Purls of Wisdom

Sewing Camp or Love? Sometimes it is hard to know the difference.

Posted by Laura Kelly on Tue, Jul 31, 2012 @ 07:00 AM


Today was an emotional day for us at The Handwork Studio.  You don't really think of camp as being emotional.  Fun, lots of activities and sunshine but not really emotional. 

But today we were rewarded with an email from a family that made us all cry.  

"I just returned from picking up my child; as anticipated it was a GLORIOUS day! She is in LOVE with the program, and her instructors! She gushed all the way home - which of late, she hasn't had much opportunity..  Thank Goodness for the Handwork Studio!  For now, her sadness has dissipated and her joy is infectious! I owe you all a huge HUG! Thank You All Again, for being the newest Blessing in our lives!"

This is what we work for!  This is the best part of our job.  You may see us as sewing camp, but we see your kids as an opportunity for love to happen.

And speaking of love, watch this week's video below of Miss Alisha at sewing camp.  Clearly she is missing Miss Julia and Sheepy while they are at Shadeside Academy in Pittsburg.  This is the "not" so emotional side of our jobs.  Enjoy!

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Recommendations

Summer Camp & The Wilderness, A Perfect Combination

Posted by Alisha Tillman on Wed, Jul 25, 2012 @ 08:55 AM

There are a few combinations that everyone knows without even thinking too hard about…

  • Peanut Butter & Jelly

  • Cookies & Milk

  • Needle & Thread

  • Miss Julia & Miss Alisha

But did you know that sewing and camping go together?  Most people don’t!

Well let me be the first to tell you that they do.  That is of course if you are sewing with the campers of Pine Forest and Timber Tops in the great Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania.  This past week I had the pleasure of driving across US Route 80 up into the deep green hills of the Pocono Mountains where these two camps lay tucked away behind tall pines and winding roads that are dotted with the occasional rafter of wild turkeys (a “rafter” is what you call a group of these birds!).

It was here that Miss Allison and I (she’s new this summer, welcome Miss Allison!) spent two days with about 250 campers making backpacks and bags that are perfect for weeks of summer fun at camp.  While there we met some friends that we knew from back home in Narberth, as well as a few that joined our camp workshop last summer and couldn’t resist coming back for more this year.

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While spending time at these two camps, we got to indulge in the great outdoors and the great hand crafts of old.  How many of us can say that they’ve spent hours underneath the tree tops and embroidered their initials?  I’m sure not many, but those of us that were lucky enough to experience now know the joys that sewing in the woods with friends can bring.  It kind of gives a whole new meaning to “sewing camp” now doesn’t it? 

Tags: Miss Julia, Miss Alisha, embroidery, Summer Camp, Narberth, Sewing, Summer, camp

Solo Stitching | Sewing Out on Our Own

Posted by Julia Yosen on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 12:19 AM

Let's see where did we last leave off...?  Ah, yes, Miss Alisha and I were enjoying a lovely week of sun, surf, yarn, and sewing in Avalon, NJ up until July 6th.  We ate our fill of bayside seafood and partook in other essential shore activities like riding a surrey (a 4 person bike!). As the end of the end of the week quickly approached we knew looming in the not too distant future was a difficult fact we had to face.  We had to pass the Avalon torch to Miss Meredith and Miss Jamie who will continue to run  Avalon camps until July 27th.  Alisha and I will need to both move on AND seperate our supplies and part ways!

During the month of July The Handwork Studio will be in 13 different locations!  We have 10 teams that will be covering our camps from Pennsylvania, in locations at Rosemont College, our Narberth Studio, Episcopal Academy, Springside Chestnut Hill Academy, Friends Select School, and Shady Side Academy.  We also visit Delaware for the first time the week of July 9th, at the Tatnall School.  We hold strong in Washington, DC, at Sidwell Friends School and in Virginia, at three locations, Potomac School, Madeira School, and Flint Hill School.  We cannot forget Maryland either, we are at Bullis School for the secod year, and last but not least, New Jersey, in Avalon.


In order to run all these different locations during the month Miss Alisha and I must now set out solo to stitch our own paths and teach Handwork Studio camp on our own (well not really alone).  July 9th, 2012 marked a sad day where we both drove to our respective camp sites with empty passenger seats.  Miss Alisha made her way to set-up camp at Flint Hill School in Oakton, VA.  With the help of our local DC/MD/VA staff, Amanda, Kati, and Judith, Miss Alisha taught the needlecrafts to many new and enthusiastic campers.

Flint Hill

Back on the otherside of road tour land I ventured back to the Bullis School in Potomac, MD. This is our second year there.  Last year we started with one week and this year I will be spending 3 out of the 4 weeks helping to run camp.  Without my travel partner I will tell you that it was wonderful to see some familiar faces of returning campers excited to learn more!  I am even more thrilled to have such an exceptional team to work with, Miss Syreeta, Miss Samantha, and Miss Emily. They have been nothing short of amazing!

This week as I continue to hold steady at Bullis, Miss Alisha and her new travel companion Miss Allison set out the mountains of Pennsylvania.  They will both be at Camp Pine Forest and Timber Tops in the Poconos.  For two days they will work with over 200 campers embroidering and sewing all day long! 

Though our travels will now sew around different corners we know our common thread is to teach campers of the joys of needlework.  Really the toughest part of seperating is who gets Sheepy???  

Sheepy and Julia

 Ssshhhh, don't tell Miss Alisha!




Tags: Road Tour 2012, travel, Summer Camp

Summer Camp Road Tour Update | A Fork in the Road

Posted by Megan Collier on Wed, Jul 18, 2012 @ 09:27 AM

Summer Road Tour 2012How is your summer rolling along?  Are you staying cool in all of this heat? Miss Julia and Miss Alisha have stitched quite the summer camp road tour together so far.  But now, they have reached a fork in the road and must take different paths as The Handwork Studio Road Tour continues in the heat of the summer. But, do not fret!  There is much work still to be done in this brief separation and Miss Julia will be back tomorrow with a longer post and update on how the Road Tour is coming along!

We want to hear from you!  Please share a story about your summer in the comments below by next Tuesday, for a chance to win a Handwork Studio grab bag!  It's that simple.  Just share a story below and you are entered to win!

While you wait for tomorrow's update, check out this video from the road.

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Road Tour

You Can Go Home Again | Summer Camp is Back East!

Posted by Alisha Tillman on Thu, Jul 12, 2012 @ 07:21 AM

There are two phrases about home that have always stuck with me.  One is “There’s no place like home” and the other is “You can’t go home again”.  In spending the last two summers traveling with Miss Julia teaching summer camp, I have learned that they are both true, and at the same time one of them is totally wrong.  Home for us is of course Narberth Pa; with our cozy studio and glass windows that we wave hello through every day, but for Miss Julia and I home is now present in Dallas, Texas and even found us on the beaches of Avalon.

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Leaving Dallas was bittersweet, because we have developed such close relationships and bonds there that we know we will be back soon to return to our Texas home.  And while there are 1,000 miles between us now, the anticipation of coming “home” to the northeast was palpable.  While we didn’t make it to Narberth this past week, we did spend the week in Avalon where on the beach one day we bumped into a familiar face that we used to see every Saturday morning in our Handwork Class.  We chatted with her and her family and her mom shared the fun of watching us trek across the country “I’m so glad you’re home!” she exclaimed upon seeing us; and at that point even though we weren’t in Pennsylvania, seeing them made us realize that you can come home again, that there is no place quite like it.


--Miss Alisha

Tags: Dallas, Avalon, Summer Camp, Handwork

Greetings From the Road | Summer Camp in Avalon

Posted by Megan Collier on Wed, Jul 11, 2012 @ 06:00 AM

Have you gone on vacation this summer?  Our good friend Sheepy isn't exactly on vacation but he is having the summer of his life this year while

Sheepy on the Beachtouring the country with Ms. Julia and Ms. Alisha.  This week he found himself closer to home and near the sand. He's helping out with summer camp in Avalon.  Between camp and lounging, he made (with the help of Ms. Alisha) this awesome video to share with you!

Make sure to show Sheepy some love in the comments below this post!  He loves to hear from you! 

Tags: Road Tour 2012, Road Tour

30 Hours, 1,560 Miles and 12 States | Handwork Camp is Moving On

Posted by Julia Yosen on Wed, Jul 04, 2012 @ 08:19 AM

It was bittersweet packing up on Friday June 29th, our last day of camp at Parish Episcopal School.  Alisha and I had just finished three phenomenal weeks of teaching Handwork and Machine Sewing Camp.  Altogether, we taught over 115 campers the joys of knitting, sewing, embroidery, etc., we met and worked with a wonderful group of new staff members, Miss Mariam, Miss Coco, Miss Sophia, Mr. Manny, and Miss Jasmine and hope to now be able to grow our roots in Dallas with these newly experienced staff members.  

One of the hardest goodbyes was to our Dallas host family. They took us in and treated us as their own, really no words can express the care and warmth of staying with the Sander's family.  But as the saying goes all good things must come to an end...  Well, not really an end but the first chapter of Handwork Studio Road Tour has been successfully completed and now we are ready to turn the page.  By that I mean hop in the trusty HandworkMobile and head east to Avalon, NJ.     

Packing the Van

This marathon drive has now become apart of The Handwork Studio Road Tour tradition.  Last year Miss Alisha and I had 1 1/2 days to get from Colorado to Avalon, NJ. This year our drive is slightly shorter, we expect it only to take us a little more than one complete day.  To make this work Miss Alisha and I tag team the effort.  One of us drives  and the passenger is obligated to entertain, rest up for the next driving shift, watch for cows (this is Miss Alisha's deal),
Cow spottingand find interesting places to stop to stretch our legs.   

We literally do this around the clock, we only stop for, as I mentioned before, cows, changing drivers, food, and to look at something interesting, and maybe the occassional hail storm that threatens to break your windshield.  To see more of our findings along the road you can check out our facebook page and see our Road Tour Due East album.  In the meantime, Miss Alisha and I are excited to head to Avalon, NJ to starting the next chapter!


Happy Trails!

Miss Julia 


Tags: Road Tour 2012, Summer Camp