From the Archives: The Lowdown on the Sew Down! - Published April 22, 2014

Hello! Last week I attended the Modern Quilt Guild's most recent Sew Down in lovely Nashville, Tennessee! If you are not familiar with the Sew Downs, they are a fun all-inclusive weekend of awesome classes, delicious food, swanky hotel rooms and fun with other quilters. The Nashville Sew Down became a must-attend as soon as I heard that Anna Maria Horner was an instructor, but the entire line-up was amazing. Plus, Nashville! Home of the Bluebird Cafe, Country Music and Highway 65 Records (for you fans of the TV show). 


So our Sew Down started on Friday afternoon, with registration at the super-cool Loew's Vanderbilt Hotel. We got pretty great swag bags, with goodies from Michael Miller, Riley Blake and Dear Stella plus a dvd called Perfect Binding, but of course the highlight of said swag bags was the nifty-gifty from Quilt Sandwich Fabrics! 


After checking in, we had perhaps the most highly-anticipated event of the weekend - the home studio tour at Anna Maria's house!!! Yes, the do-it-all mother of SEVEN invited 80 strangers to her house and let us wander around. For real, she had the door to her bedroom open in case we wanted to take a peek. Do I need to tell you her house is amazing? I don't think I do. She had a room with tons of her paintings along one wall, lots of quilts, embroidered and cross-stitched wall hangings and her online fabric store! We were warned ahead of time to bring money, and I think everyone indulged. 

Here are a few pics from Anna Maria's house! The next two are from AM's online store. 



Here's a cool couch in Anna Maria's attic studio. 

AHEM. This was on the top of AM's to-do list in the studio. 

That's just a small sampling of the prettiness of Anna Maria's house! The whole thing was awesome, and she walked around holding her adorable 10-month old baby, not at all frazzled at entertaining a gaggle of obsessed quilters. 

The next two days were packed with classes, lectures, sewing time, and fun! We had four three-hour classes that we rotated through during the event, and we also had three lectures during meals. The MQG packed the activities in! 

My first class was with Carolyn Friedlander, fabric and pattern designer and brain child of the popular Architextures line of fabric. We worked on her pattern called Aerial, which is a cool modern pattern that uses paper-piecing, a technique I haven't had much practice with. Carolyn was really easy going and cool and she was very encouraging too. She brought a few great samples of the quilt in, and had fabric and thread for sale! (She has a coveted set with Aurifil.) 

Here's a wall-sized version of the Aerial quilt that Carolyn did. Isn't her quilting awesome? 

Here are the two blocks I managed to finish in class. They are fun to make! 

My next class was with Anna Maria Horner. Here's the sample of the block we worked on, called Mod Corsage. 

I didn't get much done on it but it was fun to think about how to make a bouquet seem pixelated, so I'm going to work on it more at home. Anna Maria was a lot of fun, and she also had fabric for sale! 

Here I am with AM! Her outfit was so cute. 

Our Saturday night dinner was a feast of southern favorites that included CORN PUDDING, fried chicken and short ribs. As you can probably tell, I am quite excited about the corn pudding. We also had a lecture by Alexia Abegg, who wrote a great book called Liberty Love and is one of the designers of Cotton and Steel, which we at Quilt Sandwich are super excited about. Alexia talked about inspiration, creation and motivation and she had a lot of good things to say. We also had a great lunchtime lecture from Elizabeth Dackson, a MQG board member, about making traditional quilts more modern. 

On Sunday, we had another full day of classes! My first class was with Angela Walters, quilter to the stars! I loved Angela's class! Her theme was "Small Changes, Big Variety". Angela started by showing us a basic quilting design, then she showed us simple ways to make changes so that we ended up with a lot of ideas. Angela brought in TONS of quilts and samples of all her ideas and let us take pictures. Here's one of my favorite samples, featuring variations on spirals. 

Here I am with Angela after class. You can see a lot of her drawings on the wall behind us.

Here's some of my quilting practice from class! 

At lunch we had one more lecture, this one from Maddie Kertay. Maddie is a quilter, quilt-store owner, and founder of the group Bad-Ass quilters! She was really funny and just cool. She introduced us to the phrase "quilt famous", which is helpful when you're trying to tell your non-quilting friends how awesome a fabric designer or quilter is and they just don't get it. 

Finally, my last class was with Victoria Findlay-Wolfe, author of the book 15 Minutes of Play and winner of Best In Show at last year's QuiltCon! (Seriously, could the instructor line-up for the Sew Down be any better?!) Victoria was also really fun and inspiring. She showed us how to make "new" fabric with our scraps (she chopped up a bunch of Anna Maria fat quarters like it was no big deal) and then fun ways to use the made fabric. She also taught us the importance of Y-seams! Here's just one of the samples that Victoria brought. This one uses TINY squares from her made fabric - it was so cute! 

After Victoria's class it was time to leave! It was a whirl-wind 48 hours, let me tell you. Of course, I did get to Nashville a few days early to check it out and I had a great time. I went to the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum, which also houses the Hatch Show Print gallery and store, which was the main reason I wanted to go. Hatch Show Print is of course awesome, and is totally worth your time! Unfortunately I was not able to take a tour, but I enjoyed the posters and other fun stuff for sale. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed the CMHF Museum! I am not a huge fan of country music, but I like some of it, and I like music in general, so it was interesting to see old instruments and read about the history of country music. They also had a lot of costumes, and the older ones are kind of awesome. I also went to the Johnny Cash Museum, which is equally awesome in a different way. It's much smaller the the Hall of Fame Museum, but still really great. Lots of mementos from Johnny, like hand-written notes and song lyrics, plus videos of performances and other cool things. 

Finally, no trip to Nashville is complete without a visit to BOOT WORLD! Boot World is right downtown on Broadway and their special offer is buy one pair of boots, get TWO PAIRS FREE!!!! That is crazy! I didn't do it because what Seattle girl needs three pairs of cowboy boots? Plus, they're spendy. But cool! 



Quilt Sandwich HQ