Imagine you’re sitting in a rocking chair on a sunny porch, sunbeams playing at your feet, a cool breeze blowing your hair, fabric in your hands, slowly stitching your way through the day alongside new quilting friends all doing the same, seeing your handwork grow at your fingertips. Bliss, right? Now add amazing quilters Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber, and Samantha Lindgren as teachers, mentors, and fellow slow stitching friends and there you have the Slow Stitching Retreat at Medomak Retreat Center in Washington, Maine. Last week, I was so blessed to be able to join the retreat for a day, with baby Finn in tow.
The retreat was the brainchild of Sam from A Gathering of Stitches, and was just as blissfully amazing as the name Slow Stitching Retreat suggests. I attended on Thursday, and joined the group learning the Park needle turn applique quilt block from Carolyn Friedlander. Those of you who know me know that Carolyn is one of my all time favorite fabric and quilt designers. I love her architectural influence, highly textured fabric designs, and simple geometric pattern style. It was all I could do not to jump up and down and squeal like a little fangirl when I first met her at QuiltCon. To spend the day learning from her and relaxing with a room full of equally enthusiastic and experienced sewists was such a rejuvenating and inspiring way to spend a day. It certainly helped that Carolyn is super easy going and we all had a great time chatting and stitching the day away.
After we all had basted our Park patterns, we headed out to the sunny porch to slowly stitch in bliss. It was a truly fabulous experience, and one I think everyone should enjoy!
Finn was there with me, of course, and he was absolutely perfect. Honestly, he happily rocked and watched all of us sew, joined in on conversations with his smily baby babble, and was happy all day long. I think he will be a slow stitcher when he’s a bit older, too!
Since I was only able to attend for a day, I wasn’t able to take Chawne Kimber‘s class on tiny stitching. I did sneak over to their workspace to gawk at her amazing creations and talk a bit about her sewing process, though.
These teeny, tiny bits stitch together into such gorgeous, substantial quilt blocks, it blew my mind. Chawne had a thick stack of many different quilt block samples, all tinier than the tiniest block I’ve ever sewn and all absolutely stunning. They begged to be touched, and then once I touched them, there was no denying: I had to sew a teeny tiny block, even if it was soooo slow that it took me a year to complete. Chawne was also so easy to talk to, and such an inspiration. I wish I could have stayed all weekend and chatted away for hours.
After returning home, I finished stitching the outside edge of my needle-turn appliqued Park block, and I spent two #sewtake20 sewing breaks to get started on a Chawne-inspired tiny quilt block. I’m stretching far out of my comfort zone by going wonky AND tiny!
Here’s my 40-minute, not quite 4″ square quilt block start. I am loving it, and being able to use the scraps of fabric from my “too small to save” bin feels good.
This day spent slowly stitching flew by, but solidified my feeling that quilting retreats should be a part of every sewist’s life. I am very much looking forward to being able to attend a full retreat in a couple of years when my mama milk bar is not in full use, and I plan to start saving pennies now. I’m so grateful that Sam is bringing quilt retreats to Maine with A Gathering of Stitches, and I look forward to seeing what rejuvenating, peacefully refreshing quilt retreats she organizes in the future. Thank you to Sam, Carolyn, Chawne, and all of the other retreat attendees for the lovely day and burst of inspiration.
I’m linking up my tiny quilt block beginning with Design Wall, since all quilt blocks matter, no matter how small.
15 thoughts on “Slow Stitching Retreat: A Day of Bliss”
It really sounds like an amazing time, and I am so glad you were able to attend for a day. 🙂
This looks like so fun…I could almost call myself jealous. More like envious.
A wonderful way to spend a day. It certainly looks like Finn enjoyed it too!
Yes. It does sound lovely. And there was some instruction and help which helps. Maine isn’t too far from where I live and would be driveable (10 hrs.) so I hope I can attend one in the future.
Finn is adorable.
Kitty it was such a pleasure to have your sweet self at the Slow Stitching retreat! I look forward to many more opportunities to sit and stitch with you… And Finn is always welcome!
I wanted to comment on this earlier in the week when you posted… and all I have to say is “drool”. And it looks like your escort was quite the content little guy… something that he will find to his benefit later on in life. This would have worked with my youngest, but never in a million years with my oldest!
… and do I ever I admire anyone who can not only save scraps this tiny, but make something wonderful from them!
Oh this is something I would like to do – about 10 hours from home (without counting the hour back when crossing the border) so it is quite doable. I read an article about slowing down with our quilting and not focusing on making lots of “fast projects.” Reading this post is making my blood pressure drop!!!
I almost didn’t click on this post, because I knew I would be so jealous when I read it. Not cool, JTZ, not cool. What a wonderful experience for you… it’s looks idyllic and rejuvenating all in one. One of these days I’m coming down to a retreat in Maine. Mark my words!
Sounds like you had an amazing time. Those tiny blocks are amazing. I can’t imagine sewing something so small. Wow.
It was wonderful to see you and Finn again. Your photos capture the flavor of the weekend. You do beautiful work, Kitty, and your small block is great.