A crafter's "gym" concept space has opened in Westbury for the public to sign up for monthly memberships to use expensive crafting equipment in a group setting for their personal and professional crafting projects. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

With just days to spare before New Year's, kindergarten teacher Sarah Susi had no idea where to turn to find a custom logo T-shirt commemorating the occasion that she could wear when she returned to work.

"Teachers have shirts for everything!" says Susi, 40, who works in the Malverne school district and is a mom of three. So, she did what any Long Islander would (probably) do and turned to a Facebook group. She asked nearly 5,000 people in the private Farmingdale Crafty Corner group for aid and discovered one member was crafting up a concept space that could provide the help she needed. 

It's called Let's Craft, dubbed as a "gym for crafters" by owner and North Bellmore resident Karrie Anne Vitti. Unlike many other class-based crafting centers on Long Island, Vitti's "gym" is a membership-only space in Westbury where Long Island's creators can work at their leisure to make their own shirts, mugs, posters and more alongside other passionate creators for a monthly fee. 

Amy Blum, of Merrick, makes a T-shirt for an upcoming...

Amy Blum, of Merrick, makes a T-shirt for an upcoming cruise at Let's Craft in Westbury. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

"We see ourselves as a membership facility similar to a gym, where people can come in and craft with like-minded people," says Vitti, a former teacher and longtime crafter who saw a need for such a business after being asked by friends to hold instructional classes for fellow crafters at her home. "Just as there are treadmills and different types of equipment at a gym, we have vinyl and printers and dye-sublimation [machines]." At Let's Craft, Vitti has gathered a slew of crafting equipment, from the popular Cricuts that can help members create custom clothing to high-end printers, like the 54-inch Mimaki, and laser cutters that can etch Yeti mugs and print life-size wall decals.

When Susi first visited the space with separate areas for printing, crocheting, engraving, woodworking and more, she says she was "star-struck." "It was craft heaven. I love to make things and Let's Craft puts endless possibilities at your fingertips." 

Don Williams, 40, from West Babylon, pulls a carved piece...

Don Williams, 40, from West Babylon, pulls a carved piece of wood from the lazer printer at Let's Craft in Westbury. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Member Don Williams, 40, of West Babylon, describes his crafting experience at Let's Craft similarly. The "gym" has allowed him to move his home-based woodworking projects, which he sells on Instagram at @Kuniworksco, into a more structured setting. 

"I make a lot of oversized backyard games, like cornhole and Jenga, which I call giant backyard blocks. Coming here allows me to create more individualized pieces. For a wedding, I can put logos on the blocks now," he adds, gesturing to an oversized laser cutter that can engrave wood. With some pieces of equipment retailing at more than $20,000, Let's Craft is giving crafters access to professional-level machines they wouldn't normally find at home.


Vitti's business model breaks memberships into three categories: the casual, the personal and the business crafter. The casual membership, starting at $9.99, allows members to drop-in as they please up to three times per month; the personal, on promotion for $69.99 per month, has no visit limits; the business, $209.99 per month, targets the seller who may use the space to fill bulk orders made on their self-run Etsy, Facebook or Instagram businesses. All membership levels allow access to various printing materials and papers, as well as group classes, which Vitti plans to host as membership grows. Members can also bring their own vinyl and other tools.

Owner Karrie Anne Vitti with the Mimaki printer at Let's...

Owner Karrie Anne Vitti with the Mimaki printer at Let's Craft in Westbury. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

So far, Vitti says she's seen overwhelming interest in her concept space, which she hopes to move from a Westbury business complex to a stand-alone building in the future. Since opening in December, Let's Craft has been an incubator for creation for local sports teams creating custom-made sweatshirts, teachers dropping in for personalized binders and wall decals and future brides looking to make their own invitations, bridesmaid shirts and more.

Hali Myron Herman, of Merrick, says her daughter Elizabeth, 18, used the casual membership to make her father personalized sweatpants as a Hannukah gift with her school's SUNY Fredonia logo down the leg. "We looked online and they were expensive to order from other companies for one pair of pants," says Herman. "So, we bought plain sweatpants, went to Let's Craft and Karrie showed Elizabeth how to print the font and iron it on herself."

For Williams, who used to create solo, Let's Craft has already helped him find a crafting community. 

"Our personal crafters may need more hand-holding, and they'll get that assistance from me or can ask other crafters for help with whatever they want to make," Vitti says, explaining that she hopes to partner with Williams to make a wall-based, magnetic Scrabble game. 

"People come in and I have woodworking expertise, [Karrie] has crafting expertise, graphic design expertise, and these people get together and brainstorm," Williams says. "Doing it in my garage is awesome. But that sense of community, bouncing ideas off each other, is probably one of the best things. All crafters have equipment, but this has everything in one spot and the people who love it too."

Let's Craft

WHEN | WHERE: Currently by appointment only on both weekdays and weekends; 1025 Old Country Road, suite 330,Westbury. 

INFO 516-206-2509 letscraft.org.

Need help completing your project?

Here are some other Long Island crafting locations that allow those with crafting qualms to take a skills class to learn something new and apply it to an at-home project.

AR Workshop

Having trouble with your hand lettering? Learn to make that finishing touch on your project look as professional as possible during at AR Workshop. The shop offers hands-on assistance for those taking classes dedicated to improving their craft.

INFO Classes range from $50 to $95; locations in Smithtown, Bellmore and Port Washington.

Infinite Yarns

Learn to crochet and knit at Infinite Yarns, where classes are held weekly. A recurring Tuesday night "extra help" class, held from 6 to 8 p.m., lets you drop by with your current project and get assistance from fellow crafters and teachers. Classes range from $10 and up.

INFO: 34 Hempstead Tpke., Farmingdale; 516-293-0010; infiniteyarns.com.

Suite Pieces

Improve on your woodworking skills at Suite Pieces, where you can join in on an instructional class to learn how to make your own wooden wall hangs, like jumbo Scrabble-inspired signs and address plaques. Classes start at $18.95, but larger wood projects range from $59 to $139.

INFO: 1038 New York Ave., Huntington Station; 631-560-9759; suitepieces.com.

Make It Too

For $65, you can learn how to make one of those Instagram-worthy chunky knit blankets at this crafting workshop in Old Bethpage. The class will leave you with the skills needed to make your own at home.

INFO: Locations in Old Bethpage and Cedarhurst; makeittoooldbethpage.com.

Major crafters

Big-name crafting stores, like Michael's and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, offer educational crafting programs. These aren't your "sip and paint" craft nights, but rather are built with the eager learner in mind. At Michael's in Babylon, for example, Cricut 101 classes start at $25. According to Michael's, you'll leave knowing how to cut, weed and apply designs to make your own shirts.

INFO: Various locations; michaels.com/classes; joann.com/classes.

Hydrangea Home

Join in on a small-group skills workshop where you'll learn macramé wall weaving. Other classes, let by an instructor, can leave you with improved calligraphy or candle-making skills. Classes range from $15 to $50.

INFO: 146 Main St., suite 3, Northport; 631-239-6688, hydrangeahome.com.


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