Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sewing Summit Highlights

Before I dive in to my Sewing Summit adventure, I am mulling over this idea: I want to put together a small quilt retreat next spring or summer. I've got a lead on a cute spot to do it that is all set-up for quilters  - near Montpelier, ID. I need a min. of 8 and a max of 10 quilters. So if you live in the SE Idaho, or northern Utah area and are interested drop me a comment or send me an email at It would be super fun! Nothing like Sewing Summit of course, but still fun.

Well, Sewing Summit was almost two weeks ago and I've been wanting to do a little recap of the experience.

It was fantastic! Truly fantastic. The event was very well organized and so much attention was paid to all the details. I had a great time and look forward to attending again - probably not every year, but perhaps every other year.

Going to this event by myself was way outside my comfort zone, but I did it and had a lot of fun. I met some fabulous people and learned a lot of things that I had been hesitant to try on my own.

Thursday night was a mixer to kick off the event. My roommate, Amy, Ella, Mary, Cindy and me. Craftsy hosted and it was fun to meet some people and exchange cards. I'm not much of a mingler, but seeing people's names on their name tags and recognizing them as someone who organized one of the swaps or as one of the teachers made it a lot easier to approach them.

Amy and Ellie and I headed out after the mixer to find some dinner. We ended up at a delicious Indian and Himalayan restaurant and had a lovely time. Ellie and Amy had shared a shuttle from the airport the night before and were on the shop hop together and we all hung out quite a bit throughout Sewing Summit. They were fun and friendly and made being there on my own not so overwhelming.

Thursday night I was looking forward to Open Sew and working on a few projects. Also, Lee from Freshly Pieced had offered to go over the project from her class, which I didn't get into. So I was excited to try Paper Piecing with her. I made a bit of progress on the block and also finished one of my Craftsy Blocks of the month. It was fun to stay up late and see all the fun things people had brought with them to work on.

Here is my finished paper pieced block - with Amy and her block. She actually got into the class on Friday, so Friday night she and I finished our blocks.

Since I've been home I added some more to the block and it will be a wall hanging for our computer room.

Friday I had four classes. Here's a brief recap of some of them.
The first one was Shapes and Angles with Faith and Kati. This class was a lot of fun, but way too short. They had four techniques to teach us and only 75 minutes to do it. But I was able to try partial seams, diamonds (I know they are rhombuses, Cory!) and equilateral triangles. I did not have time to practice sewing hexagons, but Kati gave a great demo and with that and the tutorial she has promised I think I'll be good for trying them on my own. These two gals know their stuff and do beautiful work. Not for the last time I was amazed at what some people are able to accomplish while raising young kids. 

My next class was Creative Fabric Selection with Jeni of In Color Order. I follow Jeni's blog so it was fun to get to meet her and learn a bit from her. 

Then we had lunch and a little downtime before the next class.

My first afternoon class was Lounge Pants with Jana.  I took this class because sewing clothing is not something I do much of and I hope to make the whole family Star Wars PJs for Christmas this year. This class was a lot of fun. Jana is a total hoot and the pants were hilarious.... as you can see...

My last class of the day was Pattern making for Children's Wear by Carrie. It was late in teh day and I was exhausted. Did I mentioned I had stayed up sewing until mid-night and then couldn't sleep all night and was up before 6:00 am? Yeah, so the afternoon lecture was a bit hard for me to get through. But Carrie is very knowledgeable and it was interesting. 

For dinner that night I just grabbed a sandwich from the cafe and went back to my room to skype with the boys. But first I participated in a zipper pouch swap.

This is the pouch I received. The back is the same fabric the feather made from and it is super cute. Stephanie made the pouch and I love it. It was so fun to see all the different pouches everyone made. I would have been happy to get any of them.

Before heading to my room with my sandwich I met up with Amanda from A Crafty Fox who had offered to teach sewing curves to anyone who didn't get into the class. That class was probably the one I was most disappointed about missing, so I jumped at the opportunity for the mini-class with Amanda.

I sewed my fist curves! I feel like a whole new world has opened up for me and that I will really be able to expand my quilting possibilities with this new skill.

After eating I went back to the sewing rooms and worked on practicing more curves and finished my paper pieced block. I didn't stay up as late, which was good. But I have to say that the Open Sew times was some of my favorite time of the whole weekend.

Saturday morning I went to a class on Web Design which offered some great tips on making a better blog and Finishing Details with Anna. I loved that lecture and came a way very inspired.

For lunch we were treated to a keynote address by Joel Dewberry. He was a great speaker and I loved how he talked about his design work along with his family. He was very inspiring.

After lunch I crashed the Curves Mini-Quilt class that I had desperately wanted to take. I had heard that there were empty machines at a previous session of it so I decided to give it a try. I had purchased the template on my own so I didn't feel too bad about it. And there were 3 open machines, so I was very happy. Christina from The Sometimes Crafter was the teacher and she was fantastic. She was super patient and explained things so well and the project she designed for us was amazing. I love it and it is unlike anything I have ever made before. And I learned how to do pin-less curves, which is awesome!

Here is the mini-top I finished. I can't wait to get it quilted and bound. I think it is super, super cool and plan to make a couple more someday.

My last class of the day was Advanced Bag making with Sara from Sew Sweetness. I learned a lot about different types of interfacing and closures and look forward to trying out some new things on future bags. By the way, seeing all the bags everyone made was so fun. There were so many beautiful bags everywhere.

Dinner that night we had another keynote speaker, Nancy Soriano, and she talked about her creative journey. It was a great way to wrap up the event. 

Here is me and Ellie and Michelle (from Calgary - I loved hearing her talk because she sounded just like my dear sweet friend Erin) after the closing event.

There were a ton of giveaways and I didn't win any, but I sure came home with a lot of swag! And so many of the cutest little moo cards.

I think my favorite thing I came home with was this pouch my roommate Amy made for me. I just love it.

I have more I could say, but I think I'll leave with this:

At our table on the last night was this little swatch that said "Believe in your creative journey." I have made it into a wall hanging for my sewing room and I think often about what this means to me. Before Sewing Summit, I didn't know what my creative journey was. I thought maybe I would be inspired to do more with my blog, or open an etsy shop or who knows... but I have decided that I don't need to have a ton of followers. I don't need to have a super cute, modern blog, I don't have to post tutorials and host swaps and giveaways, or sell my quilts or pouches or bags. There are so many amazingly talented sewists out there who do all those things. And it's okay if I am just a consumer of all they have to offer and a participant in some swaps and bees and quilt-a-longs and just continue to learn and grow as a quilter. I discovered that I love sewing for myself, my family and my friends and that's enough for me. Besides, I think a lot of these ladies must not sleep - how else could they do it all? - and I need my sleep!

So it was awesome, to say the least and I am grateful to my hubby for helping to make it happen for me. I needed it!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Sewing Summit 2012

Warning: longest blog post ever!

In just a couple of days I will be heading to Salt Lake City (by myself!) for the 2nd Annual Sewing Summit. This is something I would never have been able to attend when we were living in Hawaii and I just happen to be lucky enough to live easy driving distance.

According to their website, Sewing Summit is "a sewing & blogging conference for the modern sewist who wants to connect with others in a fun & inspiring setting! We’re kind of a cross between a traditional sewing retreat & a social media or blogging conference – but we’re also so much more than that! With hands-on workshops, networking events, inspiring speakers, informative lecture sessions – Sewing Summit is the only event of its kind."

I am so excited to be able to attend. I was unable to find anyone to go with me, so I'm going solo, which is a little frightening, but I'm sure I will meet some great new friends. I even have a roommate and I'm excited to meet her. 

In preparation for Sewing Summit I have been busy making some things for myself and preparing the materials I need for my classes.

One of the things Sewing Summit has been doing for the past several weeks is featuring Travel Handmade items to serve as inspiration for all of us attending. I definitely was inspired and perhaps went a bit overboard.

Handmade with The Sewing Summit

I made myself a messenger bag and two zipper pouches, one for little things like chap stick and hand sanitizer and the larger one to hold a few a sewing tools for my classes. The messenger bag is a modified version of my friend Shelley's Infinity Tote and the zipper pouches I found in a tutorial here. I also made myself a new wallet, but didn't get a photo of it. They are a little Spring-y for October in SLC, but that's okay, right?

I loved making the zipper pouches so much that I made 3 more for myself. A huge one and two smaller for my toiletries. I also re-purposed an old hand towel into a little roll-up for my toothbrush and toothpaste. I used this tutorial as a starting point and modified it a bit. This is fabric I found in Hawaii years ago and have always loved it but couldn't find a way to incorporate it into a quilt. it was perfect for this project.

The last thing I made for myself is a name tag. I'm pretty happy with it and hopefully people will be able to read it.

Several ladies are hosting swaps at Sewing Swap and I am participating in several: I Spy Charms Swap, Fat Quarter Swap and a Pretty Little Zipper Pouch Swap. This is what started me on the zipper pouch kick!

Here's the pouch I made for the swap. Hope whoever gets it loves it as much as I do. I would make one for myself, but I think I have enough. I also tucked in a little fabric bookmark.

I thought it would be fun to make a few gifts to take with me as well:

This sweet little pouch is for the head organizer of Sewing Summit. I made it with a few charms and tucked in little bookmark as well.

I made 26 bookmarks, using another tutorial from my friend. These are for my class teachers, the ladies who hosted the swaps, the staff of Sewing Summit and a few to just give out to new friends.

I mentioned I have a roommate. She is super talented and she likes orange. Here's her blog. I'm only sightly intimidated by her talent. Anyway, I was going to make her a zipper pouch, but then I discovered that she makes and sells beautiful zipper pouches in her Etsy Shop. So I found this tutorial for a super cute mini-clutch. And since she loves orange.... I hope she likes it. I also tucked in a bookmark and a super cute orange and white fat quarter.

Another attendee asked for volunteers to make blocks for a quilt for Quilts of Valor. I had to do one of course. She wanted blocks either all red or all blue so I raided my stash and came up with this. I love this block and plan to use it myself in an upcoming Christmas quilt.

At Sewing Summit I'll be taking 8 official classes and a couple of informal classes in the evenings during Open Sew times. I am beyond excited for this event. Here's what I'll be taking:
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM Shapes & Angles with Faith and Kati
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Fabric Selection
1:15 PM - 3:15 PM Lounge Pants
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Patternmaking for Childrenswear
9:00 AM - 10:15 AM Creative Journey with Amanda
10:30 AM - 11:45 AM Finishing Details
1:15 PM - 3:15 PM Successful Blogging
3:30 PM - 5:30 PM Advanced Bag Construction
And I'll be attending informal classes on Foundation Paper Piecing and Curves. I am going to come home energized and inspired, I'm sure!

So I've been pretty busy the last several weeks. I also pieced a Sudkou quilt for Cory's birthday, but won't finish it before his birthday on Sunday. And I also finished a bag for a charity auction for the family of a local man who was killed by a drunk driver recently.  And I finished up two quilt tops that I've had done for years. We gave one to the Dean of Cory's college and one to his friend/co-worker, both of whom lost their homes to a wildfire a couple of months ago.

Here are some photos of those projects:

This was also made from Shelley's Infinity Tote Pattern.

This is the pattern Yellow Brick Road. I did wavy quilting with a decorative stitch and the back is pieced, too, so it can be reversible. I actually pieced this one in 2004 in Bellingham, and had never finished it until now.

This is the one for the Dean. I pieced it in 2005 and it has been sitting waiting for the perfect finish and home.

So, sorry for the novel of a post, but I had a lot to say. If you made it to the end. Thank you for sticking with me. I'll be back with an update after Sewing Summit and hopefully have some great photos to share.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Sungglies for the Babes

I love making snuggly little baby quilts for all the new babies. They are all just simple large blocks with sashing and cornerstones and backed with minky. No batting or binding and then quilted on the diaganol. Super easy but oh so soft and sweet. I started making this style of baby quilts in Hawaii because they are lighter weight than a traditional quilt and at one time 9 of us were having babies, so I could not afford the time or money to make everyone a traditional baby quilt.

This pink and zebra green was for my friend Tara's new baby, Coral. I love the sweet little polka dots.

This orange and blue one was for my friend Ashleigh's new little guy, Elijah.

This one is a bit larger and was for my sister Maggie's new baby boy, Colby. I really loved the striped fabric and the blocks look all together.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Creature Report, Creature Report

Okay, I admit it, the title of this post comes from the cartoon Octonauts and as I typed it I heard the tune in my head. Sorry....what can I say - I have kiddos.

But I thought it was appropriate since I am posting about some creatures I made for Christmas gifts. The snake and slug are from my patterns my friend Shelley designed and the elephant is from a Valori Wells sewing card design called Elsa the Elephant.

Kind of funny to make a slug, right? Except that I grew up in the PNW where slugs are a daily occurance. And I just happen to have a sister who, in fact, ate one when she was 2. Yeah, really. Gross! I'm not sure if I actually remember that or just the story of it. Anyway, Em has been gone a few years, but my brother named his daughter after her, so I when I first saw this pattern I thought how appropriate for Emily's namesake - Emilee Pearl - to have a slug to remember her by. This way the story of Emily eating the slug will never be forgotten. And the slug is awfully cute, for a slug. I really like how the flower with the bling in the center dresses her up a bit.

What new baby doesn't need a snuggly snake? My brand new nephew Baby Colby definitely needed a snake. It turned out a lot longer than I anticipated, but I think it turned out cute. The photo isn't great and I wish I'd gotten a better shot.

My niece Dorothy loves elephants. She has since she was little. So when I was in WA last summer and I saw this pattern and fabric, I knew just I had to make one for her. I think she's a sweet little elephant. And Dorothy seemed to love her, too.

In the bag....

Trying to get caught up on some projects I've finished the last few months. Here are three bags I made for gifts. The pattern is my friend Shelley's Infinity Tote design and I love how they all turned out.
This is the largest one I made. I made it as a diaper bag for my sister Maggie. It is huge, but she says it is perfect for all the stuff she needs for her little guy. I added a bunch of additional pockets inside for bottles and sippys and stuff like that. Maggie recently visited and brought her bag along with her. I love seeing things I make being used. It makes the time and effort worth it.

This one was made for my dear cousin Jenny for Christmas. every year we draw names for a gift exchange with the cousins on my dad's side. This year I got Jenny. I gave her some options and she chose a bag. All she asked was that it be bright and happy. Pretty sure I accomplished that. This is a medium sized tote, but still has plenty of room inside.

This beauty was made for my dear friend Erin back in Hawaii. She loves blues and oranges together and when I saw this bird fabric I knew exactly who it was made for. The photo doesn't do the fabric justice. It is really beautiful. I have enough to make one for myself, but I don't see that happening anytime soon.

Sewing Summit 2012

I miss Hawaii. A lot. But there are benefits to being on the mainland. Like being 2 1/2 hours from Salt Lake City, where they just happen to hold an amazing sounding event called The Sewing Summit. This year is only the second year of it and it sold out in 10 hours! They only sell 250 tickets so it is a small event, but the classes and teachers they have lined up are incredible. Thanks to a hefty tax refund this year I get to go! I was even one of the lucky 50 to get a $50 dollar discount by being in the first 50 to register. This will be my first trip away from the boys, but I think they'll be fine with Cory for a few days. And this mama gets to sew and learn new things and sew and learn how to make a better blog and sew and make new friends and sew. I'm reaching way outside my comfort zone and going by myself, but there are lots of others who are doing the same and I think it will be fine. Just have to get a roommate lined up and I'll be good to go.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Modern Mini Challenge Entry

I recently joined the Modern Quilt Guild Facebook Group and last month fellow member posted a link to her blog Ellison Lane Quilts where she is hosting a Modern Mini Quilt Challenge. The challenge included several weeks of tutorials and inspiration from other quilters in the form of a blog hop. This introduced me to so many amazing quilters out there. The talent is just unbelievable and I must say I was intimidated, but the prizes are so amazing I had to at least give it a shot. The requirement was that the mini quilt could be no more than 24".

"Squares of Blue and Green"
17" x 17"

I decided to challenge myself with using only fabric from my stash and to not over plan the design. So I chose three Kona Solids that I had leftover from a Christmas quilt and two table runners and a cream background. I cut 7" blocks and stacked them 3 at a time and just started slashing. I had planned originally to mix up the blocks when I put them together, but once they were all done I realized I like them grouped by background color better. This mini quilt measures 17" square and represents a few firsts for me: first time entering a contest, first time exclusively using solids in a quilt, first time sewing little pocket hangers on the bag for easy hanging (I'll be doing this on all my wall hangings from now on thanks to the tutorial from Amy Gibson at Stichery Dickory Dock.)

Here is a close up of the quilting I did. I used a long (4.5) stitch length and just echoed the lines of the blocks. The color in this picture is not as true as the photo above.

This was a fun, quick project and while my chances of winning are slim (take a look at some of these entries) it was fun to stretch myself a bit.

I'm also participating in the Craftsy Block of the Month, which is super fun and I'm trying to get more involved with my local guild. I'm doing a monthly friendship block exchange with them and that's been fun as well. I still don't get to sew as much as I'd like, but I'm discovering so much support and so many talented quilters out there that it keeps me going. I am just astonished at the number and quality of quilting blogs that are around now. I'm hoping to attend the Sewing Summit this year (if not, then next year for sure) to hone some of my skills and learn more about putting together a great quilting blog.