The BIG Crochet Stayaway Launch
This weekend saw the launch of The BIG Crochet Stayaway, and what an experience it was! I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard and learnt so much. I was truly blessed to have my first stint at running such a big event be filled with such fabulously wonderful people! They just made it so easy!
Spin back to a week before the launch, I was terrified. What if I’m not good enough...what if they all hate it...what if no one enjoys themselves...I was in a bit of a tizz. All along I wanted this retreat to have the same vibe as my workshops...laid back. You are in charge. I’m there with ideas, inspiration, patterns and mini workshops...but if you want to come along and work on that blanket that's been in your WIP box for 10 years, that is wonderful! I wanted to create a space where anything goes, where it’s not like I’m in charge, this is what we are doing....everything is a choice and as crafters we don’t all want to make the same things.
As it got closer to the event, I worried that my approach might not be to everyone’s liking. Turned out I need not have worried, and now next time, I won’t!
As each girl arrived with their different skill levels and taste, it was soon clear that my way was actually alright! They each got stuck in, some made a start on my Fields of Spring cushion cover pattern, some made a start on their own projects and my novice got cracking on her first ever granny square! I immediately felt so relaxed. The goody bags went down a storm, with treats from Crochet Now, Rhapsodye Yarns, Figgy Willow & Lana Bou and the Easter Egg hunt was very competitive...luckily no crocheters were harmed in the process.
We tucked into dinner and then crocheted into the night, chatting and getting to know one another. By the time we went to bed it was like we were old friends.
The barn itself is just fabulous. Each room has a beautiful en-suite, with the main house boasting high open beams. It actually used to be a pig shed, and you would have absolutely no idea from looking at it. It is immaculate. Up on one of the mezzanine floors...there’s a spinning wheel...what are the odds! I hope at a future event, someone with more knowledge of such things might know if it is a real one!
Day two, the rabble slowly emerged from their beds, tucked into brekkie and then we cracked on with a short group workshop making necklaces using the gorgeous BeadBox Jewellery beads. I was so pleased that even our novice was able to complete this and have a proper thing to take home and wear, and she was so pleased! We then headed off on our walk to Yewtree Alpaca’s farm...which I hadn’t actually tested so we were kind of winging it...but no one seemed to mind! We made it without too many wrong turns and had a wonderful introduction into the world of Alpacas with the fabulous Penny as our guide. I’ve never wanted to cuddle a large animal so much. They are beautiful...I’m still trying to think how I can convince the other half that we need to get ourselves a pack. Even if you don’t want to come to the Stayaway, I would highly recommend organising a visit to the farm.
After a (somewhat shorter) trip back, I let the girls loose on the Yarn Boutique, playing around with samples to see if they fancied anything from the pop-up shop. We also had a pop up shop from one of the guests, Steph from hookandscumble – a fibre artist who brought us some of her free form offerings, and of course I had to have some! As a local, Steph will be back next year to run a freeform crochet workshop for us. One of the most important aspects of this project for me is to support local and small businesses wherever I can.
The rest of the day was more free time to work projects, for me it was great to see some of my cushion patterns coming along (and what the girls didn’t realise is I’d secretly got them to be pattern testers for me...mwahahahah). Great colour choices too!
The next morning we all awoke from a very good sleep, the walk definitely knocked us out! We cracked (pun) on with some Easter Egg mandalas from amazing SFMGS blog and then got packed up ready to go home.
I know I’m biased...but we had so much fun. Being surrounded by people with the same passion as you in an idyllic setting...you just can’t beat it. Having the freedom to crochet to your hearts content without having to worry about cooking, cleaning, changing nappies, shouting at the kids, giving your partner evils whilst they are you questions while you are COUNTING. It’s a great place to make friends, socialise and feel included no matter what your skill levels are. It was also lovely to be able to meet people from the online communities I'm part of including Vicki from Munch and Missy Mouse Crochet - check out her blog for some great patterns.
You can see some of the photos from the retreat on instagram under #bigcrochetstayaway, there will be more photos coming soon once we've trawled through them all!
I can’t wait for the next one to meet my next bunch of new crochet pals!
If you would like to treat yourself to a weekend of loveliness, Christmas and next years dates are now live for booking. All you have to pay to secure your place is the deposit, giving you plenty of time to get the balance paid – which you can pay in instalments if it helps.