Learn the Craft of Needlework Locally

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By Jorge de Villasante and Katherine Gotthardt

If you’ve ever found yourself interested in trying needlework but felt like you needed support and guidance to fashion beautiful creations, you’re in luck. Prince William offers a variety of options for potential crafters. Check out these three talented teachers who provide instruction, both virtually and in person, and offer encouragement and support on your journey to creativity.

Cloth, Paper, String Craft Studio

quilt

Learn how to quilt at Cloth, Paper, String Craft Studio.

Julie Brewer is the owner of Cloth, Paper, String Craft Studio designed specifically to provide a space where crafters meet other crafters, learn new creative hobbies and successfully complete fun projects. Though the studio started as an in-person setting, Brewer now offers virtual workshops where students can learn quilting, sewing, paper crafting and knitting from anywhere in the world.

“I learned how to sew and knit as a child, so have always had creative hobbies, but as an adult, I came to appreciate other benefits of spending time crafting. It is a great way to relieve stress, connect with other people, and to keep learning new things,” Brewer said.

Brewer has dabbled in all types of needlework but sewing and knitting are the ones on which she spends the most time. In addition to sewing and knitting, Brewer enjoys quilting.

“Quilting was my go-to through much of last year. It’s a lot like putting a puzzle together, and it brought some order to a very chaotic time. But I love knitting the best. It’s very meditative and calming, and the yarns are so soft. Either one, the end product is a wonderful, useful item to keep or gift,” she said.

Brewer’s needlework teaching style starts at step one. “I share about the history, the tools, the supplies, and step by step, we go through the basic techniques. The workshops focus on a specific project that people can complete and have a successful first project!” she said.

Brewer opened her home studio during the 2013 government shutdown. She says opening a studio had been on her mind for a while, and that crisis gave her the push she needed to get it going. The mission of the studio is to provide a space for women to connect, create and inspire each other and their community with their handmade items.

For those interested in taking part in Brewer’s classes and activities, view the studio calendar at clothpaperstring.com or request a private workshop by emailing her at clothpaperstringcrafts@gmail.com.

Needles in the Haymarket

needlework

Needles in the Haymarket offers a variety of needlework classes for all levels

Linda Shields is the event coordinator of Needles in the Haymarket, whose mission is to keep the fiber and needlecrafts alive and growing in the modern world. Shields’ needlework includes knitting, crocheting and cross-stitching, but other instructors do needlepoint, spinning, tatting, and needle felting. “We offer beginning knitting and crochet to get the fundamentals down, then an array of classes that build from
there. For knitting, some of the classes include building blocks (a new technique is learned in each block; then the blocks are put together for an afghan), learn to knit socks, brioche knitting, and what we call an ‘Oops Class’ where students learn how to identify and fix things that may have not been intended,” said Shields.

Popular classes include Learn to Knit or Learn to Crochet. “We love to welcome new students into the fold and set them on a path for a lifetime of creating. Whether they turn out to thrive on the process or the finished product, or both, we feel fortunate to be a part of their journey,” said Shields.

For crochet, next-level classes include learning different crochet stitches, granny squares, crochet shawls, and corner-to-corner crochet. “These are our most popular classes but we offer other classes too. We hope to offer needlepoint and cross-stitch classes in the near future. Folks can visit needlesinthehaymarket.com/pages/classes,” she said.

Shields advises students to not only expect but to embrace mistakes. “This isn’t easy for many people, but it’s how we learn. Another piece of advice that you’ll hear at NITH is that there’s rarely only one way to do anything. If something doesn’t seem to be working out, don’t worry about it. There’s probably another way to achieve the result you’re going for. Lastly; practice, practice, practice,” she said.

Needles in the Haymarket came about due to a need in the community. Shields shared, “So many people are exposed to crafting and making through social media but may not have someone in their lives who can teach them. So, people would come in and ask for lessons. Our instructors are so passionate about sharing their knowledge so NITH provides a perfect environment for learning, teaching, and sharing ideas.”

Shields continued, “We welcome everyone into our shop. If there’s a class you’d be interested in that we’re not currently offering, just ask and we’ll see what we can do. Also, classes don’t work for everyone’s schedule, so we offer one-on-one lessons too. Lastly, if someone wants to know about classes and other shop news they should follow us on Facebook and Instagram and turn on notifications!”

For more information, call the shop at 703-659-1062, stop by in person at 15125 Washington Street, Suite 108 in Haymarket or visit needlesinthehaymarket.com/pages/classes.

Creative Threads for Hope

The owner of Creative Threads for Hope, Cyndi Cooke started teaching needlework by request and does several types of needlework. Quilting, though, is her favorite due to its creative nature.

“We teach quilt techniques and we also do workshops for volunteer opportunities, layette kits, fabric menstrual pads for girls in Sierra Leone, quilts for a few other organizations. I have also taught a Teddy Bear class,” Cooke said about classes offered at Creative Threads for Hope.

As part of her approach to teaching, Cooke advises, “In quilting, precision counts, but there are no mistakes that can’t be undone or become design options.”

Anyone interested in taking part in Cooke’s classes and activities can look at the community services opportunities advertised to the quilt guilds, follow them on Facebook page or contact Cooke at cyndiacooke@yahoo.com.

Jorge de Villasante is a multilingual writer and translator who enjoys traveling as much as he enjoys his home and caring for his two cats. Social Media Director for Prince William Living, Katherine Gotthardt (kgotthardt@princewilliamliving.com) is an award-winning writer, poet and author, as well as president of
Write by the Rails, the Prince William chapter of the Virginia Writers Club. Learn about her work at KatherineGotthardt.com.

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