Come sew with me at Camp Luna Wolf this fall!

UPDATE: the dates for this event have changed! new dates below.

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be teaching a sewing workshop at Camp Luna Wolf this fall, October 18-20, 2019. Camp Wolf’s founder, Marney Wolf, is a multi-talented creative and artist who I met at Squam Art Workshops a few years ago; she is passionate about supporting women and bringing creative women together.

This weekend retreat will be held at Camp Woodbury in Dexter, Michigan, just west of Ann Arbor, Friday evening to Sunday noon. There are options for both overnighters (includes fantastic meals and lodging) and commuters if you’re local. You can even bring your tent and camp if you so desire!

Regular camp includes three workshops: natural perfume-making, screen printing, and illustration/journal making, OR you can choose the “sewing intensive” option with me which includes sewing, instructional, and Q&A time on Saturday and Sunday, evening open sewing time, camp activities, and one of the other three workshops. I’ll also be part of an entrepreneurial panel on Friday evening for overnighters. 

For the sewing workshop, we’ll be making a pair of pajama pants and I’ll cover seam, waistband, pocket, and hemming techniques with additional topics as time allows. The sewing pattern, which fits up to a 60″ hip, will be provided; you bring your fabric and sewing kit (we’ll send you a list of recommended tools and supplies before camp starts). It’s going to be a fantastic opportunity to relax and sew!

A limited number of machines and spaces are available; sign up now to reserve your spot. For more details and to reserve your space, visit the Camp Luna Wolf website.

Hope to see you there!

My first Squam

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

One of the things they tell you at Squam is that you’ll have a hard time explaining it afterward to other people. I’ve been thinking for over a week about how to communicate to you what a wonderful experience Squam was for me, and though I’m pretty sure I’ll come up short, I’m going to try.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop is a retreat for creatives (think ALL kinds of creatives: this fall’s workshop topics included printmaking, knitting, spoon carving, sewing, writing, and diorama-building). The setting is the Rockywold-Deephaven camps on Squam Lake in New Hampshire. The lake is huge, and rocky, and deep, and beautiful. Loons call at night while you’re falling asleep. One morning: beautiful fog. Another morning: a gorgeous blanket of mist. The camp itself is full of history and beauty; the old buildings date back to the 1800’s, and the iceboxes in each cabin are filled each day with ice that was harvested from the lake in winter and then stored in sawdust during the year in a beautiful old ice house, which we passed each day on the way to meals and classes. The camp offers a gorgeous and peaceful environment.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam begins with dinner on Wednesday and ends with breakfast on Sunday, and the schedule includes two full day workshops (I took photography with Tori Williams, and sewing the Matcha Top with Meg McElwee), meals, free time, yoga, evening presentations, and the Squam Art Fair on the last night. The fact that there is even a schedule seems to be more just an excuse to bring everyone together, as so much seems to happen outside of the schedule, but the workshops were wonderful and I learned a ton.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017
(photography with Tori Williams)

Squam Arts Workshop 2017
(Kate and Jenny sewing their Matcha Tops)

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

I had never been to Squam before, and I really had no idea what to expect going into the weekend, but it’s safe to say that I knew I really needed, and wanted, a break. Elizabeth, Squam’s founder, sent out an email the week before we arrived with instructions to “clear your mind of all expectation of what the weekend might be for you,” and I tried my best to do that. Back in January, I had chosen “BREAK” as my word for 2017, and had invited myself to be open to all of the possible ways that this word might manifest itself to me throughout the year. Big break, more little breaks, break with the way I had been doing things, break open…there were a lot of ways I could think of that “break” could translate. The most obvious seemed to be to go on a retreat, so I signed up for Squam early in the year after doing a little research into creative retreats (there are others besides Squam, including The Craft Sessions, Camp Workroom Social, and Craftcation, all of which are still on my list, but Squam was the one that worked out this year).

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Post-Squam, I’m happy to report that I sincerely feel renewed. On the plane ride home (which in itself is like a spa vacation when you don’t have three kids with you), I wrote down so many things I wanted to remember. Two pages were just about the people I met and what they had taught me. The many conversations I had with the other creatives were so helpful to me. One conversation with an artist who is no longer making art sticks out to me. Another lesson: that being “present” — something I often feel like I’m not — is really just as simple as thinking about what you are doing while you are doing it. Whoa. I’m happy that I really did have the ability and the space to relax (the loose schedule with plenty of free time helps) and just be. Such a wonderful feeling. And I’m happy to have made so many new and wonderful friends.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017
(dinner on the dock with Meg and Carol)

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

It was nice that most of the people at Squam didn’t “know who I was,” which I truly hope doesn’t sound half as self-centered as it feels to write. When I’m around people who are familiar with Made by Rae, I often end up having long conversations about myself or my business, and while those interactions are always lovely and encouraging, they can also be a bit intense. I love to talk, and I very much want to be helpful to others, but it can leave me feeling drained and overwhelmed rather than relaxed or inspired after I return home, not to mention then having to deal with my stupid inflated ego. Feeling largely unrecognized at Squam allowed me to have an experience that felt more authentic, if that makes any sense?

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

One thing I feel challenged to do after Squam is to write more. I don’t have much confidence in my writing ability, or really even love to write, and writing (especially on this blog) has been hard for me lately. Over the years, I’ve become more intimidated by the idea that so many people are reading (and possibly judging) my writing and work. That’s Fear talking, and I’m trying to look it square in the face and remember that writing can be an act of love. I know how many of you have felt a connection through my writing over the years, and just sharing the experience of being a creative person who is also a mama of three is helpful to many of you. And also, my mom wants to know what I’m up to (hi, Mom!). I’m inspired now not only to write more, but to love the writing process more.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

I can’t end this post without mentioning what a blessing it was to spend time with my dear friend Meg (of Sew Liberated, above). Meg had a slightly different, more intense experience than me, as she was teaching the Matcha Top workshops, which was one of the workshops that I took (so fun!!). Meg and I met five years ago at Quilt Market (a much different environment), and have connected on and off online over the years; she is a true kindred spirit. Meg was one of the very first indie pattern designers slash sewing bloggers, and in addition to designing beautiful patterns, her writing is amazing, and if you haven’t been following her for years like I have, please start. I’m often amazed that despite unschooling three kids of her own and running her own small business like I do, she finds time to write such beautiful things (this is a favorite post). When I asked her how she manages to do this, her answer was that it sometimes takes months, literally months, to write some of her posts. She also — and I love this, because it really takes guts to truly take a “break” — stepped away from her business and sewing for a number of years while she was dealing with her son Lachlan’s heart condition. I’m grateful to her for all of the wonderful conversations we had at Squam, and to Elizabeth for putting us in the same room so we could stay up late and talk and talk and talk into the night.

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

Squam Arts Workshop 2017
(photo, above, of me and Annri by Amy of Mindful Art Studio)

Squam Arts Workshop 2017

OK. After all this rambling, I hope I’ve managed to communicate something to you about this beautiful experience. Thanks for reading my thoughts here, lovely readers. I hope someday you will have a transformative experience of your own that relaxes and renews you, if you haven’t already.

You can find out more about Squam Art Workshops on their website, follow Squam at @squamlove, or check out the #ultimatesquam or #squamlove hashtags to see photos from Squam.

Posted in events
16 Comments

Sew to Speak Shop Visit

Array

Array

I had a fantastic trip down to Ohio last week to visit Sew to Speak, which is an absolutely adorable fabric store in Columbus, about three hours south of Ann Arbor. I’ve been wanting to make the trip ever since my friend April (of Staple Dress fame) invited me last spring. April works at the shop, which her mom, Anita, owns (Anita, pictured in the first photo, is fantastic, too!). April had downplayed the shop a bit and had told me it was pretty small — which is totally April; she is so humble and sweet —  so I was completely unprepared for how much amazingness was contained in this one place!

Array

Array

While the shop is certainly not HUGE, it’s not tiny either; in fact, I think it’s fair to say that it’s the perfect size. It features a nice little space for classes in the back and enough fabric, patterns, trims, tools, and notions to satisfy both quilters and garment sewists.

Array

Array

Array

Array

I gave a presentation on Wednesday evening on garment sewing as part of an open house and trunk show, and I took all of my Washi Dresses along. People seemed to really enjoy looking through (and hearing about) all of the variations of the pattern that I brought along. I also brought my Ruby Dress and my Ruby Top and a couple other new designs.

Array

Array

Array

On Thursday morning I taught a Washi Techniques Workshop, and that was really fun (I’m also offering this class again in Ann Arbor in about a month if you’re interested)! The ladies who signed up were all fantastic, and they all made a ton of progress on their dresses.

Array

Array

Array

I want to mention something from my talk on Wednesday night that I think is really important. Although I have built a business primarily online, I think it is so important to introduce shops like Sew to Speak to readers so that you can support them, too. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the online sewing community: the people, the patterns, the blogs, the resources, and all of the lovely online shops. I have many great friendships online despite never meeting in real life. But there is simply no replacement for getting together face-to-face, meeting people who love to sew, and making friends who share your interests and passions. Furthermore, shops like Sew to Speak offer REAL places to meet REAL people, learn, and take classes — and allow you to look at and touch fabric before you buy it. It is important to support these shops because they are the pillars of our sewing community. It is worth it to pay MSRP for fabric from these shops rather than searching for the lowest price on Etsy. It is worth it to buy sewing books and patterns full price at these shops, rather than scouring Amazon or discount shops for the lowest price. Keeping these shops in business adds value to our communities, both online and locally. *hopping off the ol’ soapbox now*

Array

Array

Array

If you ever have a chance to visit Columbus, make sure you add Sew to Speak to your list of stops. By the way, Sew to Speak always takes phone orders (click through to the shop for that number). Thanks so much for having me, Anita and April!!! And thanks to everyone who came out to say “hi!” or take my class. It was a great turnout, and I had a fantastic time!

Array

[adrotate group=”3″]

Posted in events
21 Comments

New space

studio swatches

YOU GUYS! I got a new studio space in downtown Ann Arbor!! I moved all my stuff in last Friday and have been gradually getting everything unpacked and put back together. How fun is this?? So let me give you the big tour: when you first walk in, you see this room (pardon the squalor…still unpacking!):

Array

And then off of the big front room there are two smaller rooms, one where my sewing machines will live (last pic in this post), and the other where the computer-blogging-fabric design-photography stuff will live:

rae computer room

It is a bit weird to see my name on the door. I keep thinking, “IS THIS TOTALLY CRAZY?” but the thing is, nearly every successful endeavor I’ve had in my career as a professional blogger/designer-person has been rooted in some decision or idea that was totally spontaneous, and if “crazy” means I move forward, then I’m going to just take the leap and go for it. By contrast, it seems like when I premeditate or overthink things they always seem to backfire on me. Crazy is a good route for me, I think.

So what am I going to do here? I don’t exactly know. I was thinking maybe I could hire an intern or something to press and fold all my fabric (KIDDING. Sort of)…but I need to really sit down and make a thorough list of things I need done to see if I could truly keep one person busy working for me here (Elli and Jess work remotely in Texas and Missouri, so waaaah, they won’t be able to work with me unless they move, hint HINT). Karen‘s already promised she’ll come and work here with me occasionally, so maybe I can get her to sew for me. And of course my Ann Arbor friends are welcome to stop by!!!

rae newsewing room

I have dreams of it being a place where I could have sewing socials or even teach the occasional sewing lesson, maybe even a class…I don’t know, maybe host small events of some sort. But all that takes quite a lot of work, and because I’m already planning on teaching a few sewing classes at Pink Castle Fabrics at their NEW location here in Ann Arbor this year, the stuff I do here would be in addition to that. For now I’m happy having this be my work space.

Anyway, this is the “before” post. I’ll make sure to show you more photos once I get it all souped up. Do you have any fun ideas for my little studio space? And who’s up for coming to visit me in Ann Arbor?

[adrotate group=”3″]

Posted in events
47 Comments

Camp Stitchalot

Array

Array

Array

The weekend before last I had the privilege to teach at Camp Stitchalot, a sewing retreat here in Michigan that is hosted by my friend Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics. I finally got my photos uploaded and labeled today so you can experience the fun and awesomeness vicariously through my photostream.

I was thrilled that Katy Jones, Melody Miller, and Rashida Coleman-Hale were also “counselors” for the weekend. We had so much fun together, and it was great to get to know these incredibly talented ladies a bit more.

Array


Array


Array


Array


Array


Array

Katy (pictured above), who is just as hilarious and endearing in real life as on her blog, has already written a couple of posts about Camp that are really great — so if you want to get a sense for what the weekend was like, you should really read her posts here, and here. She really summed it up for me with these words:

“Camp is all about hanging out with like minded people and not feeling like a nerd for wanting to sew non-stop for 3 days.” – Katy Jones

It’s so true. It was amazing how much sewing 30 people produced in three days. The thing that really made this weekend so amazing and fun was hanging out with so many different, fantastic people: women of all ages, sewing abilities, and interests. We had so much fun together. The sewing is great, but the experience of making new friends, talking, and laughing together is rather more important.

You can peruse my photos in the gallery below; if you click through to each one there’s more information. You can also view my whole Camp Stitchalot set together.

[miniflickr photoset_id=72157633478338967&sortby=date-posted-asc&per_page=14]

Registration is also open now for Camp Stitchalot August 2013, so you if can, don’t pass up this opportunity to sew, sew, sew your heart out this summer! The counselor lineup is amazing for that session, as well (geared more toward quilting rather than general sewing this time around), and there are sure to be even more fun weekends ahead from Pink Castle.

[adrotate group=”3″]

Posted in events
9 Comments