The Stitching Room is in the center of Elkins Park and is owned by Lisa Stockebrand, also from Elkins Park. The Stitching Room is a project workshop. It serves as a community resource for project material, tools & equipment, education & classes, and working space. Walking through the door into this space, my senses came alive to the diverse materials and activities of craft. There are sewing machines, ironing boards, spinning wheels, a library, work tables, dye pots, seductive yarns, locally crafted buttons, a variety of inspiring projects in process, a comfy sofa and chairs, and countless tools of the trade. I, instinctively, reach out to a brightly colored bulky woolly sweater and barge into a conversation. “Tell me about the sweater!” This old beloved sweater was damaged by moths and Lisa is treating and mending it. She knows how!
No one sits behind a counter in The Stitching Room. My initiation to this space was a workshop called Socks with Sara, in which Sara introduced me to the use of circular needles borrowed from the shop. I use yarn that was spun and dyed by Lisa’s Union Street Fiber. Lisa plays DJ while she irons pieces for another project and Sara knits to stay a teaching step ahead of me. We are sharing information about dyes and fibers and stories about family and chickens. This working space is, absolutely, delicious! I look forward to taking my project to work on during the free Neighborhood Knit Night next Thursday which will give me a chance to ask for help if I need it and to spend time getting to know the people in my community.
According to Transition USA, “the Transition movement is comprised of vibrant, grassroots community initiatives that seek to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis.” Though the Stitching Room is not, formally, connected to the Transition movement; it is working to build a resilient community in a very organic and real way.
There are two things about the Stitching Room that strike me as being relevant to our Transition efforts. First, the Regenerative Design Institute states, “In this modern culture, most of us have lost the skills of basic craftsmanship. As we transition away from global consumerism and towards localized, earth-friendly economies, we need to reclaim these skills for ourselves and for our community.” The Stitching Room helps our community, directly, through re-skilling around the Fiber Arts. Secondly, when we grow or craft our own products; we begin to understand the value and nature of the objects and materials that we interact with every day. We begin to ask questions. Where did it come from? Who made it? How did they do it? How long did it take? With our own hands engaged; we become connected and we begin to care.
The Stitching Room also has a Facebook page and for the Philadelphians reading this, right by the Elkins Park station on SEPTA’s Warminster & West Trenton Regional Rail lines.