Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Crafty Weekender (& What I Finished!)

Just a few weeks ago, I spotted something that caught my eye on Instagram - Crafty Weekender.  One of the founders of Sew OK decided to start doing similar sewing weekends in the region but on a smaller scale.  Susannah, a doll and a half, seeks out houses that you can rent for the weekend in random cities, invites crafty ladies that she knows from various events, and hosts a laid-back crafty weekend.  I was in.  The next one was in Tulsa and I was more than stoked but there was a kink - all of the spots were filled.  I let Susannah know that I was 100% in if there were any openings but didn't really think it would happen.  Well, surprise surprise, one gal had to drop out just a week before and I was still available so I was in!  I was thrilled!

There were only seven of us and I had previously met all but two of the gals.  The house we stayed in was only two miles away from my house which made it possible for me to still work on Friday, make an emergency fabric run home, and to still attend a StreetCats' meeting that I couldn't miss.  Meant to be, if you ask me. 

It was just wonderful in every aspect.  Every single one of these ladies kept me in stitches (pun intended) and were filled with sewing wisdom that they so graciously shared.  And their work, man oh man, their work was spectacular.  I think my sewing game was upped just sharing air with them for a few days.  

There were no rules, just have fun and sew.  There were so many moments where it was silent except for the hum of seven machines and it was glorious.  I'm sure to some that sounds pretty boring but to me, it was much needed and welcomed.  We sprinkled in a trip to my beloved Owl & Drum, ate home cooked meals, watched cheesy eighties movies, listened to questionable music, and played Cards Against Humanity (amazingly my first time).  Absolute perfection.

So what did I work on?  Prior to the weekend, I had printed out the pattern for the Cargo Duffle, but stuck it away to work on at some undetermined time in the future.  When thinking about what I'd like to work on for the retreat, I knew I wanted to sew for myself so the duffle it was.  I found the instructions to be a little confusing when I first read through them so as I cut up my pieces for it the night before, I perused blog posts about others that had made the bag.  Theeeeen it all made sense and I was ready to go. 
I'm absolutely enamored with it and am proud of myself!  I think I'd like to make a few more, with some slight changes.  Maybe a different pocket configuration, add zipper pull tabs, and stabilizer in the handles.  It's totally functional as is though and I've been using it from the moment I finished it!
Since I'd studied up on the pattern before beginning, I flew through its construction!  The only thing that took any time was quilting the pieces.  I wasn't prepared to have finished that quickly!  I figured I'd be working on this bag all weekend!
Luckily, I had stashed my Tulsa Modern Quilt Guild challenge project in my bag so that's what I moved onto next!  At our last meeting, we had to draw an envelope and a random zipper.  The envelope held two random paint chip samples which were to be the two main colors in our boxy tote, along with the zipper that we drew.  I felt like I lucked out in my pull as the colors were ones I use often!  I treated myself to some new fabric at Owl & Drum for the project and love the way it turned out.
Well, I flew through that as well!  I'd made one last year and meant to make more but never got around to it.  They are super simple and mega handy.  I use my first one alllll of the time.  I bet you know how this story ends.  I decided to go with the boxy tote flow and busted out three more in a few hours.  I'm telling you, my productivity was on point!
I picked up more zippers yesterday so I can mass produce many more of these since everybody and their dog is now asking me to make them one!  Ha!  Good thing I like to make them.  :)
And there I was again, not knowing what to make next with many hours left to make.  One of the gals there was preparing to start a large paper piecing project and welcomed me to watch and ask questions.  Paper piecing has always intimidated, confused, and intrigued me but for whatever reason, it's something that I never thought I'd be able to do.  I don't know why.  It was just always so precise and stunning that I didn't think I was that kind of maker.  After watching and beginning to understand the process I decided to give it a try but all that was on hand was the advanced piecing that she was working on.  I figured, why the hell not?  I was in a room with experienced makers who could help me and it would give me something to try out.  So I did it.  And it was amazing.

I keep saying that it was mind-blowing, that it opened up so many sewing possibilities for me, and that I can't believe it was so easy.  It's a game changer.  I made a second one yesterday and have plans for one more with this pattern, the Pineapple Block.  It only measures 8" x 8" and is great for scrap usage.  I have plans for these blocks, grand plans!
This past weekend was the perfect way to start Spring Break.  I may not get a traditional break from my other job or from parenthood but sprinkling in positive experiences like these makes the 'break' feel like all sorts of special. 

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