Monday, May 16, 2011

PR Weekend Chicago

The Bean
I'm home.  I'm still exhausted, my voice is coming and going due to having talked enough for 3 weeks instead of 3 days, and I had a fabulous time.

PR Weekend in 3 words: friends, fabric and . . . fog.  Chicago had the most inconsistent weather I've ever experienced.  I spent most of the trip shivering and with wet feet, and had to buy a fleece throw for my bed in the dorms, but I had a great time nonetheless and had 3 of the best women for roommates, Connie, Touran and Andrea. 

Lace trimmed jacket
 There's something to be said for sharing space with like-minded women who shower efficiently, don't spend hours in front of the mirror and are ready and raring to go for coffee in the morning when I am.

My plane got in late on Friday so I missed the first half of the shopping day at Vogue Fabrics.  Not a hardship, as it turned out - there were plenty more fabrics at Fishman's, the other Vogue and a small shop called New Rainbow where I found a great cotton print for a summer skirt.  And Andrea picked up a knit for me at Vogue to make up for my missing out - and to keep me from stealing her identical fabric in a different color.  She knows me well.

My roommates
Instead of shopping on Friday a.m., I walked down to the lake and nursed a large coffee.  After dealing with airport delays, security lines (and too many people who just won't calm down and walk through the damn scanner already), having my deodorant confiscated as being 1/4 oz. over the legal limit of dangerous liquids, a trio of howling babies, turbulence and a late arrival, sitting down by the water, listening to the gulls, watching the boats and the joggers, was just what I needed.  I had a leisurely lunch on my own and met up with everyone at Fishman's in the afternoon.

This was the biggest PR Weekend ever - over 100 attendees.  This was both good and bad - I got to meet people I'd never met, and wanted to, but I also didn't get to spend enough time with others who I know and wanted to talk to (sorry, Sherril!).  

View from the room
 Saturday dawned bright and dreary.  Friday's chilly, then warm, then chilly weather turned, well, chillier.  We all went to breakfast and then back to the conference center for the first part of Angela Wolf's presentation.  I admit, I was a little iffy at first about being in the same room all day, listening to the same person - it didn't matter who, or what she was talking about; I was in a new place and wanted to explore.  But the first half of the presentation was so interesting, and Angela was so inspiring to listen to, that I started to reconsider abandoning her for the Art Institute and the Bean.  She's self-taught, so she has no "rules" that you have to follow; she's figured out her way of doing things for herself and listening to her talk about how she learned to deal with silks (by abusing them in the washer and dryer - why not?) and how to make Chanel jackets really had me wanting to run home to my machine.

We broke for lunch, and a few of us walked up to another fabric store on Wabash Avenue for a quickie purchase.  I got 2 yards of wool there, and when we came out, it was colder, and raining pretty hard.  We sprinted back to the University Center, had lunch there (one free daily meal with registration) and traipsed back downstairs. 

Angela Wolf's jacket
 The Art Institute was defeated by a deadly combination of inspiration and bad weather.  The afternoon session was more about fabric dyeing, which I have to say doesn't interest me that much, but there was enough other information tossed in, and enough questions asked, that I didn't regret attending at all.  After that was over, and before dinner, I retreated upstairs to read for an hour and warm my feet in my fleece blanket.

The last group dinner was downstairs in the conference center again.  We had salad and pizza and cake, and there was an absolute swarm at the pattern swap counter.  I thought I had pretty sharp elbows, but these ladies are professionals. 

How cool is this?
 On Sunday, Deepika was being honored with a proclamation for her work with Patternreview by the lieutenant governor of Illinois, Sheila Simon, herself a sewist.  I wanted to go, but the flight schedule wasn't cooperative - I'd booked my flights before the Sunday activity was announced, and airlines are remarkably cranky (and expensive) about last-minute changes of plan.  Bah.  But a good time was had by all, Deepika was honored for what she's done (and deserves every bit of it), and I got home in one piece with my fabric, tired but happy.

This was supposed to be a really short post with a "more later" at the bottom, but apparently I can't stop even when I'm tired. 

I'll stop now.  More later.  Probably.


fairmount said...

Karen, what an advantage to those of us who were not able to attend the event that you could not stop yourself from writing. Thanks! I almost felt as if I were there but saved lots of money I can put toward fabric purchase. Mimi

Sheila said...

Glad you had a great time and thanks for sharing.

Lisette M said...

I kept thinking about you and your roommates and how much I wished I was there! Glad that you had a great time!

Lori said...

Sounds like a fun time, wish I could have been there.

Jane M said...

Oh, Karen, thanks for such an interesting review. I was traveling this weekend as well so I understand about needing some time alone after all the airport hassles. So glad that you had a good time and so happy that the turnout was so grand!

SEWN said...

Beautiful homage to the weekend. So good to see you, but if you ever moved to NYC, you know I'd want you for a neighbor. :)

Andrea said...

You were an awesome roommate and I had a great time. You better believe I know you well. I was not having you steal my fabric, although I still seemed to have come home a piece short.

Jacqui said...

I came home with a hoarse voice, too. I think that's a good sign of a great time. I wish we could've spent more time with everyone, too. There's always next year!

shysanta said...

I participated in the Philadelphia PR Weekend and loved it; I would have come to the Chicago Weekend, but it conflicted with my daughter's engagement party. Maybe next year.I loved reading your account of the weekend; vicarious participation is better than none at all.

Anonymous said...

I need to login to PR more often so I can catch one of these Chicago events! I live here and actually got to meet up with some ladies when Deepika came out to Vogue Fabrics. It's such a treat to hang out with fellow fabric nerds! :)