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!

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