I packed up my car last Wednesday -- knitting, fabric, stencils, a few patterns, paints, airbrush, air compressor... some clothes (including my winter coat & some woolens) (just in case!) -- and headed 'round the bottom of the lake to MICHIGAN and Kym's house for our own stitching retreat!
My departure was a little later than I'd hoped, mainly because I had to paint some more swatches before I left.
I ran into some slow traffic in Chicago on the way... it never actually stopped, so I guess that's okay? My calf muscle sure got sore from going back & forth between the brake & accelerator pedals! Michigan is in another time zone, so I lost an hour on the way, and arrived in Kym's driveway at right about 6 p.m.
On Thursday, we headed north to the cabin.
Fields full of pumpkins!
We walked down to have a look at the lake, and on the walk back up (100 steps!), I photographed some mushrooms.
They'd both seen better days (or hours), but they're super intriguing popping up through all that autumnal texture. We took a little walk through the woods, too. That little nature break was really great.
And there was stitching...
I was a little obsessed with my swatches, trying to figure out a plan for my project(s)...
We drove up toward Traverse City and over to Cedar and Glen Arbor for a little tour of the northern lower peninsula and a glimpse of the lake (through raindrops) from the other side! One of our stops was at Wool & Honey... what a nice little shop. I didn't need any yarn, but I found some anyway. They had a lot of cute notions & things -- especially enamel pins -- and I sort of hit overload and had to back.away.from.the.pins! Besides a couple of hanks of yarn, I found some beautiful note cards and a small glass vial with metal hexi-shaped stitch markers. (I love that little vial.) And we had a great lunch at Art's Tavern.
We headed back to Kym's on Saturday, and on Sunday we got serious...
It was time to cut some of the things we planned to paint! Kym's kitchen island also makes a darn good cutting table.
Meanwhile, I was also working on my Car Jacket.
Trying new things, such as COLOR! An entire spool full of Eggplant embroidery floss is a bit much, but a few strands... works pretty well. (Thanks, Kym!)
I'd focused a lot on the top third of this project at first, but it's starting to fill in all over!
On Monday, we took a trip to Field's Fabrics.
Oh my, that was fun! I can't remember the last time I was at a fabric store like that -- the focus was about 100% on fabrics and sewing. I found some great fabrics for (next) summer dresses for the girls, and for Christmas gifts for the some of the travelers in my family. And other stuff.
On Monday, IT WAS TIME TO PAINT!!
That's a skirt under the Abstract stencil that I recently cut, and Kym is working on a dress panel with her June's Spring stencil.
Everything was going great and just as we stopped for a break, my compressor died. It overheated, I think, and the (inaccessible) automatic reset button never reset, so...
...we went shopping for a new one! Kym got one, too!! This is a "pancake" model, where my other one was a "hot dog" << new random knowledge, and it has some nice features (quick connect hose, a place to wind the cord, a velcro strap for cord/hose management. I'm not sad.
We did more than this, big & small, but just for an idea... some of the stenciled panels for my skirt, and the front of a t-shirt for Kym. I love that Peace stencil!!
I'll be dreaming up some ideas for this "rag," too, inspired by some t-shirts I saw online at Alabama Chanin (but that I can't find right now). It's a fairly large piece of black fabric that was in a lot of AC fabric that I purchased from a private party a while back, but it's not actually AC fabric -- close, but there's some spandex in there, too. Anyway, we used it to clean excess paint from the stencils and I love the way it looks!
On Tuesday morning, I packed up all my stuff again and headed home! It was a great drive back, and I didn't even have to slow down through Chicago.
It was THE BEST combination of relaxation + creativity + productivity + wonderful people + also great food & beer (photo above at Bell's Brewery). I met Tom, of course, though he was in & out all weekend with a curling tournament. He's as friendly & easy going IRL as he looks in pictures! Speaking of pictures, Kym & I spent the better part of 5+ days together and didn't get a single photo!
Well, we haven't change a whole lot since we met for the first time, exactly 5 years ago, at Art Prize in Grand Rapids!
ETA: As of this post, I am exactly 300 comments away from 30,000 received on this li'l ol' blog (299 now, with Mary's, and 298 with Carole's). I am sorry that I do not/cannot acknowledge every single one, but I do make an effort to thoughtfully reply when I'm able to or am asked about something specific -- not saying that things haven't slipped through the cracks now and then. Please know that every comment and interaction is truly appreciated. Anyway, that's a long way of saying that there will be FABULOUS PRIZES (tbd) for the person who leaves the 30,000th comment, possibly by the end of the year!!! Stay tuned! And, as always, thank you for reading.