Our Go + Sew posts feature upcoming modern sewing retreats and conferences. Wouldn’t you love to get away from it all for a bit and focus on sewing?

Samantha owns and operates a Maker space in Portland, Maine for fiber and textile artists. She has several upcoming stitching retreats on her schedule this summer in Maine, including Amy Butler and Heather Jones in July, and Carolyn Friedlander, Chawne Kimber and Rebecca Ringquist in August. Registration closes on Monday, June 15th.

The Event: A Gathering of Stitches Retreats in Maine
A Gathering of Stitches is hosting two different events in the beauty that is Maine in summer. Both emphasize the opportunity to make an intimate connection with your handcrafts in bucolic and soothing environments. Each retreat will emphasize individual instruction and attention by keeping class sizes small.

Where + When:

  • Quilter’s Color Weekend will take place at Point Lookout, a luxurious yet rustic resort in Coastal Maine, north of Camden, July 9-12.
  • The Slow Stitching Retreat will take place at Medomak Retreat, a former summer camp in Washington, Maine, August 5-9.

How much does it cost, and what’s included?

  • Quilter’s Color Weekend is $1,650 and includes a private room in a rustic, yet modern, cabin shared with one or two other participants. All meals are taken care of, including a special farm dinner just for us at Salt Water Farm. All instruction and transport during the weekend is included. Sewing machines can be brought with you- or we can provide a limited number.
  • The Slow Stitching Retreat is $1,000 and includes all meals, instruction, and lodging in a shared cabin of 2-6 people. For an extra $200 you can share a room with just one other person.

Lodging Options:
Lodging is included in the cost of each of these two retreats.

How many years has the event been presented, and how many people typically attend?
This will be our first year! Our actual inaugural event happened on May first with a workshop with the Improv Queen of quilting, Sherri Lynn Wood. Our goal is to optimize the intimacy of your sewing experience, by keeping groups small to emphasize and celebrate each person’s learning and exploration.

Description of Events:
The Quilter’s Color Weekend will start with a welcome reception on Thursday night to introduce everyone, followed by our first dinner as a group. Friday, Amy will work through everyone’s individual Color Stories. We’ll have a lunch break and plenty of time for breathing, exploring, creating, musing, dreaming, sketching and generally playing with color. That night we’ll be driven down the road a piece to Salt Water Farm for a delightful private meal created just for us. Saturday morning we’ll rise and get back in the van for a short trip up the road to Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, an inspiring fabric and craft store in Belfast, ME where participants will have the opportunity to fill in any fabric gaps or needs created by the previous day with Amy. Then we’ll all go back to Point Lookout and spend the rest of the day with Heather putting those color stories into practice with fabric and thread. Saturday night after dinner Amy and Heather will sit down with the group and talk about the life of a professional quilter/fabric designer/author. Sunday morning we’ll share a farewell breakfast and leave with our heads full of color and fabric and new friends and fresh Maine air…

The Slow Stitching Retreat will begin on Wednesday afternoon with a welcome reception, followed by dinner and an evening full of promise, handwork, making acquaintances, fireflies and the quiet of the Maine woods. Thursday morning participants will be separated into three groups to start the day with one of our three fabulous teachers. After lunch you’ll have the choice to go back to the “classroom” and work more with your morning teacher, or if your head is elsewhere, you can go for a hike, a swim, a paddle, sit under a tree and read, stitch, day dream or whatever strikes your fancy. Dinner will be followed by more free time that could include conversations on the porch, more stitching, hanging out at the fire pit (s’mores?), star gazing, communing with your new best friend, etc., etc…. The next two days will have the same schedule, except each day you will have a different teacher in the morning. And if you want to go back to one of your earlier teacher’s “classrooms” on a later day, you can! This retreat is all about unwinding, unplugging, decompressing and spending some quality time with your hand stitching, and the community.

Slow Stitching in Washington, Maine

Amy Butler is a creative designer known for her sophisticated yet relaxed modern approach to printed fabrics and products for home, fashion and craft. Amy believes that through who we are and what we do, we can inspire great change in ourselves, each other, and in the world. That we can inspire those around us to become happier & more confident through discovering our own creativity. And with love, passion, and excitement, we can find true joy in every aspect of our lives. She works from her studio in Central Ohio with her husband David, four cats and a small staff of amazing friends. Her fabrics, patterns, handbags, design and project books and home decor products are sold worldwide.

Heather Jones is a designer and self-taught quilter who lives outside of Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband and two young children. She is the founder and former president of the Cincinnati Modern Quilt Guild. Three of her original quilts were chosen as winners of the Modern Quilt Guild’s Project Modern Challenges, a year-long national quilting competition, and she is a two-time finalist for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. Her modern quilting patterns are available at a number of online locations and she will soon be bringing the Heather Jones Studio patterns to print as well. Heather is currently working on her first solo publication with STC Craft | Melanie Falick Books, an imprint of Abrams, which is scheduled for a fall 2015 release.

Carolyn Friedlander is a designer working from her hometown of Lake Wales, Florida, an environment she enjoys for its warm weather, few distractions and potent community of quilters and crafters. In her work, she draws inspiration from features of the Florida landscape— its long leaf pines, palmettos, water, scrub land, sand— as well as her background in architecture.

Chawne Kimber is a quilter and embroiderer known for detailed pixelated stitch portraits and for her use of bold colors in her original improvisational quilt designs. She has never shied away from a challenge due to tedium and has never met a color she didn’t think had potential. Hand piecing, hand quilting, and very very slow machine stitching are just her speed. When not stitching, Chawne can be found knitting, teaching math or proving theorems.

Rebecca Ringquist is a Brooklyn-based visual artist and designer. Her stitched drawings on fabric explore issues of identity through thinly veiled metaphors utilizing old fashioned imagery and double entendres. She learned how to embroider in college in a feminist art history class, and has been inspired by the history of American needlework ever since. Approaching the technique of embroidery as a way of drawing, Ringquist has taught hundreds of people new ways of making marks on fabric through classes and workshops around the country. Her design company, Dropcloth, sells Ringquist’s hand drawn designs that are printed as embroidery patterns, all ready to hoop and sew. In 2005, Rebecca was awarded an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship. Her work has since been exhibited at the Hyde Park Art Center, The California Polytechnic University, ARC Gallery, Fraction Workspace, Northern Illinois University, The Textile Art Center in Brooklyn, Packer Schopf Gallery, Pop tArt Gallery and the Museum of Art and Design in NYC. Ringquist earned her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Fiber and Material Studies department where she subsequently taught for seven years before moving to Brooklyn in 2011. She teaches, lectures and exhibits internationally. Her first book, Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops, a Bend the Rules Primer, is due out in early 2015 from STC Craft | A Melanie Falick Book.

Are you up for some summer stitching in Maine?! Doesn’t it all sound lovely?…