About once a month, a couple of friends and I get together and sew on a Saturday. It’s kind of a mini-retreat. This one was quite a while ago, but it was a pretty productive time. I didn’t have a lot to work on, so I just made some fun things.

First, I started with this top.

 

Top

 

 

This is the Jaile Doman Top. I’m pleased with how it turned out except it’s kind of short. I would lengthen it next time.

Dolman Top

 

 

Don’t you like the fabric! It’s just a little sparkly. :) I’ve been wearing this as a workout shirt. I added cuffs to the sleeves since I like that better than a hem.

 

Dolman Top

 

I also changed up the neckline just a bit and I’m really happy with how it turned out. It looks very very nice. I’ll probably make this top again, but not for awhile.

 

Drawstring Bag

 

This was just a fun little project that I put together from the School of Sewing book.  Cute, right? I’ve been using it to hold knitting.

 

Apron

 

I made Andrew an apron a long time ago from some Habitat fabric and a dish cloth using a Missouri Star tutorial. Somehow, that apron disappeared. We have no idea where it went. It’s been like three years. So I decided he needed another one. This is also from School of Sewing.

 

Apron

 

 

I used some chambray from Robert Kaufman for it. Their chambray is the best.

It was a very chill little retreat and I had a great time. It seems like I am just overflowing with retreats lately. :) I have two more to talk about!

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.

 

Hudson Pants

 

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.

 

Waistband

 

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.

 

Pockets

 

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.

 

Serged Inside

 

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.

Hudson Pants

 

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…

 

Inside

 

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.

 

Meridian

 

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.

 

Meridian

 

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.

 

Finishing

 

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.

 

Finishing

 

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!

 

Julia

 

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.

 

Julia Cardigan

 

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.

 

Finishing

 

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.

 

Swoon

 

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.

I’m normally not a “I can’t wait to celebrate my birthday!” person. In fact, I usually don’t care. I didn’t actually care this year, but a lot of people made it a very special birthday that lasted the entire month.

First, on my actual birthday and birthday weekend, I got to see my family and do quilt-y related things. My mom made me stroganoff and bought me fabric. My sister sent me a Hawthorne Threads gift card. And Andrew took me out to a wonderful dinner.

Then, Tula Pink spoke at guild, which couldn’t have been better planned. :) But the real treat of the evening was the Handmade Birthday Club. I’ve been waiting for my birthday month because I’ve been seeing all of the amazing things others have received. I got the absolute best gifts ever.

 

 

Birthday Gifts

 

Look at all of that! Isn’t it so pretty?!?

 

Birthday Gifts

 

I couldn’t stop looking at it and I immediately found a home for everything. Denise made me some awesome zipper pouches and a drawstring bag using number fabric, which is absolutely perfect because I LOVE numbers. They were all very cool, but one of the zipper pouches was particularly awesome because it had the zipper on the corner. Cool, right? I’ve already used them to carry around stuff. Bags are so handy! Nikki also made me a zipper pouch using some gorgeous linen and some even more gorgeous Liberty fabric. Plus, she did some awesome stitching on it and included a cute wristlet that I’ve clipped onto the bag to make it easier to carry around.

 

Pillow

 

 

This wonderful pillow that perfectly matches my living room was made by Staci. She doesn’t give herself enough credit for her talent. Her work is beautiful and I’m totally in love with this pillow. I’m also a big big fan on straight line and echo quilting, so this blew me away.

 

Table Runner

 

 

Jessica made this super awesome table runner that also perfectly matches my living room and goes perfectly on my coffee table. Jessica is a long arm quilter and the quilting on this is superb. I’ve found myself ignoring what’s on TV and just looking at the different quilting patterns because they’re so interesting. I love love love love love it.

 

Pillow

 

Then, there is this beautiful pillow. Marilyn made it and the Liberty and Essex Linen combo KILLS ME because I love it so much. I had it on my lap last night and just kept petting the little print strips. Andrew found it kind of creepy, but I’m sure you all understand. I love this pillow size. Almost all of my pillows are square so it’s nice to have something different.

I received all that the night of guild. It was a fantastic night. But I wasn’t done!

Melissa wasn’t able to make it to guild, but she was at the retreat this last weekend and gave me my present then!

 

Present

 

 

I had kind of forgotten that she had told me she’d give it to me at the retreat so when I was handed the gift bag (a metallic silver chevron one!), I was super excited. And when I saw what was inside, I was even more excited. This is the perfect basket for my sewing room. How cute is that embroidery? I always admire Melissa’s embroidery, so I’m thrilled to have a piece of it. I also love the zippers on this. There’s one on each side. I’ve already filled it with pretty fabric, but the inside has pockets for pens and other sewing tools.

I’ve felt so special this month. With the retreat last weekend, it also made the month extra special. Plus, the weather has been pretty nice and we’ve been spending a lot of time walking around the downtown area and that just reminds me how much I totally love living downtown.

Fabulous birthday and fabulous month. I don’t think April can live up to it, but that’s OK. I’m glad my birthday month was extra special. :)

 

This last weekend was a really fabulous weekend for me.

First, I took Friday off. It was my birthday, but that’s the reason I took it off. I left Thursday after work to head to my hometown, which is around four hours away.

I woke up Friday morning, drank some coffee, watched some Fons & Porter, watched some Sewing with Nancy, and worked out. (Note: My mom DVRs those shows and I LOVE watching them when I go home.) Then I went to visit my grandparents and spent the rest of the morning and afternoon with them. My grandparents live right across the street from each other. It’s very convenient. And they are only a few blocks from my parent’s house. Of course, everything is only a few blocks in Republic. It was great to get to visit with them and they didn’t expect it, so that was nice.

After that, I got cleaned up and met up with my dad and we drove into Belleville. My parents took me out to a birthday dinner at one of the few eating options in Belleville; a Mexican restaurant. My meal was great and it was excellent to spend time with my parents. Also, we ran into quite a few people I knew while growing up there, including my old drama coach who had big impact on my life. The entire reason I can get up in front of a large crowd of people and be comfortable speaking is pretty much solely credited to her.

And speaking of speaking to people…after dinner, I went to my mom’s quilt guild, The Heart of the Prairie Guild, and gave a lecture and trunk show about modern quilting. I certainly enjoyed talking about modern quilting and I think they enjoyed the presentation. Also, they were so sweet and had cupcakes and ice cream since it was my birthday! I even got a present from one of their members. Isn’t that sweet?!?

 

Birthday Celebration

 

 

It was a pretty great birthday for me. By the way, I turned 27. :)

On Saturday, we woke up early and had to be back in Belleville so I could teach a class to some of the guild members. I chose to teach (with permission) the Fractal Radiance pattern that the KCMQG released. Three people planned to make the small quilt top and the other four were going to make the pillow.

It was a super successful class and everyone (except Gretchen because she was the absolutely best hostess with the mostess) completed their top.

 

Fractal Radiance Pillows

 

I’ve never seen this done in batiks and I think it adds a dimension that solid and regular prints don’t. And the shades of blue together are perfect. That’s such a classy look. It reminds of the first Fractal Radiance quilt I made. I like that some marbles and tiny prints are combined with solids in that one.

 

Fractal Radiance Pillow

 

Fractal Radiance Pillow

 

Ok. So these two ladies are my heroes. They and a some other women just got finished making 97 quilts in the month of February! How crazy is that?! Every February, they do mission quilting all month long. Last year they made 93 quilts. All of the quilts are made by machine, tied, and machine bound. I’m still in awe.

Again, one of these is batiks, but in a brighter palate and I still like the dimension. It’s kind of perfect for Spring! The next one really reminds me of a crazy quilt. Isn’t that cool? I love how different fabrics really change the look of this pattern.

My mom and my aunt chose to make their quilt tops in just solids, which was quite a step out of her quilting box for my aunt. But I’m so glad she did because they turned out perfect!

 

Fractal Radiance

 

 

Aren’t they totally awesome? I really really love how this quilt works up in solids. Gretchen is making hers in shot cottons (like my first one) and I can’t wait to see it, too! I love how my second one looks in prints, but I really really love solids and shots. But that’s not a surprise. :)

Mom is going to do some fun and dense quilting on hers that I’m pretty excited about. Cathy is thinking about adding a border to hers to make it a bit bigger so it can be used as a couch quilt.

So after an awesome class, I spent some time at the local fabric shop and then my mom and I headed home to spend some time with my dad. We went for a drive and just hung out. It was relaxing and nice to spend time with my parents. My mom made my favorite, stroganoff, for dinner and the grandparents came over. It was a great great day.

On Sunday, I took off early and made it to Lawrence in time to see my great friend Jaime’s thesis show, Color Machine, at KU and attend her reception. The end product is absolutely amazing and if you have a chance this week to see it, do it! I helped her a bit on the project and it was super amazing to finally see it displayed.

It was a perfectly incredible weekend and Andrew made it even better by taking me to one of my favorite restaurants (Providence New American Kitchen) for dinner. :)

Happy birthday to me!

 

If you haven’t picked up a copy of School of Sewing, you should. Even if you are an advanced quilter or sewist, the book is fabulous. It’s especially fabulous if you do any teaching at all. Everything I’ve ever wanted to tell somebody I’ve been teaching to quilt or sew is in that book. It’s genius, which is no surprise if you know who wrote it: Shea.

Shea is encouraging other quilters and sewists to teach others to quilt and sew using her book. So I was asked by my local quilt shop to teach a class and I said yes. I’m teaching the Pleated Purse class at Modern Makers on Sunday, April 19th.

Here are the samples I made up.

 

Pleated Purse

 

 

Modern Makers has a better picture of this if you click on the link and scroll through their class list.

 

Pleated Purse

 

I used Cotton & Steel fabrics for the entire purse.

 

Pleated Purse

 

I can’t say enough great things about this book and these patterns. This purse went together SOOOO well. I loved every single minute of making it.

 

Pleated Purse

 

 

The other great thing about the book is that it has “extra credit.” The extra credit for this project was more of a tote bag. The pattern is just lengthened, a contrast top is added, and a second strap is added.

 

Pleated Purse

 

Pleated Purse

 

 

I dug through my stash for these fabrics. I love the color combo with such rich and saturated colors. Plus, the Melody Miller Kokka is fabulous and i was waiting for the perfect moment to use it. I still have quite a bit left. :)

I’ve made a few other things recently, too.

 

Bow Ties

 

In one of my Man Made classes, somebody made a bow tie using this Cotton and Steel fabric. I fell in love with it. So I made a bunch of them.

 

Bow Tie

 

I’m not sure what I’m going to do with all of them. One will definitely go to Andrew. We gave two of our friends once each. But that still leaves me with three. I’m sure they’ll make great gifts if we ever need them. Even if we never find a place for them, though, I’m pretty happy just looking at them. :)

Another random project is onesies.

 

Onesies

 

 

I had a few left over from the baby shower that I threw. I don’t know anybody who is having a baby girl right now, but when somebody does, I’ll be prepared. :)

Finally, my sister asked for a pillow to match the ones I gave my dad, grandpa, and uncle a few Christmases ago.

 

Pillow

 

This was my prototype and I had it lying around in a box. I pulled it out, added a back, made a pillow form, and stuffed it. Done!

 

Pillow

 

 

I went on a crafting retreat last week and had the best time! I was also super productive and I can’t wait to show you all of the cool stuff I made. :)

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