Sunday, 18 November 2012


I don't particularly relish the thought of a weekend away working but whenever I have a weekend teaching at Missenden Abbey it is always an enjoyable time.
The grounds and the building alone are so beautiful, especially on a bright, frosty morning like today I can't think of a more lovely place to be, even if it is work.

And there is also that certain thrill of not having to be responsible for dog walking, chicken tending or family meals etc for a full 48 hours. It's quite liberating only to be responsible for oneself, if only for a brief spell..

Although I do feel a responsibility to my students.

I only had a small group this weekend. Six students each with their own individual expectations of what the weekend would deliver.

... which doesn't always match my ideas of what I plan to deliver! But I relish the challenge.

There is often some juggling and impromptu demonstrations but in the end I always hope that everyone in the class goes away with some of their expectations met.

Six beginners were trying their hand at free machine embroidery. Laying down strips of fabric onto a backing fabric and stitching into the surface to create new colourful fabrics.

I had brought in some of the petal bags I made a few weeks ago (from Jenny Rolfe's book) as samples and some of the students turned their fabrics into their own petal bags. Whilst others came up with their own designs. (The foiling was one of the impromptu demonstrations!)

But when I hear a student exclaim "I'm so excited I can't even speak" on mastering a technique I think I have succeeded in delivering at least one person's expectations.

Like so many adult education centres, Missenden Abbey has gone through challenging times recently with dropping student numbers and necessary cutbacks in service but I still believe it offers a great learning experience in the most glorious surroundings. And with new management and some exciting new changes planned I think things can only get better and better. And I'm certainly still willing to give up my weekends to work there. Although it is good to be home in front of the fire with a glass of wine this evening!


  1. What a beautiful place and lovely that you get job satisfaction from your work!!!
    There seems to be a lot of glasses of wine by the fire in blogland this weekend, must be the time of year! :)
    Vivienne x

  2. I really miss going to Missenden - I always loved being able to immerse myself in a weekend of stitching and thinking, without having to break off at any time to cook a meal or empty the washing machine. The foiling looks good - I'm still mightily weighed down with foil, so if anyone wants any...!

  3. What a treat to have a weekend workshop at Missenden Abbey - it is such a beautiful venue and your students' work is right up there with it.

  4. Looks to me like those students had a fabulous time, how could they not! And what a beautiful place in which to spend your weekend.

    You've reminded me how much I miss teaching!

  5. wonderful photos, getting hot here in southern Oz. I really wish you lived not far away, I envy those who take your classes and as I try to get out of a hole your little embroidered bags, and a few other things, have made me sit up and have a go, so far I have stitched fabric to felt and tomorrow if I have time I will get out the Bernina and have a go at a bit more machine embroidery, which I am not terribly good at.
    doing it on your own is not quite the same as doing it with others, I think it is the stimulation I need and you, thank goodness do that with your blog.
    Thank you.

  6. What a beautiful place and I'm sure a very inspiring weekend for your students.

  7. Looks like you have had another successful and satisfied group of student Gina - and what a beautiful setting.

  8. If I was a more confident driver I would attend one of your courses but I just know that getting there would knock the stuffing out of me.

  9. It looks and sounds like a lovely weekend, Gina and it certainly looks like your students had a great time.

    I totally agree about how nice it is to have a break from all the day to day chores at home and really immerse yourself in doing your own thing :o)


  10. Many thanks for the kind offer of the four-needle sock pattern. I am on my last pair now and have got used to the two needle version though I do think the seams spoil the finished look.

  11. Glad the weekend went well.


I love getting your comments and I love to read what you have to say so thank you for taking the time! I reply directly here in the comments when possible.