There was a poster up in my dentist's office when I was a child that said, "Ignore your teeth and they will go away." This pronouncement had a profound impact on me, sitting there waiting for my turn in the chair. Because you know what? The same holds true for most things that we appreciate in life. Good things need tending.
"Visit Your Local Quilt Shop Day" is next Thursday. Locally-owned fabrics stores staffed with knowledgeable people who are stocking a well-curated selection of products are real gems and they need our regular ongoing support.
Gather Here (photo by Kristen Heinzinger)
Gather Here is a fantastic independent fabric and yarn store near me, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The store was founded a year-a-half ago by Virginia Johnson, a costume designer for stage and screen. Virginia knows how to sew like you wouldn't believe.
As Virginia says, "I've been sewing as long as I can remember having learned the art from my grandmother and mother." Virginia taught costume design, construction, and fashion history at Tufts University for seven years. She also "has too many not-yet-completed knitting projects that I stash in baskets and bags all over my home." She knows how to knit. She's an expert. And she's got a great eye.
Walking into Gather Here is so much more fun than entering a big box fabric store. Instead of dozens of aisles with bolts in every variety, here you're surrounded by a thoughtfully curated selection of the most beautiful prints on the market. Virginia is a savvy buyer. She's personally in touch with a whole slew of designers and expert crafters, many of whom visit the store to teach (Lizzy House, Tara Swiger, Mimi Kirchner to name a few).
When you shop at Gather Here you're choosing from the best of the best so whatever you pick will be beautiful. If you need advice you will get real, educated, patient advice. And when it comes to handcrafts that's incredibly valuable.
I'm not the only one who knows this is true about Gather Here. Listen to this Yelp review:
Makers, rejoice: Gather Here keeps getting better and better.
I've been coming to Gather Here since it first opened and love Virginia for making such a vibrant center of creativity in the neighborhood.
Classes are popular, but worth the scramble to reserve a spot. I've taken a box bag class, a quilting course, and an intensive skirt making workshop. The instructors are first-rate and the space is thoughtfully laid-out and very welcoming. Everything I have sewed is still being worn and used with pride!
In addition to the fab selection of beautiful fabric, yarn, and fully-stocked notions and supplies, Pint-and-Purls and Saturday morning knitting make Gather Here the crafty version of Cheers.
The Knitter's Brunch at Gather Here. Photo via Gather Here.
Perhaps the most valuable thing Gather Here offers is community. "The crafty version of Cheers." Is there any greater compliment?
The 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month, from 6pm -9pm, you can drop in for Pints 'n Purls.
"No stitch lounge would be complete without a version of the 'Stitch 'n Bitch' but this is totally co-ed. Bring your hand work (knit, crochet, embroidery, etc.) and your stories. We can't wait to see what you are making!
This is an opportunity to meet the makers in our community so please say 'hey'! We provide: not-so-fancy snacks. You bring: yourself, your current hand project, and a pint."
I've taught three classes at Gather Here since they've opened: an Artful Bird workshop, a sock monkey class, and a Design Your Own Stuffed Animal class. The classes fill with interesting, eager students, many of whom I've kept in touch with.
Last year the shop celebrated its first anniversary with this gorgeous video created by the talented Ryan Johnson. I think it really gives you a sense of what a gem this shop is.
If you live in the Boston area, stop by Gather Here and pick up some supplies. Wherever you live, visit your local fabric or quilt shop on a regular basis and spend a little cash, especially this Thursday. Good things need tending.
This post is part of the Local Quilt Shop Day Blog Tour. Click here to find out more and add your own post about a local shop in your area.