A lover of quilting and sewing hosted a retreat that brought 70 women from around western Canada to Ponoka last week.
Kathleen Mennell has been hosting this retreat for the last 10 years with Ponoka being the main location for the last seven. Held at the Ponoka Legion, the event is an all out creative week for attendees who get three meals a day and even a masseuse to loosen their back muscles.
It’s become so popular that there were quilters from Manitoba, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and other regions of Alberta. “I have some women that have been coming for nine years,” said Mennell.
“We started with 16 women at (the Village of) Strome.”
Along with a few vendors, the week comprises busy, yet creative nights with demonstrations and showcases of quilters’ works. There is even a fun challenge where sewers use the same pattern but different fabrics to get people inspired.
Mennell says there is a mix of new and old faces and that attendees get a chance to see the changing tools or sewing techniques as well as the newest eye-catching patterns at her retreat. It has become so busy she doesn’t even have time for sewing but that doesn’t’ stop her from sewing other times; Mennell is also part of a Wednesday sewing group at the drop-in centre.
Carol Wasylik, a vendor from Extraordinary Extras in Vermillion, says the retreat is strong because of the people who come to it. “It’s just the opportunity to get together to relax. You network. You do something that you love,” said Wasylik.
Mom and daughter team Anne Etherington and Deborah Elliot also enjoy the experience. It’s a time to be inspired.
“They’re so super talented and down to earth people,” said Elliot of the attendees.
No matter the skill level of the sewer everyone is welcome, she added. It’s a place where creativity flows.