Several months ago I had the distinct privilege to be invited to attend the Stitch Supply Retreat in Altoona, Wisconsin. I met Ann Sandler at Sew South a few years ago when she had just started her online fabric business. In the few short years since the first Sew South retreat Ann has turned her online business into a brick and mortar fabric store and a beautiful retreat center. This retreat took place April 13-17, just a few weeks ago.
The retreat was by invitation and it was made up of almost all of our Stash Sew-ciety bee members and several of Ann's personal friends. There were 16 of us and we all had the very best time together.
I tried to organize a bag swap but Jennifer and I were the only ones to participate. I ended up with a beautiful, large quilt as you go tote made of some of Jennifer's treasured fabrics. I made her a Gatherer's Cross Body Bag.
Ann's fabric store is beautifully bright and she has a wide selection of all the latest modern fabrics, patterns and books. She also carries yarn and several notions. It's a one stop shop for sure and if you are ever near Altoona, WI, be sure to stop by.
The kitchen is so cozy and comes complete with everything you can possible need to prep, cook and eat food. The wall of coffee mugs and the mixing bowl lights that Ann had specially made are just beautifiul.
The retreat house is attached to the fabric store, which is dangerous to the wallet, so say the least. It sleeps 16, in four elegant dormitory style bedrooms . Each room has a theme. I was in the Alison Glass room. We had our own cubby for our clothes and personal items, and an en suite bathroom.
There is a sitting room for knitting and when you need a break from the crowd. Even the mudroom was perfectly thought put with it's own entrance leading to the retreat center.
We are convinced that Ann did not leave anything out.Every detail was so carefully thought out. I'm wondering if she would consider franchising this plan, because it is perfection. Mr.Romance and I are thinking this would be a great retirement project for us...the Stitch Supply Company west coast division!
We all fell in love with the coverlets that Ann had on our beds, so as soon as I got home I ordered one for my guest room.
There were so many beautiful quilts being created by everyone. One of Ann's friends is a very talented painter. She was working on a painting of her 4 year old daughter. There were people knitting, someone was learning to make a quilt. There was so much talent and everyone was willing to share their knowledge. It really was a magical weekend.
I took my Curves not Curves quilt so I could get a photo with the bee gals who helped make it. There were 8 of the 10 in attendance. Not able to attend were Dana and Amy, and they were really missed.
I cut out this entire quilt at home and arranged it and got it all sewn on the first full day at retreat.
I also took my Fancy Forest kit. I was able to get all the fabric cut and then pieced the first firefly. Man, these things take forever. So many sub-cuts. But, I think once complete, this will be a well loved quilt.
I wanted to make one of each animal at the retreat but ended up making three foxes, one firefly, a bunny and an owl. I made the hedgehog since arriving home.
Ann has an electric Go cutter, so several of us took advantage of it's availability and cut a flowering snowball quilt. I bought most of the Tiger Lily line by Heather Ross in Ann's shop and then filled it in with a few other coordinating prints. I started a few blocks at the retreat and then finished it this week at a home sew day with friends. More details when I get ready to quilt it.
I also used the Go cutter to cut the scraps from the snowball quilt into mini clam shells and also 2-1/2" squares for some future projects. There was not much waste by cutting these shapes for future projects.
There is so much more I can say about this retreat. The food was catered and every single meal was delicious. The one night we went out to dinner we enjoyed some local favorites including Poutine and cheese curds, delicious burgers, fried pickles, local beer and cheeses. We kept a never ending supply of drinks and snacks and not one person made a fool of themselves. That alone was worth going to this retreat. It's nice to be with people who don't use their time away from home to get drunk and make fools of themselves.
All in all, this was a great group, a fantastically productive and fun weekend. I huge thank you to Ann for being the most gracious hostess. Did I mention that she arranged for a massage therapist to come on Friday and Saturday. Boy, did I need that massage after sewing for what seemed like 30 hours with nearly a break. I can hardly wait for next year.