Retreat offerings






Another great retreat was organised by Jo Avery and Karen Lewis  down on Folly Farm, a small conference centre on a nature reserve near Bristol. I’m afraid re-entry into real life is always hard after a relaxing weekend away but I shall relive the highlights so it lasts just a bit longer.

First the swap items….

This year there was a storage pot swap and the usual name tag.

Starting with the name tag, after frankly a disappointing name tag I made for Rachel last year I was determined to improve on that.  It seemed, looking around at the others that those on a lanyard were bigger and offered more scope. This year I was making for Eveline who wasn’t on social media so I couldn’t stalk her so went with a modern style and hoped for the best.  I was more pleased with it this year and she was delighted.


My own badge is this very sweet and beautifully made lilac and cat concoction made by Jane. A perfect size and design.


As to the storage pot, I was making for Marianne @marianneoloughlin who I was also rooming with.  She has modern tastes so went with these modern hexies and Caroline Friedlander fabric for the base and scraps of blue on Essex Dyed Linen. I filled it with a few sewing bits and pieces.


As to my pot I received this beauty….



There’s a funny story about it. An IG friend I was looking forward to meeting at the retreat was Catrin @patshycatrin. Her full on life with 3 young children and working in the family business means sewing has to take a back seat. Catrin had planned free time the days before to prep for the retreat but family illness took over and that time got swallowed up. An IG post from her saying she doubted she’d be able to make it as she had so much to do led me to offer to make the storage pot which she kindly declined. I realised why when the swap took place because I was the person she was making for and she clearly couldn’t give me back my own storage pot!

Catrin showed this beautiful quilt she made with blocks from a number of us for Siblings Together



Catrin is happy for me to share the link to the pattern for this great block  here.

All these swap items are so lovely to use and remind you of the talent and generosity of friends. So I was thrilled to receive this beautiful needlecase from Kate @katew131. Kate is hugely talented  and is starting to write and publish patterns. One to watch…


And finally these three fabric trays for my room mates one of whom @helen_steele_029 has started screen printing and I used her designs for her tray.



What did we do? Well aside from eat, laugh and socialise there were four workshops  but Jo and Karen were relaxed if you wanted to factor in free sewing so I did just two which worked well for me. Both were with Kerry of @verykerryberry.

One workshop was on small accurate piecing. Kerry was the perfect person as she makes exquisite small blocks. She’s also a very capable teacher and seems to intuitively know when you need help as she toured round the room. Undoubtedly the success of these retreats is down to the hosts and teachers who aside from being very talented are delightful.

Now this was a workshop I needed as I’m not accurate. There were some excellent tips like going forwards, backwards and forwards again when rotary cutting to stop drag, cutting on point for the 4 hst out of two blocks method to avoid bias and using shorter stitches. And my output….. two 6” blocks which took me on average 2 hours each…. so not quick makes….. I used my small liberty stash to go with the trad designs.



The other workshop was also with Kerry this time on paper piecing of a kitchen three piece. I chose the kettle. If I’m honest I am probably not to complete the others but hope to use the block in some way. But arriving late because of sickness at home with one of the children I enjoyed catching up with others as I slowly pieced this. There is no question that as pleasurable as sewing in company is that it definitely impacts on productivity.


in terms of free sewing time I got a start on a couple of new projects.


In amidst all the sewing and chatting being on the doorstep of beautiful walks I couldn’t resist early morning walks and making use of some of the free time for fresh air. The weather wasn’t great but mild and dry enough for some good walks.


Back in real life it’s great to be home and ensure the children are still alive and as happy as teens can be. They had had to do their own lunch so I arrived to find 3 hungry people and takeouts were definitely the order of the day. I shall get back to the reality of cooking again but first to put everything away if I don’t get too distracted by everything I brought back.


7 thoughts on “Retreat offerings

  1. That sounds like a lovely break. The setting is gorgeous, and it seems the classes were interesting. My productivity also suffers in company, but if it is a worthwhile class, then it’s worth it to me.


  2. “Sewing in company” is that a nice way of saying “being talked at constantly by Catrin”?

    Again, it was lovely to finally meet you, I couldn’t have been asked to make a swap item for a lovlier person x


  3. It looks like you had a wonderful time at the retreat. Lovely swap gifts given and received. They are a great swap idea. And it looks like you were very busy with quite a few projects..
    Glad the family survived.


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