Thursday, June 28, 2012

… sewing with (new) friends

i almost feel obnoxious for posting about this. because, seriously, i feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to spend a weekend in atlanta sewing with a bunch of online friends, who quickly became real life friends. like, seriously lucky. next to my own wedding and honeymoon, this is pretty much the most amazing vacation i've had in recent memory. thanks to amanda, holly, jacey, jessica, maureen, nicke, and rachel for making this an unforgettable trip. we joked that everyone would get tired of reading about our retreat on all our blogs pretty quickly, and while i'm sure that will happen (sorry), i just can't help but contribute my own thoughts on our amazing weekend.


on saturday morning we visited whipstitch in atlanta. truth be told, this is the only time we left the house all weekend. but boy was it worth it!




the space here was amazing! all light and airy and perfectly decorated, but still the focus was on all the fabulous fabric, curated with a keen eye by the owner, the fabulous miss deborah.


and, let me tell you, deborah is a real spitfire of a lady. she can cut fabric, tell a fantastic story, record your purchases and remember your name even though you only met moments ago, all at the same time and without missing a beat.


here rachel models a darling shark-shaped purse that was on display in the shop. super cute!


and the rest of the weekend was spent at this table, sewing my little heart out. i know it looks like a bit of a mess, but i can't think of a happier place than being at this table with nicke, jessica and jacey sewing and chatting and admiring each other's projects.



i can't decide if my favorite project of the weekend was amanda's miniature patchwork (inspired by a project in quilting modern) or jessica's finished x & + quilt top. both were killing me with their use of color.


i was also digging maureen's lovely improv blocks in the most summery of palettes. yum. (and if you like these fabrics, too, which she paired with the perfect lillybelle floral, you can buy her blogger bundle over at pink castle fabrics!)


what about me? well, i managed to finish noodlehead's 241 tote. i love this bag. i used some robert kaufman yarn-dyed linen, candy trees from miscellany, and ellen luckett baker's geometric stars.


i also got to work on blocks for jacey for the june do. good stitches love circle quilt. these were so fun to make: the only parameters were that we make improv blocks in bright citrus colors. plus, it was fun to just hand them across the table to jacey when i was finished and not worry about sending them off in the mail.

working on a new block.

and i got started on this block, inspired by a photo i pinned a while back and just couldn't get out of my head. this is destined to be a pillow for a very nice person, but i may expand on it and make it into a larger quilt in the future. i'm not quite done with this yet, is what i'm saying.


one of the highlights of the weekend was meeting andhaving dinner with some of my favorite fabric designers, rashida coleman-hale, ellen luckett baker and melody miller. i know, right?! they were all sweet as can be and didn't seem at all fazed by us adoring fangirls. here we all are, hanging out, chatting, no big deal.

but really, the best part was getting to know such lovely, lovely ladies who i now consider friends. i think jessica really captured the essence of all these amazing women in her post. reading it reminded me what i liked and enjoyed so much about everyone there. and amanda wrote very eloquently about how you, too, can create your own amazing sewing retreat if you're feeling envious of our little getaway or inspired to reach out to others and do the same. i can't urge you enough to make this happen. i am, by nature, a pretty introverted and, often, socially awkward person. i always assume everyone else is cooler than me and is already friends with everyone else. but when this opportunity came up i threw aside my reservations and decided that taking a chance and meeting a bunch of strangers might actually be worth it.

and i'm happy to report that, in the end, it was.


  1. Looks like you had fun!

    I have been thinking for a year now to contact some quilters I know from the blog world who live on this corner of the world. Maybe I should just do it? Hmmm.

  2. Yay for spending a weekend with "strangers"! I meant to tell you that I think my favorite project of the weekend was the drunkard's path amazingness you are working on. I cannot wait to see it finished, it is just so damn cool!!

  3. What a fun weekend! I meet strangers often through meetup, but going away for the weekend with them is pretty hardcore. It sounds like you ladies had a wonderful time and made lasting friendships! I'm swooning over the citrus-y blocks-- just lovely!

  4. looks like you all had a lovely time. and to hang out with the fabric designers, so cool. I would have peed my pants. :)

  5. You are awesome, Ara Jane! I bet you are also still catching up on sleep, but I don't regret those late nights! I loved your post; very well said. I can't wait to see where you go with your WIP. It's so amazing!

  6. What a blast! And good for you for going and stepping outside of your comfort zone (I'm an introvert too and always end up talking myself out of situations. I'm a master at it :)

  7. So eloquently written my dear! Great post. I am so grateful to have met you all! And I really enjoyed getting to spend some extra time with you at the airport, thanks for making the trip to terminal E with me :)

  8. That sounds like a DREAM weekend! I need to go to whipstitch next time I'm in Atlanta, that's for sure. What a beautiful shop, and what beautiful finished projects!

  9. i loved your recap so much! i loved sitting next to you and talking about everything from mormonism (i loved that), to music to granola! i am so grateful to have met you and i can't wait to see what happens with your amazing block!

  10. so wonderful!!! what a lovely little community of incredible, crafty women. so thankful to "know" a whole bunch of crafty ladies and definitely hope to meet you and others face to face someday. :-)

  11. Great post! Now that I'm back to my regular routine, I find that I keep asking myself, "Did that really just happen?" It was SO wonderful to meet you Ara Jane!! :)

  12. It looks like you had a wonderful time! Good job on going for it and meeting up with some wonderful strangers who became new friends. I'm also often socially awkward, but I find that when I can talk quilting with someone, I get into my groove. I hope to meet you in August if you're planning on going to the Vancouver-Seattle-Portland MQG meet up!

  13. I am so SO glad that you did come, Ara Jane. I've always so enjoyed your blog, your casual and sweet personality shine right through. Nope, not a bit awkward! Your drunkard's path project definitely rocks. I think a big quilt would be fabulous to see!

  14. Sounds (and looks) like you had a fantastic time! It's equally wonderful that you took the chance to meet your virtual friends, and over the course of your weekend, turn them into friends IRL. My best friend from high school lives in Atlanta. I've never been, believe it or not, but would like to visit her, and also see ATL. We were on opposite coasts that weekend. I was actually in the PNW, in PDX for a conference, kind of in your neck of the woods. Loved it, though wished for more time to explore, but that means I'll just have to go back to Portland another time.