Anyone who works with their hands knows the value of a good tool. A dull pair of scissors can send me around the bend, but the properly weighted pair of Gingher dress shears I own make me happy every time I pick them up. If you sew a lot with a machine it should be standard operating procedure to change your needle with each project, or every eight hours or so of sewing time. Nothing like a sharp, straight needle to make your stitches hum. Some folks swear by their Addi Turbo knitting needles while others will only knit with wood. I couldn't stand cabling until I learned I could do it without a cable needle. We all have our quirks and our particulars, but I think we can all agree that the right tool for the right job is crucial.
A Gathering of Stitches is being built around that idea. Our mission is to provide the best tools and resources we are able to secure for the use of this fiber and textile community. To that end we will furnish AGOS with various pieces of useful crafting equipment. Our current plan is to open our doors in August with the following:
- Three basic sewing machines- two Husqvarnas and a Singer
- Three Elna 664 Pro sergers
- One Janome Memorycraft 6300 quilting machine
- One Janome Horizon 7700 quilting machine
- Two industrial sewing machines, one of which works with leather
- Two Singer knitting machines
- A three bay sink, a single sink, two regular hotplates and one industrial size version, a vent and drying racks, plus assorted pots and utensils for dyeing. (There are also plans for an ongoing Indigo vat)
- An exposure unit large enough for yardage, a darkroom for emulsion application, a wash down unit, various hinge clamps for printing stations, squeegees and all the other tools for screen printing, including screens and inks that will be available for sale.
- Two Rowenta and one DeLonghi irons
- Three ironing boards
- Three adjustable dress forms
- Cutting tables with large gridded cutting mats
- A swift and a ball winder
- A large library of books on fiber and textiles, both instructional and inspirational.
This is the current list, but it will be modified and added to over time. We will be buying a long arm quilting machine, but that will most likely happen in six months. We also intend to have a washer and dryer on site, but that too may be at a later date (or maybe we'll start with it...). Then there is an assorted list of extremely specialized tools we are planning to stock: specialty irons; a bias tape maker and a die-cutting machine. We are open to any other tools that you are interested in working with, so contact us if there is something you would like to use, and we'll see if we can provide it.
All of these tools will be available to rent on an hourly basis. We are working through a plan for block rentals with an option for membership which will have added benefits, including discounts on rentals and workshops, and storage on location. All this equipment is also included in the studio rental agreement, so if you are considering joining us as a tenant, remember that you get much more than just your individual studio. There will always be someone on site who is familiar with most, if not all, of this equipment, who will be available to help operate and oversee the use of these tools. If you want hands-on help, we will have private instruction available as well. Notions will be available for sale at A Gathering of Stitches, so if you run out of thread you won't need to leave to replace it. We will also cary a small well-curated selection of fabrics. Stay tuned for more on that.
The idea is to create a haven for those who create with fiber and textiles. We hope you will join us in this endeavor!