So as you all know by now it was the Stitch Gathering Retreat week last Sunday.
This year we printed our tickets onto a cotton tote bag and sent this to all our attendees along with a note telling them to embellish the bag anyway they wanted and then swap it with a secret partner at the actual event (obvioudly we also gave them the name of their partner!).
When they arrived at the event we swapped their beautiful bag for a goody bag chock full of lovely stuff (still time to win the last one of these in our giveaway - ends Midnight!). Then we displayed all the bags around the main Retreat room so everyone could see and also vote for their favourite. After lunch, and with much excitement, everybody swapped!
We were just so bowled over by the level of creativity and skill that went in to the bags. I think the most original interpretation was Alison's (middle above) who appliqued a life belt and starfish on to the bag, wrapped the whole thing in string bag so it looked like a fishing net and filled it with little fabric fish and other marine life!
I asked Jonathan (DH and official SG photographer!) to photograph the bags while I was busy teaching.
After a while he came back to me and said 'what, all the bags?'. Yes, I said. 'Can I group a few together?' he asked. Flustered I agreed, so that is why this is a bit of a mixed group of photographs. I think he must have started off taking every one and then got a bit bored!
The middle bag above is the amazing bag made by MY swap partner Nikki! Poor Nikki, somebody had to get me! It's an amazing bag, not only patchworked but quilted and lined too! And somehow she managed to shrink down and print on to similar cotton our logo from the front! And then attach it back to the top right corner and embellish it! It's like a magic trick! I wish I had better pics of this one to show you as it is so lovely, thank you Nikki!
So many different ideas and styles, aren't they fantastic!
Some folks did amazing things with their backs and also added linings and pockets, even changed the straps!
It was like a fabulous community arts project, and we were so pleased and proud with how everyone had really thrown themselves into the whole idea.
As I said before we asked everyone to pick their favourite and write the number down (they were all numbered as they were displayed) on their lucky dip ticket.
One of my amazing helpers, Jane, tallied them up during the afternoon classes and we gave a little prize ceremony at the end of the day.
I am saving the top 3 till the end of this post!
It was obviously very difficlut to choose! I particularly loved this daisy bag made by Catherine. Her nametag matched it too!
This is the back of Claire's bag.
I'm afraid I don't know who made all the bags as Jonathan's close ups don't show the ticket numbers (so my cleverly thought out system has totally failed here!) but I am pretty sure this is Lynsey's.
But you do get to see a nice cross section of different styles.
The one below is Margaret's, love what she's done with those diamonds!
This is the back of Sally's, and what a back!! Lovely bit of Cotton and Steel on show here.
Now I know this one as my sister made it, well done Jane, it's very striking!
This beauty is by Kate, love that tweedy landscape in the centre!
And I know the one below is Katy's - gorgeous paper piecing and Oakshott!
And this incredible piece of work is by Sheila. Those are hundreds of tiny colonial knots in the centre! A huge amount of work!! Shelia is giving our EMQG group a demonstration on these knots at our next meeting.
I few more group shots. Do you recognise the beautiful quilting on the left hand bag below? Yes it's Trudi's, she took it apart and put it on to her long arm machine!
And next to Trudi's above is Di's, and the next one along is the front of Sally's. These are easy to spot because they were all on Instagram prior to the event!
As was Sarah's second from left above, the front of Claire's in the middle and Robin's to the right below. I'm sorry I can't name them all!
Now we'll announce the winners!
3rd place went to Jo Clayton for her fabulous seascape bag below.
Again such an original idea! Jo only started coming to classes with me about a year ago so I feel very proud.
Jo won a Merry Stitches Xmas Bundle courtesy of myBearpaw.
I've just realised all the top 3 are students of mine! (it wasn't fixed honestly!).
Second prize went to Elaine Diggins for her gorgeous crocheted affar. She even got a photo of her pretty Dresden back too.
Complete with name of her swap partner, who just happens to also be my sister! Jane was delighted with her bag :)
Elaine won a Free Spirit Design Roll from myBearpaw.
And here is the winner!! This absolute stunner was made by Hikaru Jackson and I'm just sorry I didn't get a better photo of it because you can only see a bit of it's loveliness here. Those applique petals are all over the front and back (all hand sewn) and even the straps have beautiful emroidery on them.
As you can probably guess by the name Hikaru is Japanese and a favourite customer with everyone in our shop. And I think you can also tell she is Japanese by her exquisite sewing skills.
Hikaru won a Sara Lawson Jungle Avenue themed box of Aurifil thread courtesy of Alex Veronelli - thanks Alex!
Well done and a huge thanks to all of you who embellished your bags!
Now I just have to come up with another idea for next year!!
Don't forget there is still time to win a goody bag in our giveaway here!