Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Joyous Retreat

I'm still smiling, giggling and basking in the good feelings from last weekend's winter sewing retreat in Winchester, VA.  The Northern Virginia American Sewing Guild chapter sponsors two retreats a year and the hard-working volunteers organized another marvelous gathering.  Same lovely hotel and ballroom,    2011 retreat pics  The George Washington Wyndham, with the most friendly, accommodating staff.   More than 40 creative women in one large, sunny room just sewing, laughing, measuring, giggling, advising, sharing and supporting one another.  I am so fortunate to have found the such a wonderful organization and amazing friends.  
Ok, as for projects, this was also one of my most successful retreats.  I'll be sharing more finished results over the next week or two but I was thrilled to try some new patterns and have them work out wonderfully.  
Versatile Twin Set cardigan from Pamela's Patterns
Here's a quick photo of the latest tried and true pattern.  It's the #108 Versatile Twin Set cardigan, again from Pamela's Patterns.  No picture on me yet but it's another winner from this line of patterns.  Versatile Twin Set  

Speaking of Pamela's Pattern's, here's one of the funniest things that happened as the long retreat weekend started.  I drove from Baltimore to my friend Michele's house in Northern VA so we could drive out to Winchester together.  When she greeted me at the door, we both burst out in hysterical laughter.  I had made the Draped Front Cardigan from Pamela's Patterns last fall and then gifted her with the remaining navy tweed wool knit.  There we stood, two sewers who pride themselves on our unique twist on fashion, wearing the exact same fabric in the exact same pattern.  Totally unintentional but worth the huge laughs and fun start to the weekend.  We considered doing one of the Instyle Magazine Who Wears It Best polls but darn it, I think we both look great:-) 

Since there's so much girlfriend fun happening at a sewing retreat, I've learned to a)  pre-cut my projects before I go  b) make sure to have a surefire, no fail project ready in case I'm disappointed by a new pattern or project.  My reliable sewing project this time was the Jalie Sweetheart Neckline top  sweetheart-top-pattern  Takes about an hour to sew one up although this one is not yet hemmed.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

Another TNT jacket is Simplicity 2858.  I'm using a lovely cotton rayon silk tweed blend from Fabric Mart and am doing a fringe at center front and along the sleeve slit.  I block fused the fabric and cut out the pattern pieces single layer so that added extra time to the retreat prep.  I like the results so far but still have about 1/2 of the jacket to fully assemble and also add the lining.  Not a quick project but one that has me excited about the final result.

The retreat good times are not just shared by the participants.  Chef Petey enjoys getting accolades for his food and on the final day puts out a delicious Sunday brunch this time decorated with a vintage sewing machine carved from a block of cheese (he said that last year's butter carving was too difficult since the butter kept softening.)  That's real tomato pincushion with green onion lines and a real strawberry as the traditional emery filled one.  

Last note is mostly a reminder to myself.  This year's retreat was especially enjoyable for me mostly because I attended in a spirit of contentment and healing in my life.  Last year I truly needed to be with friends at a time when I had felt some painful losses and was feeling oddly fearful about the future.  I say oddly because most of those losses or fears did not touch me directly but I was absorbing them nonetheless.  This year I've worked on building some greater inner resilience and made some changes that have brought more positive people into my life.  The 2012 retreat was a celebration of little steps forward and an acknowledgment that every day is precious.  I hope you too have such joys in your life.


  1. I loved seeing you, Jane, as you always inspire my sewing. Little steps for me right now, but I have big plans. Did you see the pictures on Yahoo Groups? Thanks for a great post.

  2. What a great getaway. Glad you had so much fun!

  3. It sounds like great fun. I love the photo of the duplicate cardigan occasion.

  4. Sounds perfect - combing good, caring friends with sewing ( amazed any sewing got done !) Did the sewing machine get eaten at all ?
    I am slow in commenting but I loved your 2011 sewing roundup - such beautiful and inspiring pictures of your sewing .
    I too love the simplicity dress you mentioned last post but have only made it once with the round neck - must try the cross over one - another project on a long list.

  5. So glad that you had a wonderful time at the retreat.
    Both you and your friend look beautiful in your cardigans.

  6. Nothing like a sewing retreat to get your creative juices flowing. I think it is super that you and your friend both have the same cardigan. And it looks beautiful on both of you. OK, now I may have to go and order that pattern!

  7. Sounds like a wonderful time. What a funny sewing coincidence!

  8. Another wonderful post from you, Jane. So sad I couldn't be with you this year to help celebrate friendship and your new look on life. Hopefully next year. Can't wait to see what else you've got coming off your sewing machine.


Love your comments, opinions, advice and questions. I just ask that we all "play nice."