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Heather Ross Weekend Extravaganza

I’m still having trouble processing everything, but I know waiting longer won’t help. Gillian suggested this as the opener:


Seriously, I’m still overwhelmed by how much amazing stuff happened in such a short time, but I’m going to give it a try.

So this weekend, I attended Heather Ross’s West Coast Weekend Sewing Workshop. Gertie (aka Gretchen Hirsch) was also in residence to help, and Katrina (who works at Harts) was around to answer questions. The workshop was held at the Asilomar State Beach, and all the buildings are amazing architecturally. And of course you can hear the ocean (if sometimes not see it because of the fog) and our meeting room had a fireplace in it.



We started with a meet & greet which included a chance to check out the strike-offs for Heather’s new line, Briar Rose. We weren’t allowed to take pictures, so you’ll have to trust me that it is awesome. Not that you probably ever doubted that it would be. It’ll be available on quilting cotton from Windham Fabrics, and I can’t wait!


Given the focus on garment sewing, I thought I’d take the time to learn how to do pattern adjustments for “curvier” women. I spent pretty much all of Saturday learning how to adjust and re-create a pattern with the use of a muslin. There were a couple of times where it got a bit overwhelming, so I would take paper-piecing breaks. I don’t want to know what it says about me that paper-piecing is now my go to calm place! Saturday night we went down to the bonfire and had s’mores and Heather and her twin sister told hilarious stories about their adventures.


Finally by the end of Saturday I had re-drafted a new pattern and cut out all the pieces in my real fabric. Sunday I started construction, but between the amazing nature/historic walk offered by the Asilomar ranger (go on this if you have a chance, it’s wonderful!!) and the quilt binding I did to repay Katrina for giving me SO much time on Saturday, I didn’t finish my garment. But the sewing part wasn’t what I really was concerned about, so I don’t mind finishing it on my own!



Throughout the weekend, Heather would give demos on different techniques. I’d try to take pictures, but for whatever reason I was totally unable to take flattering pictures of her. She’s gorgeous, I promise! But I adore this picture in which it looks like she’s holding a second head on her shoulder.


Before we all left, Heather offered to sign or doodle for us, if we were interested. Of course I was interested!! She asked what I wanted, so I asked if she’d be willing to draw my zoo…Mishka my St. Bernard, Kita our curious and outgoing tabby, and Tally our uber cranky cat. She complied and produced this amazing sketch which I totally plan to frame and hang. I am so in love with this I can’t even begin to explain.


I also had her sign my Prints book. We have a running joke in our MQG about “Oh yah, Heather Ross called me today, we’re totally BFFs now.” so when she asked me what I wanted signed, I blurted out “To my BFF Anne!” And she laughed and put that in there. Hahahaah Maybe I should frame that too…


Heather ended up drawing almost everyone’s pets and they were all SO adorable! And soon there was a one-upsmanship going on for the autographs. There was “The other BFF” “The real BFF” etc. It was hilarious!

I had Gertie sign her book for me as well, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to her nearly as much. She’s super nice, but I felt like too much of a noob to bug her!

Because this is the last workshop that Heather’s going to hold for a few years on the West Coast, she sold off the machines for the class at a reduced price. I picked one up for a backup machine. It’s a fairly basic machine, but it’s a Janome and I couldn’t beat the price! So now I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to do if my trusty Pfaff breaks down!


I got home Sunday afternoon, but Monday, our guild (South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild) had a lunch planned with Heather Ross since she was staying in the area. We went to Wood Fire Woodie in Scotts Valley which was delicious! The lunch was fantastic and we got to hear yet more fun stories about Heather’s adventures and what some of her future plans are. She also reminded us that she was doing a book signing at Hart’s that evening. Because she already signed my book, I told her I’d find something absolutely ridiculous to bring for her to sign to keep it interesting.


Well, I’d hate to let her down, and so I decided to bring my sewing machines. Heather asked if I wanted just a sign or some doodles, and of course I asked for the doodles! I love her doodles the most! So she did dragonflies on my Pfaff (dragonflies have a special significance to me) and I let her do her signature mermaid on the Janome I’d picked up from class. They’re both amazing!! Now I need to figure out how to make sure that the sharpie never comes off! It’s pretty permanent, but I’m sure it would wear off after a while.



Phew. Sorry for the massive amounts of babbling, but there was a whole lot of stuff packed into 4 days! If you ever have a chance to go to one of the weekend workshops, I definitely recommend it! Lotta fun, lotta laughs, and a lotta help when you need it!



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