Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Sewtopia Chicago

I was so looking forward to Sewtopia in Chicago. Mr. Romance and I planned to make a week's vacation of it, spending the first 4 days enjoying Chicago. As you can tell by the photos, we basically ate our way through Chicago. We love special dining experiences and nothing is more special than Alinea. It's a dining extravaganza, with innovative food and excellent service.
We also like shopping for food and Eataly is an Italian food market owned by Mario Batali and the Bastianich Family. You just can't go wrong with this combination of families for food and everything Italian. This market and it's small kiosk dining shops were so much fun. I could have spent the whole day in this store. We had a yummy lunch at the pizza and pasta bar.
The weather was crazy cold for us. The silly mid-westerners thought it was warm, but we were freezing most of the time. We had two really nice days and took advantage of one of them to walk along Lake Michigan and see the lake up close. Even though we lived in the Chicago area when we were first married, we never went downtown. This was fun and a gorgeous day. We met up with a dental school classmate of my husband's and his wife, whom we had never met. We really enjoyed our time catching up with the last 40 years.

Sewtopia started with a shop hop on Thursday. Three shops and a busload full of shop happy quilters was really fun. The best part of that day was hanging out with Angela. We had a nice lunch and learned a little more about each other; sharing and swapping stories and facts about our lives. Quilty friends are so fun.

Sewtopia is run by Amy and Jemelia and was assisted by Jen and Rossie. They did a great job making everyone feel welcome and are each fun and helpful.

The real reason I went all the way to Chicago was because the teachers scheduled were two of my favorites. First up was Rita, of Red Pepper Quilts. YES! That Rita. She is such a sweet person and so giving of all her knowledge.
Our class was the Kansas Dugout block, which has a million Y-seams.
I took my little featherweight along for the ride and Margaret performed perfectly.
When I got home I put all the blocks together. I will be making a mini for my wall with this project. To tell the truth, I have so much more admiration for Rita after taking this class. I only made 16 blocks and it took forever. One of the projects she brought to share had 100 blocks! That's more Y-seams than my shoulders can handle.

kansas dugout block

The next class was the Molehills pattern by Latifah Saafir.  I am lucky enough to be in the same guild as Latifah, so I have been privy to some of her tutorials and wisdom that she shares at meetings. She is a natural teacher and is very thorough in her instructions. If you have ever made any of her patterns, you know what I am talking about. 
Once again, Margaret (my featherweight) performed perfectly. I am a confident curve seam piecer so this project, with it's gradual curve was a fun one for me. 
I made 22 of the 24 arcs, needed for a generous lap size quilt, in class. When I arrived home I made the last two arcs and I am working on getting this quilt finished.

molehills quilt

There was also a swap for anyone wanting to participate. I'll share what I made at another time. I received this cute rainbow mini made by @mifarley on Instagram. It is going to be a great addition to my mini wall.

Sewtopia was a great experience. I was able to catch up with people I had met at other retreats and also met some new and very fun people. It's always so nice to get together with people who love cutting up fabric and sewing it back together just as much as I do. The next Sewtopia will be in the fall in Portland (it's already sold out). That event is a sew only event, with no formal classes. The next Sewtopia with classes will be in April 2016 in Atlanta. 


Debbie said...

That sounds like an amazing time! The foodie stuff looked AWESOME! ;-)

Geri said...

I would love to know what each of those courses was - it's hard to tell from the photos.

Stephanie said...

Hello! I attended Sewtopia Chicago as well - was so happy to find your blog so I can now find a picture of that gorgeous single girl quilt you had with you during the retreat! (I was on the other side of the wall so didn't get to chat much with your side). ;) Congrats on the near finish of your molehills quilt. I completed 12 fans and have 12 fans cut and waiting to be sewn.