Last weekend I had the honor of teaching my upcoming Ellsworth Coat pattern to 15 lovely students at Camp Workroom Social. Held in upstate New York, it was pretty much an autumn dream come true. Breathtaking hills filled with red, yellow, and bright orange trees and the leaves literally falling around us like snow. It was absolutely magical.
Not only was the landscape dreamy, but the team of teachers and staff on site to work the event was an impressive line up of brilliant sewers and knitters, (mostly) all pictured in the photo above. I've taught at camps and camp-like events in the past, and this was something different. Jennifer, head of the camp as well as Workroom Social in Brooklyn, created a space for people to bond, connect, be vulnerable with each other, learn, share, and grow. Everything I can say sounds trite and corny, but all the cheesy cliché words are true. It was magical and everyone I met there is now like a BFF. Seriously.
In my class, I had the beyond over qualified assistants of Devon Iott (known to many of you as Miss Make, who also works for Cotton + Steel Fabrics) and Kelli Ward (designer and owner of True Bias patterns). Devon and I have been friends for nearly a decade, and we taught together in Los Angeles for a very long time, so we have an unspoken language that was comforting going into this unknown event. Kelli couldn't have been more lovely, and fit into our team like we'd known her just as long. Both whipped up versions of the coat in advance of the class so they could be as helpful to the students as possible. They're just that awesome.
My students were exceptionally kind, and all but a couple were repeaters from the first year. Everyone knew of my situation and why I had missed being present the year before, and all of them were understanding and so kind as I struggled through the emotional strain of being there this year. It was a huge part of the healing process for me to be there, and to allow myself to be sad if necessary, and I'm so grateful for all my students (and all the other campers too) for the support and love they showed me. This network of people has to be the kindest bunch around.
As for the student's Ellsworth Coats, well you will see those soon enough! They all agreed to keep it a secret until after the pattern launches on Tuesday, which is so kind. So between the 15 of them, my versions, Kelli and Devon's coats, and the ones I've sewn for my models, there are about 20 already sewn and out in the world. A first for me at launch time. I am thrilled that all the students loved the pattern, and that for a fully lined coat, it was easy enough to actually sew up in two days! Stay tuned for a whole lot more soon on the pattern!
It was a total joy to meet all of the fellow teachers, some of whom I have been communicating with from afar for many years, as well as all the staff that were there to support Jennifer. I honestly cannot tell you just now nice everyone was. Crazy nice. And fun. It was just the best and I cannot wait to go back next year!
I even learned to knit! Well technically I learned to purl! I knew the knit stitch, which I was doing slightly wrong as it turns out, and now I'm purling and working on my first hat! It was so fun learning with some of the other teachers. Though many of the teachers were in the advanced group, but I'll be there soon ladies!
In anticipation of chilly weather, I realized that I had hardly anything with long sleeves, so I quickly whipped up three versions of the Sew House 7's new Toaster Sweater. It was just released in the knick of time for me to serge up a few, which did a great job keeping me warm. I used three fabrics from my stash to make them up: a striped ponte knit in black and white, a thick navy knit with a faux sweater texture, and a lightweight gray knit that feels like cashmere.
I used view 1 for everything but the fit through the body, which I just cut two sizes bigger than the rest and used the corresponding band for that size. I wanted them to be loose and full so they would hang with ease over skirts or pants. The fit is closer to that of view 2, but I didn't follow that sweater to gauge the fit. I just forged ahead since time was a bit of an issue to get them sewn before camp.
The great thing though, is that because of the bands at the wrist and hem, as well as the turtleneck, it's 100% serged and takes seriously like about 30 minutes to make. I skipped all the topstitching for the sake of time and feel like it didn't suffer at all. I highly recommend the pattern for a cozy fall and winter layer, or for a warm pajama top at home.
After camp I stayed in New York City for a few days, as I wanted to visit with some friends, and I just adore NYC. So since I was already all the way over on the east coast, it seemed like a shame not to take advantage of it. I mostly wandered the West Village, East Village, Lower East Side, and parts of Brooklyn, all of which I've been too many times before.
I was able to meet up with some of the camp ladies at Workroom Social in Brooklyn, and lucky me, some other fine friends were there too! They are such a wonderful brunch of ladies! I also of course visited Purl Soho (AKA the mothership) and picked up some gorgeous linen. And I popped into CW Pencil Enterprise to feed my need for quality pencils. Mostly I was just there to absorb all that NYC had to offer and to visit with friends I rarely get to see. I am truly a big city girl at heart, and dense urban spaces is my most loved landscape. If you've made it this far into this exceptionally long post, I will reward you with a secret: I will be leaving LA someday in the next year or so... it's just a matter of picking the city! I thought I had settled on a place, but New York did a pretty good job pitching itself, let me tell you. And it's not because it was all beautiful autumn in New York, because it wasn't! It was in the mid-80's and humid! Though that still didn't scare me off. I fell pretty hard for NYC during this trip.
For those of you considering going to Camp Workroom Social next year, do it. It was the best event of its kind I've ever been too, and if I wasn't there as a teacher, I'd totally go as a student. Best. Time. Ever. Huge thanks to Jennifer for having me (and asking me back) and to every single person that was there. Cannot wait to see you all next year!