Tag Archives: Sew-In

Camp Sew’n’Sew 2016


IMG_39772016 Camp Sew ‘N’ Sew has come and gone.  I wish it were still going, even though if it were, I would have run out of both fabric and patterns by now.  Still, a girl’s got to get a little starry eyed (stitchy-eyed?) at the thought.   As they say, all good things must come to an end.  Until Next Year!

The spread above is a small sample of what I, and my sewing buddy Earin, achieved during our 3 1/2 day retreat.  Sewing Camp starts on a Monday, and end at noon on Thursday.  Not quite four full days.

This year it was hosted at a conference center at Lake Tahoe.  Wow, talk about the view!  The room was full natural light, with the pristine blue lake and pine trees out the window.  One had to be careful not to waste too much precious sewing time staring at the scenery.

Meals were provided by the conference center as well.  Someone else did the cooking and the clean-up.  Even though our numbers (14) were small, they offered a vegetarian meal option.  Yum!  The veggie meals were so good (spicy squash rat-a-tat-tat-a-touie), some of the carnivores wanted to switch!  Dueling forks at the dinner table, almost.

There was ample room to sew – machines and sergers could be set-up side by side.  The center of the room was a designated cutting station made of several banquet tables pushed together.  There were even self-healing mats for those using rotary cutters.  A separate nook was reserved for ironing.

Lest you think we were all head’s down, sewing furiously, this was not the case.  There was visiting, laughter, banter and helpful suggestions.  We caught up on spouses, kids, grandkids, pets.  There was pattern fitting.  UFO finishing.  We even had after dinner movies.

For me, it took a full day to unwind, turn the phone off and relax into my stitching rhythm.  Eventually, I hit my stride.  What a contrast from last year’s goings-on.  Bliss!




IMG_1728Decisions, Decisions

There was lots of deciding over the weekend.  The sewing room was strewn with patterns and fabric.

I was trying to decide how much time I had.  Could I trace and tissue fit something new?  Was it worthwhile to spend the time?  How about morphing something new onto a tried-and-true pattern?  All the possibilities were making my brain hurt (no small feat!)

Why all this patterned activity?  Sewing Camp starts this Thursday!  That’s right, I have found a Sewing Camp, sponsored by the local ASG chapter.  While I know it will not replace my beloved Sew-In, I thought it worth a whirl.  I shall pack my bags, and head off into the hills.  No computer.  No phone.  No distractions.

I finally decided to use mostly tried-and-true (TNT) patterns.  So, there are 2 pair of capris (Jalie), two woven shirts (Louise Cutting), 2 knit shirts (Hot Patterns and Style Arc) and enough extra fabric for one more knit shirt and a pair of jeans.  Probably overkill, but it is 4 days of sewing!

Did I mention the retreat venue is haunted?

Guildy Gals


It’s been mentioned quite frequently that I am a member of the American Sewing Guild.  They are a national organization which promotes sewing as a life enhancing experience, and I can agree with that – sewing has greatly enhanced my life.

It’s also no secret that I originally joined to get the 10% discount that being a member of ASG gets you at Joann’s fabrics, as well as local retailers.  I was a member for years and never attended a meeting, or took advantage of all the other wonderful events and discounts offered.  Until I took a class at a local shop, which was taught by another guild member.  Sue C – you’re responsible for this!

I can say it literally changed my sewing circle.  Instead of working in a total vacuum, I had like-minded individuals to get together with.  It didn’t matter if our sewing preference was garments or quilts or charity or just puttering around with odd pieces.  There was someone local, who I could physically connect with.  There was a wealth of experience to draw on when I ran into a problem…and even more surprisingly, there were folks out there who wanted the knowledge I had to offer.

This also lead to workshops and all manner of events.  There was Emma Seabrooke, who taught the first workshop I attended.  There was Louise Cutting, Peggy Sagers, Linda Lee, Mary Mulari, Patty Palmer, Mary Lou Rankin, and Bobbi Bullard the Queen of Bling.  Many others as well, whose names don’t come to mind at the moment.

I took a class to make a pants pattern – fit to my exact measurements, which I still use today (withe a few tweaks added for these additional pounds).

There was the Sew-In – a high point in the summer doldrums of Cactusville.

Part of being a guild member also means the opportunity to attend neighborhood groups.  Local folks who meet on a monthly basis, sharing skills, perhaps with a demo or a program or something of interest to all.  Last Tuesday, I attended my final neighborhood group meeting in Cactusville.

We made a party of it!  Phyllis, our group leader who had been ill was able to attend.  There was pie and cake and munchies and drinks.  Therisa showed us how to refashion t-shirts, and talked about using dyes to go from washed-out white to a rainbow of colors.  It was wonderful.  Amazing!  Thank you for enriching my life so.  I shall miss you all.

Farewell, but not goodbye.

Islander Bag


To whet our appetites for Sew-In 2012, there was a Pre-Sew-In workshop this year, and of course, I signed up.  Similar to the 2011 workshop, we would have a guest instructor, and the opportunity to learn new techniques and methods.  This year our guest instructor was Penny Sturgis of Quilts Illustrated.

The whole time leading up to the Sew-In there were all sorts of hints about what the workshop would be…but no actual data. We’d be the first group to try out a brand new pattern.  Penny would be assisting each and every one of us.  But…until just mere weeks before the Sew-In, no one had any idea what our mystery project would be.  The anticipation made for very itchy fabric fingers.

The big reveal was the Islander Bag…and we had homework to do!  That’s right we had to select fabric , cut out pieces and quilt them.  I actually had to purchase fabric!  There was nary a thread in Casa Thunderpaws suitable.  What a catastrophe, having to buy more fabric.

As you can see, I went for something bright.

Penny took us through the assembly, one step at a time.  No one was left behind, though everyone had to pay attention.  In the end, there was a veritable Bevy of Bags.  Every one was different, unique and stylish.

I don’t usually like quilted bags – they are either too shapeless, too large or just not my thing.  This one I do believe I will use.  It has enough structure to hold it’s shape when full of the requisite “stuff” we all have to carry.  There are all sorts of additional pockets, both outside on the front (under the flap) and back.  There are pockets on the inside as well.

For a pocket junkie like myself, this is pure heaven.

I also made the most of the fabric I chose, switching the pieces around.  That’s one of the great features this bag’s design – you can really play with pattern and color if so inclined.  Or you can go all sedate and business-like.  I don’t think we had any like that at the Sew-In.

All in all, it was a great experience.  A wonderful prelude to three more days of sewing nirvana.

My Patterns are Packed


It’s time to sew.
I’m standin’ here, outside the door
I hate to buy new patterns, just for today

‘Cause I’m leavin’ for the Sew-In
Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I’ve got to sew

Being the saga of what does a body do when attending Sew-In 2012, while having patterns and fabric packed, and removed from the house, no less?  Not attending was not an option.  After all, I had fobs to distribute!  People to see!  Something (anything!) to sew.

Fabric.com and Hotpatterns to the rescue. “Ah ha!” says me. They have free patterns to download.  And I’ve even made one of them before, so I won’t have to bother fitting!  Some days, I even amaze myself, I truly do.

Enter the Fringe Festival T.  Now the only question was, could I make this puppy on a straight-stitch-only machine?  No zig-zag.  No double needle opportunity.  Well, hey, since I wasn’t stretching myself in the pattern fitting department, may as well do so in the sewing department.

Worked like a charm!  If I do say so myself.  I got the two prints cut out before the Sew-In, and had enough time to cut out and sew the solid colors as well.  I even wore one of them home on Sunday.

The first two followed the pattern with V necklines.  The spotted green T is as defined by the pattern.  For the ziggurat shirt I widened the neckline 1/2 inch, which gives a modified boat neck.  Ok, a pointy boat neck, but trust me, it looks good.

After two shirts, I grew weary of making v-necks, so switched to scoop necks when I cut out the solid colors.  I do indeed like how this pattern fits.  The cap shoulders provide succor from the blasting A/C of Cactusville summers, while center seams front and back allow more fitting options than usual .

If you look closely, you can see that the necklines are different.  It’s much more evident when the shirts are worn.  So, four new tops.  Huzzah!

Shhh!  Don’t tell the sewing gods this, but I think I am finally over my fear of knits.



Sew-in 2012 has come to a close.  It was truly a wonderful experience.  The scissor fobs were passed out during lunch on Saturday.  I could tell by the gleam in a couple of people’s eyes that they had checked this blog before-hand.

It was suggested I put up a couple more pictures, hence, this write-up.

I must say, sewing folks are some of the most inventive people around.  While I’ve always thought of these as scissor fobs, others found a multitude of uses for them that didn’t involve scissors at all!

I saw them attached to camera cases, used as zipper pulls on totes, and also stitched to purse flaps to give a little added weight – so the flaps would stay down.  What great ideas!

It was even suggested they might make good earings, though personally I think they’d be a bit heavy for that!

Serendipity also had a hand in their distribution, as the dog people got the dog fobs, the cat people the cats, and several folks of a sea-going nature the fish.  I imagine there may also have been some swapping between attendees, which is fine, encouraged even!

Overall the Sew-In was fantastic.  There will be more pictures posted – as soon as I unload them from my camera.

Sew-In 2012


Sew-In 2012 starts today!  Yippee!  Yahoo!  This is our annual guild retreat.  Three days of sewing nirvana, where we take over the local hotel and sew, sew, sew.  Whatever we like.  As much as we like.  Someone else does the cooking!

This is also likely to be my last Cactusville Sew-In.  While hopefully not forever, at least for the forseeable future.

So, what’s that in the photo?  Obviously not fabric, but something sewing related.  They are scissor fobs.  You hook the clasp over the handle of your scissors, so you can identify yours when you go to various events.  There’s even an antique sewing machine charm on the bottom.  I suppose they could have other uses too, but I like scissor fobs, so scissor fobs they are.

I’ve wanted to make some sort of favor for the Sew-In attendees for quite some time.  Finding the little sewing machine charms when I was at the Tucson Gem & Mineral show cinched it, as did this being my last visit.

I used a lot of the whimsical beads I’ve picked up over the years.  Ones acquired when I first started beading, and wasn’t sure what direction my personal beadventure would take.  There are cats, angel fish, pollywog fish and a few dogs too.  A little something for everyone.

They were a joy to make.  I hope they bring joy to their recipients.