Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When a Retreat is a Recharge!

Last weekend I had the good fortune to spend three days with nothing on my agenda but sewing, sewing, sewing. I was at the Northern Virginia ASG Sewing Retreat in Winchester, VA, at the lovely George Washington Hotel. This is the same retreat I attended last year. But this time I decided to check in to the hotel the night before, so I could get started with my sewing bright and early!
I had intended to spend part of Thursday afternoon wandering through the lovely town of Winchester, but the bitterly cold weather prevented me from staying out for more than about ten minutes. And, being a home inspector, I was spending a lot of that time looking at the old houses, admiring the construction, and spotting ice dams.

(The icicles coming from behind the gutters is a dead giveaway... These folks are probably going to see some pretty bad leaking along that wall)

Friday morning I unloaded all my supplies at my chosen sewing spot.
It may not look like a lot, but I had two boxes of fabric, four bags of supplies, and three machines with me (the third -- my coverstitch -- stayed in my room with the intent of bringing it down when I got to working on knits. Which I never got to).
I wanted to start the weekend off with a quick project, so I whipped up this little basket out of two fat quarters and some Decor Bond stiffener.
I used it to keep some M&Ms handy for myself (and for anyone who passed by).

Then it was time to get some serious sewing done. The first project I really wanted to get done during this weekend was a set of two aprons for an online apron swap I'm participating in. I made one adult and one child sized apron, using Butterick 5506.

These aprons are now making their way down to the recipient's house, and I hope she and her daughter enjoy them.

Welcome to the world's most glamorous sweatshop!

My next project was the barn jacket I wrote about in my previous post.
Here I am working on the muslin.

And here it is, done!

Once I had finished the coat, I only had a few hours left before it was time to pack up, so I made a few quick scarves from a pattern that was published in Threads magazine back in 1995 (issue #60).
Doesn't it drape nicely? But what if I don't like the blue?

I can turn it inside-out! This was a piece of polyester from Joanns that had a gradient print, so the two sides of the scarf were completely different.

Here's what the scarf looks like flat.
Since it's cut on the bias, it drapes beautifully. I also made one out of a single layer of polar fleece to wear as sort of a balaclava. I'm sure I'll be making more.

But here was the best part...

Rather than eat breakfast at the hotel on Friday, I decided to try out a little diner across the street called "Just Like Grandma's." And boy, am I glad I did! By the end of the weekend, I think every one of the retreat attendees had eaten at least one meal there.
It was a tiny place... maybe 15 seats. The gentleman in the plaid shirt is Perry, the owner and cook, and next to him is Boots, his helper. The food that came out of this little shoebox kitchen was simply amazing!!! And he kept giving us samples of things: eggnog poundcake, buttermilk pie, jerk chicken omelet, curried chicken salad... It's amazing I didn't gain ten pounds over the weekend.
As I was leaving the restaurant after lunch on Friday, I noticed a white hoodie hanging on a hook on the wall, and asked whether it had been left by one of the retreat attendees. No, Perry told me, it had been hanging there for a few weeks, and they didn't know who it belonged to. I was struck with an idea: I took the hoodie back to the hotel with me and invited all the attendees to embellish it in some way. And they did! I presented the hoodie to Perry and Boots on Sunday afternoon (after finishing an awesome lunch).

Same time, next year...
I've already got next year's retreat on my calendar!


  1. What fun! I loved all your photos! ~Teri

  2. You're so sweet!!! Sewing retreats are the best!!!!!!

  3. Could you give the measurements of the lovely scarves you made Please ??

  4. That smoke ring scarf is my favorite Threads thing EVER! I have made a bunch of them over the years....including in Polar fleece. So flattering & easy to wear. This reminds me I need to make a few more. :)

  5. The rough dimensions are about 22" for the longest edge, This is the center front edge. The neck hole is about 12", and the back neck point is about 14-15" from the center front edge. Hope this helps... I can't post the pattern piece, of course, but you can always look for the Threads issue this is in (Number 60, September 1995).


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