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.
It all sounds wonderful - and I love it because I can picture you in the cabin, walking to the lake (and all those damn steps back up!) and BELL'S! I'm so glad you had such a fantastic time!
Posted by: Carole | 17 October 2019 at 12:34 PM
What a wonderful time you two had, and I'll be happy to see future projects as they develop from this retreat. I love that you're even dreaming up uses for your "rag"! All of your stitching looks great, but I have a real soft spot for couching. I just want to run my fingers over it, and eggplant floss really makes it pop!
Posted by: Bonny | 17 October 2019 at 02:50 PM
Those stenciled fabrics look terrific, as does the pop of "eggplant" in your stitching. And I feel ready for a trivia night with my new compressor knowledge! Glad you gals had such a great/productive time.
Posted by: Robby H. | 17 October 2019 at 03:40 PM
I'm not much of a seamstress, but my mother is, and having grown up in Grand Rapids (before moving to WI), I can attest how wonderful Fields Fabrics is! Perfect destination for a needlework retreat!
Posted by: Jen A | 17 October 2019 at 04:50 PM
Art's Tavern is one of my favorite places in all of northern Michigan! I have been going there for over 30 years! I am excited that you were there!
but.... SO.MUCH.CREATIVITY!!! I am excited to see how your projects progress!
Posted by: Kat | 17 October 2019 at 05:34 PM
I love that y'all are continuing your AC journey ... together and apart. I have yet to see any of these pieces IRL but seeing how y'all create and wear them is so cool! folks say they don't have the patience to knit, but wow, I don't know that I have the patience to create a garment like you're doing :-) of course EVERY single AC FO I've ever seen has been fabulous - also fits great and looks great - so for sure patience is its own reward ;-) (also, joining you in wishing for a better way to travel from point A to point B ... gah! Chicago is NOT a "drive thru" kind of town!)
Posted by: Mary | 17 October 2019 at 05:53 PM
I'll just say it again:. You two gals had so much FUN!!!
Posted by: Vera | 17 October 2019 at 07:07 PM
Even though I love AC projects I can't imagine making that many more projects to have in the wings (I have 2 and that seems overwhelming). I love the stenciling you did and I really love your "rag" and I know just the T-shirts you're looking for. They were great and you'll figure out something truly great to create with your piece. I wish I could/would be commenter 30,000, but that's a long shot! I can't believe you've/we've been around that long!
Posted by: Margene Smith | 17 October 2019 at 09:31 PM
It was such a wonderful few days! I loved every minute. XO
(And, yeah. What was the deal with the photos? I took hardly ANY photos the entire time you were here. . . )
Posted by: Kym | 18 October 2019 at 07:13 AM
I loved reading your post this morning and seeing these amazing designs. The new stencils are beautiful as well. I also read Kym's blog and like to see what she has to say as well. The AC work that you've done is amazing!
Posted by: Ann | 18 October 2019 at 09:31 AM
So happy that you even made it to Wool & Honey, 'cuz that was quite the adventure. I have to second Margene on the AC project numbers but am happy to watch yours come to life and inspire.
Posted by: Cris | 18 October 2019 at 11:13 AM
What a great retreat with your friend. So much creativity! The abstract stencil creates beautiful images on your fabric. Did you design it? The embroidery floss looks wonderful. What did you stuff the sections with? My eldest and her hubby curl in a league and love it!
Posted by: Robin f. | 20 October 2019 at 06:26 PM
I am late in commenting because this post only showed up for me this morning, but I did want to say thanks for virtually taking us along for your mini retreat -- it really looks like a wonderful time!
Posted by: Sarah | 24 October 2019 at 05:52 AM