Unique stitching retreats in Maine

Dive into your creative practice with the support and encouragement of some of our day's leading Makers.

Each year A Gathering of Stitches, which is Samantha Hoyt Lindgren (me), creates unique stitching retreats for people who are looking for a little change of pace in their downtime, their vacation, if you will. I like to bring together small groups with generous instructors to explore ways to expand our stitching while calming our minds. For 2018 I will again offer at least two retreats: Slow Fashion; and Slow Stitching.  There may also be more programming on deck. If you are here because you are curious about what I will be doing next year, stay tuned. Do read below to see what I do and why, and what others think of my retreats. The descriptions for my 2018 retreats will go live on this site in January. What you see here is from 2017. If you want to be alerted as soon as that information becomes public, sign up for my email newsletter, because that's where I announce them first.  Do know that I take a month between announcing the retreats and opening the registration so that people can check work, home, and life schedules, make arrangements with partners/spouses/helpers, and take the time to make a measured decision about joining one of my retreats without the pressure of a registration deadline hanging over you. Life is busy and stressful, my retreats are not....  I sincerely hope you will join me for one of them. In the meantime, please do read this page, and others here to get a feel from what I am all about.

Thanks in stitches,

Samantha

 

A Gathering of Stitches is proud to bring a lovely line-up of thoughtful Makers to Maine for the Summer of 2017. Our retreats this year will focus on slowing down your practice, your pace, your breath, and your mind to allow yourself the time and space to absorb some new ideas about Making. Our mantra this year is Slow.  Slow Stitching, Slow Fashion, Slow Maine. Come join Cal Patch, Katrina Rodabaugh, and Jessica Lewis Stevens for a week of Slow Fashion on the beach in July at the Ferry Beach Park Association. Or if quilting is more your thing, come in August and hang out with Chawne Kimber, Heather Jones, and Kim Eichler-Messmer for some sweet stitching in the woods at Medomak Retreat Center. You can read more about Slow Fashion Here, and Slow Stitching Here. You can also see images from this year's retreat on this blog post....!

AGOS brings some of the top names in Modern Stitching to this grand corner of the country for a series of in-depth gatherings. Maine is off the beaten track, an oasis in the fast-paced life so many of us live. The speed of life is a little slower here, allowing your creative mind to wander where it will. With these retreats AGOS incorporates the best of both the quiet, and the stimulation, to create unique opportunities for Stitchers with some of the most creative minds (and hands) in the world of stitching. Bring your quilting and garment sewing practice to Maine and see what you go home with.

I loved every minute of it. I was a little nervous when I arrived because I’d never been to a retreat like that and I was so far from home and, quite frankly, it was the first time I was alone in almost a decade. You greeted me with a hug that instantly put me at ease and I totally knew I was in the right place.
— Erin
I was so happy to be a part of the slow stitching retreat this year. It was exactly what I needed as I entered my next chapter of life. Staying at Medomak emphasized the joys and ease of living in nature: maybe shower or take a jump in the lake, camaraderie of a group, the magnificent sounds of rural Maine (OH those loons!), no air conditioning (I loved it!), healthy locally grown food for nourishment of the body and mind.
— Martha
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For any event at AGOS, you will work in small groups to foster deep practice, giving you the opportunity to ask all the questions you might have, with time and space to explore the answers. I take care of all the basic necessities so you can relax and focus on the making. There is a reason why so many artists and writers find Maine the perfect place to create. There is plenty of space - psychic and physical - for creating up here.  Making happens in all sorts of settings, creativity is sparked by our surroundings, conversations we have, vistas we see, meals we share.  Maine is ripe for such inspiration with it's rustic beauty, the immersion in Nature, and the slower pace. I try and do all the advance work so when you show up, all this inspiration is just waiting for you.....

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What a wonderful weekend of fun, learning and growing - also tasty food and the Salt water farm dinner was fabulous. Best of all I felt stretched in my thinking and use of color as well as creating new, different, dynamic shapes and designs for my quilts. The best investment in my quilting I have ever made! Cannot wait to do more.
— Robin
You have achieved the perfect formula for retreats:
Outstanding organization + great teacher + nurturing space
— Emily
This was my first sewing class and I had such a great time - and left feeling so much more confident - that I can’t wait for the next one. It was so lovely to meet people just as excited about sewing as I am and even better, ones so generous with their support and kindness. I loved the format, the food, the company, and the time to really dig in to our projects. I actually arrived thinking that I wouldn’t be able to sew for 8 hours a day! But I realized there that it’s completely different to sew when sewing is all you have to do rather than sitting down at the machine after work.
— Erika
I was a little nervous coming to the retreat but everyone put me at ease. I really appreciated the different skill levels present because you could learn from a breadth of experience. Breaking down the group through rotating days and then having a last recap day was great.
— Amanda
Many of us have “real jobs”, and even though my real job challenges me to think creatively and solve problems on an every day basis, the reward is not as personally fulfilling to me as exercising my creativity and challenging myself as a maker. Making is even better when shared...creating within a community with encouragement and inspiration is an awesome experience. Everyone is so generous with their time and their spirit...sigh...so wonderful!
— Mary Anne
It’s always nice to learn something new, but this was a different learning experience. There was a freedom there, a way to be vulnerable and creative without judgment. It is not hyperbole to say my life was changed.
— Wanda
The people were the best part. And I would come back just to hang out with them... it was a pleasure to get a new take on these skill sets - you always learn new tricks from others! And your teachers were gems, but you already know I think that. Another bit of awesome was four whole days of time where I was required to sit down and make, rather than being continuously distracted by the laundry or the groceries or the flooding basement.
— Erika

 

I believe that few experiences in life cannot be made better by stitching. Truly... Whether you do it to escape, or you choose it as your avocation, stitching is a way to connect us to our ancestors, our community, and ourselves.  When we engage in these tactile analog traditions we remember our ability to create, to make, to change, to connect. AGOS gives you the opportunity to turn off the day-to-day noises (or at least turn the volume way down) and turn up your creative voice. My retreats combine a good mix of structure and epiphany.  There is always time to process what you're learning in the moment.  And if you really just need to go for a walk, that's totally cool.  I want you to return to your daily life feeling renewed, energized and maybe a little jazzed about a new skill.

Oh, the lady that organized the whole thing. I can’t recall her name... Sandy, Susan, Sammy or Something (just kidding, Sam! 😘) well she was approachable, funny, lovable, quirky, such a kindred spirit and all around fantastic lady. Love you, Sam. Thank you so much!
— Doe
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If you'd like to read more about the background of these retreats read my blog post here. You can read about the 2015 retreats below:

Amy Butler and Heather Jones

Chawne Kimber & Carolyn Friedlander at the Slow Stitching Retreat

LLADYBIRD!

~Other folks have written lovely things about my retreats as well. Check out what they have to say below:

Fancy Tiger Crafts

Kitty Wilkin, Night Quilter

Karin Jordan, Leigh Laurel Studios

Kristin Shields: Medomak Magic; Slow Stitching 1 (Carolyn Friedlander); Slow Stitching 2 (Chawne Kimber);

Elisa Albury: Slow Stitching Reflections

Lauren Taylor (LLADYBIRD)

The days with Carolyn and Chawne were damn near perfect - the weather helped, but the time together and relaxed atmosphere was lovely.
— Tracy
The retreat and the experience exceeded my expectations. In the days and weeks leading up to the retreat I was tired and needed a break from work and my life. Before I got to the retreat, I hoped it would be a place to unwind, relax and that it would help me regain my creative mojo. I experienced all of that and more.
— Heather