Like the annual migration of mallard ducks (oh yes, they arrive this time of year too!), hundreds of women flock to St. Peters Abbey, a real working monastery tucked into a very small small town in rural Saskatchewan.
Yes, you read right! Hundreds of women going to a monastery! Did you even know there was such a thing? St. Peter's Abbey is home to Benedictine monks who live, work and pray in this peaceful and quiet country setting.
The Abbey is also home to St. Peter's College, a branch of the University of Saskatoon. The regular school-year students can obtain degrees in agriculture and business in a small, rural college close to home. But now it is May, and the students have returned home for the summer months.
That's where we come in...
Every year since 2001, the Abbey and College have been home to the Saskatchewan Stitches Conference. It started out as the brainchild of Wendy Toye, owner of the Haus of Stitches in Humboldt, the town closest to Muenster. She wanted to offer something different for those home sewists passionate about the needle arts - maybe a conference where they could go, stay for a few days and further explore their craft or learn new ones, rather than go to a show (where you go and buy stuff and then leave).
She selected a few teachers she had worked with and asked if they might be interested in teaching at this conference. I felt privileged to teach bra-making at that first 4 day conference, and I have been there every year since, teaching bra-making, corsetry and swimwear. That's me (4th from the right) in last year's group photo (not everyone can fit in the group photo!) The Conference has grown from 4 days to 11 days! And yes, lots of women come for the entire time! Can you imagine getting away to sew for yourself for 11 days?
It's not all sew, sew, sew either. We also have product demonstrations, and we have always have a special guest who has either a trunk show, slide show or other interesting stories to tell us. For our 10th anniversary, I was asked to be the guest speaker! What an honour! (That's me and Wendy in front of my challenge quilt, Hidden Secrets in the Abbey)
Oh I almost forgot, all the conference attendees can stay right at the college, in the residence vacated by the students, so everyone has their own room, or can share a room if they like. All the home-cooked meals are prepared for us, so for 11 days it's no cooking, no cleaning, no phones and no cats wanting in and out...it's all about sewing, quilting, knitting, rug hooking and best of all...bra-making!
The College has an internet connection, and I will be blogging from the Conference from May 29 to June 8. If you would like more information about the conference or the classes or to register, please go to the conference website at www.saskstitches.ca