After however many months in lockdown, tier whatever, banned from shops, eating out, meeting in anywhere but gardens and pubs were shut, our sewing group decided to give the zoom thing a go.

December is usually our party, with secret santa, nibbles and cakes, and lots of fun. In times past there have been quizzes and almost always someone will bring a little make to share with us all and we all have a go. This year will be marked by the video call (or should that say marred haha).

A couple of us have a bit of experience with video calling, but mostly we are wobbly old grandmas (thanks Anny Fanny our local Panto Dame for that wonderful phrase .. Oh yes it is),  who enjoy a natter in the sewing group when we can meet. Not much sewing goes on, but one of the benefits of a sewing group is the companionship it brings to those who are mostly at home, alone. Many great friendships have begun at more than one sewing group across time, haven’t they.

We are a disparate group from North of Watford, and beyond, so having the FB feed to speak to each other is wonderful – we share our makes in secret safety. None of us are experts, in fact mostly very much beginners – but what does that matter. We make for charities and for us, not for winning competitions, although at least one of our members have exhibited in the past.

The one thing I have discovered being at home since March is you forget what day it is and FB group reminders really help. We meet every second Saturday of the month, and have not been in physical meetings since last March. We do try to sew still on Second Saturday but somehow it’s not quite the same alone when a nice chatter over a cuppa and a biscuit would be better. We would be binding quilts together, or laying out a quilt sandwich for someone usually. Most of us I have seen on the UK Quilters site have suffered a loss of sewing mojo over the endless 2020 and our own group reflected that.

We planned our first video meeting well .. or so we thought.

Practice meetings were held to make sure it worked. Sadly, these were with the two people who thought they knew what they were doing. With hindsight perhaps at least one video virgin should have been included. Detailed instructions were sent out for a 10am start, which is later than our usual start time of 8.30. Show and tell makes were designed and sent out to everyone through our secret Facebook group. Bring your own drinks and nibbles (this means vodka and gin I am sure??)

We all sat around our computers, tablets, Macs and phones in eager anticipation. Show and tells were ready. We clicked the link we had been sent … and then it all went downhill.

Switch on your video camera and mike .. we can’t see or hear you we were saying. (Turned out she didn’t have a camera or mike on her PC so it was never going to work.) Please, alter the camera angle, we can only see your t*ts — and please talk else we can’t see you. Hello, can you hear me (there is always the séance). Helooooo was heard from the ethereal depths of the computer, then a dark, misty picture of an eye appeared. She was still in bed, but hey, its Saturday so why not. Messages arrived rapidly on the chat .. be a while, computer updating so have to wait. Someone else had not turned her PC on for a while, and suddenly a mysterious name appeared which turned out to be their son who had been sneaking a use of the computer. For a while we were all dithering over whether we were being hacked!

Not one of us knew how to turn on the multi picture panel so we could see everyone at once, so throughout there was only ever one picture on the screen, sometimes just an initial and a disembodied voice .. can you see this they asked . NO, we shouted in chorus. When not on screen the initials showed, which is fine, except a couple have the same initial, which complicated it even more.

It was fun though. Great to see faces and chat and even better to see what everyone had been making. Even the twiglets and sherry made an appearance (try it – one of our ladies introduced us to it and its really the taste of Christmas).  We chatted and laughed for over an hour without realising it. We showed off some fabulous makes, helped each other with sorting out a few patchwork and quilting issues. Promised to meet up soon once restrictions are lifted and signed off ready to start the festive season.

All makes are by our sewing group members using a variety of patterns, kits and fabrics.  We are not revealing who made what – but we hope you enjoy looking at what may well have been part of our annual open day.

Next time we are going to try Skype … it can’t be any more difficult can it?

Maybe we should just stick to patchwork and quilting after all.

Merry quiltmas everyone!