Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cold Weather, Warm Hearts

This was the third year that I attended the marvelous winter sewing retreat in Winchester, VA, sponsored by the local Northern Virginia American Sewing Guild Chapter.  Each year I finish by saying it was the best ever.  And this year it was the best ever.  Three days of pure sewing bliss, someone else doing the cooking and giving me lots of yummy choices at each meal, more then three dozen creative women laughing and encouraging one another and then $5 martini happy hour in the hotel bar.  Paradise.  
George Washington Wyndham Hotel Ballroom filled with creative seamstresses
One of my friends remarked that I seemed less manic (she knows me too well) than at previous retreats and I suppose that was true.  Mr. Lucky and I have been working so hard at cleaning and staging our Florida condo that the retreat was a warm, welcome break despite the extremely sudden temperature drop in the Mid-Atlantic.  My flights were timed nicely so that the snows and frozen rains came in between and afterwards.  The first few days in Baltimore were frigid 
Second morning in Baltimore

but sunny so I did get out for a walk.  I loved seeing houses decorated with Ravens team flags and purple lights, all in preparation for the upcoming Superbowl.  I'm not a huge football fan but I do like the excitement of a good party and that's the energy I could feel in my neighborhood.  
I also liked getting out for a walk in order to see this sight.

When I was working full time and having to travel in wintry weather, I was always counting the days until springtime.  I used to mark in my planner the day that I saw my first robin, just to give me hope that spring would come again.  There they are, the first flock of robins I saw, on Wednesday, January 23, 2013.  Spring will come again.

Butterick 5498
Back to the retreat.  I focused my sewing choices and stitched four items but only have pictures of two of them.  My warm up was a Magic Pencil skirt that I cut out last fall before we left for Florida.  The most fun was a simple Butterick pattern, #5498. 

 It's an easy raglan sleeve unlined jacket and definitely fills a void in my wardrobe.  Now that I'm including skinny jeans and pants, I don't have long enough jackets to balance that look.  Here's an easy, flattering woven jacket pattern that will do just that.  I made my first one out of a wool tweed (so old that I think it's from a Jomar trip of years ago) that I put through the washer and dryer.  I lengthened it two inches, added five inches to make it long sleeved and have something very similar, but less expensive at $.99, to a Sewing Workshop pattern.  I had a tough time in late afternoon on Monday getting any pictures on dreary, grey Baltimore weather so here's the best I could do.
Butterick 5498

Since I plan on making a few burnout velvet is on my mind with rolled edges.  
I also sewed up a mock up of a Burda sweater like jacket that you'll see later this year.  With two flattering jackets in my new repertoire, I tossed that Sandra Betzina jacket mock up that was giving me fits.  You all had great suggestions, albeit contradictory ones, but it was way too much work to make it into a mediocre result that I would resent.  Move on.....
Last project of the weekend was hand sewing the binding to my first quilt, one one designed for the best little dog in the world.  
Pick Up Stix quilt

The quilt is staying in our family room in Baltimore so little Lucky will enjoy it when he heads north in three months.  Here's the original post with the pattern details and picture of our dear rescue dog: Pick Up Stix quilt post  Don't worry, dog lovers,  #1 dog, Sam the basenji, has had numerous dogbed covers made for him in our thirteen years together....he just doesn't show his gratitude, neither wagging his tail nor smiling at us like Lucky does.   
As for the condo sale, we met with our first prospective realtor today.  I'll post some pictures next time of the little sewing projects I'm finishing up to stage us nicely.  A few more people to interview and then we're officially on the market.  Meanwhile, everything is shining and we're trying to live lightly.  


  1. Replies
    1. it was a hit at the retreat and Michele would love to have you use that quilt design on one that she has finished. Bravo to you for an wonderfully designed quilting job.

  2. That retreat looks DIVINE!! Wish we had something like that around here. I'm burned out and keep saying that I need to fill my cup. Maybe I should more seriously consider joining the ASG. Thanks for sharing it! Love it!

    1. You have a full, busy life but I do recommend ASG if you have a neighborhood group near. I love my sewing girlfriend time.

  3. A productive retreat - yay! I like how you've left the front of the jacket not folded back, but overlapped. It makes it more current, IMO. I'm thinking waterfall front jackets are becoming old. What you've done is fresh!

    1. Wow, thanks, Dixie. My fabric and the front facing (and the 2 inches I added) made it work that way but I like it too. I think a fabric with more drape would still do the waterfall thing but I guess I'll find out on my next one.


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