Sewing with Spooks. Again.


A couple weekends back, our local ASG chapter had their annual sewing retreat, loving called Camp Sew’n’Sew.  Or as I refer to it, Sewing with Spooks.  Once again, our hearty band of campers took over St. Mary’s Art Center for a wonderful 4 day repast of sewing, sewing and more sewing!  Did I mention we were there to sew?

IMG_250815 of our new, but soon to be closest friends, showed up machines in hand.  We trooped into the Center, found our rooms, dumped luggage and headed up to the third floor, where a bright sunny room waited.  Our home away from home for the next couple of days.

Tables were set, extension cords strung, and we were ready to get to work!  It’s a lovely place to work too.  Windows fill the high ceilings with sunlight; opened ones with fresh air.  Everyone has room to spread out.  There is even a table for cutting.  Not large, but large enough.


IMG_2503There are no set projects for the retreat.  It’s not a class or a workshop.  Everyone brings whatever they want to work on.  There are quilts, clothing, household items, baby blankets.  Some folks bring more than others.  Some are even accused of being “over achievers”.  Wonder who that could be (ahem)?

As you can see by the picture at the right, finished items are posted on the cork boards for all to see.  A chance to oooh and aaah as well as check new patterns.  There were many numbers scribbled onto bits of paper, as well as several “how did you do that?” queries.  Information flows freely at Sewing Camp.

IMG_2526Our “camping” is not rigorous.  There are two full fledged kitchens at the facility.  Everyone takes turns making a meal.  The organizers, wonderful elves that they are, do all the purchasing and prep work ahead of time.

This makes “cooking” more a matter of heating and setting up.  Every so often there is the mad search for serving bowls of the proper size.  A dishwasher makes clean-up easy too.  We try to have all 4 of the basic food groups at every meal.  There is even a vegetarian option.

What’s that?  I beg to differ.  Wine and sugar cookies are indeed included in those 4 basic groups.  So is chocolate!  I am most certain chocolate is included.

IMG_2523By the time Sunday rolls around, it’s time to stitch the last seam.  Time to pack up our new treasures, coil the cords and dispose of all those thread trimmings.  Suitcases are packed, though  clothes never seem to go in as neatly at the end of the retreat as they do at the beginning.

It’s always such a surprise how much heavier satchels are at the end of camp.  Sometimes we can barely lift them!

Everyone heads for home: Sew happy.  Sew tired.

Plum Wine


IMG_2485This necklace reminds me of deep dark plums.  Juicy and full of sugary goodness.  Maybe that’s because I’m hungry?  Or maybe it’s because I can see Spring budding forth outside the window, and I can’t wait for all the lovely fresh fruit to show up at the Farmer’s Market.  Heck, I can’t wait for the Farmer’s Market to start up, and that’s several months away yet.  I shall just have to bide my time with beading.

So, a little bit of square stitching.  Simple and to the point, and the name implies.  There are dark red drugs interspersed with tiny bronze seed beads.  Once the overall length was determined, I went back and embellished the necklace with some dagger drops.  The daggers are a color mix, some have a purple cast while others lean IMG_2486more towards bronze.  This adds a bit more visual interest, and breaks up what could otherwise have been a monotonous progression.  While this necklace may look a bit stiff, it is very fluid and pleasant wear.

Spiral Road


IMG_2470More spirals have been in the works.  This one reminds me of the Road Less Traveled.  There’s the yellow median line, the grey asphalt, and a winding curve through the canyons, nary another vehicle in sight.

Similar to the other spirals, there are 6º, 8º, 11º and 15º beads chasing each other around and around.  The beady goodness is strung on a stalwart satin cord as final flourish.  A stylish, but subtle combination.



IMG_2537IMG_2538Way back in October we planted some trees around the house.

Careful watering, and lots of well wishes were said to help them through the (rather mild) winter.

I am pleased to announce that they appear to have survived!  Yippee!

There are the crab apple trees in front of the house.  They shouldn’t get too large, I think it was less than 20 feet tall?  They provide a nice spot of color, if I do say so myself.

The other trees elms, ash and maple are just starting to put out buds.  The maples, in particular are attracting birds.  Next up are some seed socks (say that three times fast!) , and deciding where to put the hummingbird feeder.IMG_2542



Iris ApfelI’ve been struggling of late.  Sewing Camp is coming up, and there are quite a few holes in the wardrobe.  Literally (as in worn out) and figuratively (as in could use more of).  This is the perfect opportunity to stitch up some new duds, try out some new patterns, experiment.

But, I’m stuck.  I have half a dozen independent patterns traced, and have been tweaking them to fit, which has become a terrible, but necessary slog.  Terrible, because the measurements on the pattern envelopes obviously don’t match my body, or my body no longer matches them.  Slog because I don’t want to be doing pattern drafting, I want to sew!

Then I look at the sweet young things depicted on the envelope fronts, and wonder why bother?  I will never be that lithe or limber.  Much less filling things out quite that way.

A good friend sent me a link to an article from the Guardian newspaper this morning, which made me realize that my malaise was more of a rant.  Why, pray tell, are none of the envelopes showing women “of a certain age”, I ask you?  Much less showing us as the stylish, fun loving creatures we are?  Are there no patterns for us?

85th Annual Academy Awards - ArrivalsNot everyone over 50 has become a quilter!  And you know almost all of us started out as garment sewists, back in the day.  I don’t expect my little musings to change things, but seeing women looking stylish, having their own style, was such a wonderful breath of fresh air.  Positively invigorating!

That’s Iris Apfel (90+) up at the top.  Doesn’t she look like she’s having fun, and knows who she is?  And Emannuelle Riva there to the right.  Still rocking the red carpet at 80-something.

So, I’m going to take a piece of paper, and cut myself a little window in it, and slide that over the technical drawings of the patterns, so’s not to be influenced (intimidated?) by the under 30s in the photos.  That way, I evaluate my style.  Mine!  Mine!  Mine!

And maybe if I think on it, I can grow up to be Iris, too!

*photos from The Guardian



IMG_2499It appears that once again I have fobbed off the deep end.  Fobs!  Fobs for scissors.  Fobs for watches.  Fobs for keys.  Fobs for the memories.  Alright.  Those are all the fobby puns I could think of.

I took a bit of time over the past weekend to make something fun.  Pewter sewing machine charms, coupled with very large lobster claw clasps.  Beady goodness joining them both together.  Bright and colorful, these gave me a chance to play with beads that I don’t usually use.  They catch the sunlight and sparkle in a myriad of colors.IMG_2498