Name badge swaps, hoop art, an exhibition, fabric shopping, workshops, food and meeting new quilting friends were just some of the many highlights of this year’s day long Stitch Gathering Quilt Retreat, hosted by Jo Avery of MyBearpaw in Edinburgh for the seventh year.
For the last six years, I’ve been honoured to be a part of it, and today was no exception. Each time I meet such wonderful quilters who are a joy to teach and spend time with.
The day started with a warm welcome from Jo and the handing out of the all important ‘goodie bag’ which was filled to the brim with fabric, thread, notions and all kinds of things that make our quilting hearts sing.
I was re-united with my Great British Quilter Host for this year, Lucy Brennan; it’s always such a pleasure to be in her company!
Morning workshops started promptly, which included the Manx Log Cabin class with Jenni Smith, the Dandelion Clock Block with Jo Avery, The Paperclip Block with Lucy Engels, Draw your own Mandala with Carina Envoldsen-Harris and Walking Foot Quilting with me.
An extended lunchtime allowed for lots of shopping; individual designers were selling their patterns and wares and Jo had her pop up fabric shop, which made temptation futile!
This year, all participants were asked to create an embroidery hoop to swap with a partner. These were all displayed at lunchtime in a wonderful and colourful exhibition before being swapped. Here are just a couple of my favourites but they were all so incredible!
There was also an inspiring show and tell session, where many quilters shared their beautiful and often very personal quilts with us all.
Another fun highlight of the day was the raffle, where everyone won a prize – the best type of raffle!
But perhaps the most special, certainly the most poignant aspect of the day was the opportunity to admire and vote for the ‘people’s choice’ in the Edinburgh Modern Quilt Guild President’s Challenge. Each Guild member was asked to make a a mini quilt representing an issue or cause that they feel passionate about. Subjects ranged from climate change, testicular cancer, plastic use, breast feeding, mental health and social media. The quilt also had to contain at least one word.
All of the entries were exceptional and choosing a favourite was a very tricky task indeed. Votes were collected throughout the day and the winner announced just before home time. We were all thrilled and delighted for Mags Scammell who was announced as the winner. It just so happens that Mags is the President and initiated the whole challenge in the first place! It was very much deserved and she received a huge applause, not just for her beautiful and moving quilt highlighting the issue of plastic in our oceans, but because she’d put so much effort into organising the whole project and exhibition. It really was fitting that she won.
The afternoon saw more workshops, including Story Telling with Cyanotype with Jenni Smith, ‘Just my Type’ lettering with Lucy Brennan, Free Motion Quilting with Tatyana Duffie and embroidered Typography with Lisa Dolson. I was busy teaching my Postage Stamp Cushion class but I did manage to have a quick look at what was going on in the other classes and it all looked such fun!
It was such a fantastic day, and huge thanks goes to Jo who tirelessly organises it each year. Here she is with one of the beautiful embroidery hoops made for the swap.
You really can’t beat getting quilters together to do what they love best. Everyone had such a fantastic day and went away with new skills, new friends, and some new fabric. If you fancy coming along next year, do visit the website stitchgathering.co.uk for more information.