AKA- Go to the retreat even though you don’t know anyone- it will be amazing…
I’m not gonna lie. I’m crazy addicted to social media. Instagram is by far my favorite. I discovered Instagram in the Fall of 2013, and not long after my obsession began, I found an open registration for a quilt retreat that actually was planned for a location in my own backyard. It was the second annual Stash Bash, put on by Chris Warnick, also known as Frecklemama.
I was loving the other IG users that were signing up for the Stash Bash, and travel wasn’t going to be an issue, so I thought “Why not?” Never mind that I did not know a soul that was going to be there, couldn’t figure out how on earth a Google group worked, and wasn’t quite sure what exactly to expect when I got there. When April 2014 rolled around and it was time to pack up to go, I actually had the wrong dates in my calendar, had no idea who I was going to bunk with, and really didn’t understand what I was supposed to do for a secret sewing pal. I was a nervous wreck by the time I got there and started setting up, and it seemed that maybe all I could hope and pray for was a productive sewing weekend.
Well, it was a productive sewing weekend, but it turned out to be way more than that. I met some amazing people while I was there, and we talked, sewed, ate and laughed. And I don’t just mean tee-hee-hee kind of laughing. I mean tears, falling out of chairs, I-think-I-just-peed-a-little, makes-me-giggle-a-little-now-just-to-think-about-it kind of laughing. And the friendships. And the creative inspiration. And the encouragement. My stars, it was a great weekend.
A few of these amazing creators live “locally”, which is a pretty generalized term in the quilting world. One of them happens to be Kristi McDonough of Schnitzel & Boo who hosts the insanely popular IG mini quilt swap known as… you guessed it… #schnitzelandboominiquiltswap, or #makeaquiltmakeafriend. Kristi and I don’t live too far from one another, so when our schedules allow it, we get together from time to time to sew.
Of course, most of the time we aren’t that productive because we are too busy chatting, eating, or buzzing around town in her Mini Cooper or my Miata MX5. We’re just cool like that.
But yesterday we actually got some stuff done. I was impressed.
Getting to know Kristi, Chris, Safieh, Nisha, Becky, Karie, Lee, Jenny, Elizabeth, and all the other amazing people that I only know by their IG names has been one of the highlights of this year for me. And that’s saying a lot because it’s been a really good year. I feel more confident in my own creative skin than I can ever remember, and so much of that happened when I started praying for help to plow through my fears.
So, the moral of the story is, if you have the chance to extend yourself just a little bit more, take it. It will be worth every anxiety-ridden moment.