Day two dawned early and it was chilly outside, but no one at the Bloggerati Retreat was bothered about the weather.   All the workstations were set up and manned from early doors.     The joy of it all was being able to stumble down to a full english breakfast without a worry of who would be washing up!   Real friendships were forged over breakfast that morning, and debates started about what would be created over in the Sewing Room.

The sewing room rapidly filled up and the sweet hum of the sewing machines began.

Maggie had asked for help with her personal project .. Quilts for Christmas for Careleavers .. and several of us agreed to give her an hour of our time .. .an hour passed and no one was thinking of stopping so it turned into an addictive offering and gradually we all started to stitch and turn out quilts for her project .. but that’s her story to tell later.    Here’s the asking, and she is stood next to ICE from the famous Fire and Ice project from back in the summer – the patterns are still available in our Block of the Month section here.

For me though, Day two was really special.  It was my birthday.   38 again [as if].   Little did I know everyone had cooked up a little plot.   So apart from a couple of people who wished me a good day in passing, the event was ignored.   It did make me think, but you know, I was looking forward to a day of sewing all to myself, which is something I rarely enjoy.

Juliet suddenly popped up with a couple of bottles of Vodka [and not for making starch either.  I mean, why use a perfectly good drink to spray fabric.  There are limits to this hobby of mine, and this is one of them].  She was quite insistent on my attention and engaged me in conversation, but demanded the fabric back which she had wrapped them in.  Typical!  Then I heard everyone behind me burst into ‘Happy Birthday’ and I turned to find Nina approaching with a cake and could see everyone else holding up something behind her.

In my defence I now need to point out without my glasses my sight is quite blurry after a couple of feet and I was not wearing them at the time.

As Nina walked across the large room I could make out she was carrying a cake.  Things were looking up if cake is now involved.  But oddly the candles weren’t lit!   Then it dawned on me.   It wasn’t a cake I could eat, but one I could sew!   Everyone had pitched in with FQ .. 36 of them .. all wrapped up with candles pushed in.   How absolutely wonderful!  Not only that, Helen and Corrine were holding up a bunting of Acorns .. each one made by one of the Bloggerati.   At this point I could hardly see from the tears of happiness!   What a wonderful set of people to be enjoying my birthday with!

Juliet gave me the sweetest embroidery of an acorn too.  Look how tiny it is.  To those who don’t know I have a static caravan up near York .. called Acorn Falls!   Perfect.  Candy had given me a ‘babyshark’ earlier in the day, Carol made me the prettiest of decorations and Lyn my own version of her needle case.   I was pretty overwhelmed by the generosity of my friends and it really made me feel special.  Thanks again everyone!

The rest of the day was just fabulous, sewing, eating, fabric folding and unfolding, sewing some more, and topped off with a scrumptious three-course dinner.   We left bottles on the table for everyone to help themselves, but you know what they say … ‘What goes on at Retreat, Stays on Retreat’ so secrets will never be revealed!

I learnt a lot of new skills during the day.   Helen Howes taught me wonky stars and her trademark tiger blocks.   An impromptu tutorial just happened, one of the many exciting things we experienced.  I perfected my binding technique thanks to Helen Kent, and Jonathan showed me how to create a perfect lone star block.  This was happening all around the room .. people were asking for help and receiving expert support.  We were spontaneously asking and receiving the most brilliant advice from all sides.

I have to confess I flaked out by 9.30 just as the singing started and headed for my bed, but many, if not most were still sewing at midnight, and I reckon more than one went for the full marathon.  Someone else will tell the story of the night .. I was done in!

Day three was breakfast, sewing, lunch and home. A great new plan was cooked up at breakfast that needs work and which will be revealed in time.   I left the venue still buzzing, taking with me the fabulous atmosphere that developed over the three days, a renewed joy in my hobby sewing, lots of hugs and the knowledge that we were all looking forward to the next time.

Would I do this again … in a heartbeat!