Crafting With Pain Series – My Advice

This might sound a little strange but I have enjoyed sharing my experience of crafting with pain and disability on the blog. Thank you to everyone who has commented on Instagram on my personal Facebook page (sorry I keep my Facebook friends private) I do believe that there a lot of people out there who are in a similar situation to myself. You may not necessarily have the same conditions or issues that I have but many people do have issues that I wouldn’t say limit but more result in them having to do their crafting a little different to other people. I am by no means an expert but I would like to share some advice with people.

Seek Help
If you find you are developing pain when you are crafting seek professional help. Have a chat to your Doctor they may suggest you see a occupational therapist or maybe another trained professional who can help. My personal trainer is brilliant as he is very knowledgeable in areas outside regular fitness. He helps with posture and stretching, he integrates exercises to build up strength in my muscles so that I can craft. We work on the smaller muscles in the hands and feet that sometimes get overlooked. For me it is important we work the small muscles and not just the larger ones.

Buy The Best Tools That You Can
I know how easy it is to jump into a new craft, buy the top end equipment then decide you don’t like the craft and you have wasted your money. We’ve all done it. If you find you are sticking with a craft and you enjoy it then buy the best quality equipment that you can. Think of it as a long term investment. If you want to be doing the craft for a long time then get some comfortable tools so you can continue doing it. You might build the tools up slowly over time but it will be worth it. When people ask “What do you want for your birthday/Christmas” tell them that craft item you really want as it is something you can actually use.

Adapt Your Space
You need your craft space or area to work for you. Change your area around so that everything is convenient for you. Raise a table up on blocks if you need it higher, change your storage solutions so you’re not having to lift heavy crates if you can’t move anything heavy, rearrange your furniture so that you can move about and craft easier. If you need to sit when doing the ironing lower your ironing board and move a chair over to it.

Take Regular Breaks
It is easy to get so focused on the project you’re working on and forget to take breaks but you really should. To minimize pain I need to keep taking regular breaks to give my body a rest between tasks. Use your break times to stay hydrated or read your pattern or just sit for a few minutes and think about the upcoming tasks you’re about to do so it is more clear in your mind. Regular breaks can also stop brain fatigue, we all know when tiredness kicks in is when you start making those silly little mistakes.

Stretch And Move About
Do basic stretches of your hands and feet. If your craft involves a lot of sitting move your legs and feet about to keep the circulation moving in them. Stand up if you have been sitting or the opposite sit down if you have been standing. You can find some great stretching exercises online if you do a google search. Even just simple movements like rotating your wrists or ankles around or just clenching a releasing your fingers. These all get the muscles moving.

Its Ok To Say No
Don’t feel pressured to take on a project for someone if doing so is going to cause you pain or discomfort. Yes you could spend hours on an item so someone could have it in time for a deadline but if as a result you will be in pain for a week then it isn’t worth it. Say No sorry I can’t make that for you and don’t feel bad. You deserve to put yourself first

Set Yourself Realistic Deadlines
If you are making a gift or you want to enter a piece in a competition give yourself adequate time to make it including buffer time just in case things go wrong. Don’t leave it to the last minute rushing to get it finished as you will be less inclined to take breaks and cause yourself pain. Plan ahead, start things early and if you miss a deadline its ok just relax it isn’t the end of the world. If it is a gift you could always show the person the project you making them and they will still adore it.

Get To Know Your Body
Learn the signs your body is telling you of when it is getting tired, when it needs a break. Work out what you body needs you to do to reduce your pain and discomfort. If your body needs you to stop every 10mins when crafting then stop every 10mins. If your back gets sore after standing for 20mins then only stand for 15mins before taking a break. If crafting and all of a sudden you feel a pain or twinge then stop and take a break, if it is still sore after that maybe your body is saying that is enough for today. Learn to understand your bodies limits so you don’t push yourself too much.

It Is Ok Not To Be Crafting
Don’t feel bad if you’re not crafting all the time. If you need to take a break from crafting for a day or a week or however long your body needs it is ok. Don’t force yourself if you are in pain to craft as crafting is meant to be fun. We all have times when our body needs us to stop and do nothing. When your body is up to it you will get back to crafting and you will enjoy it. If you still need your crafting fix during that time read a craft magazine or pattern book, write your “to make” list or do some online shopping for any supplies that you need.

Don’t Hide Your Pain
It is really easy to put on the brave face and act like it doesn’t hurt but you don’t have to. Be open about your pain. Pain is a very isolating condition which I think more people suffer from than we realise because it isn’t talked about. You don’t actually have to be disabled to suffer from pain you may get it from a long term injury, medical condition, it could develop from repetitive motions or sometimes it seems pain just develops for no reason. You may suffer from pain short term or long term either way pain is pain. Life doesn’t stop because of you have pain and you do have to learn to manage but that doesn’t mean you need to hide it away and pretend it doesn’t exist.

There is no rule book when it comes to crafting with pain as each person suffers from pain in their own way. Don’t compare yourself with others just do whatever works for you. Discovering how you need to do things sometimes comes with trial and error but don’t be afraid to try things. Once again a big thank you to Gillian for inspiring me to share my story about the way that I craft with disability and pain.



Crafting With Pain Series – Yarn and Needlework

I am a multi craft person aside from machine sewing I also like hand sewing, needlework, knitting and crochet. Just as I have to be mindful of what I am doing when I am sewing I need to also be mindful when I am doing these other crafts. These crafts are more sedentary crafts but I can still get a lot of pain and discomfort from them if I am not careful. I have sprained a finger from crafting and have had bouts of carpal tunnel flare ups. My day job includes a lot computer work and typing combine that with needing to use my left hand to grip around the crutch when I walk means I am using my hands and fingers all day. When I get home I usually just want to sit on the lounge and do a simple craft project in front of the tv where I can just relax and switch my brain off from work, mindless knitting, crochet, needlework projects like that. The issue is that I have just been using my hands all day and then I want to keep using them to craft. I am not one to just sit in front of tv as I can’t keep still so I just have to watch what I am doing.

The hypermobility I have means sometimes my joints move in a way they shouldn’t. My knees and knuckles lock backwards, my hip moves out of its socket a little at times, my joints are forever needing to be cracked or are cracking as I move. In the past whilst stuffing a toy ball with my pinky finger I sprained it. It was great that my finger could get in the small area and push the stuffing into place but not so good the next day when I couldn’t then move my fingers properly and needed to strap them for a couple of days.

I have a fantastic personal trainer who knows about the conditions I have and also understands my love of crafting and how many hours I spend doing it (I made him the above blanket for his wedding) He is always including activities in my training sessions to improve the strength in my hands and fingers. Last year I had my worst carpel tunnel flare up at work. Out of no where the base of my thumb just swelled up and froze, I couldn’t move it properly. Luckily the last couple of hours of my day I had meetings and didn’t need to type. Fortunately when I got home and placed a bag of frozen veggies on it for a couple of hours my hand went back to normal. It was a wake call because I don’t want that to become a regular issue. I spoke with my trainer about the episode and has taught me a series of stretches which I do whilst crafting but also at work. It is a lot of forearm and wrist stretches. I do them all the time now, I do get odd looks at work sometimes if someone walks past my office and I am standing there using my body weight to stretch my forearm against my desk like the person in this clip is doing. It is benefiting my body so I don’t care. If you haven’t realised from reading my previous posts I don’t care if people stare at me, if you are taking the time from your day to stare at me and think I am odd then you have the bigger issues than I do.

No matter how much I try I am a tight gripper I try to relax my hands but I can’t help myself. Last year I switched crochet hooks I had been using a regular straight metal set which were working ok but then I tried the Clover Amour hooks and my hands loved them. My hands just seemed more relaxed using them, I wasn’t gripping as tight. They are smooth and I am not fighting the yarn as much. You can get other types of ergonomic crochet hooks but these work for me. I still have my old set of straight metal hooks which I do use if I don’t have the size Clover I need but I don’t use them if I don’t have to. When crocheting I take lots of breaks to stretch my hands, clench and release my fingers, rotate my wrists. With regular breaks I can crochet for longer.

When I am knitting I prefer using circular needles even if I am doing something that isn’t in the round like a blanket. I seem to only use straight needles now if I am doing a dishcloth or something that is very narrow. The cable on the circular needles take the weight of the project so it doesn’t feel so heavy. I have a set of bamboo circular needles and I love them but on certain projects like when I made my socks it felt like the bamboo was maybe a bit too grippy and I was fighting the yarn. I have a few metal circular needles and I think will invest in a set of them but I just don’t know which brand to choose. For sock knitting I will be using metal circulars even I do thicker yarn which requires a larger needle like than regular socks. All the leg warmer I have made were on metal tips and they were so easy to knit. Last year I learnt continental knitting and I actually found it to be very comfortable, my hands felt fairly relaxed. I need to practice it more and work on my tension before I start doing it on all my projects as I know my tension is a more loose this way.

I like to do a lot of hand stitching and embroidery. I take constant breaks do the same type of muscle stretches as I do for crochet and knitting. When I am doing any type of needlework my main issue tends to be my left hand that I hold them piece with, I have the tightest grip on it. I try and relax my grip but for some reason I can’t. Recently I had to hand stitch the binding on a skirt similar to how you do the binding on a quilt. I decided to use the lap app that I brought last year. This made a big difference which really surprised me. The lap app is essentially a small table that sits on your lap. It took the weight of the skirt off me so it didn’t feel heavy on my arm and shoulder. I was resting on it as I stitched and I noticed my left hand started to relax, it was really comfortable. I was expecting to be in a fair bit of pain binding this skirt as during the day at work I was also doing a bit of intense computer work then I was coming home to bind the skirt but I had very minimal pain. The pressure the lap app took off me really had an impact on the pain I experienced.

Just as standing too much can be an issue for me so is sitting too much. I am guilty that when sitting in an office chair or on the lounge I don’t sit up straight all the time, I hunch over, I slouch. I find that when I do remember to sit up straight I actually feel better. As I am typing this now I just realised I am hunched over again and that I need to be sitting upright. When I am doing any type of more sedentary craft I like to stand up and take regular breaks from sitting. My joints do stiffen up if I sit too long. Sitting on the lounge I tend to slouch and hunch over putting my neck and shoulders in odd angles which can cause pain over time. I need to have my knees slightly bent if I put my feet up on an ottoman otherwise they lock backwards, if I have them in the same position for too long they stiffen up even if bent.

I fully admit I don’t stretch as often as I should. Since my carpal tunnel scare last year I do stretch more often but I know I should do it more. Crafting is a big part of my life and I want to be doing it long term. I am sure there are areas I can improve on to reduce the pain that I get but at the moment I am doing what I can.



Crafting With Pain – Sewing

I mentioned that my disability is mainly based around my hips and my joints are also hypermobile. The main area that I get pain in is my hips but I also get it in my back, knees, ankles, wrists, hands, shoulders. I can get it from standing, walking, sitting, holding things, carrying things. I am not in constant pain like some people however most days I do have a level of pain that I am used to putting up with. Just like anyone I have good days and not so good days. When it comes to crafting I just need to be mindful of what I am doing and how I am doing it. I love sewing (if I have my sewjo that is) but sewing is more than just sitting at the sewing machine feeding fabric through it. If I am not careful by the time it gets to actually sitting at the sewing machine I can be in so much pain that I don’t want to do it.

Tracing and cutting out patterns and fabric on the floor will never be an option for me. Occasionally I have had to pin things on the floor and it is just to hard to get up and down off the ground not to mention the pain caused by leaning over to pin. I have a Horn cutting table which I use. It is higher than a regular dining table so I don’t have to bend as low to trace or cut things out. It does fold down but I always have it out extended as I have the space to do so. If needed I do pull it out from the wall so I can access all sides of it, this saves me stretching over to reach if I don’t have too. This table was my mums and I can remember going shopping with her to buy it years ago. Unfortunately they don’t make this table anymore so I am glad that I was able to get mums. This is known as my “craft” table as it gets used for not just cutting and tracing of fabric but I use my overlocker on it, my snap press, I cover it in plastic table cloth when I want to paint fabric, I photograph projects on it. It is a really good height for me.


When I am at my craft table or ironing board I do have to watch how I stand. On carpet I can be barefoot but any other surface I need shoes that have some sort of cushioning or support. When standing I need to make sure my knees are always slightly bent as the hypermobility I have means they can lock backwards if I am not careful.  I have to limit how long I am standing taking breaks between tasks to sit down. I don’t have a timer or magic number to say time is up but more just iron a few pieces of fabric or pin / trace out a few pattern pieces then go and sit for a few minutes. Some days it may be 20mins standing (that can go very quickly if you don’t realise) other days it may only be 10 mins of standing. Drinking lots of cups of tea helps as an excuse for sit down time or sitting down to read your pattern is another. If I have the tv on maybe sitting down to watch a segment of a show. Sometimes you’re on a roll and it is hard to stop and think you need to sit now but I know if I don’t take regular breaks my body will stiffen up and I will be in pain. The pain may not necessarily hit at that moment it may occur later in the day or even the next day. With my body I find if I take this regular breaks then I don’t get as sore.

I would love to be a person that in one day can pull out a pattern, iron the fabric, trace it, cut it, sew it. That is just not me and my body. I have to plan out projects and tasks. If I have a really big project I might plan it over a week to get things done. One day will be my ironing day, one day I will trace out all the pattern pieces, one day I will cut all the pieces, the final day I might sew it or the sewing might get done over numerous days. Even just a smallish project I could push myself to do it all in one day but I know what pain my body will be the next day. Yes it is nice to finish a garment or project in a day but health wise it isn’t worth it is going to result in extra pain for 2-3 days maybe even a week. I’m not sewing to a tight schedule so I can take thing easy and enjoy what I am doing. It does take some planning but it is worth it.


My sewing machine lives in my lounge room. Before I use to push an office chair from the study to my machine each time I used it. It was annoying and inconvenient so I invested in a Koala sewing chair. I love my chair! It is fully adjustable, it raises up very higher than a regular office chair so perfect if I am doing free motion quilting where I need to be higher than my machine to ensure my shoulders are relaxed. The back is wider and higher than my old chair and the seat is also wider. For sitting any period of time on this chair is very comfortable. I don’t just use it at the sewing machine but at the craft table too if I am doing a task that I can sit for or using the overlocker (I do have to put the foot pedal on a phone book to reach it) The support this chair gives takes the stress off my joints, I have been tempted to buy one for my office at work.

So when it comes to actually sewing I do have a few machines. My first ever sewing machine my mum insisted that I got one that was light weight. I don’t live on the ground floor so I needed to be able to carry it up my stairs myself. I now use this machine as my travelling machine. I keep it in the garage in a pull along travelling tote that has wheels and carry straps which was my friend’s mum’s, the tote fits my machine like a glove. Having it in the tote allows me take machine and the accessories that go with it in and out of taxis easily when I travel as I can just pick it up with the handles. I can rest a bag on top securing it over the pull along handle too which takes pressure off my shoulder as well.

My heavy sewing machine I don’t move unless I have too. If it needs a service I have someone come to the house and pick it up save me trying to take it to the shop. When I’m sewing I try to sit up right and not hunch over. I again take regular breaks so I’m not in the same position for long periods. I use the knee lift that is an accessory on my machine. The knee lift mean I don’t have to keep reaching over and lifting the presser foot so I’m not always having to twist my body around my project. If I am doing a lot of repetitive sewing I will switch which foot I am using to control the foot pedal. I’ll stretch the non use leg so my knees and ankles don’t get sore.

It is not just when I am sewing at home or at retreat sewing that I have to be mindful what I am doing it also whilst shopping for fabric. If I am at the shops I’m instantly one handed as I am using the crutch with the other hand. Trust me when I say you can carry a lot in one hand but you probably shouldn’t. Carrying more than one roll or bolt of fabric can be tricky. Even just one can be very heavy, especially if you have had to dig it out from under others. If the store has shopping trolleys I use them if not I have been known to borrow them from other stores to use from within the same shopping centre. Sometimes you do get odd looks if you have borrowed a trolley from another shop but I don’t care. I want to move around the shop easily and enjoy my time there just like everyone else and the shopping trolley is helps me do that. There is no point causing yourself pain doing something that is meant to be fun. Just because you have a shopping trolley doesn’t mean you will fill it up completely, you may only purchase a few metres of fabric and some sewing notions but by placing them in the trolley you have saved yourself the pain.

Sewing is an enjoyable hobby which you can do it even if you have pain a physical disability or pain. I generally know how much activity I can do in one day or session without it causing too much pain. Do I always pay attention and remember this?… No I do forget sometimes and I push myself too much but I am reminded afterwards. I want to be sewing for many years and to do so I just need to do things my way.



Crafting With Pain Series

Recently I have started to listen to sewing podcasts in particularly the Love To Sew podcast. I’m currently listening to all the older episodes including one where Gillian from Crafting A Rainbow was interviewed. Gillian talked about her experience with crafting and pain and after I read her blog post I had all these ideas ticking in my head about my own experience of crafting with pain and disability that I knew I wanted to do a blog post about the topic. By the time I wrote down all my notes I discovered I have enough for a 3 part series!

I’m not a doctor or an expert in the field of pain.. I’m a crafter who has a disability and accommodates their crafting around the issues they have. I’m putting myself out there and if one day someone stumbles across this and can relate to the experiences that I have had or can get an idea from the ways that I do things then I really hope it helps them. Pain and disability can be a very solitary thing and its is good to know you are not alone.

I have broken the series into 3 topics.

  • Fabric and needlework crafts
  • Yarn crafts
  • From my experience I recommend

I don’t think I have mentioned it on the blog before but I have a disability which effects my mobility and for the last 20 years have used the aid of a canadian crutch to walk with when I am not at home. I was born with what used to be termed “clicky hips” but is now known as Congenital Hip Dysplasia. I have arthritis in my hips and my joints are also hypermobile. So what does this all have to do with crafting? I have to be mindful when crafting of the way that I am actually doing things so not to exasperate any of my conditions. I thankfully am not in constant pain every day, however I have good days and bad days. If I am not watching what I am doing I can cause myself unnecessary or avoidable pain.

So join if you like as I share my experiences of crafting with pain and disability. If anyone wishes to share their experience I would love to hear about them too.





Leg Warmers V2

Back in January I made a pair of leg warmers that had increases in the leg section and were a complete failure. There was no way they would fit a child. I got some more yarn and attempted again.

The pattern is Ballerina Bloom which I found on Ravelry. This time I used the magic loop method and knit them in the round that way. I am a big magic loop fan, it was much easier to knit the leg warmers this way. For the first leg warmer I used a row counter to count how much ribbing I did on the bottom cuff, noted this down on a piece of paper and was aiming to do the same amount on the top cuff. When I came to actually doing the top cuff I was away for the weekend, I grabbed my project but forgot to check if this vital piece of paper was in it. I had to guesstimate by measuring how long to make the cuff. A cuff doesn’t take long so once I finished it and started on the second leg warmers I had to once again guess how many rows to do.

This time I only did 2 sets of increases per leg warmer. I increased on the 12th and 24th row. This gave you some extra room but it didn’t make them too baggy. With magic loop you don’t have a seam running up the side of them so they were smoother on the inside too, this also allowed them to stretch more as there wasn’t a tight seam. I would make this pattern again with the increases but once again I wouldn’t add as many increases as the pattern calls for, after a couple of increases I think you need to make a judgement call if they are big enough for your child or if you have to add another couple.


Frocktails 2018

Don’t you hate it when you are really looking forward to an event after you put some much time and energy into preparing for it then on the day you come become sick and don’t enjoy yourself as much…. That was 2018 Frocktails in a nutshell for me. For the first time in a long time I got a migraine which included bad nausea, luckily I was able to take some pain medication which helped but it did dampen my night and I know I didn’t enjoy myself as much as I wanted to.

So I want to say I took lots of gorgeous photos but sadly I only took one bad mirror selfie at the end of the night back in my hotel room. If you look up the #sydneyfrocktails on Instagram you can see all the wonderful photos people took. People made some amazing clothing. It was a night of touching and feeling and lot of “what pattern is that?” How often do you get to sit in a pub and talk pattern numbers and sewing techniques. It was good to catch up with old friends and new.

Once again we were lucky enough to have the chance to win some lucky door prizes. I was fortunate enough to win a prize pack from the Avid Seamstress which contained 2 patterns. Now to be honest before I would say “oh they are pretty but they won’t fit me” Now that I know how to do fitting alterations I can make them fit me! Each person also got a goodie bag (I think adults should always get goodie bags when they go to parties and events) The goodie bags included discount vouchers for different indi pattern companies and fabric and supply stores. I have used one voucher so far and can’t wait to use more.

I am really glad I made my outfit in December when I had the chance. People were still finishing their outfits minutes before they were leaving the house. I had my outfit sitting on a hanger so it was ready to go. I am really pleased with what I made and it was so comfortable. To recap my top was the Lou Box Top by SewDIY, skirt was McCalls 6654 and cape was Burda Young 7313. The fabric used for the both the top and skirt was a modal knit. Now that Frocktails is over and I don’t need to keep my outfit on the hanger I’m going to wear both the top and skirts as separates in daily life. I wanted to make pieces that I could wear after Frocktails and these are perfect, I can wear them together or separate.

I used my bag all weekend and it held up well. If I was to make it again I would make the strap a little shorter. I forgot how much any type of yarn stretches on straps so it sat lower than I would’ve liked.

Now to start mentally planning for Frocktails 2019….





Cashmerette Sewing Retreat – Going Back For Seconds

I really enjoyed the Cashmerette sewing retreat that I went on at the start of the month. I got my sewjo back, it was fun to sew among other people. Jenny and Carrie were great teachers. The mindset clicked “sewing clothing for yourself is actually amazing” I knew there was a second retreat happening and I was thinking of maybe just “dropping in” to the shop on 2nd day on my way past as I was in that in end of town just to say hi to Jenny and Carrie and maybe pick their brains on a few questions I had but 4 days out from the retreat with still a couple of spots left I decided what the heck I will actually go back for seconds and attend the retreat again… Best decision ever!!

From the start I decided I wasn’t going to compare the 2 retreats. In my mind it was just one big experience, I just got to share the experience with a few different people. My first weekend I focused on actually making an item which I still haven’t finished (just the sleeve hems to do) On the second weekend I wanted to focus on the fit of clothing. To be honest I don’t think I have ever struggled with body image. I’m a larger built person, I always have been. From birth I have had mobility issues so over the years my focus has always been on how much pain I was in and whether I could walk as opposed to what I looked like doing it. Saying that I will admit that I don’t like to emphasize my larger bust line and I have always dressed baggy to cover it up because that is what I thought you had to do. Doing the Cashmerette retreats has being a real brain wave moment making me realise it is all about the fit of clothing to your body. Nicely fitting clothing can make you look smaller. Fitted clothing can actually disguise a larger bust line.

At the retreats one of the first things Jenny does is show you how to take your measurements. Your waistline is higher than what you think so I wanted a visual reminder where my waistline is so when I am at home I can remember so after Jenny measured me I marked the area with masking tape and took a photo. It is at the bottom of the tape area so about 3 inches above my belly button.

Once I removed the tape I discovered I actually have more of a permanent reminder inbuilt. I have 2 moles on my skin so I know that is the spot. Another lightbulb moment from talking with Jenny is that I am not the only one with “B” tummy. My stomach is round like a balloon all the way down, at my belly button it goes in then goes back out again like the shape of a “B” A lot of people are this shape.

I am a visual person so watching is how I learn best. The demonstrations Jenny did throughout the retreats were very beneficial to me.  To see someone perform a technique you have never done before and explain it as they do it sticks in my mind more than just reading it from a book. Sometimes I need to watch a few times before it sinks in or refer back to visual cues as to what it should look like but eventually it stays in my mind.

The project I worked on for the weekend was a Springfield top. It is a fitted woven top. It took me out of my comfort zone. I had never done a woven top, I had never sewn darts in clothing before. Before the first retreat it was a pattern I would have run a mile from as I don’t wear woven tops like that. Seeing a few that people had made I thought I want to try this. The fabric I used was some that I was given at the first retreat, it was perfect as it was all ready to go. Unfortunately you can’t really see it in this photo but when I tried it on the neckline was a bit baggy so Jenny pinned in some darts to try and remove the some of gape.

It turns out I have a hollow chest and that is why my neckline was gaping. Using my pattern piece Jenny gave a demonstration on a quick method of reducing the neckline by pinching out the excess amount and taping it away. I’m going to use this piece as a reference on all my woven tops from now on as it sounds like it might be a common adjustment I might have to do.

I bailed Jenny up a lot and asked lots of questions when she wasn’t in the middle of helping others. I came armed with printouts of size chart for lots of Cashmerette patterns I want to make and went through them with Jenny so when I go to make them I know what to pick. Jenny recommends each time you make an item you measure your body and I will do that when I go to make them but at least now I have a very good idea of what I sizings I will be needing to choose. I know how to read pattern size charts now and what parts to compare in making my overall decision of what size to make and any grading I should do.

Before the first retreat I had ambitions of making a Cedar Dolman top to wear at it but I never got it started however I did cut out the pattern pieces, this was before I knew you could be different sizes in the one pattern piece. Now that I had an idea of what sizes I should make I graded down the original pattern pieces I cut out to the size I actually needed.

Photo courtesy of Cashmerette

I had a fantastic weekend. Once again it was a very supportive bunch of fellow retreaters who attended. We were lending each other fabric and supplies. Helping each other where we could. Fate brought 2 people who were not from Sydney to sit next to each other and discover they live in the same suburb. Kristina even flew all the way from across the ditch (New Zealand) to join us. At both retreats and I’m sure if was the same for those who did the Melbourne retreat it was great to not just get help from Jenny and Carrie but also from the other participants. Sharing small hints and tips that you have tried or heard about, passing on recommendations on where to get supplies. Even sharing your sewing fears made others realise they weren’t alone as we often all have those same irrational thoughts.

It was a long way for Jenny and Carrie to come to Australia from Boston to do the retreats. It was the first time that they have done the retreats outside America. I really hope that Cashmerette decides to do more retreats as I think it is an amazing opportunity that many Cashmerette fans would jump at the chance of doing. The skill set you learn at these retreats you can use in any pattern you make no matter what brand. If get the chance just go you will love it.