Purls of Wisdom

Julia Yosen

Recent Posts

When in Texas.... Ride a Bike... and Crochet

Posted by Julia Yosen on Mon, Jun 18, 2012 @ 11:56 PM


By now you may have noticed that Miss Alisha and I have made it to Texas and are in the midst of teaching handwork and machine sewing camp.  We have just completed our first successful week of crafting.  Sadly on Friday's we do have to shut down and we are left to our own devices for two whole days... Some people call this a weekend.  Well, being that we have a handwork mobile, a sheep, and a healthy sense of adventure we decided to take advantage of our time and mosey our way down to Austin, TX.  

Austin Sunset

A little over three hours from Dallas, we set foot in Austin and set-up camp in the beautiful McKinney Falls State park, took in a fabulous sunset over Lake Travis , checked out the famous 6th Street strip, saw some scorpions, turtles and lizards, 

Austin Turtle

and the icing on the cake for this trip was finally getting to ride a tandem bicycle through Austin!   Riding a tandem bike has been on my bucket list for years.  Who better to cross this off the list with than Miss Alisha and Sheepy.  However, I was not quite informed prior to renting the bike that Miss Alisha had not been on a bike in 25ish years...  I believe I was told as we got on the bike and wobbled precariously across the sidewalk.  We are not ones to give up so we perservered and with a little teamwork we were riding like pros..sort of. We at least did not run anyone or anything

Miss Alisha and Miss Julia

over.  Check out our fun video montage of Miss Alisha and I riding bikes and other scenes throughout Texas.  

Happy Trails!

Miss Julia


Tags: Miss Julia, Road Tour 2012, Miss Alisha, Texas, Summer

Full Circle | Growing Up at The Handwork Studio

Posted by Julia Yosen on Mon, May 21, 2012 @ 10:31 PM


  Training 5/20

In the year of our 10th anniversary at The Handwork Studio we have a lot of amazing accomplishments to look back upon.  To me there is no bigger accomplishment and testament to our purpose than being able to watch a once tiny kindergartener become a mature, caring, and compassionate counselor.  

Over the past few years as many of our campers start to age out of our programs we have created a next step to allow our campers experience with us come full circle.  Now instead of coming as campers to The Handwork Studio, many of our teen and pre-teen campers will be spending a part of their summer vacation working with us.  When campers reach the age of 12 they can begin to volunteer and starting at 14, up to 17 they are Counselors in Training (CIT's).

This summer we will have 23, 12-17 year olds holding down these positions, our largest group as of yet!  They will be assisting in teaching our campers the same techniques that they had once learned when they went to The Handwork Studio; sewing, knitting, embroidery, crochet, friendship bracelets, etc.    

Like a mother hen I swell with pride to see many of our CIT's and Volunteers exhibit confidence and leadership abilities, they are passionate about working with children, and teaching the needle arts, and genuinely fun, happy, caring people.  I could not be more proud of this upcoming group of young people that are dedicated to helping us teach the next generation of needle-artists.

        Fashion Boot Camp Camper  Now a CIT

Bella has been with The Handwork Studio for 10 years.  Above she is pictured as a Fashion Boot Camp camper in 2007 and in 2011 Bellas was a JR. Counselor!   

Tags: Summer Camp, Kids Stories, Narberth, education Growing Up, Anniversary

Chicken Cube for the Soul | Crafty Creations at The Handwork Studio

Posted by Julia Yosen on Thu, Apr 12, 2012 @ 11:16 PM

How do the sayings go?  No two chicken cubes are alike?  Or, "Is a chicken cube but a chicken cube by any other beak?"  These are deep questions we ponder at The Handwork Studio... 

What I am trying to say, is that when ever we introduce a new project we have an example of what it will look like in the end, this is so everyone can see and understand what they will be making. After six years of running classes at The Handwork Studio, I am still amazed everytime in the way each person interprets the same pattern.    

Over spring break camp this year our Curriculum Director, Melissa Haims designed one of my favorite projects of all time, Bouillon, the Cube Chicken.  This funny creation is basically six squares sewn together to create its cube structure.  What really makes this project interesting is that Buillion does not come to life until you add all the accoutrements.  We provide a shmorgasborg of buttons, embroidery floss, wool roving, felt, etc., etc.  and campers go to town.  All of sudden our plain old cube starts taking on a life of its own.  I will let the pictures speak for themselves to show what a little imagination can turn into.

 Chicken Cube Project  Chicken Cube Project

Chicken Cube! Chicken Cubes

Tags: crafts, spring, creativity, imagination, Kids Camp, Sewing, Fun

Come Meet The Handwork Studio | Camp Fairs Galore!

Posted by Julia Yosen on Wed, Feb 01, 2012 @ 11:00 PM

Main Line Camp Fair

After watching children come through the studio today, Wednesday Febuary 1st,  in shorts, t-shirts, and flip-flops I stopped thinking that Summer was so far away.  In reality, just a few short months from now we will be planning trips to the beach, eating ice cream outside and of course for many kids Summer means going to Camp! 

Now a days with so many camp offerings parents and kids have to make a lot decisions about where to go and what to do.  With these endless choices you might wonder how does one make an educated decision on what camp will be the best fit?  At The Handwork Studio we have found that camp fairs are a one stop shop for families to see a lot of different camps in the region and to get a more intimate look at them.  Rather than tediously checking countless programs out online camp fairs offer the opportunity to speak first hand to the counselors and directors at each of their respective camps.  Many even have visual aids, props and equipment to show and sometime demonstrate what goes on in their camp on any given day.  Another perk of visiting a camp fairs is that they are free and can be a great afternoon or evening out with the kids. Many camps will offer a small activity or a give away that makes it fun for everyone.  

At the Handwork Studio we love to bring kids in on the experience.  When we set up our booth we bring many examples of projects that we could potentially create over the Summer and also offer kids to make a quick easy project on the sewing machine with one of our trained instructors.

Camp Fair Project

Since we feel camp fairs are a fantastic way for families to experience us a big part of my job throughout January, February, and March is being out on the camp fair circuit.  A few days a week I travel around NJ, PA, DC and MD region setting up camp fairs at schools, malls, hotels, pharmaceuatical companies and more.  I truly find these fairs to be invigorating. One of my favorite things is meeting new families that are excited to learn about us because their child has expressed an interested in what we offer and of course it is great seeing alumni Handwork Studio campers visitng our booth with big smiles and a hug!

White Flint Fair 

If you are interested in checking out one of the upcoming camp fairs that The Handwork Studio will be at feel free to check us out here to see where our next stop will be!

Tags: Summer Camp, fun kids activities

Story Time at The Handwork Studio | A Time Out From Creating

Posted by Julia Yosen on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 @ 03:04 PM

Story time at The Handwork StudioParents ask us all the time when we run camp 6 hours a day, 5 days a week for approximately 20 weeks out of the year (that includes Winter, Spring and Summer break), Do they really craft all day?!?!?  

The truth is sometimes we have to pry the knitting needles out of their hands at the end of the day.  I will tell you nothing brings us more sincere happiness then to see a child who loves what they are doing.  However, I must confess that we do not craft for the entire six hours.   We do ask our campers to take a break to do things like eat and rest there hands.  During that down time we like to read.  

Over the years The Handwork Studio has accumulated quite a collection of story books that weave magnificent tales of silly sheep that won’t follow the flock, or a messy girl who has a room that looks like it is lived in by pigs, so of course she sews many pigs, and of a quilt that has been passed down from generation to generation.   


A Handwork Studio Favorite ReadOne of our favorite stories is "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, A Yarn about Wool”  by Teri Sloat and illustrated by the whimsical artist Nadine Bernard Wescott.  This simple funny rhyming story has proven to be a must read for all ages in our camps.  


The story begins when Farmer Brown shears his sheep in the chilly days of early spring. Much to their dismay these shivering sheep want their wool back!  As the story progresses the sheep follow Farmer Brown and watch as their wool is turned into something new.  Readers get to see the journey wool goes on from being cleaned and combed to dyed and spun and at the end you have happy sheep that get to see what their wool has become.


We feel nothing engages a child more than a good story and helps them to relate to the many different skills we teach at The Handwork Studio.  If you are interested in "Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep, A Yarn about Wool”or other fabulous stories we have at The Handwork Studio please contact us at anytime.

Happy reading!

Miss Julia

Tags: Story Time, Summer Camp, Kids Stories, Reccomendations, Sewing, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, Narberth kids' activities

Mother Nature Teaches Lessons at The Handwork Studio!

Posted by Julia Yosen on Mon, Sep 05, 2011 @ 04:00 PM

Car accidents, earthquakes and hurricanes, OH MY! Needless to say our summer is not wrapping up on a dull note. It all started Monday late afternoon after leaving Sidwell in the middle of rush hour. Another car ended up crossing into our lane causing a minor fender bender in the Handwork Studio mobile. If you haven't heard about DC traffic, saying it is atrocious is an under statement in my book. Everybody was fine except for the front driver side with a slight indentation. studio mobile

As if that were not enough excitement for the week Tuesday, August 28th, left us all a little shaken. Well into our afternoon the room hummed with campers crafting and slowly a tremor built up. At first we thought maybe it was construction but the shaking intensified and continued. After a quick look at Jennelle we called all the children and stood together in the doorway and waited for the shaking to subside. Having 50 pairs of questioning eyes looking at you to let them know everything is OK was an overwhelming experience. the fabulous Handwork Studio staff, Kina, Dania, Sophia, Jenelle, and Amanda handled the situation beautifully. Fortunately, we also had the the help of the Sidwell Summer Staff, Elizabeth and Katelyn. We evacuated the building in an incredibly orderly fashion (now kids know why we tell them to keep their shoes on!). We made our way out to stable grounds and kept all of our campers occupied with games. Some were nervous and concerned but thanks to calmness and organization of our staff the children remained safe and calm too.  

I promise this is not a doom and gloom message, in fact the opposite. For better or worse it sometimes takes a near miss to make you appreciate what you have; Your health, family, job security ;), etc. I would just like to thank the entire Handwork Studio staff for a wonderful Summer and for providing such good care to all the children that came through our camps. Parents entrust us everyday with their most trusted commodity and I would like to point out what a wonderful job everyone has been doing.

Now as I sit here typing this message I am sitting with my family listening to the rain and wind swirl around us while we apprehensively wait to ride out Hurricane Irene. To make the best of this less then ideal weather I am going to try my hands at making an afghan that my grandmother taught me how to do last week when I visited. I would like to wish everyone a much less eventful week :)

Talk to you soon,

Ms. Julia 

Tags: Mother Nature, Fun, Summer, kids