I'm so excited this morning; I'm practically bursting at the seams! Why? Well, there is good in this world!
I almost hate to tell you this because it means that I have to be on the ball to ensure I can get a booking! What does that mean? We are staying at Retreat at the Farm, a retreat house near Shelbourne, Ontario. I think this is my fourth time or maybe my fifth. I write the numbers in the guest book, so I can remember. All the retreats seem to blend into each other!
If you haven't been on a quilting retreat, you should find one to go to. While larger retreats are hosted at hotels, the smaller venues are the best (in my humble opinion). The even better news is that they are way cheaper!! There is a set fee for four days (Monday to Thursday) and another for three days (Friday to Sunday), and I rent for the entire week! Then we divvy up the cost amongst the participants, and we have a system to deal with the food.
While the house could sleep nine, we have discovered that we like smaller groups. The sewing room here really works for five! Each person gets their own table, and there's a large room for pressing. Yes -- we have squeezed 7 into this room, but I like five. It's also the noise and the conversations -- if you have 7 people, there are seven different conversations, and multiple people are asking questions. Let's just say that I like five!
There's so much light in the sewing room that you literally have to wear sunglasses (or use the window shades!). The place is toasty warm even on cold, windy days. There is a wonderfully stocked kitchen, a brand new stove, a microwave that I can cook oatmeal in, and all the other things that one would need.
The owner always has a little goodie bag for everyone with coupons from the local shops. OH -- with five, we each get our own bedroom!!! That is so worth it!!! And the beds are so comfy,
We are booking for next year -- we have to as the place is filling up very quickly! It's out in the country but very close to Shelbourne.
For meals, we divvy it up -- I've been doing this for many years, and we now have an excellent system for making it work. NO mass amounts of goodies are allowed, so we don't overeat, and all the meals were terrific!
If you have not gone on a small retreat, you MUST. Even working those three days, I accomplished so much, and I'm so fired up and inspired that I want to sew forever. That is just the best feeling in the world!!!
The second thing I want to mention is a quilt store that is not local to me, but boy -- they went above and beyond. The store is Stitch by Stitch in Kingston. I know the owner through Zoom classes (she's also a sewing machine dealer), and I met her this past week.
They were offering a class on the Brother Scan and Cut, and I inadvertently signed up even though the class was in-person. Oops!!! Then I got a notification that someone else would be there via Zoom, so the Zoom option was available. YES -- so I sat for two hours yesterday and watched the class. I wasn't sure how it would work with the instructor in the classroom, but I swear, I had a BETTER seat than those in the classroom.
Shauntae is a fantastic instructor, and it was her SECOND time teaching. Oh boy --- she is a keeper for sure. She was highly knowledgeable, and her camera work at letting me see was spot on. I was blown away!! I don't know how many people were in the classroom or how that end went, but I could hear her and see everything as if I were in the class. She was excellent, and the course was amazing. I have to write the store a glowing review because it was a fantastic experience. I'm not good a good student, but I was glued to the screen.
I learned a ton of stuff, and as soon as I get home and check my supplies, I'll be placing an order -- a big one for supplies that I need but don't have.
I've met a few of Heather's (the owner) other staff members, and I'm not sure where she found them, but she hired fantastic staff, and they are YOUNG!! This is so exciting for the industry -- they are young, enthusiastic, and know their stuff. I'm so impressed.
It's like Creekbank Sewing; there is a mother/daughter team working the store, and it may have been a son teaching a sewing machine class. But YOUNG people -- the industry will survive!!!
The next time you order something from that large online store -- think about this experience. You would NEVER NEVER NEVER ever get that kind of support from them. Would it be worth it for me to pay a few extra dollars to buy from Heather? I wouldn't even think about it -- I know that when I get my supplies and I might have a question or two -- they would be there to support me. That level of support is critical to MY success.
The problem in our industry (and probably so many others) is that people want to pay the absolute minimum amount for any product. Then they feel it is their RIGHT to march into a store and demand service or support for that product. And they want it for free. I've noticed that many store owners are standing up and saying NO. They will charge for the advice, or they just say NO. I'm so proud of them, and I'm definitely going to be doing the same thing.
By that, I mean -- if you are taking a class from me, I have no problems answering questions, but if it's about your sewing machine or even a lesson that I've taught -- GO and look for that answer BEFORE you come to me. I've had e-mails from people who ask questions, and the answer is in my notes -- I know it is because I send them the page. That just eats up my time, and I don't want to get burned out from admin stuff. And don't even think about asking me about a product you bought from the online store. I'll just laugh!!
My goal in teaching is to make the students self-sufficient.
After the class, there was some practice on the Scan n Cut to check out the new skills.
|The Scan and Cut is set up|
I definitely think there is a place for the Scan and Cut; I'm not sure that it's worth it for every project. If you have physical issues cutting, then I say, yes -- this may be the way to go, but I'd try a different pair of scissors or get the RIGHT pair of scissors for cutting. There are trimming scissors -- those are NOT meant for cutting applique shapes.
But I'm anxious to try machine embroidery applique using the software. So that is on my plate for this week. I mean with a file that I've created! From scratch!
I"m sure if the job is small, I could have that traced, cut, and finished with a satin stitch before I could even get the fabric cut with the Scan and Cut. But large or repetitive jobs, I think this might be the way to go. But LOTS of steps and lots of technology are required.
|PLaying with the TWO Scan and Cut machines|
We had a visitor who brought her Scan and Cut. We had planned to have a Scan and Cut session yesterday, and then that class came along. How timely!!!
But the excitement does end there. I told you I was bursting at the seams. It took way longer to make up the 64 blocks required for my yellow flannel scrappy quilt. But I got all the squares done, and I had to cut 5 squares of solid fabric as I had run out of scraps.
|The squares for the scrappy flannel quilt|
|My scrappy flannel quilt|
|Pinwheel blocks laid out for sewing|
|Missing two half-square triangles|
|Enders and leaders|
|Practicing the buttonhole|
|Bright lighting on the creative icon 2|
|That's a LOT of light|