Today I’m happy to highlight a new stockist of Arroyo fabric, Gather Here in Cambridge, MA. I connected with shop owner Virginia B. Johnson to talk about her vision for Gather Here, and to hear more about her lovely store. Beyond just fabric and notions, Gather Here hosts creative workshops, and has a unique, community feel. This shop is really something special, and if you live in the Boston area, I hope you’ll stop by and see Arroyo fabrics in person.
What follows is my interview with Virginia, to hear about Gather Here in her own words.
Erin of Cotton & Flax: What makes your store unique?
Virginia of Gather Here: We are not *just* a store but a community gathering space. Over a third of our 4,000 square foot space is dedicated workshop space that we host community events in each week. Sewing, quilting, knitting, embroidery, and crochet had been relegated to solitary hobbies for quite some time, we want to make it a communal activity – a way to meet other people, to rejoice in our creativity, and encourage others to tap into their creativity.
Do you have a favorite time of day to be in the shop?
I make a point of being at gather here every weekend. It’s when I teach and also you get a great cross section of the population strolling in to check things out. I also really like being in the shop when the work day ends, so from 4:30 to 7:30 pm. People coming by to pick up supplies for a project, stopping in with friends to discuss their next creative endeavor on their way to dinner, and the occasional craft emergency.
When did you start sewing? What were some of your early sewing projects?
I began sewing when I was 6 years old. My paternal grandmother, Nita, taught me one summer in Iowa while we were on visiting for a few months. I learned to sew tea towels and pillow cases. We also mended my grandfather’s work clothes and embroidered aprons. Sewing with Nita was one of my favorite parts of summer vacation.
What’s your current favorite sewing project?
I’m obsessed with Tilly and the Buttons Marigold Jumpsuit. I’ve done a bunch of variations and it’s become my uniform. There’s nothing like throwing on a jumpsuit to signal that you are ready to get to work! I’m also busy whipping up Welcome Blankets as part of the Welcome Blanket project. Making things that help make our world a more inclusive one is really at the heart of our business model.