Purls of Wisdom

On The Road Again: Summer Camp Goes Mobile!

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Mon, Jan 23, 2012 @ 01:56 PM

There are a few things that make American summers unique. 4th of July barbecues, fireworks and of course...the great American Road trip.

Last summer Miss Julia and I embarked on an unprecedented Handwork Studio event by taking our one of a kind summer camp on the road; well not just on the road, but on the highways, byways, bridges and tolls of the U.S. making stops in Texas, Colorado, New Jersey and Maryland. 

What made the experience so great is hard to pinpoint, if not impossible.  You just can’t put into words the awesomeness of a denim covered van filled with fabric pulling into a national park for a night of camping, or the way a new group of families and kids look at you the first time that they see you in your Handwork Studio apron.  And quite frankly, I wouldn’t want to have to pick just one great thing…I WANT THEM ALL!


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People often ask Julia and I if being on the road was difficult.  What it was like being in the van driving for 14 hours a day.  How often we stopped at gas stations or rest stops.  Our answers are always the same, “Oh, it was so much fun!”  However, at some point though Miss Julia does mention the fact that I shouted “COWS!” at every bit of cattle we drove by in open country pastures.  No, really, every cow I saw I shouted it.  I really like cows. 

So, if I had to pick my favorite things or activities about our trip it would be these:

  1. Stopping at farm stands in Texas and buying pickled okra and fudge

  2. Taking Sheepy to the beach for the first time (most sheep never see sand)

  3. Learning how to pitch a tent

  4. Seeing the top of Pike’s Peak

  5. Making it from Colorado to Pennsylvania in 36 hours

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At any rate, the excitement is building as Miss Julia and I prepare for yet another summer filled with the pleasant unknown of roads yet untraveled and small hands yet to stitch.   It is a promising void that lay before us and we welcome it with open arms (and with a GPS and a full tank of gas).

-Miss Alisha

Tags: Miss Julia, Maryland, road trip, Miss Alisha, travel, Texas, Summer Camp, Road Tour, Summer, New Jersey

Making Summer Camp: A Day In The Life At The Handwork Studio

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Sat, Jan 14, 2012 @ 08:37 PM

Summer CampYou may wonder what it is we really do all year round, besides teach your kids about the wonderful world of needle arts, of course. When you glance into the studio window, what is it that we’re doing when we’re typing furiously or talking on the phone? And what do we do when we’re not in the studio?

Summer camp. All day every day, and especially September to March. While most people associate summer camp with summer (go figure), it’s an all-year round event for us at The Handwork Studio. Before the end of camp this past summer, Miss Julia and Miss Laura had already starting scoping out new places around the country to bring our camps. And right now, we’re in the process of launching Summer 2012: new locations, website pages, and glossy brochures, registration, the works. And it sure takes a team to make camp happen: Miss Alisha and Miss Julia mapping their next Road Trip in The Handwork Studio Mobile and launching a new registration site, Miss Melissa planning new projects and sourcing materials, and Miss Megan designing over 20 new camp pages to make it easier for parents like you to find our different camps, locations, and info on how to register.

During this particular camp launching season, I have the pleasure of tryingHandwork Studio Mobile
out a bit of everything: helping Miss Megan with our website, researching our new locations to bring you up-to-date information, accompanying Miss Julia to numerous camp fairs, assisting Miss Laura with public relations and marketing, and on assignment from Miss Melissa: researching and picking my own crafty brain about summer projects. While planning all this might seem a daunting task, it couldn’t be more exciting! In the company of a fantastic team, I know Summer 2012 will be our best camp season yet!

We’re officially launching registration January 21st...make sure you get a head start on your summer plans! We’d love to have you and your campers back for another awesome summer of Handwork, Machine Sewing, Fiber Crafts, Fashion Boot Camp programs, and of course sew much fun!

Miss Eva

Tags: Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Road Tour, fun kids activities, activities, camp

Let the shopping for summer camp begin!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Jan 04, 2012 @ 01:00 AM

The holidays have come and gone but none of my shopping is done! As we enter the New Year, the best part of my job begins: sourcing for summer camp.

As the Director of Curriculum and Education, I spend the school year researching current trends and creating projects that your kids will love. After those projects are chosen we then begin the process of purchasing all of materials we need to make them. We have some really great local partners that we purchase from, as well as some national and global sources, who are always looking for the best products for us to bring to your children in the projects they make at class or camp, as well as the products we send them home with in their summer camp goody bags.

When I research the materials I am always looking for the most natural materials with the least amount of packaging - which can be a challenge. We want to expose the children to the most delicious yarns and fabrics available, especially items that they can identify themselves when they visit a fabric, yarn or craft shop. 100% cottons and wools are the finest, but we've found that blends are what's readily available. We strive to offer our children a great mix of fibers to get them thinking about their choices. Whether it's knitting or sewing, the process of choosing those materials will help your child become an anlytical thinker. And it will give them even more pride in their work.

For this blog post, I thought I would share a video that was sent to me from our local fabric company - it is amazing. The warehouse is huge and it's almost impossible to really see anything unless you're on a ladder or an electric lift!


Additionally, I thought I'd include a few images from some of my recent shopping excursions. It truly is one of the most exciting and fun parts of my job! 

We buy our yarn for summer camp and after school classes at yarn warehouses like this one.








You cannot imagine how my heart skips a beat when I enter a yarn warehouse like this one. The potential for creation, the colors, the smell of sheep, they are all things that I wish I could share with our students.... if I were Ms. Frizzle from the Magic School Bus I would be shouting "Field Trip!".

After shopping at the yarn warehouse! 







This is the trunk of my car after visiting the aforementioned yarn warehouse!

Melissa during a shopping trip for machine sewing fabrics.








This image was taken by Miss Alisha during one  of our recent shopping spree's!




Tags: fiber arts, Sewing, Knitting, kids, camp