Inspired fabric artists find everything they need at The Quilted Nest, and those seeking inspiration can find it in fun patterns and books nestled amid neatly stacked bolts of quilt-shop-quality cotton. Creative ideas also abound in the shop's regularly scheduled classes, putting an end to quilters' days of patterning squares after boring stock-market charts. Customers are encouraged to bring their own sewing machines, but public machines are available for rent during classes. In addition to workshops and classes, the shop also hosts events such as weekly Manic Mondays, where anyone can needle away with no studio or machine-rental fee as long as they are working on a project for a charity.
Named the Best Yoga Studio of 2010 by Philadelphia magazine, Yogawood offers everyone the chance to strive for physical and mental harmony through yoga. A 10-class pass gets you access to any drop-in yoga session on the schedule at the Collingswood studio or the Riverton location. There are six different body-bending styles from which to sample. Ease yourself into relaxing poses with a Gentle Yoga or Vinyasa 101 class. Beginners might also enjoy the long-held postures of Yin yoga, which increase flexibility and mobility. Vinyasa Flow yoga harnesses the power of sun salutations to connect posture and breath in movements that will improve strength, balance, and coordination. A yoga/Pilates class will strengthen your core and allow you to stay toned and limber while temporarily storing worldly worries in a drawer with knick-knacks, spare change, and shrunken heads. Or you can cap off a muscle-tensing day of work fending off pigeon insults with an Ashtanga class.
Since the late 1950s, The Little Shop has evolved from a fabric shop to a quilting center that wraps needle-wielders in a comfortable, creative, and supply-packed environment. Its comprehensive roster of rotating classes keeps curious quilters and beginning thimble-holders satisfied, challenged, and armed with new stitching skills. Crafters with armloads of books, makeup, and Dawson's Creek fan fiction can sew durable supply tote bags ($25 for two classes) or breezy, chic scrunchy Kathy's bags ($25 for two classes) to lighten their loads. Or, sewers can ditch hands for the precision and speed of motors with a two-session machine-quilting class ($30).
Woolplay offers more than 100 kinds of yarn and easy-to-follow classes for fiber fanatics of all abilities. Classes last around 1.5 hours, and use time far more wisely than 90-minute horror-musicals about action figures. Take a three-class series, such as Learn to Knit, which instructs beginners on casting on, purling, and knitting. Learn to Knit in the Round, a two-class series, spotlights circular and double-pointed needles, which students employ on a hat-making journey. Single-session classes maintain a pointed focus, like a surgical laser or hoop-jumping dolphin. Easy Lace introduces students to a simple lace pattern, which could eventually find its home in a cozy scarf. Fixing Your Mistakes reveals how to correct for human error, a less burdensome task than repairing sloppy mittens knit by parakeets. Some classes require a $10 to $30 materials fee; check the schedule for more details.
Owner Nancy Nagle stocks a colorful rainbow of knitting supplies in her bright and eccentric gallery, which has become a go-to outlet for the local knitting community. To meet the demand, she constantly stuffs her shelves with new styles of material, ranging from traditional yarns to luxury fibers—banana, recycled silk, and Wookiee fur—to carry-along yarns with sequins, flags, and lash. Nagle’s passion for fiber arts has introduced her to a community of artists who dye and spin some of her more than 20 brands of yarn. She uses the shop as a gallery to display the work of these local artists—including Philadelphia native John Stango—as well as share her own bold collection of woven work such as hats, shawls, and sweaters.
City Paper's A.D. Amorosi describes the two-floor Nangellini as a "doubly colorful" space as "bright and open as a bay window in Sag Harbor." Amorosi admires the gallery's art collection, and between the vibrant space's "faux-tin ceiling" and "matronly rugs," Nancy leads open and privately scheduled classes on knitting, crochet, and lace work. Classes cover all the basic techniques required for newcomers to begin creating their own woven pieces, such as scarves and felt toupees.
Children crawl, climb, and careen through The Little Treehouse's sprawling wonderland, pausing only to dine with their parents at a café that Main Line Today named one of 2011's Best Restaurants for Kids. Socked feet scale sophisticated play structures and scream sonnets into pillow piles under colorful mobiles while high-quality wooden toys sow new synapses. Guests can stretch imaginations and limbs during yoga and movement classes, somersault through tumbling classes for different age groups, and schmooze with peers during seasonal and private events. Between romping sessions, tots can don bibs for a helping of organic, sugar-free applesauce at the café, where parents sip fair-trade coffee whilst navigating free WiFi and reminiscing about the steam-powered web browsers of their youth. The kitchen is open for lunch every day and for dinner Wednesday–Sunday, filling a wholesome menu with pasta, paninis, and brick-oven pizzas wrought with whole-wheat dough and local ingredients whenever possible. In clement conditions, adults can bring a bottle of wine to the outdoor terrace to watch their children play with bubbles and write chalk prescriptions for cootie remedies.