in your stylish craft kit: assemble’s emily grosse and andie powers

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We are back again with our monthly post, “In Your Stylish Craft Kit” and we are excited to share the faces behind Seattle’s Assemble Shop & Studio. You might ask, why profile a team of passionate crafters and creators from across the country. Well for good reason, this talented duo is responisble for designing the craft kits (needle-felting & bookbinding) that we have recently started to carry at P&N and have become a big HIT with our clients and many of our students!

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Not only have Emily and Andie introduced these fun, engaging and of course super creative kits they continue to offer a selection of hand-made and design inspired gifts on-line along with video tutorials and other products and services all supporting their mission “to honor craft as modern art, while teaching both traditional and avant-garde crafting techniques to a broader, internet audience.” What a great mission!

So now let’s learn more about Emily and Andie and what their essential craft tools are…we think you will surely be inspired after hearing from them…

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Where do you get new creative project ideas from?

Andie and I have no shortage of inspirations, that’s for sure! Our line of kits came directly from workshops we used to teach, and those concepts came from crafting we personally loved and learned over the years. The creative projects on our blog are a mix of things we know, experiments in a new media, or even seeing other craft blogs and wondering if we could try our hands at that!

How did you get started in your craft?

Andie and I met while managing Paper Source together in Seattle. We both always loved craft and design, and dreamed that one day we could open our own shop. In 2009, we did! Assemble began as a brick-and-mortar shop that was part retail, part workshop studio, and part art gallery, all focused on traditional crafting as modern art. The business gave us infinite opportunities to explore and share anything we found inspirational. As of 2013, we closed the storefront and moved the business exclusively online — so we could design and manufacture our own line of crafting kits.

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How do you go about choosing your materials for your projects or products you design?

When Andie and I began designing our own products, we knew that quality and aesthetic were the two most important factors. We wanted to be sure that our craft kits were well-designed, user-friendly, and could strike a balance between high quality yarn or paper, for example, and cost effectiveness. We have so much fun picking out each bit and piece of the kits — from the outer kraft box to the washi-taped test tubes as needle holders. Our goal was for customers to enjoy the process of crafting, and also feel like they were getting something really special and thoughtful.

How do you like to organize or carry your sewing and craft materials?

When we had our storefront, we kept our fabrics folded in a vintage red suitcase, and our sewing machines were lined up on a shelf like trusty old friends waiting to be used for workshops! Our notions were kept in mason jars with typewritten labels. That was all part of our Assemble vibe. Now that our business model is based online, our studio is more of an assembly line of cardboard and canvas boxes, filled to the brim with yarn and wool roving.

Is there one craft or skill that you have been wanting to learn?

I’m a great “general” crafter — I can do a little bit of all sorts of things. But I wish I were a more advanced knitter, and could do some kind of cable or fair-isle patterning. I can sew decently, but making a pair of well-fitting jeans would be a dream.

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What is the one thing you must have in your kit?

I think crafters of all sorts need one pair of good quality shears and one pair of embroidery or detail scissors. My office/studio is not complete without a papercutter, a large bamboo glue brush, balls of chunky yarn, and post-it notes. I know that seems random, but like I said, I’m a crafter of all kinds!

Do you have a favorite crafter, designer or maker that inspires you?

I’m obsessed with Lotta Jansdotter’s simple way of designing. She can turn a plain old triangle into magic. I have taught so many craft classes based on her projects – carving linoleum stamps, designing your own fabric, sewing pillow covers, etc… You can’t go wrong with her “less is more” principal.

Do you have a favorite sewing or craft tip?

My sewing advice is to read your user manual and reference it often.

For crochet, be patient, and the key to success is correct tension which takes practice.

For needlefelting, use a toothpick to help shape your wool. It’s more precise and your fingers won’t get in the way.

What is your favorite place to work?

Anywhere Andie is (usually a coffee shop!) Having a business partner has been the best part of our Assemble adventure!

What are your sewing and crafting essentials that you must have with you at all time?

I used to always travel with a small bamboo crochet hook and a ball of yarn. But with two small kids now, downtime to crochet is minimal. These days, it is a simple Scout pocket notebook and a pen — perfect for jotting random thoughts for Assemble, brainstorming new kit ideas, or giving my two year old something to scribble on in the car!

A big THANK YOU to Emily and Andie…it was great fun to hear about what goes on “behind the scenes” at Assemble and what are your crafting essentials. We hope you will come and see us when you come to New York.

Make sure to check out their website and blog here and stop by the shop to pick up your own Assemble Kit – although we love all the needle-felting kits the breakfast kit seems to be a favorite!

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