by Dave Warner

Christmas in Little Falls is scheduled for December 9-11, 2022, and there are many events over the three days to attend. One of those is a Pop-Up Yarn shop that will feature yarns from regional sellers, producers, spinners, and dyers, as well as live demonstrations.

John Ossowski is a Utica native and newcomer to Little Falls and the one organizing the event. “I moved here because I really liked the town and loved visiting it.”

When the time came to move, he thought that he’d give the City a try. “I always told myself that you like Little Falls to walk by the Canal on a Saturday or go out on a Friday night and have fun. Are you going to like it on Tuesday morning in the winter?”

He said that it turned out that he did, so he bought a house and has been fixing it up ever since.

While growing up, Ossowski was close to his father’s parents, who were immigrants from Poland. “My grandmother and mother were all about textiles. My great-grandmother would embroider anything that would sit still long enough.  My grandmother crocheted and sewed her own clothes.”

He loved that you could turn a thread into a garment, puppet, or sculpture. “It really kind of got me, and I love color.”

Ossowski took this artistic impulse and made it his life-long passion for 36 years.

“When I moved to Little Falls, we were pretty deep into Covid, and there wasn’t much going on. One day I read about the Tuesday night knitters and was invited to the group by Mary Trombly,” he said.

Ossowski has also gotten involved in the community by teaching basic crochet and knitting at the Library from 11-1 on Saturdays.

“We’ve made blankets and other things, and the most recent project has been the display case in front of the library. The children’s reading program for the summer was themed ‘oceans of possibilities,’ so I said why don’t we all crochet fish, divers, an octopus, and just went crazy,” he stated.

They had a very positive response to the items in the display case and the yarn installation, and he just keep thinking that this City has a lot of potential to be a place for vacation craft tourism. “You bring in a bunch of really high-end instructors, have yarn available, and have a weekend retreat. What a beautiful place to have something like that.”

Ossowski said that he always looks for ways to revitalize local economies. “Being from Upstate New York, you almost have to think like that.”

He thought that the idea of a pop-up shop would be great to see if there was any interest in the idea. “I know we’ve got some local producers and sellers of yarn like Paca Gardens, and I wanted to see if we could pull something like this off.”

Trombly had the idea of linking it with Christmas in Little Falls. “It was like a win-win, and the folks from Christmas in Little Falls have been super helpful. We were looking for an event venue space, and Ally from Main Street Mercantile stepped up right away, as well as David Dardzinski, who has one of the empty storefronts.”

Ossowski feels like utilizing an empty space will help showcase what it could be like if there were a more robust presence for the idea. “It’s been a great experience so far, and some great synergy has occurred because of it.”

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