I had the most amazing, inspiring, relaxing, fun weekend at the Simply Sew'In retreat. Thank you to Justine and Lisa from Simply Solids for inviting me to teach and for organising such a brilliant weekend! 

I met so many fabulous women, including my roomie Jenny - who I laughed and cried with, she's so lovely, honest and talented. I got to spend time with wonderful Trudi, we had good chats and hugs! I am so grateful to her for her wisdom and inspired by her strength and compassion. It all got very deep and these friendships and bonds are so precious to me. It was such a great atmosphere at the retreat and everyone could really be themselves. Like the hilarious Kay, who is so sweet and I felt like we were already friends! It was great meeting friends from Instagram and being able to 'real life' sew together for the #saturdaynightcraftalong!!
Every one there was lovely and of course so creative, I was blown away by all the gorgeous makes, secret swap gifts and projects in progress, check out #simplysewin2017 to see some of what was made and the shenanigans!

I taught a couple of sessions of embroidery, so those that wanted to could embroider a panel to be made into a pouch. I asked people to chose a phrase or lyric that had meaning for them, it was fun seeing what they came up with and hopefully they will smile at these words whenever they use the pouch:

Then I gave everyone the A Piece of Me pouch pattern and talked through the steps, letting them borrow Cher to round the corners. Here are some of the pouches, finished and in progress - though I think they were all finished by the time we left - you can see them here #apieceofmepouch!

I love the different ways they were quilted, the fabric combinations and the unique pouches! 

The pattern for A Piece of Me pouch will be released tomorrow and will be available from my Payhip shop or Etsy.

And here are the maker models themselves:

There was a delicious goodie bag from the retreat too, with lots of lovely fabric and useful notions! I also bought some cork (in the background) because I just want to sew with it, it looks so cool!

While I was there I of course did some sewing of my own! I finally managed to finishing hand piecing my Green Tea and Sweet Beans quilt - pattern by Jen Kingwell:

It was hard to photograph because it was windy, despite also being very sunny! Thanks to sweet Kelly for the helping hand I quickly took these :)

I did change some of the original applique blocks, I used English Paper Piecing to create different flowers for the three flower panels. 

I am also going off pattern with the borders too, opting for some curvy bias binding, using Liberty binding from The Weavers Mill:

The weekend really invigorated my love of sewing! I have another A Piece of Me Pouch planned already, dreamed up on the drive home. It may involve that cork.