A Stitchers Gathering in Springfield, Illinois

I have been home since Wednesday lunch time. The laundry is done, there is food in the refrigerator. It’s time to tell you about my time at Villa Maria, on retreat at A Stitchers Gathering, organized by Gretchen of Peace and Appliqué Quilt Shop.

The rain held off for my eighty mile drive from St. Louis. I pulled up in the back parking lot where there was a beautiful view over Lake Springfield to enjoy.I was super early but it was a lovely spot to relax and catch my breath after the busyness of the past few days. I met the family at dinner and then got myself mostly sorted for the next day…

Today’s featured image shows most of the class stitching in Monday’s Introduction to Folk Art Stitching. We mastered chain stitch and embellished it with sparkly thread and beads.Smiling was mandatory, laughter optional!Our time together sped by. Everyone left the class with a design ready for use with their new skills. Melanie took me off on an outing to Rochester to visit the store.

Situated in a historic 1848 building Peace and Appliqué is 4000 square feet with over 7000 bolts of fabric. That’s a lot to look at!

Seasonal designs and flannels, Novelties galore…Reproduction collections,and a very long wall of batiks in all colors and designs!I’d say it’s a store that’s definitely worth making a detour for if you are driving down I-55.

Two doors down there’s a chocolate shop, Cocoa Blue Chocolates.A quilt store and a chocolate shop in the same little town! Now you know you NEED to visit Rochester. I bought a box of eight truffles. They smell delicious but we haven’t tasted them yet.

I taught a class of Advanced Folk Art Stitching on Tuesday. I got my projector out after lunch and we invited anyone who wanted to join us to come in for my Trip Around the World lecture.
Some retreaters chose to stay at their machines in the other room but most people came in to enjoy the fun.There was lots of laughter as we guessed distances and learned about the countries that inspire my stitching.

The retreat was booked for four days. Some people stayed at the Villa, enjoying three cooked meals and endless snacks each day. Some people just came in for different classes. There was a big sewing room set up with plenty of room for everyone to set up  their machines.Some people brought several projects to work on. Flowers on the tables kept the feelings of being in a sweat shop to a minimum!
Tuesday was my final evening before I was to drive home so I set my alarm to make sure I enjoyed the sunset over the lake.The ladies were already stitching when I left on Wednesday morning with 170 miles to drive home. Gretchen has plans for lots more Stitchers Gatherings at Villa Maria. She will be posting details on her web site as she gets them organized. It’s a super setting for a few days away from home and get some sewing done.

I hope I get invited back some time!


  1. Lois said:

    We loved having you here, Catherine, and I’m stitching tonight! They were two very enjoyable days of learning folk art embroidery.

    May 26, 2017
  2. Linda said:

    Thanks for a wonderful day. I am inspired to take up stitching again! Hope to see you again at the next gathering.

    May 26, 2017
  3. Andrea said:

    Thank you so much for the trip around the world! It was lovely to meet you and hope to see you soon.

    May 27, 2017

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