Purls of Wisdom

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

FiberPhiladelphia 2012

Posted by Melissa Haims on Wed, Mar 21, 2012 @ 06:30 AM

Hi there! Miss Melissa here for a double shot of blog posts. Last week I wrote about the American Camp Association's Tri State Camp Conference and while I was there I talked A LOT about FiberPhiladelphia and promised to share more details... Here they are:

FiberPhiladelphia 2012 is an international biennial and regional festival for innovative fiber/textile art. Exhibitions are happening at more than 40 locations including major institutions and independent venues during the event. They will include work by renowned international artists and a new generation of artists breaking into the field. The first shows began in January and they stretch until June.

Now, if you've been reading our blog, you'll know that March is National Craft Month. But did you know that on March 2nd May Michael Nutter declared by official proclamation that March is Fiber Arts Month in Philadelphia? Well, friends, it's true. At the opening ceremony which was held at Moore College of Art and Design we were treated to a welcome address by Mayor Nutter (at a yarn bombed microphone), an introduction by Dr. Happy Fernandez (President of Moore), another intro by Amy Orr (Executive Director of FiberPhiladelphia 2012) and finally, a keynote lecture by Elissa Auther. She is the author of String, Felt, Thread: The Hierarchy of Art and Craft in American Art (Minnesota, 2010). Click here to see photos of this amazing event and the opening that occurred afterward at the Crane Arts BUilding! 

Miss Melissa yarn bombing Mayor Nutter's microphone.  Mayor Nutter at said Microphone.

Yes, that's me yarn bombing the microphone that Mayor Nutter, et al, spoke at.

Now, at this point, you may be asking yourself why I am writing about this. What's the tie back to The Handwork Studio? Here's the deal: I work for The Handwork Studio year round as the Director of Curriculum and Education, but I'm also a fiber artist who makes and shows work in galleries. I was drawn to FiberPhiladelphia in January 2011 by a fellow fiber artist and the next thing I knew I found myself on the Executive Board of this fabulous festival surrounded by the most amazing individuals: artists, curators, students, designers and volunteers. Together, we created the single most important Fiber Arts event in Philadelphia in the last 20 years. I am so proud to be a part of this group and promote the exhibitions, support our business sponsors and spread the word.

So please stop by The Handwork Studio and pick up one of our directories and plan your visit to our shows around the city today! You can also find them at many locations around town; check the website for a list of our exhibitions and support your local fiber artists!

Full Disclosure / Shameless Plug:

I have a number of shows during the festival that I would love for you to share with your children, friends and family. Click here for the full exhibitions list and search for "Melissa". You can see some of the work I do when I'm not knitting bunnies and sewing marshmallows!

If you're reading this, chances are you have a little fiber artist at home and in that case I would strongly recommend that if you're in the Philadelphia area between now and the end of April, take them to see Cold Comfort at The Schuylkill Center for Envrionmental Education. This show has been delighting the little ones (and not so little ones) since January and is a real treat, both indoors and out!

little tree hugger at Cold Comfort.


Miss Melissa


Tags: kids knitting, crafts, kids programs, art exhibit, fiber arts, stitch, travel, Workshops, website, National Craft Month, Narberth, Reccomendations, Sewing, Knitting, Crochet, Fun, kids, fun kids activities, project ideas, camp, Handwork, Narberth kids' activities

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