I’m sitting on a ferry, heading back to the mainland after five days at a quilt retreat on Thetis Island. This was the third year that I’ve ‘retreated’ and, like the previous two years, I wasn’t disappointed. Our retreat takes place at Capernwray Harbour Bible School and Conference Centre, during their spring break. Most of the students clear out for the break and head off to do mission work or return home. This frees up accommodation for 40 women, their sewing machines and stacks of fabric.
The school is located on a bay, adjacent to the ferry dock. The grounds are beautiful; with rolling green fields, barns, a pond, a playground and walking trails through a forest. We sleep in cabins that are spare, yet spotless and comfortable. Meals take place in the dining room and we take over two lecture rooms for sewing. The food is plentiful, healthy and very tasty.
You may wonder what takes place at a quilt retreat. Well, lots and lots of sewing; there are no lectures or workshops. The participants bring their own projects to work on. Take away the usual distractions of working, childcare, dog walking, cooking, cleaning, gardening and the rest and you’re left with hours of uninterrupted time to create. Some women worked on multiple quilts. Others focused on one. There were new projects and there were projects that had been started several years ago.
At times the sewing rooms were so quiet you could hear a pin drop. At other times there were many conversations going on, and every once in a while there’d be shrieks of laughter. Ideas, tips and techniques were shared. The more experienced quilters generously passed on their knowledge.
A highlight of the retreat was Wednesday night’s Show and Tell, which was attended by the quilters and several of the Capernwray staff. Almost all of the quilters got up onto the stage and showed what they’d been working on. It was wonderful to see the variety in the projects. Large, small, bright, pastel, modern and traditional, they were all there. Everyone was supportive of each other and, regardless of quilting style, we all appreciated the work involved in turning out a quilt.
I’m happy to be home and sleeping in my own bed. However, I’ve paid my deposit for 2017 and have put March 13 – 17 in my calendar and will be counting the days until the next retreat.
Thanks for reading.