Purls of Wisdom

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

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

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

Greetings!

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

The Handwork Studio On Location: 'Extra Yarn' with Mac Barnett

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Sat, May 05, 2012 @ 09:54 PM

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Have you ever had extra yarn? Though we often don't give a second thought to those leftover strands that dwell after our many knitting projects (because really, what would you do with them?), author Mac Barnett gave those bits we call scraps a second chance in his new book, Extra Yarn. Soon after we at The Handwork Studio discovered this gem of a story and decided to share it with our camps, Children's Book World in Haverford, PA invited us to visit and craft during a cozy gathering with booklovers and the author himself! 

Extra Yarn tells the story of a girl named Annabelle who lives in a monochrome town, but when she discovers a box of colorful extra yarn, a new world unfolds for Annabelle and her fellow townspeople. Can she knit enough to turn this town colorful once and for all?

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Check out Miss Julia's visit to Children's Book World for Mac Barnett's author signing and exclusive reading of Extra Yarn on our Facebook page! We were sure to choose a craft that used the yarny bits we gather every day in the studio and with them, created bright bouquets of Spring flowers! 

Tell us, what do you do with your extra yarn? 

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Interested in crafting with us at summer camp? It's just a few weeks away! Register now for a fun-filled week (or more!) where your child will learn new skills and create awesome projects!

 

Register For Camp

Tags: kids knitting, Story Time, Miss Julia, crafts, kids programs, spring, Summer Camp, kids, fun kids activities, activities, camp, Handwork, free craft event

Crafting Spring Camp at The Handwork Studio

Posted by Eva Laverty-Wilson on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 @ 09:26 PM

Though it appears our summery weather has taken a hiatus here on the East Coast, kids are catching a glimpse of what’s to come in the summer months at The Handwork Studio. Spring Camp is upon us!

Shadyside Spring Camp

After a fun-filled week at with Miss Julia and Miss Amanda at Shadyside Academy in Pittsburgh (ask them how staying at the alpaca farm farm was), we have begun another in Narberth and DC at Sidwell Friends.

While these few weeks in early Spring may appear seamless and relaxed, in reality they have taken months of planning to get it just right. So what goes into preparing for camp? First, Miss Melissa dons her thinking cap, researching the newest seasonal trends for kids, with help from her 9-year-old daughter, of course. Then, she sources materials, traveling from place to place to find exactly what she needs to make the kids happy and to spur their creativity! Whether it's that doggie patterned fabric or just the perfect googlie eyes for Bouillon our Cube Chicken, Melissa always looks for new things to delight our family of Handwork kids. Next comes the sampling (my favorite part because I get to help), which also involves preparing directions for instructors and campers. But it’s not over yet! The instructors themselves have a few important roles to play: first, they must test out the projects on their own to find out what works for them, and what they think will work best for their campers; second, we look for feedback from the campers to see if we got it right, what was their favorite and least favorite part of the project. We learn the most from our kids. Not only are they smart, but they always have the best suggestions for tweaking or making the project completely unique and their own. This information is perhaps the most valuable because we can apply it for future projects and camps, which allows us to make every year more awesome than the next!

Narberth Spring Camp

Interested in joining the fun? We’re offering another full week of camp in Narberth starting Monday, April 2. Register weekly, by the day, morning, afternoon or full day. If you aren't sure The Handwork Studio is the right place for your special camper, you can always come in and watch one of our classes. We love kids and we want them to love us back! Let them come meet us and feel the magic. Just call me or send a message to let me know when you are coming - we would be delighted to have you!

-Miss Eva

Tags: Miss Julia, crafts, kids art classes in narberth pennsylvania, Summer Camp, Narberth, Kids Camp, Sewing, Summer, fun kids activities, camp

Greetings from ACA Tristate!

Posted by Melissa Haims on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 @ 12:58 PM

This post was supposed to be about FiberPhiladelphia 2012, a citywide international biennial of fiber arts taking place right this second. However, currently I am sitting in the Atlantic City Convention Center at the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and I am, as usual, blown away by the professional development that our staff at The Handwork Studio has the opportunity to take part in.

But because I promised a bunch of people that I would talk about FiberPhiladelphia in this blog post, i'll post a few photos at the end with a couple of links and then NEXT week I'll blog in more detail about that.

In the meantime, let me tell you how our staff is preparing for your children to have the best summer camp experience.... 

We are at the world's largest convention for camp professionals learning about the safest, smartest and most efficient ways of providing that experience. Each day we take part in workshops that teach valuable lessons and offer useful insites on topics such as Setting and Reaching Goals, Building and Maintaining Positive Parent Relationships, Creating the Best Possible Young Leaders and Helping Your Staff be the Best.  

The Handowrk Studio Staff (Miss Laura, Miss Julia, Miss Alisha, Miss Eva, Miss Amanda and myself) even taught a workshop about bringing needle arts into other camps and how important these traditional handcrafts can be to children both socially and emotionally (and they are all secretly about math!).  

The very last Keynote Speaker was Rosalind Wiseman, best-selling author and internationally recognized expert on children, teens, parenting, bullying, social justice, and ethical leadership. She is the author of Queen Bees and Wannabees: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World, the groundbreaking, best-selling book that was the basis for the movie Mean Girls. What an inspiring message she sent us, as camp proffessionals, about talking to our children and helping them make the best decisions for themselves. 

What an insightful and amazing experience for our staff!

Finally, here are the images and directions that I promised to a few of you while attending our workshops at Tri State:

Yarn Bombing (aka Knit Grafitti) 

Cold Comfort: Knit Graffiti by Melissa Maddonni Haims
At the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education
in the Andorra section of Philadelphia
February 24 – April 30, 2012
Click here to check out more photos on their Facebook page.
 

This could be a great community knitting or crocheting project for your campers who are just starting out with their handwork and will feel a sense of unity when they join their works together to yarn bomb a significant tree or pole on your camp site.

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Yarn Bombing on chicken wire fences 
Shagging... new textile works by Kathryn Pannepacker (& community)
The William Way LGBT Community Center in Center City Philadelphia
March 8 - April 27, 2012
Click here for details about the show.
 
 

These are chicken wire fence peices that have been looped with various types of yarns that have been doubled or trippled and cut into 6-10" lengths. This could be a great project to do on a fence on your site! And you don't have to use yarn - be creative - you could use recycled materials such as old clothes, plastic bags, and maybe do them in your camp colors! 

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Another Project done by Kathryn was was on a loom that was an old garment rack that had been wrapped with a warp in front of the Library in Center City and a could of us Handwork Studio instructors happened upon it one day a few years ago - this is Miss Stephane and I. We pulled over on the side of the road when we saw this random loom chained to a bike rack and, well, we always travel with bits and peices of yarn and fabric so we jumped out and had at it! You could do this inbetween two trees!

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PLARN! Yarn made from plastic bags!

The photo below is of a plarn chair i created in the fall of 2011 that is currently in the Schuylkill Center Exhibitions. 

Here are some links for directions:

http://www.crochetspot.com/how-to-make-plarn-plastic-yarn/

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4Qq3-gppZKY

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Good luck and enjoy! I'll be back next week with more on FiberPhiladelphia 2012!

Best, 

Miss Melissa

Tags: kids knitting, Miss Julia, crafts, kids programs, fiber arts, teach kids to knit, stitch, Miss Alisha, Summer Camp, Kids Camp, Knitting, Fun, fun kids activities, project ideas, activities, camp

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