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Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

The Queen of Crafting

The Queen of Crafting

By Erin Chernisky, Volunteer Services Program Manager

Last year, Patrizia Nave Cerutti and her husband moved to Northern Virginia from Italy seeking to be closer to her son and grandchildren. Wanting to improve her English skills, she sought out a volunteer-led English conversation group at the nearby Herndon Fortnightly Library. A regular visitor to the library in the following weeks and months, Patrizia soon formed a bond with library staff. This led to library staff learning about Patrizia’s impressive background and, before long, recruiting her to join their ranks as a volunteer, leading crafting programs for the public.

Patrizia’s love of crafting began as a family affair. After earning a degree in biology in 1976, becoming the first woman to earn a Master of Business Administration degree from the Bocconi University of Milan and working for several pharmaceutical companies, she joined her family’s company, Vicom Srl, which produced scissors and shears that were exported internationally.

Patrizia soon began traveling the world, attending trade shows and making connections in the crafting industry. As a lifelong crafter, she began growing her passion into her profession. Patrizia has taught technique classes, published articles in Italian craft magazines and authored more than 30 books on topics such as scrapbooking, decoupage, jewelry, paper yarn and working with decorative scissors.

At the library, Patrizia leads classes on Wednesdays, alternating each week between crocheting and macrame/ jewelry making. Although she’s been crocheting since age seven, Patrizia had a bit of a learning curve herself because the techniques and hand positions used in the United States are different from those in Europe. However, that hasn’t stopped her from quickly becoming a favorite among program attendees.

Each class, Patrizia has a project prepared for her students to do or they can choose to bring something of their own that they’ve been working on. Patrizia tries to keep her projects small and creative. “I want people to learn the technique and get far enough along during class that they can continue working independently during the week,” she says. Recently, her classes have been making items for Warm Up America, an organization that provides hand knitted and crocheted blankets, clothing, and accessories to people in need.

Patrizia gets a lot of joy from her classes and sees them as a win-win for everyone involved. “Not only do I get to share my skills with the community, but teaching these classes has been the best way for me to practice my own English skills!”

Interested in joining Patrizia for one of her classes? Call the Herndon Fortnightly Library at 703-437-8855 for more information or check out her upcoming classes on our calendar by visiting

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