Hard to believe it’s Easter eve already- it’s been a week now, and I’m STILL floating on air from an unbelievably memorable weekend at the Sew South retreat in Charlotte, North Carolina, hosted by my dear friend Jennifer Mathis of Ellison Lane Quilts. I went alone (that’s right, hubby stayed home with all 4 kids!), so just sleeping in a bed by myself, and waking up for 4 beautiful mornings with absolutely no one to take care of but myself, was sheer euphoria. And that’s not even counting how awesome it was to connect with oodles of amazing new friends, and stitch up a ton of great projects.
Truly, the sense of community was enough to bring folks to tears (literally!). From the cocktail reception, to the daily dining out, to the 15 hour days of sewing, all together in a ballroom, like a hive of busy chatting bees, machines humming, irons steaming- it was truly a dream. I love that what brought us together was sewing, but we left as better moms, better wives, better friends, refreshed and encouraged, ready to take on the world.
And don’t even get me started on inspiration…the whole weekend was off the charts. Especially thanks to my good friend Leah Day, who gave a fabulous lecture on free motion quilting on your home machine. Here’s one of her pieces that we passed around as she spoke….um, WOW. It’s official- Leah’s love language is FMQ.
So how thrilled was I to discover that Leah was my “Secret Sewing Sister” (we traded little gifts all weekend with our secret buddies!) – the piece that she made for me absolutely took my breath away and I can’t wait to frame it and display it in my home. Look closely and you’ll see it’s 2 big trees for Russell and I, then 2 smaller trees for our sweet girls, and of course the 2 little identical sprouts for our lil’ baby twin boys…all rooted in love. Truly, if this isn’t meaningful quilting, I don’t know what is.
Speaking of classes, Sew South had some really awesome ones! I left with so many finished projects. That’s right…I said FINISHED projects! Lots of great bags in particular.
First up- this duffle bag. Oh, the duffle, what can I say? It takes a village to make a duffle bag. And thank goodness for the village, or I don’t think mine would have materialized at all. We were supposed to show up to the retreat having quilted a yard and a half of fabric with batting and backing, and of course, I didn’t get that done. No surprise there. Secondly, for some unexplainable reason, I bought the puffiest polyester batting known to mankind. It was 80’s grossness at it’s finest. What was I thinking??? I thought I was getting the “upholstery batting” that the pattern called for…but when I showed up at the retreat, EVERYONE else had lovely thin, beautifully quilted pieces. Ugh! And as if that weren’t enough, the piece I’d packed for my lining (since I was determined to only use fabric I already had in my stash), turned out to be several inches too small. I almost decided to give up and just skip the class, but thanks to tons of encouragement, a large floral cut from the giveaway table to use as lining, and a late night of fairly sparse straight-line quilting, I managed to whip it up! Thank you Lindsey Rhodes of LR Stitched, for teaching this awesome class! In all honesty, I can’t wait to make another!
I’ve always wanted to learn to make those cute Japanese frame clutch purses, so thank you Diane Stanley for making it so stinkin’ easy. I might make another…hundred, for Christmas gifts this year. In fact, I’m going to give this one to my mom tomorrow as a belated birthday gift. Gotta love Liberty & houndstooth!
But I have to say my absolute favorite is this little zippy pouch featuring a happy little block we stitched in Jennifer’s paper piecing class. I couldn’t bear to head home with a lone block, so zippy it was. Stitching the Sashiko detail while we all sat in circles on the floor chatting was the best!
Well, the kids are in bed, so it’s off to fill some Easter baskets and get some shut eye. Hope you have a joyous Easter Sunday!