Makers' Mercantile

Makers' Mercantile~

Ever since I was a little girl, I've always sent up little "prayers" of gratitude, every night as I would go to bed and randomly throughout the day. Here is my rather lengthy, not-so-little prayer of gratitude. I do apologize for its rambling nature, as I had a six hour drive home, and plenty of time to reflect with gratitude!

"Hello, thank you for the most amazing weekend.* Rhonda and I have been emailing, texting, and chatting on the phone, planning for our Alabama Chanin class up in Kent, Washington at Makers' Mercantile. She has been a breeze and a delight to work with,* so I should have known everything would go well, but all was beyond what I had even hoped for.*
From the moment I stepped into Makers' Mercantile, I could feel the warm, welcoming, artistic vibe.* Big open spaces, cozy nooks and crannies filled with inviting clusters of sofas and chairs, long and short tables for larger and more intimate gatherings of creatives. My eyes wandered around, resting on gorgeous yarns, fine samples swatched-up.* Immediately I was drawn to touch them.

I was greeted by Kim. What an engaging smile!* She went off to find Rhonda as I wandered the store.* Clean, thoughtfully arranged, uncluttered, yet an abundance of beautiful materials*. Just as I was about to fall down the rabbit hole of yarny goodness, color and texture, Rhonda rounded the corner with open arms and the most gracious welcome.* We immediately clicked.* She and all the crew are energetic, enthusiastic, authentic.*

Rhonda beamed as she showed me around the store; her passion for her products bubbling over.* From the most scrumptious yarns, lovely fabrics, including Alabama Chanin 100% organic cotton jersey, to the tiny, wooden, hand-carved woodland creature buttons, every item in the store is carefully curated, chosen for its high quality, beauty, uniqueness, usefulness.* Yes, this is my kind of store.*

We swiftly unpacked my car and set up the class rooms.* We had a sold out crowd, and I wanted everything to be perfect. Rhonda seemed to know what I needed even before I knew I needed it ~ Extra hands unloading?* Refreshing Italian pomegranate soda without the cream after a long drive?* More tables?* Name tags?* Garment rack?* She thought of everything, ironing out a myriad of details, smoothing the way for me*.

Meeting the witty Rachael and Katie was a hoot. Rachael works at Skacel Headquarters, and Katie is their web guru. She designed a sweater that could be worn on every "woman" for their Magalog, a magazine-catalog. Its fresh format, beautiful photography, and assortment of projects make it a must read.*

I'm always rather nervous the night before a class, but Rhonda's calm demeanor and capable manner was so reassuring, I even slept some that night!*

Rhonda mentioned she had the best customers in the world. As the students arrived, fellow Alabama Chanin enthusiasts, fiber artists, botanical dying artist, corporate smarty pants, knitters, sewers, true beginners, I could see she was correct.* All were overflowing with excitement, eager to learn, beaming with smiles.* There was convivial chatter, a peppering of pertinent questions, quiet processing, an abundance of "ah-ha" moments, and thoughtful sharing throughout the day.*

The class was flying by, yet we needed to stop for lunch. I quickly organized for the second half of the day, and went to get a bite to eat. Rylie Cakes shares a bright and gleaming corner space in Makers' Mercantile, part French bistro, part friendly neighborhood hang-out cafe.* Her wonderfully artistic wedding cakes are on display, as well as daily delights, such as macaroons, cookies, short breads, tiny cakes, pastries, salads, savories, galettes and quiches. I chose the quiche, and I can say it is the best quiche I have ever eaten in my life, so tasty, filled with fresh veggies, and the crust.... oh, that crust was divine!* Rylie has a gift indeed.* You wouldn't know it for tasting it, but every single item is gluten free...Yes, gluten free.*

The second half of the day was speeding by even faster than the first. I would have liked to have stayed all evening, but we needed to finish up. Tired but satisfied eyes looked back at me, as there were hand shakes and hugs, cards and emails exchanged as new friendships were formed around the room.* I feel confident everyone went away with a deeper understanding and all the tools necessary to successfully begin their own journeys in hand stitching in the Alabama Chanin Way.*

Rhonda, operations manager Betsey, and I went out to a very yummy Indian dinner.* Our visions, suggestions from students, requests from customers, ideas were bouncing around like ping pong balls. I feel we are kindred spirits, having been brought together.* We have plans to make, and I know I'll soon be returning to their lovely establishment.*

Sunday was a drop-in sewing meet-up, where those who liked could bring any questions, a sewing project, or just browse the many samples and hand stitched items I had on display. It was a great way to tie up any loose ends and spend a little one-on-one time with those who wanted more information.* I was so pleased to see one of my previous students walk through the door!* She was wearing her own wonderful hand embellished t-shirt.*

All too soon it was time to pack up. Again, Rhonda was there to assist.* I had to visit Rylie for one last sampling ~ savory cherry tomato and goat cheese gallette, sea salt butterscotch cookie, and a hand-sized fruit pie for later (um...I confess, it didn't make it home). All was beyond delicious.*

Long, yet easy drive home; lots of time to reflect and be thankful. Each *asterisks represents a heartfelt thank you.

Until next time....*"


  1. The Sunday session was such a nice opportunity to have a refresher on the Alabama Chanin techniques after the 2015 event in Portland. You are always so generous with your knowledge. Fun to see what others are doing with their projects. The blue sample is gorgeous. Wonderful to see you again. Thank you, Elsie

  2. Thank you, Elsie~ I'm so glad you could join in on Sunday. It was a pleasure to see you again, catch up, and see what you're working on and some of what you've completed. Yes! Loved the blue sampler, she married a number of different techniques together beautifully. One of my favorite aspects of classes is "show and tell" and seeing everyone's unique creative spirit shine through.