Tuesday, April 07, 2009

stitching vacation

We have some friends whom Todd and I admire for many reasons--not the least of which is that, after being married for many years, this couple continues to enjoy spending time together but often vacation alone. He is an avid hiker and outdoorsman and goes backpacking in rough style for weeks at a time. She is an extraordinarily talented knitter (and I mean extraordinary--she often knits samples for Nicky Epstein) who goes on knitting cruises and spends vacation time with her close-knit (sorry-pun!) family.

Someday I hope that Todd and I will have the luxury of separate vacations like this. At present, our time together as a family is still somewhat limited due to our busy schedules and young daughter, and we look forward to vacation time spent together. But we also value time spent alone.

When, eventually, I have the opportunity to spend some vacation time alone, I'll tell you what I plan to do: I'll be headed to Alabama.

This past Saturday I attended Natalie Chanin's workshop in New York. We were approximately seven or eight women (a few visitors dropped by over the course of the day as well) who got together to spend the day stitching and getting to know each other under Natalie's excellent tutelage and with some delicious food. We each selected a project, and Natalie got us started with some pointers and instruction about her methods and techniques. As we settled into a rhythm we started talking and getting to know each other. I enjoyed getting to know each individual and made some wonderful friends in the process.

Time passes quickly when you're stitching by hand, and by lunchtime I was thoroughly relaxed and enjoying myself. And hungry! We paused for a delicious catered lunch of the best collard greens I've ever tasted, along with fried chicken and a variety of other southern-inspired food. With someone else making the meal, all we had to do was sew and enjoy ourselves for the day. It felt like vacation. None of us could believe it when, suddenly, it was 4:00 and we had spent the entire day with each other and our sewing projects.

I'm not ready to show you my project yet. It's a surprise, but I hope to be finished in a few weeks. And I'm already planning the next project. Natalie sells kits for a lot of the projects in her book on her website, but the project I'm planning isn't a kit (it's bigger than that, actually). Although I'm also thinking about making the little pincushion, since they're so cute.

(More photos from the day here.)


  1. I cant wait to see your finished project. It looks like you all had a really great time. I am going to her workshop in May in Richmond.

  2. Ever since I head about Natalie Chanin and her book and the fact that hosts workshops to sit and sew with like minded people, I have wanted to take a 'mecation'. Maybe I should be more opportunistic now since there are no kiddos in our lives yet. My favorite project in her book is the quilt. i.n.l.o.v.e.

  3. A day spent to create at your leisure...what a luxury!

  4. Sounds totally lovely! Lucky you!

  5. sounds like a great time!
    and can't wait to see the finished

  6. I'm so jealous! It sounds like a great day. I wanted to go but there are so many classes and workshops to do and they're all SO expensive! I'm excited to see your project.

  7. margie6:47 AM

    thank you for letting me visit your site and see this wonderful work... i so enjoyed the pictures and felt the wonderful time every one was having..life at times is just bliss happy days

  8. Any chance on a collaboration between you and Natalie? Please!!