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Monday, March 25, 2013

What A Weekend! Sew South

The sign! (Thanks Lee for the photo)
Well, well well, what can I say?  I just spent an amazing weekend with 49 other talented, inspiring, dedicated women at the inaugural Sew South Retreat, in Charlotte,NC.  This was organized by the awesome Jennifer at Ellison Lane Quilts.  I must say, I don't know how she got it all done . . .in only 6 months.  Everything was seamless.  The classes, instructors, meals, social events, everything!  

I asked my mom if she would like to go with me.  Of course she said yes, but she was very nervous, because she hadn't sewn in many years.  I was confident there would be no project too over her head, because she sewed forever!! I was taught by my mom and grandmother, as a lot of us are, and I was excited to share this experience with her.  We picked the amazing Lee of May Chappell in Greensboro and headed to Charlotte.  Lee is so great and I know I've made a forever friend!  Once we arrived in Charlotte, Jennifer had arranged for a bus to take us on a field trip!  Yea for field trips, especially when they involve a fabric store and IKEA.  We went to We're So Creative in Concord, NC.  Jennifer Roycroft, the shop's owner, is awesome.  We had the run of the place for an hour and we all shopped!  She has an amazing selection of fabric.  I've never seen so many full collections in one spot!  Definitely make the trip to visit her shop.   Then there was IKEA.  I love that place.  We all raided the textile section and came away with some goodies!

After the field trip, we headed back to the hotel for cocktails and to meet everyone!  Then dinner, then we set up in the ballroom for some sewing time!  Mom and I took this time to finish our duffle bag pieces.

My pre-quited, pre-serged bag pieces
Friday was a jammed packed day.  Starting out, Jennifer Mathis taught a paper-piecing class.  I'm still not finished with mine, but will post upon completion.  

Then we started the duffle class taught by Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched.  Lindsey was such a great teacher and had the patience of a saint!  I mean, this was a tough bag, and there were, like 50 of us, and she took the time to go around the room and help us all.  A wonderful thing happened when we were working late into Friday/Saturday night making these bags:  when someone would finish, they would stand up, swing their completed bag into the air, and EVERYONE would stop and CHEER for them!!  I mean, how great is that!  This group was fantastic!  The pattern was donated by Cherie of Cherie Studio and is available on Craftsy.

Lindsey and Jennifer and a WALL of duffles (thanks Jen for the photo)

Saturday morning was the frame clutch purse taught by the lovely Diane.  This was so much fun!  Diane is such a great teacher and made this easy!  The pattern is available on Craftsy.  The clutch frames were generously donated by Winn of While Baby Naps.  Such a great sponsor!  This clutch is such an easy, quick project, I can see making more of these.  My sister and BFF have already claimed ours, so I guess I'll have to make them their own!
Diane with ALL the clutches (thanks Lee for the photo)

Our Clutches:  Mom's in Pezzy, Mine in Guitars

Modeling our clutches

Then the afternoon session was the pajama pants class taught by Jennifer of We're So Creative (the fabric store we had a field trip to).  I have sewn garments before, but it's been a long time.  The pattern was provide to us by Kwik-Sew (#3602).  This was an easy pattern and I love how mine turned out.  

After I finished the pjs, I went back to work on the duffle.  After MANY broken needles, borrowing thread and machine from my awesome neighbor, Alex (on a side note, Alex came with her mom too -Maria- and our moms became fast friends!), and borrowing Lee's machine, I FINALLY got my cheer on Saturday night, like at 11:45!  It was done!  Mom finished her bag a little bit before me.  We are both so proud.  My bag has a TON of flaws in it, and I skipped the zippered side pocket, but I still love it. IF I make this bag again, I'd do ALOT of things differently; for one, NOT make it out of canvas!  My machine just couldn't handle it, as I was traveling with my #2 machine.  #1 was in the shop!  Feed dogs decided to become quitters the night before SS!!

Alex and Maria

My completed duffle
Mom's competed duffle
Modeling our duffles- See how JOYFUL we are!

Oh, I forgot to mention that Saturday night, after dinner, the fantastic Leah Day gave an inspiring talk about free motion quilting.  She talked about her book, and the Goddess quilt she's working on. She showed us a sample of her amazing quilting for the Goddess project too.
Leah with a Goddess sample (thanks Jen for the photo)

The process for this is really cool.  What an awesome talent she is! Loved having the chance to be in her space.  She then took some additional time to chat with a small group about blogging, getting published and making a career of this quilty, sewing world we are in.  I love that her first advice was to have an attitude of abundance.  Meaning, put it all out there, share it with everyone.  It was quite refreshing to hear.

Sunday morning was the closing of the retreat and Jennifer surprised us all with a GIANT swag bag!  The Sew South Sponsors were so AWESOME!  I mean, they totally trusted Jennifer, new retreat and all, and sent the most fabulous stuff.  Cutters, batting, interfacing, thread, books, patterns, magazines, fabric!  Oh my!  Jennifer said she felt like Oprah on her Favorite Things shows!  Thanks to Pellon, Dritz, Stash Books, Coats & Clark, The Warm Company, Fabricworm, Andover Fabrics, Allison Glass, Wyndham, Jo-ann's, Aurifill, Michael Miller and more! 

Swag galore!  Awesome sponsors
After we all recovered from our great fortune, we had a sharing time.  Everyone got really emotional; tears flowed.  Everyone felt like they had found their tribe!  The whole weekend was such a giving, inspiring, FUN time.  I made so many friends that I know I'll continue to keep in touch with and foster that friendship.  

But the best thing about the weekend was sewing side by side with my mom.  All the nervousness she had before the retreat was long gone and she was sad to be leaving.  She told me Saturday night on our way to dinner, how much she was enjoying the ladies, the fellowship and the sewing! If you are on Instagram, check out the photos at #sewsouth.

Jennifer deserves every bit of kudos that I'm sure you've read on the many blogs you follow.  Believe the hype; it was awesome!  I sure hope you punch your ticket for next year, 'cause I know I am!

1 comment:

  1. Nicole, where have you been all my life. Not only do you "make good choices," you craft. AND you are in NC. I would have died to go to this retreat. We just bought a new house where I have my very own craft/sewing/writing room and I spend more time in there than a troll in a gold mine.