We are getting excited about new supplies, new tools, and new projects in spring 2K11, or as we have been referring to it: 2K!! Lucky for us, there are some new shops in the greater Boston area that are all about catering to craft nerds!
Fellow BBB organizer Marissa and I got a chance to check out our new local craft shop in Cambridge last week: Gather Here. It is about a 10 minute walk from Central square, just a handful of minutes up Broadway Street from Inman Square. This amazing shop and work space sits tucked among a small strip of shops on a mainly residential block. Their window and signage are a total tip-off as to how great it is inside.
Gather Here just opened up last month, but has a full calendar of events and classes. Some of their great patterns and fabrics are on display in the window, along with a giant chalk calendar displaying the upcoming month’s classes. The idea is that you sign up for a class to learn how to follow a pattern they sell for a dress, for example, and at the end of the class, you end up leaving with a fully sewn and ready to wear dress. If you are like me, and have a closet full of half-sewn skirts, dresses, and partially knitted scarves, you must be just as excited as I am to sign up for one of these.
In addition to classes, Gather Here wants you to come browse, talk to other shoppers, ask questions of the super-knowledgeable staff, and hang out. With couches, chairs and a full coffee pot, the store name is no joke! Marissa and I checked out the Saturday morning ‘Knitter’s Brunch’ a few weeks ago, and got to chat with a whole table full of friendly crafters. The stitch lounge is the most welcoming, and fun atmosphere I have been to in a while, with people working, shopping and chatting. Marissa and I weren’t even knitting, but embroidering a few projects. Our table neighbors were of all skill levels, working on projects from beautiful cable knit sweaters, to amigurumi toys, stitch samplers, scarves and socks.
We embroidered and scoped out the store and took a few pics of everyone working. The work stations are available to rent per hour, and are well equipped. You can find a variety of machine companies, I noted Singer and Bernina machines for sewing and serging (serging!!!), and each station comes with task lighting and there are plenty of boxes should you need an extra pin or a pencil while you work.
The owners Virginia and Noah both seemed more than happy to help with consulting over technique, or color selection of fabric and yarn for future projects. Their enthusiasm is awesome, and is definitely a huge part of why this store is so great. They are crafters themselves, and have made their inventory of goods and classes appealing to fellow crafters. We did a little Q&A with them so you can get an idea about their coolness:
What are your favorite things to make? Virginia loves to sew pretty much everything. Clothes, pillows, coasters, pot holders, bow ties. She also likes to cross stitch and embroider swear words on stuff. Virginia is also into growing her own food. Noah loves to needle felt. A majority of the needle felting in the shop was made by him. Noah also likes to make food – he bakes a lot of the cookies we have in the shop and the bread, too.
Where did you first learn your crafty skills? Virginia learned everything from her late grandmother including how to make a tissue box cozy. She got her love of fabric from her mother who made her clothes for about two years because Virginia fell in love with some strawberry printed fabric and would wear nothing else. True story. Noah’s mom is an artist who works with pins and buttons and beads doing really interesting sculptures. He thinks his needle felting skills came from her side of the family.
What is the worst/craziest crafting injury ever sustained? Does hurting your ego count? Because Virginia has hurt her ego pretty badly.
What are three awesome things your place/store offers? Only three awesome things? We offer a fully equipped stitch lounge with solid Bernina sewing machines, two sergers, an 8 foot cutting table, Rowenta irons, great tools and professional help. We’re the only shop in Massachusetts with Liberty of London fabric and we have 100% wool felt, we don’t know anyone else in Boston with it. Plus we host some great community get togethers: Knitter’s Brunch every Saturday and Pints n Purls to Thursday nights a month – a BYOB knitting/crocheting/embroidering/whatever-you-want-that’s-legal.
How are you enjoying your new location/neighborhood? Cambridge and Gather Here were meant to be. People in our neighborhood are welcoming, enthusiastic and fun. They are also crafty geniuses.
What is your favorite crafting tool/machine? My hands. (editor’s note: BEST ANSWER!)
What is the next thing you want to learn to make and are getting excited about? Virginia wants to learn to spin. She became friends with Shannon Herrick (creative force behind The Spun Monkey) and really, really, really wants to go to Shannon’s studio and learn to spin. Spun Monkey yarns are beautiful and so inspirational. We were contacted by Green Mountain Spinnery about carrying their spinning wheels and this is only feeding her desire to spin. Noah just learned to single crochet and wants to learn more – he’s surrounded by nice yarn and really wants to make himself a useful hat. It’s supposedly spring so he’s got some time to learn.
Do you have any exciting events coming up? On April 1st and throughout this weekend we’re launching our Maker’s Reward Program – spend $25 and receive your first stamp, 10 stamps gets you a $25 rewards card. Everyone who qualifies this weekend also gets to enter a giveaway for all kinds of cool stuff: Subversive Cross Stitch patterns, 100% wool felt bundles, patterns, coupons, yarn, fabric and official Gather Here tote bags. The next three Sundays we’ll be Quilting for Japan from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. in answer to the Call for Quilts sent out by a Japanese quilting journal. It’s really important to us that Gather Here is at the heart of crafting for hope and we want to do more events that focus on making to make a difference.