Have you travelled with your sewing?

South Africa sewing holiday

These sewists did and they’re hooked! We chat to five makers who combined sight seeing and sewing to go on a crafty minibreak. How it was for them?

Elaine Haynes travelled to New England for Stitchtopia’s quilt-themed tour with a historical twist in 2015. She recalls loving having the trip planned ahead for them…

“There was a wonderful itinerary that had been put together with a lovely mix of sightseeing, museum visits and, of course, the quilting shops,” she tells us. A high point for Elaine was the chance to visit museums with an expert on hand to show her around… “The visits to the museums were made so much more interesting by having guided tours around them,” she remembers. “The curators at Old Sturbridge Village were so happy to show us some of their wonderful old quilts as it meant that they got to look at them as well. I also enjoyed the Bennington Museum and seeing the Jane Sickle quilt as I have long wanted to have a go at one of these.”

When Ann Johnson booked a trip, she picked one that sewing machine geeks everywhere would love: she travelled to see the Bernina Creative Centre Experience in 2015. Ann was equally impressed… “I had the most fantastic time – everything was so well organised. The team at Bernina were really nice, very helpful and efficient. The working space was extremely good and the machines we used were fantastic with everything we needed.”

Sew on the go!

Both Elaine and Ann were joined on their holidays by a stitching professional who showed them around and shared new sewing skills on the way. Ann was joined by Phillipa Naylor, who she recalls was “her usual fantastic self”, while Ann was travelling with contemporary quilter and author Karin Hellaby. “They [Karin plus Ann’s tour manager, Bean] organised everything beautifully: They found us lovely places to eat, organised the visits and took us to some fabulous quilting shops where the ladies there were very welcoming. They obviously know you have to be comfortable to do some serious shopping!

Christine MacCallum also found the expert advice on her trip made the experience extra special. She took a ‘holiday of a lifetime’ trip to Japan with Stitchtopia in 2017. “I was astounded at the level or organisation,” she recalls, “The workshops were interesting because they [the techniques] were all new to me. I can honestly say I have never enjoyed a holiday so much.”

Betty Wilkinson seconds Christine’s enthusiasm for the sewing skills element of her trip. She went on a Christmas Craft Cruise last year, accompanied by crochet-pro Sara Huntington, “She was an amazing teacher and incredibly fun to be with.”

Sewing holiday Japan

Kimono detail from the Tokoyo Quilt Festival: a highlight of Stitchtopia’s popular annual sewing tour to Japan.

Travel companions

It’s not just the benefit of travelling with a sewing tutor on hand that appeals to us.  We like the thought of travelling with fellow fabric-fans too and making some new craft buddies…

Betty remembers loving meeting the fellow makers on her craft cruise… “I felt as if I had a great group of new friends,” she recalls. When Greta Doig visited Portugal for a quilting retreat least year, it was the people made her feel at home,Even though I was a ‘single’ passenger I never felt alone,” she remembers.

For Elaine,meeting her fellow travel companions meant the chance to make future plans too… “The other ladies on the tour were delightful and I hope to meet them again on another holiday. I know that at least one will be coming to India…”

It’s obviously a bit addictive escaping into a world of sewing adventures then!

Find out more…

All these sewists are sharing their experiences of sewing trips arranged by craft holiday operators Stitchtopia. You can find out more about their upcoming trips over at www.stitchtopia.co.uk or call them on 01473 633 506. They’ve got some great holidays planned for the year ahead, including: