This weekend we hosted a private quilting retreat for a group of six women connected by friendship and family ties who head out to the farm every April and November for a girls’ getaway craftcation.
The weekend kicked off on Friday afternoon with a pack of trucks and sport utility vehicles sorting themselves out in our somewhat-still-muddy parking area. We’ve had wonderful weather the last week or two, which means the snow is almost gone and the ground has thawed enough that the mud puddles are almost gone.
These ladies have experience and know how to get right down to business, usually unloading their machines straight into the barn where we had the studio space ready for them. The basic setup for this retreat is a long work table. Jeff, well-versed in the needs of a sewing-obsessed person (that’d be me) knows how to set up a nice work area with plenty of outlets and other nice touches. He even outfitted the tables with little bags for the teeny scraps and strings that build up during a good weekend of stitching!
See the green handle bags? Those are the ones Jeff set out for the scraps. How thoughtful!
Curious about a quilters retreat? Here’s what the ladies got up to this weekend….
Arrivals were around 3 or 4 p.m. Everyone gathered and for the most part, headed straight to the barn. For retreats, we set up the workspace right in the antique shop, arranging worktables, outlets and ironing stations. We also cleared up the area where we make our candles and soaps to transform our work table to snack-central. This picture is from Saturday afternoon when I had just brought out a cheese and cracker plate… as you can see, the ladies are also well-provided with treats from their personal stashes. What’s a quilters retreat without a bit of wine and candy, AMIRIGHT?
The group in full swing…
Dinner was around 7 in the farmhouse. For most events like this, we have a fantastic local caterer, although this weekend she was out of town so we used an alternate source. Dinner on Friday was fresh greens with gorgonzola, craisins, pumpkin seeds and a dressing of Blackberry Ginger balsamic (from our good friends Staunton Olive Oil Company). For the main course, we served rosemary encrusted pork loin, roasted green beans with shallots tossed in Mushroom Sage olive oil and sea salt, and wild rice with onions and mushrooms. Dessert was a completely insane brownie concoction that my mom brought to our attention that involved dark chocolate, peanut butter cups and whipped cream. That’s all we’re going to say about that.
As part of the weekend, we also had our regular Friday night wine and cheese hour planned, but the consensus after dinner was that there wasn’t enough room for more, so we put off the cheese and crackers for the next day.
After dinner the ladies headed back out to the barn for more stitching, coming back into the house…. eventually. All of you stitchers know what I’m talking about!
Saturday started with lots of coffee, tea and talk in the living room, followed by my personal favorite breakfast that Jeff makes… blueberry scones with preserves and whipped cream, Quiche Lorraine (no-crust-thank-you-very-much), parmesan potato crisps, greens with Blood Orange olive oil and red wine vinegar and lots more coffee. After breakfast, the ladies headed out for more sewing while Jeff, mom and I hung out, read and attended to Peppermint the basset hound who was having a sick puppy kind of weekend.
In previous retreats, we served lunch on Saturdays (last fall Saturday breakfast was Zuppa Toscana (Italian sausage and kale soup) in fresh-baked bread bowls…) but this time the ladies opted out of lunch — so much food! We served cheese and crackers mid-afternoon and I snuck in and got a few shots of in-progress projects….
In progress embroidery….
Jeff had earlier reported there was a ‘quilt in progress with elastic’… i.e. these adorable unicorn PJ bottoms (just look at the ruffle on the cuffs)! There’s a teeny-tiny matching doll-sized pair, too.
So lovely (and so well-stitched) quilted potholder.
Saturday afternoon part of the group headed out for a walk — it was a lovely spring day!! Dinner was at 7 and we served a bit more of a down-home meal. Spinach salad with home-made croutons, Mission Fig balsamic, Blood Orange olive oil and Dijon mustard followed by Italian Meatloaf in the Round, Gorgonzola Garlic potato mash with Black Truffle olive oil and steamed broccoli tossed in scallions, toasted fennel seeds and Wild Mushroom and Sage EVOO. Dessert was one of Jeff’s super tasty cobblers (peach and blackberry) with vanilla ice cream and spiced cream.
After dinner there was plenty of time for more sewing. Jeff and I were tucked in and watching Ken Burn’s Roosevelt series with the barn lights still shining outside our window. One of our favorite parts of hosting these getaway weekends is knowing there’s a group of people enjoying this farm and continuing the tradition of making — even if it isn’t rag rugs in the sauna.
The whole group in full swing.
A little bit of plotting… plus the checkout counter’s the perfect height for cutting pieces!
Sunday morning started early with a bit of pre-breakfast coffee and sewing in the barn followed by housemade granola, greek yogurt, chocolate and brown sugar parfaits, baked french toast, apple compote and fresh berries. After breakfast there was a bit more time to finish up and take some fun photos of the group before everyone headed home ’till November.
Interested in planning a weekend retreat at Northern Comfort with your family or craft group?
If that sounds like it’s up your alley, let’s plot your next getaway weekend. We can host family groups, business groups, crafting groups, world-domination groups… whatever floats your boat. We have our super-awesome-cozy barn that makes a great headquarters-slash-workroom and if you want your group to show up on Friday and leave on Sunday and think nothing about what you need in the meantime… we can totally do that. Great food will be ready for you when you need it and we’ll set up a work or meeting space so you can focus on the fun stuff.
Or Come For a Makers Weekend!
Don’t have a crafter’s group but still sounds fun? NO PROBLEM. Well. If you’re looking for conspiracy, we probably can’t be that helpful. But we also plan Northern Comfort hosted Makers Weekends where the experience will be SUPER SIMILAR to what I just outlined with the following exceptions.
- You will not come with your gang of girlfriends, which will be super scary and anxiety producing (if you’re anything like me). That’s totally cool. You know me. We’re friends. This is my house. You will belong.
- Northern Comfort makers weekends are semi-helpful. Meaning that if you feel like you would like some tutoring on your project… as long as I know what you’re working on I will help you. So basically that breaks down to if you want to sew or knit, your visit to a Makers Weekend at Northern Comfort includes lessons. If you are looking for help in scrapbooking of making mozzarella cheese I cannot help you. Yet. Although I would very much like to know how to make cheese.
Learn more about Makers Weekends and get signed up to be notified when we schedule the next one here.