Creative people share their crafts

  • A group of customers gather for a Sit-and-stitch session, where they can bring their stitching or knitting projects and socialize at Cast Away + Folk in Santa Rosa, Calif., on January 16, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

With the rise of crafty websites like Pinterest and Etsy, handcrafts such as knitting and sewing have taken off among a new generation of do-it-yourselfers.

Around Sonoma County, folks are getting together this winter to knit baby shoes and embroider tea towels, curling up on their own sofas or relaxing at one of the many craft store lounges.

"It's my drug of choice," said Shelli Westcott, owner of Knitterly yarn store in Petaluma. "I'm not a big wine drinker, so this is my replacement. It's very relaxing ... and way cheaper than therapy."

Cast Away Folk


Nicole Cowlin, owner of The Material Girl in Windsor, offers a wide range of funky, retro fabrics and DIY kits for trendy projects like duct-tape bags. She also gives private lessons in sewing and quilting.

"I have a lot of teen-agers coming in who want to sew," she said. "They want their own style, and there's a sense of accomplishment that comes with making things."

Little by little, Cowlin has started adding more crafty stuff to her fabric store, creating a DIY gift shop with items like chalkboard birds, homemade cards and invitations.

"This store will be like Pinterest, only you can walk into it," she said. "There's a lot of young mommies out there, and they are very hip and modern and have a fresh take on shabby chic."

Justine Malone, owner for the past five years of the Cast Away knitting store in Santa Rosa's Railroad Square, moved into a bigger space this year. With the help of two partners, she dramatically increased her inventory and morphed into Cast Away + Folk.

The new store carries a wide range of unusual, crafty supplies sourced from independent designers, including organic cotton fabrics, Japanese ribbons, all-wool felt, designer kits and patterns, heirloom sewing tools and shelves of inspirational books and magazines.

"We give a modern, clean twist to the old classics," Malone said. "Our inspiration is the Purl Soho (shop) in New York, which does the Purl Bee blog. That's the only blog I read."

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