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Sewing Retreats Blog
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May 11 to 19, 2024
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Sew & Sew Retreats are purposeful getaways that are aimed at

rescuing you from your everyday routine and whisking you off to an

exceptional location to bask in the happiness you find in creating with textiles.

All levels of experience will enjoy the workshops, from beginners to advanced!

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Heidi Parkes

"I’m excited to guide students in making a block, diary quilt that celebrates hand-stitching!"

The gifted quilt artist and teacher Heidi Parkes will join us for the duration of the retreat. She will conduct an on-going workshop while at Goodnestone.

Travel Diary Quilt

Per Heidi, "In England we'll be making samples and learning from many teachers, making this a brilliant opportunity to create a block-based quilt!  We'll revel in compositional and technical freedom while sewing in and outside of our classroom!

  • Learn about a magpie aesthetic that allows us to quickly see, filter, and depict the experiences that resonate with us while remaining lighthearted about our work.

  • Discover ways of ethically sourcing inspiration from our cultural surroundings with appreciation and respect.

  • Connect with intuitive ways of making that free us from decision fatigue, allowing us to work in collaboration and connection with the rhythms of travel. (aka: think less, sew more, and trust the process!)

  • Acquire embroidery and hand piecing techniques that are quick and beautiful. 

  • Sample many methods for creating quilt blocks and devise a plan to connect them with technical and aesthetic skill. (Each participant can select the dimensions and level of accuracy vs ruler-free approach that feels best to them. They can also be made and pieced 'vignettes' style in varying sizes, or appliqued to a large base fabric if you prefer!)

  • Students will create a quilt top while in England! The guest artists and I will offer advice and model our approaches to storytelling and sewing.


Before we head to England, we’ll connect on Zoom to meet our fellow travelers. Students will receive access to a private class web page with videos of my favorite stitches, so that they can practice technique while anticipating the trip. Students will also access my on-demand Improv Hand Quilting class for support in turning their quilt tops into quilts after returning home.

While in England, I will offer instruction, guide students in one-on-one mentoring for their quilts, and spark some engaging group conversations about making, so we can expand on the poetry of our process and deepen our understanding of English fabrics and aesthetics."

Emily Jo Gibbs


"Your Textile Retreat sounds fabulous! 
I celebrate people who
make things in a quiet, thoughtful act
of care and value"

In London we'll have a workshop with  Emily Jo Gibbs. Emily creates hand-stitched textiles with a delicate graphic quality, observing the quiet beauty of the overlooked.

Appliqué - Working with Silk Organza

In this class we will discuss the fundamentals and introduce you to the techniques to make delicate appliqué pictures. You will be carefully guided as you are making test pieces and constructing still-lifes.

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Kari Bender

"I'm delighted to share my passion for needlework at Celebrate English Textiles!"

Kari Bender is a shop owner. She has two adjoining shops - the Needle Workshop and the Quilt Workshop. Stitching is her passion and is frequently asked to teach all types of embroidery. We've asked her to teach

Blackwork Embroidery. What a treat!

Blackwork Embroidery


Blackwork, also known as Spanish Work, is a type of counted thread embroidery thought to have originated in Spain. It was brought to England by Catherine of Aragon, the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain when married Prince Arthur, the eldest son of King Henry VII.

Blackwork is a form of counted thread embroidery. It involves stitching with one color, traditionally black silk thread, on a contrasting white fabric using a blunt tapestry needle. Fabrics commonly used include Aida or linen. A blackwork design consists of outlined shapes, filled with repeating patterns. The stitches follow the weave of the fabric and are therefore vertical, horizontal or diagonal. However, they can represent natural elements such as flowers, leaves, fruits and even animals, as well as general geometric patterns.

Ruth Hughes

"Your retreats sound amazing! I'd love to get involved and run a workshop with you."

Ruth Hughes creates handmade embroideries with a contemporary twist and abstract shapes that focus attention on a bold design, three-dimensional structures, and engaging color combinations. It sounded like a fun workshop for our Celebrate English Textiles retreat!

Abstract Embroidery

Ruth draws inspiration from the shapes found in nature, from plants and landscapes. The contrasts produced by botanical and artificial elements is a constant source of inspiration for her. Ruth loves to explore the combinations that stem from the clearest, most precise lines and the softest and most chaotic ones that she translates into imaginative forms.

Ruth has a free approach to design, a bit like in jazz improv. Each of her pieces, in fact, develops spontaneously, guided by the fabric and material used. Design lines come to light as she arranges texture, depth, and shape. Thus, allowing the yarns to determine the final pattern.

Royal School of Needlework

Goldwork Workshop

RSN is located within Hampton Court Palace, which we will tour.


Tour of Hand & Lock

Hand & Lock is London’s premier embroidery house providing embellishment services to the Royal Family, top European design houses, the Royal Armed Forces, members of the public and costume designers for theatre, film and television. Hand & Lock pride themselves on the fact that the design methods and embroidery techniques have changed very little since they began in 1767.

Sew & Sew Retreats brings together people with a similar interest and then offers the opportunity to spend memorable moments creating, learning, exploring, relaxing and laughing with like-minded people. I hope you will join us!


Single $6,337 or Double $6,137

Registration Open - Click Here

Space is Limited.

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