Making Communities

In this day and age, many of us are searching for community–a sense of belonging, a feeling of unity, a desire to share our passions with others.  As a sense of community becomes ever more elusive, we look for ways to build our own.  A community of makers–those who find joy in creating with their hands, minds, and hearts–gives us a chance to share and celebrate our ideas and passions.  Today, there are clusters of creativity – locations around the country that have developed their own unique “maker communities,” where people who love to make, love to learn to make, and love to support makers have found a common sense of purpose.  Each of these geographic “clusters” has its own unique characteristics, and those characteristics influence the artists who live and work there.   

Thus we have “making communities” – areas around the country where makers with a common ethos work and, in turn, are inspired by each other – and we are “making communities,” even where physical proximity isn’t possible, by sharing our stories and journeys and images with each other.

This, I thought, was the basis for a book – or maybe, a series of books – for those of us who love to make, to learn, and to celebrate others’ talents.  Each book is a place-based celebration of these communities of makers, focused primarily on the fiber and fabric industry, as well as highlighting artists in other media who share the same philosophy as fiber and fabric artists of functional beauty.  Each issue of By Hand will also include photo essays, day trips, foodie excursions, and other write-ups of aspects unique to the featured city or region.  And, each issue of By Hand will always include patterns, projects, classes, and opportunities to purchase the featured makers’ art.

I hope that you enjoy getting to know a little bit about each of these makers’ communities as I did.  Think of it as a virtual travel guide for fiber and fabric enthusiasts!



"Just wanted you to know that your publication has enriched my life.  I love reading about the creative folks doing and making out there.  It's inspiring AND comforting.  You truly have a knack of finding artisans and telling their stories in the most colorful and compelling way.  Can't wait for the next wonder-filled edition!"


"I have Issues #1 and #2 and love both of them.  I enjoy reading about local businesses and now have places I want to visit when on a trip in the areas highlighted in your issues.  The patterns included are interesting and lovely.  They make me want to cast on.  I have sought out some of the wool yarn discussed in the issues, as well.  I also wanted to let you know that I like the size, style, and paper stock used to make the issues.  Great job, keep up the good work!  Looking forward to Issue #3."


"I received my book yesterday and it's worth every penny!  I grew up a few miles from Portland and will be visiting cousins this summer.  I also plan to visit most of the sites listed in the book and cannot wait.  I also look forward to your other planned lookbooks."


"I just wanted to let you know my Issue #2 arrived yesterday.  Again, what a beautiful book!  I am enjoying it immensely."


"My trip to the mailbox was a joyous occasion I received Lookbook No. 1 & 2.  They are absolutely amazing and of the highest quality of material.  A big thank you to your personal service.  I am curled up in my bed starting to look through the Portland, OR issue.  Portland is a quirky town and I love going to many of its yarn shops.  I'm one happy subscriber."


"The [books] arrived today and they were worth the wait!  I spend as much time in Maine as I can manage and you did  a great job capturing the special businesses and the beauty of mid-coast and Portland.  We were last there in September and spent some time (and more money than I should have) at Swan's Island - loved the photos of the building and the operations there, happy memories!  Am looking forward to what you found in Nashville, which we visited a couple of years ago, and realizing that we really should visit The Other Portland (Oregon).  Your look books may become my travel guides!"


"Hello, just wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed the first two editions of By Hand.  Looking forward to the third.  The articles and photographing [are] keeping me coming back time after time."


"I wanted you to know this is a beautiful, well thought out publication.  You should be so proud.  I live in Alaska and order my yarn online so I appreciate your letting me know about yarns I may not have heard of.  Then when I went online to share this with you - ISSUE #2.  I can't wait!  Thank you again.  I love my new Bumblebirch yarn!"


"I just received Vol. 1 and 2 of By Hand.  I can't say enough about them!  They are wonderful.  I hope you will continue this series past Vol. 3. I love reading about the fiber arts and other "makers".  Thanks for a wonderful evening of reading and armchair traveling."