Want to be a part of the first nitty Gritty embroidery committee? Well you can’t. It sold out in hours.

But fear not, good Gritizens, another is on its way — and it comes with orange wine.

Led by Philly embroidery artist Lea Saccomanno and hosted by the East Kensington bar Martha (where Gritty once paid a visit), the Gritty-themed virtual embroidery workshop on Jan. 17 will be held on the bar’s Instagram Live feed, followed by an interactive Zoom call for participants.

The $60 class — which sold out in six hours — comes with a nine-piece beginner embroidery kit featuring a custom-designed Gritty pattern by local artist Erin Kesel, and a “big ol’ glass of orange wine.”

“We think of Gritty as very natural and funky and that’s what orange wine is for us,” said Martha owner Jonny Medlinsky, 48, of Northern Liberties.

Orange wine is made with white wine grapes left on the skins to add complexity and flavor to the structure of the tannins, Medlinsky said (yes, it is orange and if you’ve not had it yet, yes, it is very good).

Saccomanno, who owns Sippin & Stichin, wants to make embroidery accessible, fun, and easy to learn. She said there’s no guidelines on how much orange wine one should consume while embroidering a Gritty.

“In true Gritty spirit, the limit on orange wine while embroidering does not exist,” she said. “I think that Gritty has a secret, very refined and classy side to him and that he probably enjoys a glass or two himself (and maybe even embroiders in his spare time, too).”

Before COVID-19 hit, Saccomanno, 31, of Fishtown, was a regular at Martha, which she described as “effortlessly cool but comfortable and inviting.”

“Even if my Hinge date’s going badly, I know I can have a great drink and pretend to be too interested in whatever great movie they have up on the projector,” she said.

But with just to-go and outside service available as a result of COVID-19 restrictions, the staff and customers at Martha have had to come up with other ways to remain connected to each other.

“The intersection of crafting and drinking has seemed to be a good fit,” Medlinsky said.

The establishment has hosted an outdoor holiday decoration workshop and is planning to host virtual events on making snow globes as well as a local melted cheese competition.

“It’s a lot less about money at this point; the money is fleeting,” Medlinsky said. “But we are doing it to stay connected to our customers and keep our employees working.”

So when Saccomanno, who’s been embroidering for 10 years and teaching the craft for three, proposed a virtual Gritty embroidery workshop with the bar, Medlinsky “was 1,000% in.”

A glass of orange wine is included with the Gritty embroidery kit for Lea Saccomanno's virtual embroidery class with Kensington bar Martha.
Courtesy of Lea Saccomanno
A glass of orange wine is included with the Gritty embroidery kit for Lea Saccomanno's virtual embroidery class with Kensington bar Martha.

“I’ve had patch-making workshops with the rad folks at Tattooed Mom’s, floral embroidery workshops at Moon + Arrow’s beautiful space and Gritty just felt right at Martha,” Saccomanno said.

That may be because Gritty visited the bar in March 2019 as part of a happy hour for Flyers season ticket holders.

“Gritty was amazing; he’s very outgoing,” Medlinsky said. “He did, at one point, get a little sassy and throw some pickles at me, but it was all in good fun.”

Medlinsky said he was pleasantly surprised, but not totally shocked, that the Gritty embroidery event sold out so quickly.

“Gritty is a very popular person … animal … mysterious alien,” he said.

So much so that the staff at Martha has decided to hold a second virtual Gritty embroidery session on Feb. 21. Tickets for that event will go live Friday at MarthaKensington.com

Saccomanno said she thinks the first event sold out so fast because “in these trying times, we can all use a little Gritty right now.”

“Philadelphians might argue about who has the best cheesesteak or where Fishtown starts and ends, but everyone can get down with Gritty. He unifies us,” she said.