Sew South was last weekend and, in a word, it was AWESOME. I had never been to any sewing retreat, conference, or show in the past, so I wasn't at all sure what to expect. I was very excited to have an entire long weekend to sew and learn new things, but I was nervous.
First stop was the field trip to We're Sew Creative. It was great to see everyone wandering around, picking up their treasures, asking for opinions... fun! I could tell right away (to quote many, many other Sew Southers) "these are my people!" Many of us were overwhelmed by the notions walls, the fabric, the fat quarters... it was great!
Next stop- Ikea! More overload for me! I love Ikea. I could live in that store! I tried their swedish meatballs for the first time- not bad!
After Ikea, it was back to the hotel... in my case, it was then back home to check on the pup and then a quick turnaround back to the hotel. We had a fun cocktail party (I almost missed it because of my errand, but I was able to get back just in time for a quick drink and then it was on to dinner.) A group of us walked over to the mall and enjoyed Chipotle for dinner- it was good - and filling!
On Friday, we had a paper piecing workshop taught by Jennifer of Ellison Lane Quilts, the director of Sew South. Jennifer did a great job explaining how to paper piece, shared lots of great pictures, and helped the newbies a bunch! I am a complete paper piecing novice, but I was able to finish the great star block before the weekend was up! Woo hoo! We then moved on to THE DUFFEL.
I was afraid of the duffel. I wasn't sure that I could do it. I broke a whole lot of needles and asked a whole lot of questions and made a whole lot of mistakes, but I finished it up! Woo hoo! I think I could do it again- and likely do a much better job- but it was such a great feeling of accomplishment to finish it up around 1am on Saturday. When it was done, I was so very proud and it is an awesome bag- nice and big and holds a ton and sturdy as can be! Lindsey from LR Stitched taught us how to make the duffel, sharing tips and tricks and a ton of encouragement! She was awesome and is a natural teacher! (Cherie from StudioCherie generously gave us all a copy of her pattern- you can find it here http://www.etsy.com/shop/StudioCherie)
On Saturday morning, we started with the kiss clutch, taught by the wonderful Diane! I was intimidated by the clutch, but it came together beautifully! Getting the fabric into the frame was a little challenging, but doable and the result was beautiful! There are a bunch of great clutch photos- it was amazing to see them all done!
In the afternoon, we moved on to PJ pants, taught by Jennifer from We're Sew Creative. I had made pants a long time ago, so I remembered what to do- mostly! The thing I forgot is that patterns are usually cut larger than stated. I'm still not sure why that is.... I am loving my PJ pants! I need to take in the elastic a bit, but otherwise, they are great! (I used a vintage sheet for my PJ pants and they are truly the softest PJ pants I've ever worn!) Now I know why I've been hoarding vintage sheets from Goodwill... ;)
Saturday evening, after dinner, Leah Day spoke to us about Free Motion Quilting and so much more. She was amazingly inspirational. I really enjoyed hearing her share her FMQ tips and also her outlook on life. She is so real, so honest- and so encouraging.
We finished off the weekend on Sunday morning. There was no sewing on Sunday... we got together to say goodbye and there were lots of tears shed by lots of us. I can only speak for myself, and hopefully I'll make sense when I describe why I was emotional. The energy in the ballroom the entire weekend was positive, encouraging, and kind. We were all doing what we love to do, and having fun together. We were able to put our normal lives and responsibilities on hold and just hang out and sew and eat our meals together and get to know each other.... it was wonderful. I felt like we were able to share our joy the entire weekend, even through broken needles and sewing and unsewing... it was great!
I haven't even mentioned the swaps- we had a Secret Sister Swap which was great fun, a Fat Quarter swap (I didn't participate because I wasn't sure that my FQs were swap-worthy!) and a sample swap (I did not participate in this, but it looked like a ton of fun!)
Jennifer did a FANTASTIC job putting the weekend together for us. No detail was left undone. I can't imagine how much work she put in to get this weekend together. She is truly amazing!
The sponsors of Sew South were incredibly generous. I could not believe the gifts they provided to us! Everything from awesome Oliso irons to use during the weekend, to a new rotary cutter for all participants (I really liked the cutter and the personal sized cutting mat was great at our tables for paper piecing and trimming- thank you Dritz/Omnigrid!), thread, patterns, books, magazines, interfacing, fusible fleece (thank you, Pellon!), fabric (thank you Westminster and Allison Glass!), and awesome sugar scrub (thank you to Old Red Barn Co.) The sugar scrub smells so darned good and it works wonders- I have some seriously dry skin and it is awesome. You can take a peek at and buy your own sugar scrub here: http://www.oldredbarnco.com/store/WsDefault.asp?Cat=SugarScrubs
I will pick up my ticket the day they go on sale for the next Sew South for sure!
Here are the amazing gifts from the sponsors (except the sugar scrub- I have been using that since the day I got home!)
Hope you are doing well and if you get the chance to come to Sew South next time, you definitely should! It was incredible!
Here is a picture of the goodies I made...