Sunday, August 12, 2012

Travels With Bobbi

Saturday noon and I’m squeezed into an airplane seat obviously designed for a garden gnome. My computer is wedged between my tummy and the back of the seat of the row in front of me. I’m tap, tap, tapping on the keys, trying to recreate my last week in words. It was a hard week, but a great week, filled with 24 - 7 teaching.

The week began in a Reno casino, where a group of dedicated embroidery enthusiasts ignored the call of slot machines for that of their sewing machines, and embroidered and learned.

Every year the folks from Ray’s Sewing Center in San Jose pack up shop and move to Reno for a four-day Janome retreat. The retreat includes classes, a cocktail party, a dinner banquet, and even a slots tournament. After a few days the attendees wander the halls, eyes spinning in their sockets, heads so stuffed with information that even a slight tilt of the head produces showers of threads and buttons falling from the ear.

 I love the classes I taught this year. In my first class we made a round jewelry box. My friend, Tecla, talked me into giving this class, and I had my doubts. She had found the idea on the internet then simplified the project incorporating my zipper insertion method and her new improved seaming process. You’ll see more about this when I write up the instructions. What a great project! Everyone in class finished their jewelry box and I forgot to take pictures. What was I thinking?

I taught a continuous cut edge design class. By the end of the class every student’s eyes were alight as the new skill made sense. I wrote about this technique in the current issue of Designs in Machine Embroidery, so you can see more about it there.

In the evenings, when brains had stopped functioning, I taught embellishment classes. It’s like being five years old again: dirty hands and lots of blots and gooey stuff, all coming together to make exquisite fabric - a grandiose vision. The idea was that every student in the embellishment class would use the finished fabric in later classes. The reality was that one person used her fabric in one of my classes. Maybe the others were planning on framing their pieces, or entering them in art shows.

Two of the classes produced bag ladies. The picture above is of one of the bags using the cut edge from the Monday class, and the snap bag pattern that comes with my Mandela set.

The picture below is more of my bag ladies. These made pet screen bags, bags using a plastic mesh as the base fabric.  You can buy pet screen at your local home improvement store or search fabric stores for the same item in a variety of colors. The fabric on the bag on the right is from the embellishment class. Can you believe she created that gorgeous fabric herself?

From Reno I traveled to Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, to teach an event at Nancy’s Notions. I woke before the crack of dawn to take a 4:30 AM shuttle to the airport and spent the whole day in planes and airports. I think the correct term for travel from Reno to Beaver Dam is “You can’t get there from here.”

In Beaver Dam I taught my easy-peasy method for multi-hooping. It went great. It’s the method I teach in my Regency Living Large design set.

 Regency Living Large

 Some of the Ladies From the Nancy's Notions Class

I’m looking forward to being home. In real time I’ve been away a week, which is two months in teaching time. I’m ready to examine the garden inch by inch, count the red tomatoes, note the new eggplants and check to see how many more suggestively shaped cucumbers have emerged. Hmm… maybe there's an idea for an embroidery set in shades of grey in the garden.