Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sewing Summit: Can an Introvert Survive?

People kinda suck my energy.

Good morning.

Being in crowds, being at parties, throwing parties, rooms full of strangers, and even just a full day of homeschooling with my kiddos. Energy. Sucked. Dry.  Its not that I don't like or enjoy all of the above - I do! Its just that you know, its draining and I need some quiet solitude to replenish. That's why I am up late many nights because its so dang peaceful and that recharges me. Sewing in the quiet hours recharges me.  Give me a choice between a day out at the spa or a day in my own home alone, I'll take my own home thank you. Some of us, my husband included, are actually energized by people. Whaaat??? I don't understand that, that's not me. 

So can a girl like me survive Sewing Summit?  Or should I even attend?  I am living proof it can be done and you can be a better person for it. Here's why:

1. Its good to stretch out of your comfort zone.
Gosh, do I ever live in a bubble. Seriously, I surround myself pretty much with people just like me - devoted Catholic, homeschooling mommas.  (And thank goodness for you, my in-real-life friends, I really really love you all!!)  But the bubble? You need to break out of it every so often. Life's not really supposed to be comfortable. There's a whole world out there to experience!!

At Sewing Summit, I am humbled by the extraordinary, uncanny, awesome talent and creativity that surrounds me at the sewing tables in the faces of women of all ages and abilities. Really. Its like, wow. WOW. And we can talk! Starting a conversation is as easy as admiring what someone else is working on, or ogling over different fabrics, I mean its totally geeky and fun to share this passion. I really do feel transported and that can be a great thing!

2. You can be as involved as you want, and no one really minds.
Yeah. So when you get on the Sewing Summit google or flickr or Instagram chats, you'll notice that lots of women are looking to share a room, share a cab, make dinner plans, get on the Shop Hop, plan a  mini-Shop-Hop, organize a Secret Swap, organize a mixer at a local pub, the list goes on.

So I never share a room. 

I figure, this is kind of a retreat for me, a personal getaway, and since people suck my energy I don't feel compelled to share a room with strangers.  OK I'd probably share a room with Elizabeth Foss or a close friend from my Catholic Homeschooling bubble, but you know, otherwise, no one. Introverts don't like to share rooms, for the most part.

I skip the mixers at the pubs. Yeah, I know they have fun and there are fabric prizes and people sew bunting to decorate the pub, and friendships are made .... but I'd rather be in the open sewing room or in the bathtub. Both options are pretty precious to me! I also feel, as a 44-yr old, I'm kinda past the bar scene. Unless maybe there were sewing machines set up there, in a corner or something.

Dinner plans? Well, maybe. But not a big group. I love love love being able to scoot over to City Creek Mall and have a relatively quick dish at the Blue Lemon. Oh my, I love the Blue Lemon. Its walk-up and order gourmet, and they bring it to you in a couple of minutes.  The butternut squash soup, the fish tacos, my mouth is already watering.  This year, on my way walking up to said restaurant, I happened to catch up to two great gals also on their way to supper and we went there together - and had a GREAT time. There's that stepping out of the comfort zone again. Katy absolutely kept me in stitches (ha) and Anne is just so dang sweet and easy to be around. Actually, I got Anne's name in the swap. So it was providence I met up with her and Katy while walking to the mall. That really worked out. See, Introverts? Things can work out! But normally? I grab a bite on my own or order room service. 

Reading everything I've written so far I bet you're just itching to meet me. Don't I sound like fun. Hmmm, moving on.

3. To Shop Hop or Not
Shop Hops are a blast. You get on a big bus with 75 other women, visit three different fabric shops (it gets a bit squishy), you might win prizes, you get discounts and goodie bags, and you make a few new friends. You all share a love of fabric. Last year I did the official Shop Hop. I won a prize for having the most children. That was good, I felt like my fertility paid off in a really tangible way. 

This year, I opted not. Instead, and Introverts take note, I came in a day early and rented a car. Did my own little shop hop, visiting 5 different fabric shops in Salt Lake City. Oooooohhhhh!!! So so fun. SOOO fun. The shops were really quiet, no waiting in line for fabric cuts, and the quilt shops honored a 20% discount for Sewing Summit attendees. How cool is that?? That is very very cool.  

4. Swaps, Secret or Otherwise, are AWESOME
You might be an Introvert, but you don't want to feel like a total loser when you get to Summit. You want to at least meet and get to know some people, right? Hard as it is?? By far the best thing I did, to feel part of this community, was to get in on the swap action. Someone (an attendee, NOT the Sewing Summit team) usually takes the lead to organize. Last year, we had a zip-pouch swap, you bring a pouch to receive a pouch. This year, it was a Secret Swap. You sign up, post an "inspiration board" - a collage of photos off Pinterest or flickr that you really like, along with your favorite color, then your secret partner makes you either a pouch, totebag, mini quilt, or pillow cover.  You don't know who is making something for you.  At the same time, YOU are assigned another secret partner to make something for, based on their inspiration board. Want to see my inspiration board? Right here if you want a peek :).

This particular swap was so fun, because you can post photos of your work-in-progress, and of the finished work, and people in the swap make comments so you get to connect. You start to recognize people's Flickr or Instagram names and it helps build community. 

Want to see what I received? An awesome pouch filled with goodies from Julia B. - it was exactly what I had put on my Pinterest inspiration board. Oh, I love my partner for making me this.  Isn't it lovely??? 

5. And About Social Media
Instagram is great for Introverts. I think so, anyway. You're not getting in heated conversations on IG, you don't even have to post anything, but if you follow the #sewingsummit hashtag you will start to make connections with other people attending. Then when you meet them in real life, its so cool. You associate them with their IG name, so we heard a lot of "Oh, you're swellsewing; insidethepaperbox; polkadotchair; angelabdotme,  !" Of course, I'm a bit odd because I'm "livefaithgirl" which has nothing to do with sewing, but does explain to people why I am closing my eyes and muttering a prayer before digging into my lunch ...

But to stay up to date with the latest info and chatter, you really needed to check Facebook or Flickr. Gosh things happen fast! Messages like, I'm in the lobby heading for breakfast if anyone wants to join me." Fast.  I credit Facebook for the super hair-cut I got from Melissa's sister in her hotel room. 

6. Learning Something New
There are two solid days of classes at Sewing Summit. Some are hands-on and sewing-related, others are lectures and some are more related to blogging or growing a creative business. I think there is something for everyone. Mug rugs and mini-dresdens have totally rocked my world. 

Well, you all knew I loved Mug Rugs, but taking this class was great. Andrea of Knittiebittiesews provided the best recipe I've found for a quick and easy mug rug, and her "cheater" binding is super, check it out right here.  This has Christmas Gift written all over it.

The only other thing to mention? Pack light, and bring an extra suitcase for the way home. You'll need it!

There you have it, sewing friends, a little recap of Sewing Summit from an Introvert's point of view. This really will be an annual event for me, I feel inspired and excited about everything I did and learned. Maybe you'll consider it too? Till next time!

Back later to link up with needle and thREAD :).

And here's that link to Elizabeth. Go talk sewing!


  1. Love it!! I laughed out loud a couple of times when reading this (in a for real way, not just lol). Is it just me, or is it funny that with only five children you won a contest for the most offspring at a convention in Utah? Alas, I will never go to the Sewing Summit with you, but I am glad that you had such a wonderful time. You deserve it!!

  2. I live in a bubble, too. lol I understand the introvert stuff, because that's me as well. I love the little mug rugs. I am participating in a fall mug rug swap and was wondering how you did those little dresdens. I am thinking sunflowers if I changed the colour. Would you let me in on the secret? Please.

    1. Oh, sunflowers would be perfect! I used the Easy Dresden Ruler by Elizabeth Zimmerman, with the raw edge on 1.5" then cut out. You can stack a few fabrics to cut. You need 22 for the real mini, otherwise just 20. If you do the real teeny one, you need to sew your blades but then trim 1/8" off each long edge. I'd say the non-trimmed 1.5" version would be a good size for a mugrug though. Have fun and post pics!

  3. You lucky duck. The whole thing just sounds delightful -- shopping, talking sewing, learning new stuff. Glad you had fun!

  4. I could have written that first paragraph (except the last sentence ~ my hubby is an introvert, too) There is a tiny TINY part of me that thinks something like the SS would be fun, but mostly, nah. Sounds like you had a super time though! Shopping the day before was a fabulous idea!! (and you bag of goodies is great ~ I'm sure it'll be a fun reminder of your weekend :-)

  5. I loved your post! I'm totally an introvert. I am so good at keeping myself entertained. The first two sewing summits were HARD for me. This one was easier. Maybe this time I felt a little more comfortable in my own skin, or saw more familiar faces. Plus it just seemed to be a great crowd this year. I loved reading your perspective.

  6. I'm glad I kept you in stitches :) You were definitely one of my favourite people to meet! I am a total introvert and don't even go out with friends here in town... they know I am a homebody and are very accepting of seeing me maybe once a year lol... Sewing Summit was just so wonderful though because I could share my love of sewing... I have no one in real life for that :)

  7. It was wonderful to meet a fellow Calgarian at Sewing Summit. Hopefully we can bump into each other in a quiet way at a LQS :) I consider myself pretty extroverted but at SS I definitely squirelled away on my way a few times through out each day just to breath a bit again. I don't think you're alone in thinking that while it's super fun, it is always just 'a tad' bit overwhelming in many ways as well. Thank you so much for sharing!

  8. I was so happy we ran into you! Thank you for sharing your wonderful food find with us, it was my favorite place I ate!
    I am also an extreme introvert (I actually suffer from social anxiety, but now have medication for it which has been life changing in a great way), and agree so much with what you said. I am really thankful that I was able to have my own room, because I needed that alone time to re-charge my batteries. There were nights at the open sew where I looked around at all the people socializing while I just focused on sewing and thought "oh man, I should be taking the opportunity to socialize!" But then I had to be kind to myself and realize that I had hit my max, and just being around people was enough, for me, at that moment.

    I really hope I get to go again next year. I had such a great time. :D And I absolutely LOVED my pouches!!

  9. I lost my hotel key while at Sewing Summit, and actually prayed to St. Anthony that he would help me find it. Find it he did, but I had to wonder if I was the only Catholic raised person So glad to know that there are other bubble people visiting the Summit. I am actually a extrovert forced into a stay-at-home life style. So, when I get to talk to people over the age of 3...I get kinda excited. I roomed with Katy, and Anne is a bestie. So sweet that you got to dinner with them. Maybe next Sewing Summit, I can treat. :)

  10. Oh, I love this post! I am so very much an introvert. I briefly considered Sewing Summit this year (my whole family was planning to be in SLC the week after it was held) but honestly wasn't sure if it was for me... I'm so happy to hear about your time and how you've learned to be yourself. :)


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