Monday, September 1, 2014

Minnesota Wrap-up

I'm back from Minnesota and (except for some hot, sticky, humid weather), it was a great trip!

The Summary:

  • Daughter is launched and is happy. (Yes, this well-trained traveler simultaneously carries a daypack, a backpack, a ukelele, and two suitcases. Easy peasy.)
  • So mama is happy.
  • Minnesota is awesome. I stayed in 3 different homes, thanks to airbnb, and got to chat with some great folks, including a clothing designer–we had a lot to talk about! I showed her how to make a Tablecloth skirt, and figured out a dress in her lookbook that she's been trying to puzzle out.
  • Minnesota is full of art, especially whimsical sculptures. (Hey, I love the giant spoon.)
  • When walking around a neighborhood in Minneapolis, we saw many wild bunnies. Wild. Bunnies.
  • Most terrifying quote: One of my airbnb hosts was originally from Wisconsin. I asked her if Wisconsin winters were about the same as Minnesota winters. No, she said. "In Wisconsin you get used to your nose hairs freezing, but in Minnesota it's your eye gel."
  • DD2 went to Minnesota without any real winter gear. I think she needs some quick.
  • Minnesotans are nice. I marveled how nice when one of my airbnb hosts mentioned the quote "Minnesota nice." I had never heard that before, but it's apt.

I had only one free day to play, but I squeezed in as much as possible. I first visited Ginny's Fine Fabrics in Rochester (where I saw the front entrance to the famous Mayo Clinic). I drove to St Paul (about 90 minutes north from Rochester) and stopped by Atelier 957 (a high-end RTW boutique). I then went to Treadle Yard Goods for the pre-arranged meet up.


Ginny's Fine Fabrics (Rochester)

with Ginny

I had heard from several folks that I really shouldn't miss Ginny's Fine Fabrics (Facebook page) in Rochester. Of course, one hopes to never need the expert services of the Mayo Clinic, but if one does, then it's time to find solace at Ginny's, just a few blocks away.

Though I got an early start, I had some difficulty finding the store. She moved recently and, when I entered "Ginny's Fine Fabrics" into the GPS on my phone, it took me to her old location. Repeatedly. But, luckily, her old location (which is still vacant) has the address of her new location written on the window. Her old location (12 S Broadway, Rochester) is about 2 blocks from her new location (211 S Broadway, Rochester), so I parked and walked.

What a wonderful store! I'm told that the new location is much larger than the old location. It consists of two levels of fabric and she has some wonderful fabrics! Soon after walking in I was met by Sharon. Sharon is a dedicated customer–she is from Wisconsin–but I originally ran into her in California several years back. I was in Pacific Grove for a private sewing retreat, and she was there attending a Jane Foster sewing retreat, and we met while shopping in nearby Carmel.

The sewing world is a small world, indeed.

Sharon had spied a fabric that she knew I would like: a block ponte with flocked black circles. It was selling fast, so she asked Ginny to set it aside for me. She's right! I loved it. I bought a piece of that, and a piece of a rayon/spandex newsprint piece. I could have easily spent more, but I was on a budget. (Hey, textbooks are expensive.)

Thanks, Sharon!

I very much enjoyed visiting Ginny's, but it was time to hit the road.

Atelier 157 (St Paul)

I knew I was going to have a bit of a window before my 3pm meet up at Treadle Yard Goods in St Paul, so I had emailed Marcy and Katherine Tilton, asking them what else I might be able to squeeze in. They confirmed that I would not have enough time to visit SR Harris and it's 30,000 square feet of fabric. (The closer Burnside location of SR Harris (with 15,000 square foot of fabric) won't be open for another several weeks.) They suggested that I visit Atelier 157 (Facebook page), a high-end RTW boutique on Grand Avenue in St Paul, about three quarters of a mile from Treadle Yard Goods.

They both told me I shouldn't miss it.

They were right! This boutique is exactly the kind of boutique I love (and visit whenever possible). They carry, for example, Planet, Black Label by Rundholz, Crea Concept, Babette, Cop Copine, and IC Collection. They also carry some wonderful accessory and jewelry designers. They have a basement of sale items and also do custom work, though I didn't ask about that. As I chatted with the owner and one of the sales ladies, they were very pleased to hear that I knew the Tilton sisters and I learned that the Tiltons grew up only blocks away.

You should definitely check out this boutique if you are in the area!

After a very enjoyable visit, I walked to Treadle, eager for the meet up!

Treadle Yard Goods (St Paul)

with Mary

When I mentioned on my blog that I would be going to Minnesota, I received three offers for meet ups. I accepted the offer from Alice M, who contacted Mary, owner of Treadle Yard Goods (Facebook page). Mary graciously agreed to let us use her classroom. Delicious snacks were provided by The Oilerie St Paul (Facebook page). (Their Balsamic Vinegar is amazing!)

Some really wonderful, creative sewists were able to attend. Several are members of Treadle's Fashion Sewing Club. In fact, several of them have taken many classes from Katherine Tilton at the nearby Textile Center in Minneapolis. I was also happy to meet a local blogger that I "know" from Pattern Review and from comments on my blog, "Mrs Smith" (aka Charisma, aka Nakisha), from Sew Crafty Chemist.

So, yes, the local water must be full of Creative Juice.

The meet up was a lot of fun! I talked for a bit and answered questions. I had asked everyone to bring one or two items of show and tell, and I'm so glad I did! I snapped a few quick pictures (some too fuzzy to share). The creativity was impressive!

Mary has a wonderfully curated selection of fabrics! After the meet up and the eating, we did some shopping! I really enjoyed watching what everyone purchased. Mary also carries a very special item in her store: Alice M's husband is a wood turner, and he makes gorgeous seam rippers using different types of wood and also with resin. Just look at these beauties!

Above: American Cherry
Below: Resin

The meet up was so much fun! Thanks so much to Alice (organizer par excellence) and Mary (gracious owner) for a fun afternoon!

September Projects

I am happy to be back home! I am eager to dive into new projects–I have two scheduled for September. First up, I have a gorgeous piece of fabric from Marcy Tilton. This one is really special. I know what I want to make with it, but I don't have the right pattern (of course). It's is on it's way and I will make a test version before I cut into this fabric.

Britex has asked me to make another project. I picked up the fabric, a very striking wool, last Tuesday, the day before I left for Minnesota. I know what I want to make with it, but I don't have the pattern (of course). It's on it's way. I'm giving myself another fun little challenge with this one.

Today (Labor Day) is a holiday in the U.S. For today's walk, I headed to the yarn store. More about that later.

Tomorrow it's back to work, but next weekend I will be in Portland and Seattle for a work trip. I don't expect to be doing any sewing-related activities on this trip, more's the pity.


  1. What a great trip! And congrats on launching your daughter!

  2. What a fun, FUN time that looks like!! I LUST after those seam rippers. LUST! Is that just a little bit sick?

    1. Thanks, Jillian! Those seam rippers *are* really creative!

  3. What a fun adventure and can't wait to hear about your walk to the yarn store!

  4. That resin seam ripper is awesome - is there a FB page where I can buy one? (please say yes).

    1. Thanks, Mel! I do have a link to the Treadle Yard Goods Facebook page above. It's worth a try to contact them!

  5. Oh I had completely fogot about my 'eye gel' freezing. Such an accurate statement and very understandable if you've spent 23 winters in MN! Chicago doesn't come close to those hard northern winters I so don't miss! So glad you had a wonderful time and got to visit 2 of my all-timevery favorite sewing places and tour the Sculpture Garden at the Walker. Have put the Atelier 157 on my 'must' list for my next visit. And yes, Anya really needs to start shopping for her winter wardrobe soon. It's MN's longest season of any year!

    1. I had no idea that Minnesota was colder than Wisconsin or Chicago! It's sort of all the same to me, as one who lives in the land of no snow and almost no rain. :)

  6. Sounds like a really enjoyable trip to Minnesota. You are on fire!!

  7. What a fun trip you had! This day in particular sounds like it was jam packed full of sewing heaven. I, too, lust after those seam rippers. A brilliant idea. Can't wait to see what sewing you have in store for September.

  8. I have the first photo with my nephews on the sculpture.
    The only place I haven't been to is Ginny's.
    If you were to find free time in Portland .... you would enjoy RCT (Rose City Textiles) in northeast Portland.
    My sis is trying to get me out to St. Paul this month. Might do it next month to allow the humidity to settle.
    I enjoyed your 'visit' there.

    1. Oooh, such a renegade, Kathy! They have signs to stay off the sculptures, but I would love it if the spoon handle were a slide. :) Smart move to let the humidity die down. And I hear that the cold weather comes soon, so there is a small window...

  9. What a fun read, Sharon. I almost felt like I was there. I do love this kind of travel - meeting other sewers, visiting fabulous fabric shops, and inspirational RTW! Perfect.

  10. We were in Minneapolis a few years ago and visited the sculpture park. I loved the way they used the evergreens to create "rooms." Best of luck to your daughter through the winter months. Yes, she needs to bulk up on her winter clothes. Hey, opportunity for mom to create lots of new things :)

  11. Wow Sharon, there is a party every you go. I wish I could hang out with you more often!

  12. Nice to read this post, I am attending a wedding in Minnesota and we are landing in St Paul. Sounds like it may be worth a visit before we drive out of the city. Thanks Sharon.

  13. Hi! This is entirely off-topic, but have you ever sewn the vogue 8379 knit wrap dress? I want to participate in the Curvy Collective Wrap-along, and in researching which vogue pattern to get, your blog popped up. I see you are also listed on the Curvy Collective blogroll :)