image above: Alicia Cornwell via flickr
image of NYC by film colleague, Sonya Tateosian via Facebook
image of New Jersey by 2nd AD, Ali Walker Jordan via Facebook <PREVIEWEND>
As some of you know, I ended up "stranded" in Houston waiting to fly home from International Quilt Market. It was my first Quilt Market and I was so excited to go. I couldn't wait to talk to some of our tried and true vendors, open new accounts with fashion-forward companies like Michael Miller, and ogle the amazing booth designs. Such a wonderful source of inspiration and it's like being "in the future". But by Saturday afternoon people were huddled in the lobbies, on the phone with airlines trying to get home right then and there because of Superstorm Sandy. My flight had yet to be cancelled so I continued about my business. Looking at fabric, opening accounts, deciding what the shelves of gather here would look like in 2013.
By Sunday many people had hopped on planes home. But my flight was still on schedule. Until late that afternoon. I managed to re-route my flight to Manchester, New Hampshire to arrive on Monday. Only to have my flight cancelled again. And again. An inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. I clung to my phone and iPad for the next few days. On Monday morning, Noah and Carla went in and contacted everyone in our Monday night classes to reschedule. They updated our outgoing voicemail message. Hung up signs announcing we would close at 1. I updated the website and social media outlets with the news that we would be closing early. Then I got on the phone and waited. I wanted to be home. If Sandy was going to wallop the Northeast, I wanted to be there with my family. But I was safely stranded in Houston. Until Wednesday.
I obsessively followed twitter and Facebook over the next few days. Searching for updates. My friends and former students were evacuated from their homes in New York and New Jersey, many without power or transportation. Former colleagues were displaced. Some will be forced to relocate forever. What can any of us do in the face of such a disaster?
When Joplin, Missouri was hit by a devastating tornado we hosted an online fundraising raffle. We raised over $3500 for the Red Cross. We hope to do the same this time around. Actually, we hope to raise $4000 this time. The process is exactly the same. You make a donation, you are entered to win an awesome prize by awesome people. Like the button-collecting bird tote by Egg-a-go-go or the peep boot stocking by Lizzy House pictured below. We've put out a call to many of our vendors as well as the maker community to see if we can drum up awesome prizes to share with you. And of course we'll be donating product (like all the swag I brought home from Quilt Market!) and some of our best handmade goods. We'll be posting the prizes on Tuesday, November 6th after we've had a chance to collect photos and descriptions from our generous donors. (Don't worry, there will be many prizes and many opportunities to win something fabulous!)
How's this going to work?
For every $10 you donate to the Red Cross, you get a virtual raffle ticket. Donate $10 you get 1 ticket; donate $50 you get 5 chances to win a prize, $100 gets you 10 chances.
We're (Virginia & Noah) donating $100 to get this party started.
So go to the Red Cross Donate Funds page and make a donation. When you confirm your donation you'll receive a tracking code which is really important. It's not only in the confirmation page, it's also in the printable tax receipt which you can save as a pdf, AND it's in the emailed receipt that they'll automatically send you. If you donate via text message simply text: REDCROSS to 90999 to automatically donate $10. You'll receive a text message confirmation. Save that text, take a screen capture of it because you'll want to have that number handy when you win.
Finally, leave a comment on this post. Only one is
necessary even if you are super generous and donate hundreds of dollars.
You need to include the transaction code and donation amount in your comment.
Also, please, please, please help us spread the word about this raffle. Post it on your blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. The more people know, the more funds we will raise to assist with the Red Cross Disaster Relief efforts. We have badges that you can share on your blog! Thank you, Emily Chionchio, for designing these badges - SO perfect!
And as always, thank you so very much! I am amazed every day at the generosity and kindness of the maker community. The prizes that have been donated by members of the arts & crafts community in these difficult economic times makes me weep. The donations from all of you makes all the difference in a world that often seems so divided and for that I have hope for our future. Thanks you from the very bottom of my heart. xoVirginia
P.S. Prizes can be found OVER HERE!
Last night we hosted an Open House for the Annex, our new studio space and artist-in-residence accommodations. We couldn't be prouder of what we've done over the last three weeks and it was such a treat to share it with so many of you. The bright white space filled with textiles, the smell of butternut squash soup and a hazelnut cake baked by none other than Lizzy House was more than I could have hoped for and then all of you came. I am honored. Honored that you took time away from your work, your family, your books/televisions/knitting/Monday-night-football to see The Annex. To meet my friend, Lizzy. To share in this next great adventure.
The space is perfect for large works. These quilts designed by Lizzy fill the large white walls and instantly inspire me to make the next thing. To get out the needles and finish off those socks. And cut into that precious piece of Liberty Tana Lawn to make a fall blouse. To piece together blocks of color and sit and hand quilt lines of stitching around each star. The Annex was created not only to provide you with space to create but to also inspire each of us to step into the unknown and create something new.
Thank you for coming to the Open House. I hope we see more of you. I hope you'll join us for Lizzy's Champion Ribbon workshop next Saturday. I know I'll be making Noah and I some ribbons to celebrate the Annex. And seriously, Gather Here Peeps are the kindest, sweetest, most generous people on either side of the river. Seeing you gather around Lizzy's quilts, touching the stitching, chatting with one another about what you were making and what you dreamed of making, truly made my heart overflow. Seeing so many lovely crafted bags, gorgeous knitwear, and one little girl in a to-die-for corduroy coat was a testament to this age of handmade. And we can't wait to see what you make next. What we can make together on this corner of Broadway and Lee in mid-Cambridge. Thank you.
You may not realize this about me (Virginia) but my super power is remembering people. I usually can remember a person, his/her name and what she/he was working on. Perhaps even ask about the big date you were going on after a Saturday sewing class or get an update on your house hunting/buying. I make a point of asking lots of questions when I'm teaching or mingling at Pints 'n Purls. You can't have me cut your fabric without being peppered with questions about what you are making. And if you end up asking me about yarn, well, I'll be stalking your progress on Ravelry before you even have time to knit a swatch. I'm totally being honest when I say, "share a picture or bring it in." Because I remember you.
above: Megan Lally from her Pink Blog <PREVIEWEND>
This super power confession brings me to this post. I remember Megan. She homebrewed some amazing blueberry ale and brought it to a Pints 'n Purls in spring of 2011. She was sitting at the head of the old oak table. She was generous enough to offer me a glass of beer. Which we proceeded to spill everywhere. And we laughed so hard about it. And I admired her whale zippered box bag. Made with whale fabric from the store. Bought right after we had opened. It wasn't actually hers, she had made it for her sister, Jocelyn. She never mentioned metastatic breast cancer. Or anything about her health. She was full of life. She was 31.
I received a request today to sponsor The First Annual Memorial 5K Run and Fun Walk for Megan Lally to benefit Metastatic Breast Cancer Research. I wish Gather Here was over the hurdle, that we had finished our new studio expansion and that all the additional classes were paying for it. Because I would give so much money to sponsor this run. We're committing to being a Friend Sponsor, maybe if August is a super profitable month we'll go Bronze. Megan and Jocelyn's friend, Greeley sent us a message via Facebook about the run. Greeley is one of the most awesome people I've met since opening the store. And I know this Memorial 5K is something she is committed to. And now we are, too. Because this generous, wonderful woman should still be here. Knitting socks. Sewing bags. Doing normal things with the people who really did know her and remember her.
The race is on October 14th in Worcester. There will be beer. There will be music. And yes, there will be a 5K race along Lake Quinsagamond. There's a certain sewing physician that has been nudging me to get back to running...Suzin (if you're reading this blog), I think we should run this 5K. And maybe "you" should register, too. We can run this together, we can honor the memory of a knitter who made a hell of a blueberry ale and died way too young.
Don't think you can run? Donate to the Megan Lally Memorial Fund here. And thank you.
(If you happen to be by the shop today (Wednesday, April 25), it's Naomi's last day. Drop in and wish her well. We're all going to miss her so very very much. That's the greatest thing about opening Gather Here, we meet the most amazing people and get to call them our friends.)
As some of you may have heard, I am no longer going to be working at Gather Here. I have come across two amazing opportunities that I could not pass up, one to survey lizards in the Bahamas in May, and the other to study shorebirds in the Arctic for June and July. It is with great sadness that I am leaving this amazing community and so in order to help me process these sad feelings, I'm writing you love letters! Here goes.
left: box bags, right: liberty baby bibs <PREVIEWEND>
I also want to thank you for being so inspiring in your crafty endeavours. There was hardly a day that one of you didn't come in with a brilliant idea that I had to go home and make right then. I honestly don't know how I'll stay inspired when I'm not surrounded by such amazing people!
left: crochet pillows, right: parson gray quilt
I will miss you all so much, but don't worry, I'll be in to craft every chance I get!
left: handmade t-shirt, right: schoolhouse tunic
When I first moved here I was pretty lonely. I went for a walk one Friday night and found myself on Broadway street. During my pity-party/walk for one I had been thinking about how much I missed my community in Vancouver. Then I saw it. It was a beacon in the dark. I walked in and couldn't believe my eyes. Yarn! Fabric! Cool folks that would maybe be my friends? Then you asked me to come to knitter's brunch. I was in.
left: spring colorwork cowl, right:whinnie with the knit jack-a-lope
Last fall Susan Gibbs of Juniper Moon Farm announced that Lizzy House would be doing a quilting and block printing workshop at the farm. It was six months away and I decided to sign up. I still haven't figured out how to tell the future so I booked myself a trip so far in advance that it would have to all work out. I'd be totally lying if I said the week before leaving wasn't crazy and stressful. It was the first time I would be out of the state and not just a text message away from the shop since we opened in February of 2011. But I still got on the plane and left. The promise of great food, excellent conversation and new friendships helped me set aside any anxieties I had about leaving the shop for an entire week. <PREVIEWEND>
Clockwise from left: Amanda with Jerry the llama, Caroline feeding the sheep, Zac and Lizzy with a lamb,Lizzy is ambushed by goats and sheep!
I'm so very glad I did. Lizzy House is exactly the person she says she is. The woman behind the enthusiastic tweets, the hopeful soul behind the honest blog posts, the gifted artist behind each inspired fabric collection. She is all of this and more. Plus she raises her voice in song when the mood strikes her, serenading a room of students cutting out fabric with "You're the Top" from Anything Goes.
Clockwise from left: the quilt Lizzy designed for the workshop, Lizzy sports the dress we made, Lizzy gets llama smooches, detail of her new Hello, Pilgrim! quilt
The farm is truly the magical place you've seen on the JMF website. The faces of the JMF pattern books smiling in real life. Susan is a gracious hostess leading her guests on a tour that would make you never want to leave. I stayed in a yurt! With a wood burning stove! I woke up to sheep grazing under the yurt and miniature donkeys frolicking in the copse. Homemade yogurt and granola waiting in the kitchen. And each evening delicious meals prepared by Zac were served and devoured by us as if it was our last meal.
Clockwise from left: first morning of the workshop, Monday morning snow fall, SHEEP!, one of several amazing meals by Zac.
And the people. The people who came were gems. Amanda, Peggy, Mary, Lisa, Amy, Caroline and Therese were the other students in Lizzy's workshop. Each of them truly amazing and all of us with such different yet beautiful fabric. I can't wait to see each of their finished quilts! Kimm would join us for garment sewing on Monday and made the most adorable sweet pea skirt this side of the Mississippi. I swear.
Clockwise from left: Mary's blocks, Caroline in handmade skirt, Amanda's blocks, Kimm hemming her skirt.
The next time Juniper Moon Farm offers a weekend workshop retreat, GO! If you ever have the opportunity to take a class from Lizzy House, DO IT! The experience will be with me forever. I'm pretty sure this is true for everyone who came. (A blog post dedicated just to my week of making to follow...)
Clockwise from left: Susan leads us on a tour of the farm, the sun setting on the farm, the interior of the yurt, picturesque barn
Who knew a whole year could fly by so quickly? It feels like it was only yesterday that I was painting walls white, putting together shelving and scrubbing old concrete floors. To be honest, I'm still scrubbing old concrete floors but the walls are barely visible now that the shelves are stocked, the many samples hung, and there is now so much inspiration on the walls made to share with all of you.
<PREVIEWEND>Some folks have referred to the 19th of February as our anniversary. But we've been calling it a birthday. Perhaps because Noah and I don't have children. Perhaps because she was just a tiny little seed of a dream in 2009. Then a reality by October of 2010 when we became an actual Massachusetts business. Gather Here was a concept, a logo, a business plan, a website and a pile of Ikea shelving. Boxes of stuff from all over the world arrived in January 2011. And the blood, sweat and tears of a village of believers made her greater than the sum of her parts by February of that year. Noah and I have watched this shop wobble, stumble and finally get her bearings and walk proudly into the community. We hope to see her run before she is two years of age.
This Sunday we celebrate the dream of one crazy crafter and the people that make it possible for gather here to grow up. We've got lots to share including some of our favorite local crafters and artists. Opening Gather Here has created opportunities to collaborate or witness the collaborations of the talented community. It's our pleasure to share these folks with you.
Who's going to be at the party:
Made in Lowell will be returning! We just began carrying her awesome cupcake pincushion rings in 2012 but we know she's bringing full-sized cupcake pin cushions. And perhaps a mushroom pin cushion, too.
Ady Bee of Dye KnittinK Dye is back with her gorgeous fibers (including vegan yarns!!!) as well as an amazing collaboration with the incredible designer, Ann Weaver. We'll be showcasing Ann's trunk show and books, too. Our professional sample knitter, Koren is in the middle of the Whiteness of the Whale cardigan out of Juniper Moon Farm's Findley. It's going to be gorgeous.
We're excited to introduce many of you to our friend, Patti of On the Edge Knife Sharpening. She'll be sharpening scissors in the shop from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m.! She can do left-handed scissors as well as pinking shears. She sharpens all the Gather Here scissors every couple of months and we think she is the absolute bomb-dot-com.
Danielle of the Merriweather Council will be opening her embroidery exhibit in the studio space with over fifty newly made and framed pieces just for this occasion. You'll have the opportunity to meet this inspiring artist and wrestle for one of her pieces. We are a bit frightened that once the wall is covered in her hoops we won't ever want to take them down.
We are fortunate to also be hosting Amy of Knit Collage who has been collaborating with our very own knitting genius, Danielle Shields! She'll have a full-fledged trunk show with lots of luxurious yarn, the newest Knit Collage pattern book as well as some free patterns. If you've never met Amy in-real-life then this alone should get you down to the shop. She is honestly the bestest person we've ever met.
And finally, we have some of our own goodies to share. There will be "craft or die" t-shirts that are hand-screened by the amazing Megan Mary Creamer right over at the Washington Street Arts Center. Limited edition draw string bags designed by Marissa Falco and also screened by Megan Mary Creamer. (I adore both of these ladies so much!) The fabulous Joe Barillaro designed the postcard for our birthday and will have some limited edition posters screen printed by James Weinberg and available for purchase. We can't wait to add this to the other two prints he created in the past year. Some of the samples that we've made will also be for sale. Like the Oliver + S dresses out of Cloud 9 Organic fabrics and a few A-line and wrap skirts. If the fabric is gone there's no sense in keeping these and we hope they'll find good homes. And we've stitched up our very own lined box bags. We don't have many of them because we want you to do-it-yourself but we couldn't resist the combinations of fabrics currently in the shop.
See you Sunday, February 19, 2012 from 2 until 6 p.m. We're excited (aren't we always?), we'll have cupcakes, and we'll have little gifts that we'll be handing out throughout the party compliments of the many companies that supply our shop with quality goods. And like our holiday party, with your $25 purchase you can enter to win a raffle prize! (Ask the holiday prize winners - those prizes were pretty sweet!)
Who's a fan of Lizzy House? (raises both hands)
Maritza (our quilting instructor and crafty-genius) and I saw on the twitter-verse that there was some interest in doing a quilt-along for Lizzy's awesome pattern, The Colorist. And somewhere between too many Friday night cocktails and tweets we volunteered to put together the official group! Which is a pretty cool thing to find out you've done on Saturday morning when you check your twitter feed. <PREVIEWEND>
The flickr group is officially up and already has 40 members! But we know there are more of you peeps out there. Don't be afraid of curves! Don't be afraid of color! Bottom line - don't be afraid!
You have plenty of time to join us because I'm just now blogging about this brilliant idea. Here's the official timeline that Maritza and I worked out. We spread it out over a couple of months because we know you're busy. We know we're busy but if you get bit by the piecing or quilting bug, don't let this timeline stop you from getting it done! Just go easy on the rest of us when we post pics at midnight...
February 14th (it isn't a coincidence that we chose Valentine's Day - WE <3 Lizzy House!): Choose and post pics of your "color wheel" fabrics. (You'll need at least 30 fabrics for the color ring and 4 1/2 yards of background fabric.)
February 21st: Sew your background and cut out the circle pieces.
February 29th: Cut out all your pieces.
March 14th: Piece all the "warm" pieces. Don't just stitch the wedges but stitch them together as well. (Warm = yellow, peach, orange, red, pink)
March 28th: Piece all the "cool" pieces. Don't just stitch the wedges but stitch them together as well. (Cool = green, teal, blue, indigo, purple)
April 9th: Stitch the color ring to the inner circle.
April 16th: Stitch the color ring to the outer circle.
May 7th: Quilt and bind (obviously).
You can post pics prior to the dates listed (of course) and if you don't post by the date we've penciled in, that's totally fine, too. We figured having some deadlines might inspire us (the big huge community of The Colorist admirers) to get crackin'. And because I volunteered to organize this, it means I can't just look at the pretty stack of fabric I've chosen. I must "make something"!
Maritza and I will both be writing blog posts about the process. Lizzy's pattern instructions are super user-friendly but since some folks are a bit afraid, we thought it might be helpful to see pictures of us doing it all. We hope it not only inspires you to get down to Colorist business but also helps you get through any tricky parts.
We certainly hope you'll join us! Pick up the pattern from Lizzy's shop here or ask your LQS if they have it in stock (we still have a couple copies). And send any questions to us via our blogs or twitter (sotosofties or gather_here).
From the pattern:
Only those who love color are admitted to its beauty and immanent presence. It affords utility to all, but unveils its deeper mysteries only to its devotees. - Johannes Itten