Nifty, Nattering, Needlers, Nibbling @ NOWRA 2005

Cherie Thompson © 2006

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After months of excitement, thirty marvelous Crazy Quilters met at the beautiful “Waterslea” on the banks of the Shoalhaven River, situated 2.5 hours from Sydney and 2ks from the south coast town of Nowra on the eastern coast of New South Wales, Australia. Following the signs to the retreat was daunting, as the narrow dirt road wound through the hills, but the reward was unanimous. After we crept around yet another bend there, spread out before us, was the most stunning panoramic view of where we were to gather for 3 days and 3 nights. Crazy Quilters traveled from New Zealand, Western Australia, far North Queensland and southern Victoria. What had been imagined as a small retreat became an International and National event. Traveling times of up to fourteen hours with two lots of ladies driving for over eleven hours was gratifying.

The view from our meeting/work room.

Upon arrival Welcome Bags were handed out. Donations from Avon, The Scissorman, EC Birch, Gutterman, Universal Magazines, Dr. Scholl, Basco Products, SSS, Shanshi, Kaliko Kottage along with fibres and beads from private stashes had the bags bursting with surprises.

Attendees were invited to make and/or embellish a pair of men’s undies as fund raising for The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Beloved men in the lives of many women are effected by prostate cancer and we were startled to hear that the foundation receives no Government funding and relies solely on public donations. Saturday morning we held the hilarious “Undie” parade.

Photos of the full Undies Gallery can be seen at

Saturday was overcast and raining, a perfect day to gather in the workroom. We broke with tradition by asking that name tags be made as ATCs so plenty of swapping was done and is still being done. "Baggies" were renamed "Fab Packs" and we asked everyone to bring three. These were collected and at various times throughout the weekend a lucky dip was held. Another request was to “Bring your Block”. This was a pieced block ready for embellishing that became a personal work space. These blocks did the rounds of the room. As soon as a new stitch, embellishment or technique appeared these blocks were flying to and fro as new techniques were shared. Corn Pad embroidery was unveiled while we stitched, laughed and swapped ideas non-stop. Some blocks are still traveling Australia being embellished as mementos of a fabulous time. The 24-hour cappuccino machine frothed and bubbled.

Saturday night was dress for dinner. Wearing many op shop delights shrieks of laughter engulfed the dining room. After dinner the old party game favourite of “Pass the Parcel” added to the hilarity and everyone came away with either vintage fabric, vintage linen or another treasure. Just as we were calming down a surprise chicken scratch appeared and scissors cut furiously as CQ’ers chased each other attempting to souvenir a sample from a garment they coveted. The fun went late into the night.

Sunday after breakfast the bus arrived to transport us to the historic town of Berry where our wallets were emptied and credit cards were maxed. The local monthly market unearthed many special buys as well as Sew & Tell, the shop we all now know as “the most beautiful store on the planet”. Some of us were seen going back three or four times.

Here we are ready to board the bus.

Here we are after the shopping spree having both foot and retail therapy! 

A “guess how many buttons were in the bottle” competition was held. The major prize was a stunning basket of products from Leudenberg ($150 value), plus a shopping voucher from Spotlight, a voucher from Sew & Tell, a voucher from Alison’s at Mittagong along with the bottle of buttons boosted our fund raising. The Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia received $250.00 from the splendid efforts of everyone at the retreat.

To have found such an idyllic setting, with scrumptious food, marvelous accommodation, together with a group of like-minded women who surely must have been hand picked was an absolute joy to have been a part of it all.

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