I met some wonderful ladies when I went to Oklahoma City for SewOK. I haven’t seen them since, but luckily, one of them (Susannah Kate) was on her game and set up a small retreat for some of us on a small lake in Arkansas. The house was huge and perfect for a sewing retreat. I think it’s normally rented out for other things, but it worked super well for us. The bottom floor was a recreational area, which is where we sewed. It also had a bathroom with a shower, a hot tub, a pink pong table, a kitchen sink, counter-space, and a refrigerator. We moved the furniture out of the way and set up tables. The second level was the full kitchen (which was totally gorgeous), the living room, a small eating space, and the master bedroom and bathroom. We honestly didn’t use that area much except for the kitchen. The third level had another bedroom and bathroom and then a “landing” that contained a little sitting/children’s play area, another sitting/eating area, and like four bunk beds. I had a bunk bed, which was perfect for me. The house also had a beautiful deck/balcony off of the main living area. It was an absolutely gorgeous house and the area was beautiful with the lake. It was about a three and a half hour drive for me, which was totally reasonable. I arrived on Thursday around 3:30 pm (I think) and was the third person there. I got set up and pretty much started sewing immediately.
The first thing I made was a pair of Hudson Pants. I finished these on Thursday night and they are SOOOO comfortable. I love the waist. I hate pants with tiny elastic in them. It’s uncomfortable. These are perfect. The cuffs on the bottom are comfy and I love the pockets and pocket detail. They also went together so easily. I had a bit of a problem with the second pair (more about that in a bit), but not a single problem with these.
This was kind of my first time doing buttonholes and I killed it. I’ve practiced before and I practiced before I did these. Buttonholes are actually really easy.
Aren’t the pockets pretty? I wanted some contrast and almost put black cuffs on, too, but I’m glad I just left the contrast at the pockets.
I brought my serger and I love how professional these pants look. I’ve worn them constantly since I made them. They are easily one of the best things I’ve ever made.
Anyway, I did take a small break for dinner. Susannah Kate did a really clever thing and had everybody sign up for a meal. I chose dinner on Friday night and made homemade stew for everyone. We had spaghetti and some wonderful homemade meatballs on Thursday night made by Jamie and her husband.
On Saturday morning, I started working on my second pair of pants. I already had them cut out and the legs sewn on. HOWEVER – I made two left legs. Oops! So be careful when you are making this pattern and make sure you have a right and a left leg. I think my confusion happened because it was really hard to tell the right and wrong side on the knit I was using. I picked out one of the legs and corrected it and ended up with another pair of pants later that day.
I used a bit of the gray from the other pair for the contrasting pocket detail. I was also lazy and didn’t want to change my serger thread so…
It’s on the inside so it doesn’t matter, right? I still think they look great. Just like the gray ones, I wear these ALL OF THE TIME. Both the gray and the black knit are from Joanns. I could have made a smaller size, I think. There’s quite a bit of room in the butt area and the waistband is adjustable because of the elastic. The length is perfect, though. I’m 5’4″ and I think it was sized for 5’5″. I can’t remember what size I made, but if I made them again, I would probably go down one size.
On Saturday morning, Olivia made the absolute BEST homemade cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had. They were so wonderful. In fact, I skipped dessert a couple of nights and had a leftover cinnamon roll instead. Kaylee brought caramel from her work and it was so delicious on top of the cinnamon rolls. I actually ended up taking home the three jars of caramel and they didn’t last very long. In fact, I need to order more.
I think I finished two cardigans on Friday.
The first was the Meridian. I used a double sided knit (one striped and one polka dot) from Joanns. This is a really heavy cardigan, which is perfect for me.
There are some things I don’t particularly like about this pattern. There are also things I really love. The sleeves are wide. I wish they were more tailored and tight, but that’s an easy fix. I would also put a cuff on instead of the finishing methods recommended in the pattern.
There was another way to finish the sleeves, but this is the one I chose. This pattern is also too large. I should have made the smallest size. I followed my measurements, but it’s way too big. I don’t mind that it’s too large because I wear it at home, but I probably won’t wear it to work because it looks a bit sloppy. That’s really my fault because I should have made a muslin, but it doesn’t really matter that much. I wear this a lot at home.
One other thing I like about the pattern is how the edges are finished. Since it’s lined, it’s just turned and top stitched, but it looks fabulous.
Karen made lunch on Friday; taco salad. I have to say – I’ve never been fed as well as I was that weekend. Well, maybe I have by my own family, but I have’t been fed that well in quite a while. Let’s just say it was something to remember. Karen’s taco salad was so wonderful. I ate WAY too much. These ladies are not only talented sewists, but also very talented cooks.
At some point during the day, I made my second cardigan. I also used doubled sided knit from Joanns for this one, but it was metallic!
I LOVE LOVE LOVE this pattern. It’s the Julia Women’s Cardigan and it fits me perfectly. I used my measurements and it turned out absolutely perfect! I chose to use the polka dotted side as the main side since I didn’t want to match stripes. But I like having the stripes on the inside for a bit of fun.
I also love how this pattern is finished. It’s not lined, which I kind of like. There are different options for finishing and I chose to to the double sided collar. I think it’s the best. Hemming sucks and this made it really easy. I also love that the sleeves have cuffs. I like cuffs…if you can’t tell.
And my serger made the finishing really nice. I love it. I wear this a lot, too. It’s perfect for work and I’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it.
As I said, I served dinner on Friday night and made my grandma’s homemade stew. I think it was a hit. Many people said very nice things about it.
On Saturday morning, Susannah Kate made the most delicious french toast bake with fresh fruit. I’m a carbs person so I was all over it. I love french toast. I’ve never had it in a casserole/bake style, but it’s a fabulous idea.
I didn’t plan on being so productive, but I luckily brought one additional project.
I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, but Susannah Kate did. SWOON! This have been a long-time coming project. I got this gorgeous Tsuru fabric from my aunt and uncle and I saved this for a long time. It was too pretty to cut into. I finally did and cut all of the blocks for this quilt and managed to finish one block. But I finished the others at the retreat and got this top together. I decided not to add the sashing or the extra row. I don’t need that big of a quilt. This is probably one of my favorite quilts ever. I absolutely love the fabric and I love who gave it to me and I love the pattern. It’s gorgeous.
Lunch on Saturday was some really really delicious taco soup/Mexican soup thing made by Micah. It was hearty, comfort/soul food. I totally totally loved it. I love comfort food, hence the beef stew. It was cheesy and wonderful. I think it had sausage in it, actually. The sausage just added to it even more. Yum!
Dinner on Saturday was actually the real piece de resistance and I think everybody would agree with me. Susannah’s mother, Jo, owns a restaurant and she made a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern meal that was to die for. I felt like I was eating at a very expensive restaurant. I cannot even explain how delicious it was. I still think about that meal.
After I finished that quilt, I did some knitting and visiting and just took it easy. I headed out a little before 10 am on Sunday and we were all so sad we had to leave. I know Susannah Kate is planning another one and I can’t wait. It was such a relaxing, productive, delicious, gorgeous, and fun weekend.