Friday, 30th November dawned chilly and damp .. but across the UK the Bloggers of UKQU were stuffing their cars with machines and fabric ready for the journey to the FIrst Annual Bloggerati on Retreat.  You could sense the excitement across the virtual waves, and for the first time virtuality was transforming into reality with three days of solid sewing ahead.

Here’s the man who was tasked with the organisation .. he kept himself and his fabulous smile going with a swift half of lager and if you are ever in Cleveleys near Blackpool pop in and say hello to Jonathan, he is a real Dymond!   Organising a cackle of quilter into a semblance of order is no mean feat, and a massive thanks is due.

Workstations were set up for everyone to find on arrival — three to a station each with a cutting area and a pressing station close by, along with a little surprise for every quilter.   Thanks to The Craft Cotton Company who donated a pack of FQ and a tapemeasure, and to the British Patchwork and Quilting Magazine who donated the bag and complimentary copies of their magazine and our lovely website guys who added a reel of Mettler thread to start things off – a little thank you for all the hard work the Bloggerati put in to keeping the website full of interesting stuff, patterns and anecdotes for us all to read.

Some of us took the mention of having fun to the limit but which bottle did she choose?  The Rose Wine, or the Rose Lemonade [only joking Helen … what went on at Retreat stays on Retreat]

We did have an unexpected treat .. Emma Bradford brought along ‘The Women’s Quilt’ and explained about how every single block represented the life of someone who had been killed through domestic violence .. a rare and very emotional moment for us all.

But the serious business of the weekend was soon underway, and the only sound in the room was the hum of machines.   A sewathon was underway, but for many in the room it took a different turn than had been expected, but with a great result.   More of that in Part Two.