I love retreats. I love to go to them and teach at them.
When the phone is ringing at home and I can’t get anything finished I long for the focused time just to work on a project and get something done. As a teacher it is such a wonderful experience to work with the students, one on one, and help them achieve their goals and watch them grow. It is also a great bonding and sharing time with others with similar interests. I always come home learning some new technique, idea or new product as we share ideas. I have met women that I know I will always be friends with.Our great-grandmothers had their sewing bees. They would meet at the church or someone’s house, bring a casserole to share and sit around the quilting frame, talking and stitching. But only for that day.
Today’s woman doesn’t have to milk the cow or bring in the wheat and stay close to home. She has her own car and may even be in charge of her own work schedule. Boy, how things have changed. I remember going my first time to Empty Spools Seminars at Asilomar in Pacific Grove, CA. I had heard about it for years. I saved up to go with friends and took Mary Lou Weidman's class. In class I had the pleasure of sitting next to Freddy Moran. I was in color heaven. I knew that it couldn’t get any better than that.
That when I realized that these very independent women and men do this retreating thing all the time. Wow. They may take a long weekend or a week. They sometimes go by themselves. All making their way to this creative environment and do the thing they love most - being creative and fondling fabrics. Yes, I said fondling and you know you do it.
Before I started traveling and teaching so much, I would have the pleasure of meeting my 2 friends for a day of quilting. We would meet at one friend’s house who has a beautiful studio with 3 sewing machines and lots of fabrics. She also owns a great quilt shop. We never ran out of fabric. We would all decide on a pattern we all liked. Then we set up an assembly line of cutting and ironing and sewing. We would end up making 3 of the same quilt, one for each of us. It was so much fun. But it was only 3 hours, one day a week. Still, I miss that time.
As you working girls know, we all can’t have that precious time to quilt every week. That is why retreating is so heavenly. You can block out an uninterrupted time to immerse yourself in whatever project you want and listen to funny stories and eat chocolate and maybe even enjoy some wine.
Last year was my first time hosting my own retreat, Flowers On the Lake. I had no idea how this would go. It was a wonderful time, if I do say so myself. It brought 9 women together and by the end of the retreat we had all bonded and were not ready to leave, acting like little girls who don’t want to leave the party yet! As I was packing up my car they were on the phone, finding a hotel to stay and sew another 2 days. It wasn’t long enough they said. It made me feel good that they wanted to stay.
So that is what a retreat does. I see it all the time at these events. So, if you have never experienced a quilting retreat, I want to invite you to some of my favorites. And, of course, I will be there.
Empty Spools Seminars, Pacific Grove, April 15-20
Flowers On the Lake, Lake Tahoe, May 30-June 3
Hudson River Valley Quilt Art Retreat, Albany, New York, Dec 4 -10
You don’t have to be an experienced sewer or artist. Newbees are always welcome. You can work from your own flower photo or use one on my patterns. I help you all along the way. This is for you.
Also, for you west coast girls, this will be my first time at Sisters, Oregon and Quilters Affair but we will talk more about that later.