The “Summit” a meeting of the “Very Crafty”

The Sewing Summit took place a couple of weekends ago, and it was good.  This annual gathering of the very crafty has always been a wonderful place to share and socialize.  Just like many other things in life, the sparkle has waned a little (in my opinion) with the Sewing Summit.  More about this later.

There are many things that bring me back to the Sewing Summit and the people are what certainly brings me back again and again.  Last year I met Leigh and Jessie at the Summit and they are why I returned!  I was lucky enough to call them both roommates and friends this year.  Here’s a photo of them,  Leigh from and Jessie from  Thanks to Leigh for the fabulous photo!

ss13 11

They put up with my crazy sleep screaming. Both were warned about my sleep “disorder” before the Summit, I even gave them huge boxes of earplugs!  They thought I was kidding!   Yes, it’s true, if you are to spend the night with me (like I do most nights with Mr. Swellsewing) you are very likely to witness my extremely strange sleep disorder.  This nearly nightly “routine” may consist of anything from me swearing like a truck driver to ear-piercing screaming.  Any of which is not a very pleasant way to be awoken.  All of my previous roommates, cousin Carol, Patty and now my sewing summit roomies have been exposed to this awful experience.  Sorry roomies…….. 😦

Another integral part for me, is to challenge myself and create a mini wardrobe of handsewn garments for the Summit.   I wore all of these items, except for the Grainline pajamas.  Other garments that I sewed were Colette Clover Trousers, Grainline Pocket T, Marlo Bloom reversible handbag, Anna Maria Horner Socialite Dress and The Staple Dress.

sewinsummitmotagesewingsummitmontage2The classes offered by the Sewing Summit this year were top-notch.   I think that the third year for the SS has brought the best teachers and speakers ever! Our guest speaker for the last evening was Heather Bailey, a woman of many talents, but best known for her fabric designs and her charming patterns.ss137

When I found out that she was going to be our guest speaker, I was floored- she is a sewing celebrity that I have always wanted to meet.  I must confess, that I quickly got shy when I found myself around her- there were so many things I wanted to ask her and tell her.  I just couldn’t.  I did I snag a very quick selfie of her when she was checking out of the hotel.  I knew at that moment that it was now or never. Sorry Heather……


Heather looks great, me, not so much!   🙂 I didn’t care how bad I looked, it was all about her….

Here is the list of classes and brief descriptions of their contents.

I had  “fabric design” with Pat Bravo, she is such a delight and also the owner of Art Gallery Fabrics.  Personal branding with Olivia Omega where she told us on our blogs we should “attract and repel” folks,  a two part “sewing with leather” class taught by Lindsay Rhodes of lrstitches and an HTML class with the very cute Jenib from “In Color Order” both Lindsay and jenib are crazy knowledgable and talented!  There was also a sloper skirt class I took, I begged cute mom Jodi to hold baby Vinny so that she could draft her skirt.  A much better option for me, since it has been ages since I have held and rocked a little one to sleep.  That was truly awesome!

Here’s a picture of me holding baby Vinny.  I am so lucky!


The last 2 classes I took were the “embroidered hoop with pocket” class and “appliqueing a tea towel” class.   The embroidered hoop class was taught by the very cute, Amanda from A Crafty Fox and the etsy shop Westwood Acres.  Here is the UFO from this class.

embroirderedpockethoop I did finish the appliqued tea towel the equally as cute, Amy from vintage fern taught.  Both of these teachers were really great. Sometimes an hour and a half just isn’t long enough.

So now for the other part of the Sewing Summit that I felt like lacked a little luster.   I don’t like to be negative, really I don’t but the creativity just wasn’t there with the Summit this year, as it has been in previous years.

My first impression, and before even arriving in Utah (I was not alone in feeling this), was that information for the Sewing Summit seemed to be spread all over the place.  Before attending the Summit, attendees sometimes need to purchase and bring some supplies for specific classes.  Some teachers e-mailed us, and others from what I gathered, listed supplies on a supply list on the Sewing Summit webpage.   Common sense tells me, that if I am getting e-mails from some teachers introducing themselves and telling me what I need for class, then I should be getting e-mails from all of my teachers with what to bring.  It should be one or the other.

The other thing about the supply list is that I didn’t realize it existed until the Summit was over.  I even Instagrammed one teacher asking “what should I bring?”  never getting a response, I came  to class unprepared.

A lot of information was posted on the Sewing Summit Facebook Page.  This is good, but I joined it late, not knowing that I would be missing out on private swaps because I had to join the page. If only an official e-mail would have went out informing us to JOIN the facebook page to recieve all the up to date information reagarding the summit.   I thought that just visiting the page was enough to get the information I needed.  I missed out on fabric and bag swaps, which is always a fun way to meet all the other sewing gals. Honestly though, after joining the facebook page there were so many “facebook e-mails” coming into my e-mail that it became even more confussing.   For me, being a forty-something, it just isn’t the way I communicate. I guess I am just old school.

Another part of the Sewing Summit is registering and getting your name badge.  This has in the past always been fun!  This was my third year, so I was very excited to see the familiar faces of the Summit staff for check-in.  unfortunately the welcome counter was very disappointing,the desk was slightly decorated with bunting but there was barely any eye contact or even a cheerful “welcome back”.  The staff this year seemed disjointed and unwlecoming with a low morale.  There didn’t seem to be any celebrating happening, I can’t put my finger on it, but something has changed.


As you can see, in the first year of the Sewing Summit, someone took the time to handcraft lanyards!  They did an amazing job, whoever these people were, it made a great impression.  Also it made for a hard act to follow.  Right?

Year two followed with a lovely Coats and Clark lanyard, which we were pleased to don during the festivities at the Summit!  Finally year 3, a sad little lanyard, you had a choice between 4 or 5 colors but no mention of the Sewing Summit anywhere to be found on the lanyard or on our name tags.  We were given washi tape and markers during the opening mixer on Thursday night  to decorate our name tags and write our blog names.  It really felt like someone dropped the ball on this part.  On a positive note though, with all three years, my first and last name has been spelled correctly, which for even some of my friends and acquaintances proves to be difficult, as they spell my first name T-R-A-C-Y.

There was a definite feeling of stress throughout the entire event.

The large rooms from last year that housed our dinner events became much smaller(1/2 the size) and very cozy.  Maybe this was purposely done to help the Summit attendees to socialize more? The room  felt cramped and waiters were constantly bumping into our chairs and struggling to get around us.  There was a lot of construction happening at the hotel, so maybe they needed to squeeze us in to accomodate us?

The Summit staff had many technical and supply problems.  Some hands on classes went without important notions because those items weren’t delivered on time to the Summit.  Technical  problems took over many of the lecture classes that used a screen/computer connection to assist the teachers.   Sometimes those technical problems would delay the class starting 20 minutes or so and other times, there wasn’t anyway to get the screen/computer to actually connect and work.

If it were your first time at the Summit, you probably left happy as a clam.  Many made new friends, (I did too) and had a whole new crafty rejuvenation!  This is why we want to go to something such as the Sewing Summit. to get and give great ideas and friends, that speak your “language”.

Referring to what Olivia Omega said in her Branding class, you want to “attract and repel” folks to or from your blog.  You should always be true to who you are.  I don’t want to be phony, and I didn’t want to sugar coat this, but I also don’t want to be mean.  My intent is not to be mean.  This was a very hard post for me to write, I must have saved this draft 50 times, and rewritten most of it 20 times.  So please know that I didn’t approach this lightly.

I just don’t want the Sewing Summit to lose that quality it began with.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

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Good Bye October!

My spirits have been pretty low lately.  My husband was out of town for 9 days, in Australia of all places.  With the crazy time change and the spotty at best communication through cell phone service- the 3 of us missed him desperately.  We survived, I became a single parent for 9 days and Kenny became the “man of the house”.  Thank goodness he passed his drivers test.  Having that extra driver around the house when Jim was gone was very helpful, there were many runs to the grocery store for me- it was awesome!

I think between all the sewing cramming I did before the Sewing Summit, the single parenting and sleepless nights over the last several days played into the “lovely” little cold I came down with 1 day before Jim arrived home.

Feeling better today, I thought I would show you what I actually accomplished today!  I finished 1 of my UFO’s I brought home from the Sewing Summit!  I haven’t been feeling very creative lately, (I am in an icky slump) so I thought that if I finished the 3+ UFO’s I brought home with me, I could then move on creatively with some other fun stuff.  Like experimenting with making a “porthole quilt” and a “polaroid quilt” in a mini size, of course.

This is the first UFO I tackled from the Sewing Summit, the description of the class follows:


Idea Pouch – a hands-on sewing workshop
Teacher: Michelle Webster from Michelle Patterns

 The Above is our teachers’ result, Michelle Webster, from Michelle Patterns.

This is my result, not quite as nice, but I am happy with it nonetheless.


The other UFO that brought me to tears, literally during class was this lovely one:

Curves Mini Quilt – a hands-on sewing workshop
Teacher: Christina Lane from The Sometimes Crafter

Christina was a great teacher, but I got all the pieces mixed up and ended up cutting a piece too small and ugh- tears started running down my face, AND it was time for ME to pack up.  No worries, I bounce back.  I came home with this:

I think maybe there are actually water marks on the direction booklet where my tears fell!  No, I don’t know it looks more like coffee!  Teeheehee!!!!
Anyway- I am going to be working on this one the rest of the week, I will do it for Heather Ross and Crafty Chloe (Fabric print I picked for my mini quilt)!
As you can imagine I came back with so many ideas for projects, that my head is spinning!
Please bear with me these next couple weeks as I try to gather my creative thoughts and get back into IT again!

The Sewing Summit, My Highlights!

I started writing this post several days ago, and it has stumped me. I found myself writing NOT  about what I got out of the Sewing Summit, but instead I was writing a play by play of when I arrived and what classes I took.  That really isn’t what the Sewing Summit means to me, it is so much more.  Here are some important highlights.

First of all, Salt Lake City is a beautiful place.  I wish I would have taken more pictures to show you more of what was happening outside of the Summit.

Second, the Sewing Summit is full of great people.  We come from all over.  There were some ladies that came from as far away as the UK!!! We all united for one thing, the love of fabric and the art of manipulating it in all different shapes and forms.

Here are some of the awesome ladies I met at the Sewing Summit.  Clockwise starting in the lower left – Tsoniki, Leigh, Fi, Jessie, Kristin, Sharon (I think that is her name), Elena, Janice and Karen.

Thirdly, the SS offers some amazing classes.  There wasn’t a bad one in the bunch.  The hard part was deciding which ones to take.  I took 8 classes in all.  I would say that my favorite class was “special occasion sewing” with Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns.  It is no surprise that Sarai is one of my favorite “sewing celebrities”.  And as an extra treat I and about 11 others joined Sarai, Ken (Sarai’s husband) and the ultra amazing Sunni Standing – author of the blog “A Fashionable Stitch” – for coffee and a chat. Every one of the 250 women and men attending the SS were invited, but only a handful of us showed up.  Wow, lucky for me,  I was able to ask Sarai and Sunni questions first hand!  I was star struck, Sarai even remembered my name from her Fall Pattern Release Party at A Verb for Keeping Warm.  Well, I was wearing a name tag, but she still said she remembered my name!!!

“Special Occasion Sewing” was a highlight for me, because of all the care Sarai took to prepare her presentation.  She put together samplings of special occasion fabric swatches with details such as how to care for the fabric and what kind of needle to sew with.

One particular moving part of Sarai’s presentation was when she spoke about her late Grandmother Ruth.  Sarai told us that at the very end of her Gma’s life, while in the hospital she couldn’t remember all the people around her, that loved her.  How painful this must be.  Ruth was an avid sewer, and even though she may not have remembered Sarai, she told Sarai about a particular pant suit she had sewn for Sarai’s mom.  Until the very end, Gma Ruth was talking about sewing!  We, the audience cried with Sarai, when she described how much Grandma Ruth meant to her and we laughed when Sarai talked about the pant suit.  There wasn’t a dry eye in the room!

Fourthly, keynote speakers.  The SS Folks put together a few really great keynote speakers.  The first, was Joel Dewberry!!! Can you believe it?  He is as talented as he is lovely.  A surface designer and pattern maker, it was really great to hear what inspires him.  Joel stated that he was inspired by his family and his home life.  His wife is a big part of his inspiration, and he stated that speaking to large groups of people wasn’t his thing and that his wife was better at it.  How cool for me to listen to a successful designer talk about his journey.  Look where he is now!  I want to also say a special thanks to Courtenay from for this picture I snagged from her Instagram.  All the pictures I took of Joel Dewberry were awful.  Thanks Coutenay.

Here I am with Courtenay.  Courtenay is one of those people who just makes you happy when you are around her.  She’s cute, isn’t she?

The closing dinner was awesome.  Those Sewing Summit gals surprised us with a Mollie Makes magazine and another incredible keynote speaker Nancy Soriano,  another person who inspired me with her incredible journey. Nancy was the editor in chief of Country Living magazine for 10 years, just to name one of many accomplishments that she achieved during her ongoing journey.  I felt as though she was speaking directly to me.  The truth is, I believe ALL women need to hear the words that she spoke:  “Don’t compare yourselves to others, always be kind and gracious no matter who you are,” and once again, “family is very important.”  This seemed to be an ongoing theme!

Towards the end of the SS, I was exhausted.  I read other blogs of SS attendees and they stated that they went home feeling refreshed and inspired.  I am inspired, yes, but too darn tired to do anything about it.  Unfortunately I came home with a couple of UFO’s, and since I bought so much on the shop hop and the SS folks were so generous with all their giveaways, I had to find extra room in my sewing room.  So…. I spent the last few days cleaning and tidying up my sewing space.  A really big job.  I am nearly done.  I will show pictures in my next post.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and sew on!

Somebody Stop Me! Please?!

Yes, this is a cry for help.  I am a MAD woman!  I cannot stop making things for the Sewing Summit!  I imagine I am like a person on crack, but instead my vice is fabric, and I can’t stop manipulating it into different shapes and sizes.  Ugh!   What the heck!  Last year, I wore two dresses, and received an incredible response and it was really fun.  I wore Gretchen Hirschs’ Bombshell Dress that I sewed with the help of her tutorial on Craftsy and I also wore the Burdastyle Heidi Dress, that I downloaded off of the fabulous Burdastyle Website.  So this year, I wanted to do the same, but bigger.  Well, I am well on my way, but the family, house and pets are all being a little neglected because, I can’t stop myself.  I need more, more, more.  What will I wear for the trip to Utah, on the plane?   Hmm- still trying to figure this out.  Then Thursday morning shop hop needs something handmade and of course and there must be a change of clothes for our evening cocktail party.  Friday classes will need a different outfit and Friday dinner will need a costume change, Saturday!  Wow- OMG I am so crazy on this end!

So far I have created The Amy Butler Weekender Bag,

The Amy Butler Cosmo Bag

The Amy Butler Business Card Keeper.

The Deb Stoeller One Skein Scarf from Creativebug.

The Anna Maria Horner Schoolhouse Tunic.

The Anna Maria Horner Proper Attire Skirt.

My Quilted Computer Cozy.

A Name Tag- still in the process of finishing:

A pouch to trade in the Zipper Pouch Trade.

Needle keepers that I am going to give as gifts to my wonderful Sewing Summit teachers.


a new business card that I designed using Illustrator, Thank you very much!

Still not sure if I LOVE it, but I did learn a lot when I was working on it!

As I bid adieu to all of you, I am eagerly awaiting the Sewing Summits arrival.  I wait in my hotel room for the first of the festivities to begin tomorrow!   Many of us sewists  are heading out early for the “shop hop” and it should be a fun shopping experience.  I have already met some really great people- and am so GLAD that I came!!   Yipee- Stay tuned for some great pictures.  And if you would like to follow along, many of us Summit attendees,will be posting pictures to twitter and Instagram under the #hash tag #Sewingsummit.  You will probably feel like you are almost here!

Have a lovely weekend!

Blood, Sweat and Tears….

Well, blood and sweat anyway.  In a couple of weeks I will be heading to Utah for the second annual Sewing Summit.  It is a meeting of crafting minds.  Crafting, sewing, creating minds that also blog.  Last year I went and it was a blast.  I thought I was going to be the youngest person there and I ended up being one of the oldest.  That wasn’t cool, kind of like when you go to see your doctor and you realize that you are actually also older than your doctor.  This just started happening in my life.  When you add in, failing eyesight, morning aches and pains- you really start feeling older than dirt!!  Tip, for any of you that work as servers for restaurants, if you want a bigger tip, call me “Miss” NOT “Ma’am”.  You will put a smile on my face, a swagger in my step and a huge tip in your pocket!!! Okay- getting back on topic……

In preparation for the Sewing Summit, someone smart working for the Sewing Summit established “Travel Handmade” or #Travelhandmade on twitter and instagram.  It gives folks that are heading out to Utah an excuse to sew all kinds of travel bags.  Everything gets a bag now, right?  Your cosmetics, computer, toiletries, jewelry, camera, cosmetic brushes, sewing supplies-you name it, it should get a bag!   Heck, why not make a bag for all your bags?  Just to keep them all nice and tidy!  I guess that I did do that.  I have completed the Amy Butler Weekender Bag, a cosmetic bag, and a computer bag (I call it a computer cozy).

The blood and sweat comes in to this story with the sewing and assembly of the Amy Butler Weekender Bag.  There are all kinds of interfacing and peltex that is used in this bag, creating many, many layers of sewing pleasure.  NOT!  I broke a sum of 14 needles with this little project.  I read Amy’s directions thoroughly, easing all the pieces together slowly.  I still broke a ton of needles.  I love Amy and this pattern though…

I poked myself many times also, this explains the blood.

My DNA on the inside of the bag thank goodness!

There was a lot of wrestling involved in the sewing of this bag.  After completion, I noticed that my body was sore.  From the clenching of my teeth to the pushing of many, many layers of interfacing with the feed dogs.  Good thing I wear glasses while sewing, cuz of all those pins that were flying  all over my sewing room.

So here are a few pictures of the  Amy Butler Weekender Bag that I will be using for my trip to the Sewing Summit.

I added feet to this bag so the gunky floor on the airplane wouldn’t yuck it up!

I also added a tag to the front of my bag to insert my business card.  The pattern didn’t call for these two things, but I really thought they were necessary.

This was probably the easiest and best zipper I have ever done.  Looking back it would have been great if I would have lined the zig zags up.  Oh well, live and learn.

The interior:

For me, the interior didn’t fit into place as easily as I would have liked.  I made it so much harder than it had to be.  Live and learn – right?

The final picture.

Here also is my computer cozy that I constructed from Denyse Schmidt fabrics purchased from Joann Fabrics.  These 2.5″x 2.5″ squares were sewn together and then quilted. It took a whole day to do this and it was very fun to do.

One more thing before I say farewell for today, I joined Creativebug.  If you don’t know about this yet, YOU SHOULD.  I think it is about $24.99 a month to join and you can end your membership at anytime ( I joined for 6 months and it was a little less).  You are able to  learn from as many artists as you want, by viewing their lessons on your computer as many times as you wish.

I recently completed the “one skein scarf” by Debbie Stoller (she has written many books on knitting and crocheting).  She’s a wonderful teacher.  I completed this scarf in one evening with my prior experience of only crocheting a straight stitch.  Here it is.

I am pretty happy with it.  It’s wearable anyway.  🙂

In other news…

   A verb for keeping Warm located in Oakland, California hosted a little shindig for Colette Patterns featuring The Fall Launch of their newest patterns the Anise and the Juniper.

I was able to meet one of the many “sewing celebrities” that I learn from, the very talented and lovely Sarai Mitnick from Colette Patterns.

Sarai Mitnick of Colette Patterns and me

I immediately recognized faces like Meg from Made By Meg , Amy from Sew Well  and Laura Mae from Lilacs and Lace in the colorful shop of yarn and fabric!  What a kick to see those that I stalk follow and learn from on their blogs!  I also met some new ladies like       Miss Daiyami who can be found on twitter, Elisabeth from e- Beth Knits, and the cute Leah in her Sorbetto blouse (sorry Leah, I couldn’t find any information on your blog).

Daiyami, Laura Mae, Leah and Amy

So, I meant for this to be a short post, but there was so much I wanted to include! My husband and I are headed into San Francisco tonight for a little Creativebug Cocktail Party featuring the ladies from  Hello! Lucky.  Sounds fun, huh?  I am keeping myself busy!

  Although I haven’t been blogging as much as I’d like lately, I am still around, and now it is looking like I may have a little carpal tunnel going on – oh joy, right!

Well, you all have a wonderful day!

Bye for now.

Sew Grateful For Gretchen!!!

My Photo    Join Me in Being Sew Grateful

So, my friend Gretchen Hirsch educates me on sewing as well as gives me a really good chuckle here and there.  Gretchen is one of my sewing heroes that I have mentioned in earlier posts and is the author of the blog:  Gerties blog for better sewing.  Today she is featuring Ryan Gosling.  These images of him are made possible by Ryan Gosling Handmade.  This one here is my absolute favorite!

  My husband Jim, and my boys are constantly finding pins everywhere in the house and both our pugs, Ruby and Peekaboo run around the house with those jagged little things hanging out of their mouths taunting me for a game of cat and mouse.

I am also a fan of this one:

These Kill me!!!!! Anyway!  I am SEW GRATEFUL for laughter, silliness and for Gretchen!!!!