Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A wonderful weekend

It's taken me a while to get to my blog as I came home inspired to work, which is probably the best recommendation I could give for a weekend quilting retreat. Still it wasn't the only thing that made the weekend a great experience. I have to admit I was a little wary about going to teach at a retreat. In my experience retreats (and actually most bookings, but shorter ones are less tricky) come in two types, very basic and absolute luxury. Until you've been there you have no idea which one you are going to be faced with, so the first time I go armed for every bear. Fortunately this turned out to be one of the ones where I got spoilt rotten.

Hobby Holidays is actually very easy to find. I wasn't sure when I looked at the maps, but it really was straightforward. I did feel a little foolish when I got very close to the venue. I realised I couldn't remember the specific address. I stopped to look it up, got out of the car and then saw the huge banner. Doh! I was right outside. The main house where the guest rooms are located is a listed building, and absolutely wonderful in my eyes. It is also cool even in the quite hot weather we had this weekend. There is a coachouse next to then main building housing the purpose built workshop which you can see in the picture. It's a nice bright room and they supply lamps for each of the tables. It's one of the features I find really handy at Patchwork Corner where I teach regularly, and surprisingly rare given how helpful they can be.

The class I taught was a very free form machine quilting workshop. Although we started with the absolute basics the students all moved on very quickly. I love it when students take a new technique and really go for it. Two of the students worked on freehand quilting projects they had brought with them. Another one completed a small whole cloth, and we got to plan quilting for another project. Frustratingly I forgot to take any pictures of their work. I am hoping they might read this and post it on their blogs (please pretty please :) As well as the time spent in the classroom we had a the chance to chat over the 'light lunch'. When Jo and Phil say light lunch they don't mean it. They do hospitality in a big way. It's amazing how much more you information you can pass on when you can relax away from the machines for a while. It's not something I've noticed at other retreats, I think because the classes often disperse at meal times. With only one class at a time this doesn't happen so you learn more and bond better.

In the evenings, after the wonderful evening meals which are available for all the staying guests, I got to go and and look at the local wildlife. It's been a very long tie since I last saw an owl, and they are even more beautiful than I remembered. They are quite eerie as they fly, silent flying is just weird. I didn't think to take my proper camera, but if I go back I certainly will. I hope I will get invited back as a tutor, I really enjoyed teaching there, but if not I can see me going back as a student. Oh and if sewing workshops are not your thing then they also offer model railway weekends.

As you might expect I took advantage of the shopping opportunity. I was quite restrained, but I suspect I will have to make use of their online shop at some point. I didn't buy any of the oriental fabrics at all, and I am starting to regret that already. I also bought some very strong magnets. I think they are officially for the train people but they have a lot of uses for sewers too. I am planning on making some name badges with them as they fastening so I don't have to put holes in my expensive t-shirts and they are good for picking up spilt pins too.


Penny said...

It does sound like a fab weekend.

Caroline said...

We had an absolute blast. Thank you so much for coming up and giving us your time and wisdom. It was certainly a learning curve for me.

I was just so annoyed that I had machine problems during the first morning. I could have gained so much more confidence had I been able to crack on with the machine I borrowed from Jo right from the start. I'm going to have to start saving up my pennies to buy a super duper new machine to put all the techniques I learned into practise.

I've got camera problems at the moment, but am hoping that my brother will take some pics for me at the weekend of the work that I completed. I'll put them on my blog soon.

See you in Birmingham,

Caroline xxx

Ferret said...

Hi Caroline, were your ears burning? I was hoping you would check in. Please let me know when you do get some pictures, I'd love people to see what you achieved. It's all the more impressive after those kind of machine problems. I suppose that is another advantage of that length course, you had time to calm down and move on. You did do three days work in two days, I think you should be pretty darn proud of yourself.

Caroline said...

My ears are always burning ... someone is usually talking about me LOL.

I am very proud of what I achieved, but that's down to good tutoring. I will post pics over the weekend and let you know. Feel free to copy them, or I can email some over to you if needed.