Have you ever walked into a room and it's positively alive with energy? If you haven't, not only are you missing out on palpable awesomeness but that probably also means that you have never been to any of the camps at Rosemont College.
The first camp that I ever had the honor of instructing was Machine Sewing at Rosemont several summers ago. Since then the program has grown and changed in ways that I certainly never could have imagined, but am truly glad that I am an active part of.
One thing that has remained the same since my first summer back in 2008 is the commitment, determination and wonder that each camper brings to the program. Admittedly, I am slightly partial to machine sewing, as it was the first craft that I had learned to do and have continued to do to this day (obviously!). But I too even after 25 years of sewing have the same commitment, wonder and determination of the kids that walk through the door. Though each child is different, each experience unique and each creative production special, the common thread that binds us together is the love of the craft; and it is in that commonality that we create that energy that can be felt walking into Rosemont. It is the power of being in the same space, with like minded hands and hearts, busying themselves with their chosen task. Each one of them, making it special.
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.
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?
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.
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.
In what has become a perennial event, The Handwork Studio is once again taking the show on the road!
Last summer, Miss Julia and I embarked on a journey that would become one of the most adventurous craft excursions to date; and in a matter of days the craftsome twosome will do it once more!
Over the past several weeks we have been cutting, stitching, rolling balls of yarn, felting, putting in zippers, tracing patterns and packing boxes in preparation for the tour, and in year two it’s a lot easier!
Here’s what we have gleaned from our first year on the road
We now know how to expertly pack The Handwork Studio Mobile in record time.
We know now that putting the ironing board on top of everything in the van means it will fly forward when we step on the brakes.
Always check to make sure you have your cell phone & GPS
Kids in EVERY STATE OF THE UNION LOVE TO MAKE THINGS!
You never wear all of the clothes that you pack.
Yarn is a universal language
In the year that has passed since Miss Julia and I left for our first Road Tour we have spent many, many days reminiscing about the fun that was had in our new camps and the friends we made along the way. What’s even better is that since we will be returning to places that we visited last summer we get to see those that have now become our old friends!
I have to admit; there is a different type of excitement that I feel now. One of familiarity and comfort knowing the adventure that being on the road will bring, and being able to follow the footsteps that we left for ourselves last summer. Here’s to another great trip!