Saturday, October 20, 2012

once upon a weekend... Sewing Summit 2012 + Kansas

Being invited to attend and speak at a sewing and blogging conference was beyond my wildest dreams, which means this passed weekend was literally a dream come true! A few months ago, you can imagine my surprise when Erin, who organized the Sewing Summit, emailed and invited me teach an intimate class about my creative journey. It was truly an honor to have such an amazing experience. I was in awe with it all-- the talented and fun ladies I met, the fabric stores I shopped at, the beautiful hotel we stayed in, the awesome teachers I learned from, the amazing equipment I sewed on, and the best sponsors who ever were. Every minute was very well spent, and I hope I get to go again someday. 
Melissa from I Still Love You * me * Miriam from Mad Mim * Miranda from One Little Minute (the winner of last year's Sew-vivor)!

These were my lovely roommates. It was my first time meeting them. I was beyond impressed with how nice, fun, smart, unique, and talented they each are. I left feeling so inspired to try some new things, thanks to these girls! Make sure you check out their blogs, they all have amazing sewing tutorials!

I think I'm the last blogger in the world without a smart phone or instagram account. (Believe me, I would love to have one! Just saving up for the grand occasion)! I got a kick out of Miranda's hashtags saying "#rachelneedsinstragram." Haha!

Here we are hanging out with a few of the ladies from Craftsy. I have been taking a quilting class on Craftsy, and I love it. It's this one, which touches on the history of traditional quilt blocks, which is totally intruiging to me! It is such a cool way to learn about topics I've been wanting more practice on. It's easier than reading a book. I like having a real teacher spoon feed me through a screen! (photo taken from Miranda... me, Suzanne, Miriam, Melissa, Miranda, Lyric, Lisa Anne)
Sewing Summit 2012 5 Sewing Summit 2012

The first day we kicked things off with the Shop Hop. About 50 of us loaded up on a bus, and toured around Salt Lake, visiting 3 amazing fabric shops. (Yellow Bird, The Material Girls Quilts, and Pine Needles at Gardener Village)

Here are a few of the fabrics I scored... a fun tribal print that Miranda and Miriam and I each bought (we'll be posting our projects simultaneously in a few months)... a large floral print, an eiffel tower fabric that I want to make an infinity scarf with, and a stretchy knit that is now a comfy skirt!

I can't go on any further until I give a great big thank you to my amazing mother-in-law, who flew great lengths to take care of our kids, and my husband who was so excited for me to have this experience. He did all the planning- found the airplane ticket, made arrangements with his mom, bounced ideas around with me, and when my nerves got the best of me, he gave me the best pep talks. Without him, I'm not sure I would have had the courage to leave my comfort zone (aka: taking care of our kids at home, and blogging from behind a screen). Though I know I am not the best public speaker, it was a huge growing experience for me, and I learned a lot during the process. It was good to put myself out there, especially because it meant meeting a lot of amazing other like-minded women!

There were 14 people in the class- absolutely perfect and conducive to an intimate workshop. We talked about blogging behind the scenes, balancing our time, how to monetize, and even had great insight from representatives from Bernina and Coats and Clark.

I loved sharing the details of my creative journey, and the things that have led my blog's path. One of the companies I've had the pleasure of getting to know is The Ribbon Retreat. I've had several unique opportunities to work with them, and I just absolutely adore and love them. I'm grateful for the ways they have encouraged me. I would highly recommend submitting a project for publication on their blog... read about it here!

I made this dress especially for the occasion. With all my preparations for the Sewing Summit, I didn't have a lot of time to invest in sewing something new to wear, so I came up with this easy "2 yards + 2 hours = Easy Dress" tutorial.


Here is the list of lovely ladies who were in the class. (back to front) Lynn from Coats and Clark * Andrea from The Train to Crazy * Jessica from Me Sew Crazy * Becky from The Sarcastic Quilter * Lisa from The Scrapbucket Quilter * me * Amy from We All Sew * Wendy from Blue Sky Quilter * Olivia from We All Sew * Petra from Sew Paint Create * Tracey from Swell Sewing (not pictured) Amanda from The Quilted Fish, Deonn from Quiltscapes, Lyann from Handmade from the Home)

Olivia and Amy, both representatives from Bernina, totally surprised me by attending the class! They were the sweetest, classiest, and most genuine ladies ever. I think all the bloggers in the class enjoyed having them- they shared insight on what its like to work with bloggers behind the scenes, and what types of things they look for. (Tip: they are more inclined to work with bloggers who are clearly passionate about sewing, and whose blogs have clear photos, are well organized, and have beautiful spaces. It doesn't hurt to be familiar with their products). I have a Bernina- I got a great deal on it when I was a middle school sewing teacher, and I have always been so grateful to sew on such a great machine. When I learned how to sew at BYU, I learned with a Bernina, and my mom sews on a Bernina too, which are all reasons I wanted to continue the tradition. It was such a treat to meet the real people behind this amazing brand. Check out the fun recap that Amy wrote on Bernina's blog, We All Sew, about her experience at The Sewing Summit.

Meet Jessica from Me Sew Crazy, and Andrea from The Train to Crazy. I've collaborated with these girls a lot during the last year, and I felt right at home having them in the class. I am sure we could have jabbed on for hours if we'd had more time. They are both incredibly creative and talented, be sure to check out their blogs if you haven't!

It was an honor to meet Deonn from Quiltscapes. I understand that she is one of Utah's most talented long arm quilters. She is also a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. She is just lovely!

Here I am with a few of the beautiful Riley Blake ladies. Amanda, from The Quilted Fish, is one of their designers, and has a new line coming out very soon! She also taught a class about her creative journey!

One of the most exciting girls to meet was Amy from Diary of a Quilter. She was so kind.... such a sweetheart. And she sews amazing quilts :)

Here's a glimpse into one of the sewing rooms. They were open until 2:00am each night!

They thought of everything- ironing boards, cutting mats, pins, treats- it was amazing!

Babylock sponsored all the sewing machines and sergers for us to use. I took two classes involving sergers. I loved using this machine. Basically... I want, I need. hahaha

This is the scarf I made with the babylock serger. I kind of love it :)

This is the darling Leanne from Elle Apparel. She is just lovely. I totally wanted to meet her, and was glad I did! She taught us how to make her infamous maxi dress.

I brought a bunch of fabric with me to use, this was one of the knits that I got from The Fabric Fairy.

I got my business cards from Moo.com. They were a great company... I loved the quality! I added my Sew-vivor logo to the back, because that's how a lot of people know my blog. The Ribbon Retreat sponsored me to go to the conference, so I proudly displayed their logo as well.

Exchanging business cards is one of my favorite parts of attending conferences!

Here's a glance at the contents of my swag bag, which included some fun sewing treasures. I was carrying the Mood bag through the airport on my way home, and some cute girls stopped me to talk about it. They are Utah locals, looking for a designer, so if any of my Utah friends see this, shoot me an email. I might have a possible job lead for you!

Our swag included a bunch of sewing patterns and magazines. On our flight home, my husband caught me reading one of the magazines, and he told me it was awesome that I was reading it. He encouraged me to do that more often- it's like reading a textbook, and thought it was great that I was getting smarter at my trade. Haha, I just thought it was so sweet that he was encouraging me to read my sewing magazines :) And he's right- they have some great tips!

After the Sewing Summit, I took a little detour and found myself in Kansas. I met up with my husband, where we were researching a possible job opportunity down the road a few years. We truly loved our stay there, and got to know some of the nicest people we've ever met. They really made time to get to know us, and it meant a lot! 

I got to meet up with Cindy from Skip to My Lou, at a coffee shop one morning. She is so thoughtful, she brought me this knitted yarn flower, in memory of our first meeting last April at SNAP!

My husband's great uncle runs a cattle ranch in Kansas, and we were able to stop by for a visit. It was amazing.

That about wraps up our amazing weekend. I've been home nearly a week now, having a great time with my in-laws visiting. Troy and I haven't had a weekend to ourselves (like ever), so we really had a wonderful time. We won't be moving for another 2.5 years (which is good, because we love where we live right now)! But it is kind of exciting to start thinking about our future and where we might put down our roots.

PS- As a little gift for my roomates and the girls who attended my class, I made some sewing printables. They will be available for free download on my blog in the next week or two, but I wanted to give you a quick preview.



PPS- I am so sorry I've neglected my link party the last 2 weeks! Things have been crazy as you can see, but will be back on schedule this coming week!

10 comments:

Lindsay Conner said...

Rachael, what a sweet SS recap! It was awesome to meet you at Summit in the serger class, and I'm so glad to hear that your session went well! I had a small group, too, which was perfect for getting to know everyone. :) I think it's so funny that you live so close to my parents... such a small world!

SherryBee said...

Hey, Rachel! Just dropped in from the live*laugh*rowe blog hop!
I enjoyed my visit and all your pics! Keep up your awesome creativity career!!! Loved that scarf you made, too!
SherryBee in AZ

Mandy @ Sugar Bee Crafts said...

If you move to Kansas, we'll have to get together! I'm in Missouri, but it's super close...

Ginger said...

Looks like you had a wonderful time! I bet your class was great! Kansas is not far from me either! ;)

cherished bliss said...

How fun! So wish I could have been there to watch you speak..and just to meet you ; )

Julie Snow said...

Sounds like an incredible experience - wish I could have been there and met you and all the other great sewists!

I also love your printables and can't wait for that post! :)

Pat C. said...

I am so thrilled for you that you had such a fun and enriching weekend!♥ xoxo

Leanne said...

Such a great recap Rachel! I loved getting to meet you, I just wish we got more of a chance to hang out! Fingers crossed that we get to teach next year! It seriously was an amazing weekend.

Deonn @ Quiltscapes said...

Rachel, your class was just terrific - great info and tips that really got the discussion going. I loved hearing about your creative journey, loved your dress too - 2 yds, 2 hours? Amazing! You're adorable and it was great to meet you!

amy smart said...

Rachel,

I can't believe it's already been over a month since Sewing Summit- life has felt like SUCH A BLUR the past month, but I wanted to tell you how much I LOVED meeting you! I'm glad you had such a great time - I wish we could have hung out more. Next time! Good luck with everything you're doing and keep in touch!