Last  Fall's  Retreat Classes

Stitching Girls Society   held our first ever Fall Sewing Retreat with classes at Camp Burton on Vashon Island in 1985.  Our unique, personalized, hands-on classes have been a hallmark of our organization's purpose.  Over the years our experienced teachers have been both locally and national known sewing experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love of sewing.

We stopped offering classes during Covid-19, but began again in Fall 2023 with a Mariner's Compass Quilt and a Scrap Happy Log Cabin Quilt by Colleen Blackwood (more details below).  Our Fall 2024 Classes have yet to be announced.

See Also About - Our Founder, Lorraine Kimmel
and her daughter, our former  Executive Director and President, Penny Kimmel  who succeeded her.
Our Retreats and Programs are now planned and implemented by Member volunteers.

Two 2023 Classes by Colleen Blackwood

Mariner's Compass Quilt
Mariner's Compass  Quilt

Mariner's Compass Quilt
Two Day Class

Learn to sew a Mariner’s Compass block using a specific ruler designed by a quilter from the state of Washington! RobinRuth designs has expanded her patterns and beautiful quilts based on her rulers and techniques. Her instructions are precise and easy to understand and she backs them up with video support and tutorials. The purchase of her book is necessary for the class - RobinRuthDesign.COM will be the best place to look for them. There are two choices to start with - fat robin or skinny robin - all the blocks shown in my quilt are skinny points. Robin’s webpage has a lot of samples to look though to help with choosing colors and possible patterns. We will be using the 16 point compass pattern to get the hang of the construction - there are 32 point options with a booklet that illustrates the 32 point construction.

Class Fee: $190 + Book and Ruler (purchased separately)
(Fee includes Scrap Happy Log Cabin Class)

(Learn more about both these classes ...)

Scrap Happy Log Cabin Quilt
Scrap Happy Log Cabin   Quilt

Scrap Happy Log Cabin Quilt
One Day Class

All you need is a bag or box of scrap strips - 1” minimum and no bigger than 2 1/2” strips - we will be making “wonky” log cabins, This is a fun, no worry project to attack those ever multiplying scraps we seem to have in every corner.

Class Fee: $50 (without Mariner's Compass)

Coleen Blackwood
Colleen Blackwood

Both Classes by Colleen Blackwood

Colleen Blackwood has taught quilt classes for many years and has been teaching machine quilting for a dozen years or more, using her home machine. The 2018 Sisters Oregon Quilt Show named Colleen their most Inspirational Instructor and her bio appears in Oregon Culture Keepers' Roster.

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Founder, Lorraine Kimmel

Lorraine Kimmel
(1920 to 2008)

Lorraine started the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat. Having a passion for sewing all her life and having owned the Plaza Fabrics store on Vashon Island, she became a founding board member of the Seattle Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. She talked the Sewing Guild into sponsoring a sewing retreat on Vashon Island, but before the first retreat in 1985, a change in the Guild's national policy caused the Seattle Chapter to disband. Lorraine kept the retreat alive by personally taking over the Retreat project. Shortly there after, Lorraine brought Camp Burton in as a co-sponsor. Over the years since then, many retreat instructors and attendees have pitched in to make the retreat the cooperative effort it is today.

Lorraine had a loving and friendly but firm way of managing this group of creative and independant individuals, so we soon came to affectionaly call her "Mother Superior." Gradually Lorraine handed the directorship duties over to her daughter Penny. Lorraine will be greatly missed, but never forgotten!

Lorraine had a flare for colors and styles, sewing her own clothes from an early age. Later, she concentrated on crafts, dolls and quilt projects, combining flashy new fabrics with the colorful stash left over from the closing of her fabric store, which she owned with her sister-in-law Sally. She was an active member of both the doll and quilting clubs on Vashon, plus part of a small group of island sewers who make hundreds of lap quilts for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center patients. Her later years were filled with quilting projects for American Hero Quilts. She will always be known for her unusual soft sculptures which she sold on consignment and her colorful, individual sweatshirt jackets, that she wore everywhere.

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Former Exec. Dir. & Pres. Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel was the Director of the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat, taking over from its founder, Lorraine Kimmel, her mother.  She had also been the first ever President and Executive Director of our sponsoring non-profit Stitching Girls Society which she helped found in 2009.

Penny attended the Sewing Retreats since 1988.  With her Apparel Design Program training from Seattle Central Community College, she had also been a well qualified instructor when needed.  She has taught sweatshirt appliqué, purses and bags, adaptable aprons, and then for several years she became the Retreat's polar fleece guru, known for the mounds of Polar Fleece scraps she always brought to classes.

Before attending the Apparel Design Program, Penny worked full time in television production.  She combined her 2 loves on a number of sewing videos for Jinni's Personal Patterns, Kathy Ruddy Live Guide Series, Unique Measuring video, Clotilde, and Creative Feet.  Her professional video abilities also made her the important Pen_y part of Pengy Productions with Peggy Grber, the Pe_gy part of Pengy.  Together they created this web site as well as the 20 year Retreat History DVD/Video and the 30 Years of Retreat History Video on YouTube.

In spring of 2021, Penny had to step down from all of those happy activities to focus on her personal health issues.  She put up a valient fight for her life, but lost the final battle on April 20, 2022.  We miss them both terribly, but their memories live on every time the Stitching Girls get together.  See Remembering Penny Kimmel where we have shared many memories of our years of sewing and retreating under her leadership.

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