Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sew OK Was More Than OK

Last weekend, I took off for an adventure of all kinds.  While it was just down the highway from where I reside, it truly felt like I had a vacation that I'll remember fondly.  You may remember that I signed up for my first sewing retreat, Sew OK, recently.  I was mega nervous for a million reasons - not feeling up to par with my sewing game, longest time away from the kid, rain in the forecast for my traveling days, and leaving a big decision behind that I'll talk more about later.
I actually ended up hitting the road last Wednesday, one day before the retreat began, so I could avoid the rain.  Well, most of the rain I encountered was during my drive!  But it ended up being a very therapeutic drive with a nice steady, summer rain.  Oklahoma City is the place I called home for four years while I completed my undergraduate degree.  I haven't gone back and just farted around for many years so it was a welcomed, unplanned day that was fantastic.  I dropped some of my handmade clothing off at a new shop, Out on a Limb, in the Plaza District, visited a dear old friend and her brand new baby, spent time shooting the shit with JD of Deluxe, had a lovely dinner with my brother-in-law, and stayed the night with one of my besties that I don't get to see often enough!  It was a PERFECT day. How could the sewing retreat even compare?  Oh it did.  It did.
I really didn't know what to expect.  The event was held in a super cool (and haunted!) historic hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.  I had stayed there once before last year so I was excited to return to spend more time.  I opted to make a little vacay out of it and not have a roommate which was SO nice.  Of course, I was given a room on the infamous haunted floor but never saw a thing.  Although, the last night, I swear I felt something 'sit' on the end of my bed more than once.  I just kept those peepers shut tight!  Ha!  The actual retreat was held in a gigantic ballroom where everyone had their own workstation.  Machines were provided, if needed, but it seemed most traveled with their own.  I brought both my sewing machine and serger with the intention of playing with some of the machines they had provided but ended up only using my own.  Glad I had brought them!  
There were two optional classes offered throughout the three day retreat but other than that, nothing else was scheduled so you had the opportunity to sew willy-nilly all day and night long!  I don't think I have EVER sewn so long, so consistently.  It was heaven.  I attended both classes, one taught by Dana of Old Red Barn Co. (what a sweet, sweet soul!) who taught us how to simply sew curves and the other taught by Carolyn Friedlander who taught us how to make her Social Tote project.  Both classes were invaluable and fun! 
99.9% of the time I was working on my first king size quilt which I completely finished there!  I had intentions of using their fancy mid-arm machine to do my quilting but ended up doing the entire thing on my own machine which, in hindsight, was a little crazy!  It was SO nice to have such a large floor space to lay things out on and large workspace to spread out on.  I'll shared photos of the finished quilt in my next post.  :)  Even though I only worked on one project, I learned SO much from my fellow attendees and their projects! 
One highlight from the experience was one that I just never even anticipated.  The fellowship.  It was beyond nice to be among other women equally obsessed with sewing and making things.  The bonding I experienced was priceless, especially within one particular gal.  Mary, who many of you may know as one of the fabulous sewing teachers at Owl & Drum, ended up being someone who I felt like I'd known forever and that I know that I WILL know forever.  I loved every moment that we got to share together that weekend. 
I sincerely hope that I am able to be involved with something like this again in the near future.  Hours of uninterrupted sewing with ladies that I think the world of in a fancy schmancy setting was just more than I could ask for.  Oh, and free stuff.  Like tons and tons of free stuff.

So thanks to the *hilarious* ladies who made this weekend possible, to the teachers who were so patient with this non-precise sewer, and to the gals who stayed up late with me to make!

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