Tuesday, April 21, 2015

R is for retreats

I went on my first quilting retreat in the first year or two after I started quilting. I had joined an online quilting group and through them I had made contact with some other quilters in the area. Some of them were involved in a yearly retreat called "Patch n Peace" which was held on the coast near Yeppoon and I was invited to go along. I have been going to it most years ever since.

Quilting retreats can take many forms. Some of them offer classes, others have swaps and challenges associated with them. Some are run by entrepreneurs for a profit and others are organised by local quilting groups.

They are all usually live in with most if not all meals provided, although some retreats involve the participants contributing to the meals. It all depends on how they are arranged.

The retreat I go to started out being self catered but then we changed venues (a couple of times) and ended up at a place that catered all meals. The attendees bought treats for morning and afternoon tea and also for Happy Hour. Prices have risen quite a lot over the last few years and as a result we now only have the evening meal catered. We do our own breakfast in our self contained units and get sandwiches for lunch from a local bakery. It works well though.

Our retreat is run by an organising committee who are chosen or at least volunteer each year to take care of things. At each retreat we have a get together one evening to choose the themes for the next year. We also choose what swaps or challenges we will do. This coming year we are celebrating the centenary of the Landing at Gallipoli which was Australia's first major battle Australia was part of as a nation.

On the 25th of April 1915, under cover of darkness Australian and New Zealand forces, under the leadership of the British, landed at Gallipoli in Turkey. Unfortunately the ships landing the troops had drifted off course and the men were landed on a beach with sheer cliffs and were met with fierce resistance by the Turkish forces. In the ensuing battle which lasted for 8 months and eventually ended in the Allied forces withdrawing over 8 000 Australian men lost their lives.

Anzac Day (April 25th) goes beyond the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli in 1915. It is the day on which we remember Australians who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. The spirit of Anzac, with its human qualities of courage, mateship, and sacrifice, continues to have meaning and relevance for our sense of national identity.

Patch n Peace is a pretty laid back sort of retreat. Nothing is compulsory except the meeting to plan the next year. People are free to participate in the swaps or challenges or not. This year we are having a mystery quilt for those who want to take part. Many people just take the opportunity to sew on unfinished projects (UFOs) or to start a new one.

Its a chance to chill out and relax with like minded crafters. To talk to people who get your passion for sewing - for chopping up perfectly good pieces of fabric and sewing them back together again. For some women who work full time or who have demanding home lives this weekend away is a chance to get stuck into some projects without other distractions. For others it is a chance to catch up with friends - sit back and chat, to look at what others are doing and get inspiration, to have others look at what they are doing and get some ideas for how to solve a dilemma or find a new way of doing things. And its always a chance to have a bit of fun!

The last few years our retreat has organised for a masseuse to come down one day and that has been a well patronised added extra. Hope they organise one for this year.

I am looking at going to another one in September, one I haven't been to before. It is very different kind of patchwork retreat as this one has classes every day with various well known tutors. I am not sure if I want to go to it or not... it would be fun... but sounds full on and I am not convinced it is what I want to do. Still thinking about it

have you been on a retreat of any sort? What was it like?

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