Sew South Recap

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.

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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.

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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.

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Impressive much?  You can catch Leah’s most recent free motion quilting online classes HERE and HERE

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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!



  1. ylmommyx4 says:

    This was a beautiful re-cap, Amy.

  2. That quilt representing your family is stunning. It made me tear up. What a treasure that is for you to love forever. Looks like you had a great time and kudos to Mr. Dock for loving his family like he does to do this for you!

  3. This looks like such a fun time, and love the wee mini for your family

  4. It was an amazing weekend! I watched you stitch your star as we all sat and chatted – it turned out amazing as a zippy! Have a happy and blessed Easter!

  5. oh my my!leaves my fingers itching to quilt! Leah outdid herself. Just finished my class with her on your 2012 Craftsy quilt. praising you and Leah for being such great teachers.

  6. What a fabulous retreat it sounds! I am coveting your quilt from Leah, it’s beautiful – however, it fits you to a T and not me. Your bag is yummy, and so glad you got it figured out and finished!!

  7. I love your clasp purse and your zippy purse so much. I hope you do a tute on these! I’ve been afraid to try to make these on my own, but since taking Craftsy BOM 2012, I love your teaching skills and would be able to learn from you!!!

  8. Sharon Brennan says:

    The clasp purse is adorable; absolutely love it. The mini family piece is amazing. How lucky are you!! What a treasure. Is there an online tutorial for the clasp purse? So cute. Happy Easter, Amy. You are so inspirational; wish I could sew with you.

  9. Amy, Happy Easter to you and your family. Thanks for sharing such lovely pictures the projects are great!

  10. Marcia R says:

    It is healthy to go away and reenergize. I’m so glad you went and could be surrounded by such an affirming sisterhood!

  11. Amy the links to Leah dont work. I agree that she is FMQ expert. Just watching her in class gave me so much confidence and I did my first FMQ last week – and it was not a bad job either. So with your piecing techniques and Leah’s FMQ I know the abcs’ of quilting. Someday will learn the remaining alphabets.
    That purse is lovely. is there a tutorial somewhere for it?

  12. Hi, Amy! It was so nice to meet you! As I mentioned, I was at Sew South because of you… I just got to see Leah’s gift to you and it’s absolutely gorgeous. I would frame it too! I hope you had a blessed Easter and that the bunny was good to you. ~Alex

  13. The DUFFLE!!! It was so fun to watch yours grow for a fold of fabric to an actual, usable duffle! I so enjoyed our time together in Charlotte:)

  14. Kathleen says:

    I am so happy for you that you had all this time to yourself, thanks to your wonderful husband. I can tell you had a great time. You and your free Craftsy class are the reason I am learning how to quilt. And I purchased Leah’s FMQ class too. So you and Leah are my best and most favorite teachers. I get ideas from others, but I’m learning from the two of you. You make it easy to learn, and I love that Leah always says “and that’s okay!”

  15. Being at home now, I’m so thankful for the memories that were made and the laughter. They energize me throughout the day when I daydream about my time at SS. Loved sitting next to ya and getting to know you. you are a gem! xo

  16. What a fun time you had! Glad you got some me-time xx

  17. Glad you had a great Easter! With two thirds of my children away in college, it was very quiet. Oldest dd had me all to herself, lol. Looks like everyone had a wonderful time AND that is a lovely duffle bag! Lol….

  18. So beautifully worded Amy!! I love all the things you made – even the puffy duffle. I didn’t see that you had made your star into a zippy at the retreat, but omg, how cute is that? I think I am going to make mine into a zippy, too! It was such a pleasure to meet you!!

  19. The “duffling” turned out great!! I laughed at myself so much the day I asked you what that ment! I was thinking it was a quilting term I hadn’t heard of before!! lol
    The clutch is fantastic as is the little change purse!!

  20. Loved Loved Loved having you there my friend and all of your makes are beautiful. xo

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