Despite the stress of planning PR Weekend, and the occasional nail-biting moment as it all went off (almost) without a hitch, I had an absolute blast.
Of course, since, last time I checked, I am no longer 21, it also kicked my ass. I was still tired on Tuesday. I mean, really.
Friday morning started off at the hotel conference space, handing out name tags, Patternreview tote bags with goodies inside, and getting acquainted.
Then Kenneth King arrived and the fun started.
Sewing is such a solitary activity - the most I've ever manged before was one friend coming over for a two-machine play date - so sitting in a room with 40-odd other women (note I didn't say 40 odd women), sewing, was really an experience. And when you add in our instructor, it was truly memorable.
I think I learned as much from listening to him talk and looking at the fabulous garments he brought to show us as I did during the actual workshop. I'll admit I wasn't too stoked on the idea of embellishment because I fully admit to being embellishment challenged, but I'm always willing to learn something new, you never know when you might need such skill and it's Kenneth-Freaking-King. How often do you get that?
I really enjoyed one jacket that he brought. Not only did he bring the finished jacket, but he brought the pattern pieces and a full explanation of how it got from inside his head to the work of art he held out for us to see. "It comes out through my hands," he told us. He doesn't draw. Isn't that comforting?
After that, a group of us went for lunch, and then off to the museum, covered in yesterday's post. We left the museum separately. Some walked, some took the bus, some did a combination. I walked back to the hotel in relatively new sandals, which I'm proud to admit didn't hurt for the first 2 or so miles.
Dinner that night was at Pietro's. They put on a great Italian family-style spread for us - 2 different appetizers, 2 salads, rigatoni, chicken parm, bowls of angelhair pasta and, possibly best of all, trays of cannoli and tiramisu.
Despite a fairly dire weather forecast, the skies didn't open until we got inside the restaurant, and trust me, the sound of 50 women getting acquainted could deafen thunder!
As we were about to leave, it started raining again, so we had an impromptu fashion show where each table got up in turn and introduced what they were wearing (by pattern name and number, most of the time, while the rest of us tried to memorize, scribbled lists or input numbers into their phones).
Needless to say, my pattern list grew ridiculously just that evening.
Saturday was retail therapy day. We got on our big yellow schoolbus before 10:00, and went to Fabric Row, otherwise known as 4th Street. Most stores heeded the warning and had extra staff on, but PA Fabric Outlet, pictured here on the left, did not. Lines stretched to the back of the store, taking at least 40 minutes for me to buy some seam binding that matched a fabric I bought earlier at Jack B's. (The fabric post is tomorrow, if I can get it together.
After lunch on our own, we went to London Textiles in Cherry Hill, NJ. LT is a wholesale business open to the public if you can find them. It wasn't easy, and eventually we were flagged down by an employee at the side of the road, but I think we more than made it worth their while. The sight of that many women up-ended in bins was great. And they had some amazing remnants, a few of which came home with me.
Finally, and by that point almost excessively, we went to Jomar. I personally didn't think they were up to their usual standard, but you couldn't tell that from the long lines winding through the store. Jomar was prepared, though - they had 3 or 4 people cutting, and the line moved quickly.
Back to the hotel at last, sprawled in the big comfy lobby chairs, I realized that I had a fridge full of leftovers at home from Friday night's dinner. I gathered up a few friends (Connie, Lisette, Touran and Lee), and we went off home to drink wine and eat leftover pasta and cannoli, and on the healthy side, a little salad from my back yard. It was a perfect end to a great weekend as we decompressed around the table, talking about our purchases and our plans for them.
Sewing friends are a wonderful addition to my life. I'm happy this weekend I got to add so many more of them.
Photo credits (since I forgot to take any) to Lee, Connie and Noile. If I snagged your photo and didn't credit you, let me know.