On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast we’re talking about crafting in community with my guests, sisters Molly and Kaari Meng.

Kaari Meng is the founder and owner of French General, a shop and workshop space on Riverside Drive in Los Angeles.

inside french generalKaari and her husband, JZ, have written, styled and photographed six books over the past ten years, including French-Inspired Home, Treasured Notions, Home-Sewn, Handmade Soirees, and their latest book due out this fall, A Year of Jewelry.

A Year of Jewelry

Kaari also designs a line of quilting fabric and patterns for Moda, a line of interior fabric for Fabricut, a collection of steel-rule dies for Sizzix and embroidery floss palettes and samplers for Cosmo Floss (see all of her products on the brand new French General site).

French General FlossA French General floss palette

Frech General FabricFrench General charm pack for Moda.

Molly Meng is an artist, teacher, storyteller, designer, and owner of the greeting card company 8mm ideas. Her cards can be found in shops around the world. Molly keeps an art studio in Downtown LA.. together with Robert Mahar called “Meng & Mahar Studio” where they hold workshops twice a month. She also is a frequent workshop instructor at French General.

French General began 18 years ago in a barn at the back of Kaari’s home in New York. Soon, Molly and Kaari found retail space for the store in New York City and later moved the shop to Los Angeles. We talk about how Kaari built a brand for French General and came to design almost all of the products the store carries, from fabric to crafting supplies and kits.

Molly and Kaari travel frequently to France to buy antiques, textiles, and ephemera for French General (although they aren’t French and don’t speak the language fluently). Each summer they bring groups on week-long textile tours of the south of France where guests get to stay in an 18th-century chateau. See photos from their trips on Instagram.

Each January Kaari and Molly organize a workshop weekend called The Art of Craft. This year’s event will be in Santa Paula from January 20-24. Kaari and Molly also teach workshops regularly, including the downtown L.A. Digging Tour – one of French General’s most popular classes.

Molly and Kaari truly understand how to throw a party, host a workshop, and make everyone feel welcome!

Of course, for the show, I also asked Molly and Kaari to recommend great stuff they’re loving right now.

Kaari recommends:

Molly recommends:

Tune in to the show here by clicking on the arrow below or subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher to listen on the go. If you enjoy the show, tell a friend about it. Thank you!


Today’s episode is sponsored by Threadle.

Threadle is a community for all kinds of people who sew all kinds of things. Modeled after Ravelry, Threade provides tools to help you organize and document your sewing as well as ways to share your sewing and socialize.

Join the crowd of early adopters to help guide the development of the site with your feedback. Thank you for supporting the show, Threadle!


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