Wednesday 14 March 2012

Retreat Reflections

 "This was the best retreat ever!" That's what Trudi and I said at the end of this Retreat. And then we chuckled because that's what we say every time.

We have similar goals for each Retreat. We want our participants to:
  1. become sewing machine savvy
  2. become fluent at doodling all sorts of line designs
  3. be able to transfer the doodled designs to no-mark-hand-guided-free-motion-machine-quilting on the frame
  4. and have the opportunity to audition lots of different threads

What really makes our retreats so fantastic is our participants. Although our goals for each retreat are similar the people change. Our retreats are very much centred on the goals, skills and talents of the people attending. Our retreats are small enough to be personal and to adapt and adjust the larger goals to individual needs and expertise. Everybody brings something to the table. Our retreats create an opportunity for all of us to bounce ideas and challenges off each other. This is what makes the experience so rewarding. 

The people who attend are a diverse group. One girl was collecting her frame and needed just enough information to get off to a good start. Others wanted some inspiration to get quilting again after a dry spell. Several girls were struggling with their sewing machines and needed help sorting tension and threading issues so they brought their machines along and we managed to get them running smoothly between us. Everyone was keen to see the difference that the right needles and threads made to the machine quilting process.We had traditional quilters and an art quilter. Some spent the entire weekend and some just came for the day but everyone worked together to solve the challenges and explore the possibilities of the tools we use for machine quilting.

So although we go into our retreats with similar goals, we come out of each retreat with the confidence that comes with a higher level of manual competence as well as new friends, fresh insights and wider horizons.

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