Jaime and I just returned from our tour of New England, which culminated in teaching a four-day garment sewing retreat at A Gathering of Stitches in Portland, Maine. We had a blast. Our students were great, and we were beaming at how excited they all were to learn about making a handmade wardrobe. We also got to experience some of the amazing craft community of Maine!
Our workshop focused on garment sewing basics, while students could choose to make any or all of our four patterns--Fen, Sailor Top, Adventure Tanks, and Wanderlust Tee. We had an amazing group of 9 folks in the class, all with different experience levels. Everyone did great and left with at least a couple new garments!
We were thrilled that Pam Allen came to visit with us one evening. Pam conversed with our small gathering about the origins of Quince + Co, sourcing and milling U.S. yarn, and some of her thoughts on the future of American-made yarns. It was such a great evening, and we were taken with Pam's thoughts and openness. We were so enthralled we didn't even take any photos of our night with her. We all left thinking about ways we could support and encourage American textile production. We are happy to be Quince + Co stockists.
On Friday we took a field trip to Saco River Dyehouse, just down the road in Biddeford. We met with owner Claudia, who told us about what they do and took us on a tour of their brand new dyehouse. Saco dyes many of our favorite handknitting yarns, including Quince + Co yarns. They have a textile scientist on hand to formulate their colors so they can be as accurate as possible for different types of fiber. Skein winders take the freshly milled cones of yarn and wind them into accurately measured skeins in preparation for dyeing. Skeins are dyed in batches of anywhere from 20 to 500 pounds in one go. It was amazing to see this dye precess! The dyed skeins are then hung to air dry. Once dry, they have machines that help perfectly twist each skein to ready it for labeling. It was very cool to see how it all comes together!
What a perfect weekend of sewing, knitting, and craft community. We loved having 4 days of sewing to spend with the students. Over 30 new garments were born during the workshop! Samantha who runs A Gathering of Stitches has a ton of great stitching retreats so be sure and check them all out.