The Craft Sessions

welcome to the craft sessions

This time last week I was recovering from a busy but lovely weekend away. After 9 years of mothering I was well overdue for a crafty weekend away from the family to recharge my creative battery. When I heard about The Craft Sessions I knew I wanted to go and started dropping hints to hubby.

the yarra valley conference centre

It was held in the Yarra Valley in Victoria so it was a bit of a journey for me but totally worth it. Six hours door to door with a flight to Melbourne and then I hired a little Suzuki Swift and drove to Dixon’s Creek in the Yarra Valley to the Yarra Valley Conference Centre. Yes I was a little nervous driving a new car in a place I’d never been to before let alone driven in but I did it.  I don’t know about you but I do most things with my husband and he usually takes control of hire cars, driving in new places and the like but it was great to challenge myself again. I seem to have forgotten that I confidently travelled the world solo when I was younger.

the craft sessions

The next challenge was meeting lots of new people as I didn’t know anyone there. A lot of other people were in the same boat so that made it easier. I shared a room with a lovely girl called Wendy and she and a lot of the other people I met were just lovely. Besides we all speak the same language – CRAFT!

the craft sessions welcome pack

I knew this was no Nanna craft weekend when I opened the welcome pack awaiting me in my room. Lots of fabulous crafty goodness from some of the sponsors and teachers of the craft sessions weekend .

yarra valley conference centre

The weather was a bit grey and the rain sprinkled here and there but that made it even more perfect weather to craft away. I think knitting is so much bigger in Victoria because you have more opportunity to rug up in knitted cardigans etc. Most of the people I met were wearing the most gorgeous knitwear that they had made, I definitely have to have some hand knits to wear next time.

Georgie Hallam Tikki Knits

Felicia organised some fantastic classes for the craft sessions and it was hard to decide which ones to go to but after my last big knitting project (granny’s favourite cardigan) using Georgie Hallam of Tikki Knits pattern I knew I wanted to do her classes. On the Saturday I attended Georgie’s “Knitting – Intro to Design” class which was an all day session. Wow what a lot to take in and just as I suspected Georgie is the loveliest person. So enjoyable to listen to her and just a fabulous teacher. Seeing her knitting in person has sparked me to add a few more of her knitting patterns to my Ravelry favourites list.

Tikki knits Georgie Hallam

Had to get a pic with Georgie whilst checking out some of her lovely yarn stash. I loved knitting her granny’s favourite pattern and her patterns really are written and tested well. A few of her lovely test knitters were in this class too. Check out Tikki Knits patterns on Ravelry here.

yarn swift at the craft sessions

Lunch breaks were filled with yummy wholesome food and knitting or knitting prep. I definitely need to put a yarn swift on my Christmas list but luckily a lovely friend I made (Hi Kylie) had one and helped me wind my hanks for the classes once I’d decided which colours to use.

knitting at the craft sessions

A few people commented on my Little Plum Yarn hand dyed wool and it is knitting up so beautifully. There was so much learning over the weekend that I only got to do a swatch for my design project and the knitted bunny project I took with me to knit in the evenings proved to be a bit difficult as I was trying to count stitches and chat away at the same time. Note to self bring a multi tasking knitting project next time that I don’t have to count with.

the craft sessions Collage

So nights were spent swatching and chatting by the fire with a glass of pink champagne. The lovely Felicia (creator of The Craft Sessions) also had some of her great craft books scattered around for us to flick through and add to our wish lists.

Melissa Wastney from Tiny Happy

On Sunday I attended  Melissa Wastney’s class. You can find out more about Melissa at her blog Tiny Happy, she came all the way from New Zealand for the weekend. The class was “Embroidery – Modern Sampler” and was a nice relaxing pace for the final morning. Melissa was very calming and full of encouragement for all our efforts.

embroidery lessons with Melissa of Tiny Happy

I wanted to practice a few stitches and gain a bit more confidence with my embroidery so that I don’t avoid those stitching projects with embellishments or embroidered faces. I found some nice yellow linen at Spotlight and decided to use a teal thread for my sampler.

the craft sessions open fire

It was cold enough for a fire during the daytime too and the main dining / lounge room of the conference centre was so inviting to hang out in.

fixing and finishing session

In the afternoon I did another one of Georgie’s classes “Knitting – Fixing and Finishing” which was great. We tore back rows of cables and fixed them and by the end I was really enjoying practicing some backwards knitting. I didn’t realise how much I already knew and was doing correctly so probably should have picked a different class but Georgie always has some great tips to share and it made a lovely end to the weekend.

flying home from the craft sessions

The sky looked so pretty on my flight home and my travels gave me valuable time by alone to appreciate everything I have, miss my family and also to gain confidence in myself and my abilities.

I’ve heard of crafty weekends away before but they all looked a bit old fashioned. The craft sessions was just a beautiful weekend away with so many crafty like-minded people sharing and doing what we all enjoy so much. Lots of time to plan, create and remember who I used to be before marriage and kids.

I’d definately recommend The Craft Sessions Retreat to anyone thinking of going and I’m definitely going to make sure I go again next year.

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