Kaylan joined the gather here team part-time in the fall of 2020. Kaylan had been a pre-pandemic customer and frequent maker, participating in our in-person community crafting events to benefit those experiencing houselessness in Cambridge. Kaylan's museum-programming experience made her a natural fit in the classroom and we have loved having her lead our 2020 summer programs.
When did you start making things?
When I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor when I grew up. I spent a lot of time making contraptions, tinkering, learning how things work, and focusing on math and science in school. It wasn't until adulthood that I realized I could be an inventor/maker/crafter with materials like yarn and fabric, so I've only been properly making things in the fiber arts world for about 6 years. I started with crochet and embroidery, and learned how to knit and sew a few years later at gather here. It's never too late to learn a new skill!
Photo above (clockwise from top left): Puff Quilt before, Puff Quilt during, and Puff Quilt gifted.
What's your favorite thing to make?
I recently learned how to knit socks, both from the cuff down and from the toe up and I really like the sense of accomplishment I feel when I finish a pair. I also really love making baby blankets and quilts for friends and family to celebrate bringing new life into the world -- it's really powerful to set an intention whilst crafting and to give a handmade gift.
Photo above: Phoebe shows off her patchwork pillow while wearing the craft apron she also made.
What is the thing you have enjoyed the most about joining the gather here team?
The best part has definitely been working with kids. I wish I could've taken classes at a place like gather here when I was 9-14 years old (the start of my "inventing" years), and I really love helping kids experiment with their creativity in the studio. The other thing I've enjoyed about joining the team is the opportunity to learn from my colleagues as well as our customers. From product knowledge to techniques and resources, spending time at gather here is learning experience each and every day.
What's your favorite tool?
The tool that gets the most use is my seam ripper -- in addition to ripping seams I also use it to guide threads towards the back of the stitch plate on my sewing machine, to separate chain pieced quilt blocks, and even sometimes to cut yarn or embroidery floss.
Photo above: Zoe embroiders during fiber camp.
What do you do when you aren't making things?
Right now I'm learning how to speak German! It's tricky learning a new language as an adult, but I'm also learning a lot of interesting things about the country and its history of craft. Germany is one of the earliest recorded locations where double pointed needles (dpns) were used in knitting, and one of the brands we carry (addi) has been manufacturing knitting needles in Germany for almost 200 years. Sehr interessant!
What has been a source of joy during the pandemic?
You can follow along on what Kaylan's making and doing on Instagram @kaylanbrae