!

The two-days were packed with information and work.  Participants learned how to structure their bags using stiffener for a crisp profile, how to put on bag feet, handles (knitted an purchased), make fabric handle tabs, apply magnetic snaps, zippers, and embellishments.  Many were on their way to taking home several finished bags by the end of the workshop.

I’m not finished with this post:  I’ll be adding some before and after shots soon and adding other pictures.

We had a great time!


2 thoughts on “Workshop in Mackinaw City: Fabulous Bags!

  1. The workshop was fabulous,it made a felted bag fiber person out of me.Cynthias always does a great job and they did not disappoint.Thanks to everyone.

  2. I agree the workshop was fabulous, I was shocked at the number of bags ladies brought and what great colors and flowers the ladies showcased! What was really appealing to me about the class was the open format – tell Nora what you want to accomplish and then doing the mini-sessions and then working hands-on your own projects. I learned a ton about flowers and things I would do a bit differently next time. I’ve already purchased wool for another bag and I’m hooked on felting.

    A group of my cousins and friends get together regularly to work on our craft projects and we scheduled this retreat instead of our Sept get together. We had great fun and enjoyed both Cynthia’s hospitality and Nora’s talents! The only problem now is we all need retail therapy as we are all obsessed with our next projects!

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