Real life wobbles, true friends and bunches of creativity! //

There is something so special about spending time with kindred spirits; especially those people that understand fabric love, why we cut up fabric and sew it back together, the procraftination brought about by a quilt needing to be basted, etc. Quilt retreats are the place where we can enjoy talking about sewing and actually doing it! Earlier this month I went to the Stitch Gathering, organised by lovely Jo Avery of mybearpaw. I taught in 2017 and was thrilled to be asked to teach again this year. 

Jo has this fun tradition of people making a 'ticket' when they attend, this year it was dog and cat blocks. They will be made into charity quilts, which is great! This is my resting cat block, using Jo's block pattern, made with appropriately themed fabric she sent me. I spent ages choosing the background fabric, digging through my stash looking for the perfect bright print. The red disco dot shouted at me and is a good mix of fun and cat sass.

patchwork cat block quilting

I'm going to write a bit about the day, but before I do I feel the need to share that it wasn't so easy for me. I've been struggling with anxiety for a while now and it has this horrible way of either totally jumping out of nowhere, like a massive spider; or creeping stealthily, clawing it's way into my thoughts and building up slowly before it attacks. I notice that more now, aware of what is going to happen. For the few days leading up to the retreat I saw it coming - I doubted myself, I worried about plans, I checked the door was locked too many times, I cried for no reason, snapped, etc. 
And this wasn't scary; I know lots of the wonderful people that were going, I've done it before, everyone is supportive and I love teaching. I told my friend, she gave me a few loving and wise words for me to think about. It really helped and I used all the tools I know and have, to deal with those irrational thoughts and feelings. I am functioning with anxiety. I'm sharing this because if I don't, it will seem like another 'oh it was amazing' post and it WAS but it feels important to write how it felt before I went, as a reminder to myself that I CAN and DO do these sociable things and that during and after the event it is all GOOD!

Stitch Gathering 2018

Here is the gathering! 

The morning was my opportunity to be a student, always eager to learn and especially when my friend Karen Lewis is the tutor. I have wanted to take a class with her for a long time and it was super exciting to get to play with cutting lino, fabric paint and stamping. Here's a glipse at a couple of my attempts and I will be doing more of this. So much fun and possibility. Karen is an awesome teacher!

hand printed fabric using lino cuts

In the afternoon I taught an improvised English Paper Piecing / applique class 'Bloom in EPP', everyone came up with such brilliant ways of combining shapes and using epp in a slightly different way. This is one of my favourite classes to teach because it's so different and really allows people to explore their creativity and also learn some new ways and tricks for stitching! I was a bit wired on caffeine, excited seeing all the epp combinations and completely forgot to take any pictures but here is a shot of some of my original blooms:

floral bloom epp english paper piecing flowers

Or course it was amazing to be able to see friends, meet new people and be around inspiring creatives. There was a brilliant show and tell (again failed with the photography) and it's so nice hearing about peoples process and stories of quilt making.

Another nice part of the retreat is the swapping! This year I took part in the pincushion swap and my partner was gorgeous Natalie. I know she likes flowers and purple, I was seemingly influenced by autumn too as I picked out these rich fabrics. 

wild flower pincushion charm about you

I used a combination of the new Autumn Vibes by Maureen Cracknell, Franklin by Denyse Schmidt for the centre and fussy cut petals from Dreamer by Carrie Bloomston. The Wild Flower pincushion is a pattern by Anna Maria Horner, available free HERE
*** NEW UPDATE -  you do need register for a free membership to BHG in order to get full access. They are currently having some trouble with access to the site so if you are unable to register then click here for the templates and click the original link for the pattern. Oh and there will be a sew along in November so stay tuned for that!

wildflower pincushion charm about you

I made sure to pick out cheerful words and it adds a cute touch being able to read them as she uses her pins!

wild flower pincushion charm about you

I received the most adorable ring pincushion from Dawn. It's funny because she knows I don't use pins all the time and so decided to make me a very handy tiny one, perfect for when I'm hand sewing. It is so sweet and cheerful, I'm also seriously impressed by the teeny stitches! Thank you Dawn ♡

These amazing goodies are all so lovely! A huge thank you to Jo and everyone that helped for organising such a fantastic day!

It is only a one day retreat and so time flies but it was really nice chatting to people and I want to say a great big thank you for those of you that visited my stall at lunchtime. I took along my new paper patterns, which are now available to buy HERE and a few of my handmade tassel charms - my new obsession! Each one is completely unique, caringly hand sewn and created by me. They are so fun to hang from zips, bags or just decoratively in your sewing space. To get your own tassel charm CLICK HERE.

paper patterns charm about you and bag tassel charms

After that adventure I returned home to find this lovely stack of Liberty waiting for me, sent very kindly by Lisa! These will be added to my current epp Liberty project, an ongoing slow sew which I treasure making. Thank you Lisa ♡ And as I type I realise I forgot to post her thank you... better go and do that now!!

Liberty fabric scraps

I hope you're all having a good week! Leave a comment and let me know your favourite thing about retreats or sewing groups...