Recently I've taken what I'm calling a "sew-cation", a trip on my own, to learn new skills and be with people I never would have met otherwise. With my current situation, I have a feeling I won't get too many more of these in coming months/years!
I went to the Smocking Arts Guild of America (SAGA) annual convention. This year, it was in Anaheim, California. I attended the conventions two "pre-days", called 'Aneheim Down Under', taught by Australian smocker Judith Adams and Lyn Weeks. I learned so much, and had a great time!
My classes focused on making a Bishops Dress, named for English Bishops who wore them so many centuries ago. Now a popular style of heirloom sewing, they look so sweet on little girls. I feel so motivated to make one for our future baby.
The first class I took was Intermediate level, though it was originally listed for Beginners. At first, I was pretty overwhelmed. By the second day, however, I was much more relaxed, and it was so much fun to be around women from all over the world, focused on this specialized technique. I came away with two gorgeous kits, and the skills to almost believe I can finish them.
I've been doing a little smocking here and there, so as not to forget what I've learned. There's so much practice I need to do, let alone work on the garments' construction. I'm already dreaming of going to next year's convention in Atlanta, with more experience under my belt. Check out these gorgeous dresses by Judith Adams:
Smocking is such meticulous work that each night I retreated to my hotel room to knit a sweater for myself on giant 6.5mm needles, just for relief. A trip, just for myself, to indulge my interest, is just what I needed to reinvigorate myself when the queue of projects at home got so long and overwhelming. Have you ever taken one?
More photos here.