Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Confessions of a Retreat Newbie

By Bonnie Firestone – Springfield Sharing Threads Neighborhood Group Leader

I have never had any interest in going to a retreat. I didn't need to go away to find time to sew. I certainly didn't think I could enjoy concentrating on sewing for hours and hours. So when I ended up in Winchester at the George Washington Hotel for the retreat weekend (it's a long story), I brought my swimsuit and my exercise clothes and figured when I couldn't stand sitting anymore that I would enjoy the facilities and do a lot of shopping in the town of Winchester. That never happened!
What I hadn't counted on was the warm, friendly, infectious atmosphere among a group of enthusiastic women whose love of sewing is matched by their enthusiasm for helping others enjoy the retreat. I was welcomed by my table mate who promptly invited me to join her group for lunch.Then I got the “tour” of where the snacks were hiding, when to ring the cowbell, where the best restaurants and shopping were. That was before my machine was even plugged in.
The sewing room in Winchester was superb! I had expected a windowless ballroom with adequate lighting. Instead I entered a beautifully appointed space with large windows and several sparkling crystal chandeliers that left no shadowy corners. The room itself lifted my spirits.
You will notice that I haven’t talked about sewing yet. At our dinners, with our open seating and large tables, the conversation occasionally drifted to sewing, but also to a myriad of other topics. I discovered that my table mate’s husband went to my brother’s high school. Another member was able to supply me with my favorite Dutch licorice that I haven’t had in years. And there was the tale of the fur collars – but that’s another story altogether.
So, want to hear about my sewing? I used my sewing machine for about 5 minutes.
I was making a robot costume with a control panel. In the end, it was a collaborative project. My table mate helped brainstorm several “engineering” issues and went to the store for supplies. My fellow retreaters donated beading needles and thread, and safety pins. It did take me two days to get it done, but if I had been working at home alone, it would have stretched out to weeks. Each setback would have sent be scurrying out of the sewing room to do laundry or play candy crush. I returned home, refreshed and relaxed. And looking forward to another Winter Retreat.

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