Crochet Retreat in Wiltshire


Grab yourself a cuppa….. or something stronger….. settle down and have a read and look at some fabulous photos from a wonderful weekend.

Last weekend nearly thirty Helen’s Hookaholics got together in Wiltshire for a crochet retreat.

Ladies from the USA, Ireland and all over England met up at a lovely hotel near Royal Wootton Basset, Swindon.

Friday afternoon saw us gradually arriving and taking over the bar area, where the laughter started, and it didn’t stop until we left on Sunday.

Many of the ladies got their lovely bag and T-shirt at this point, a huge thank you to Gina’s daughter for the design.

Even though some may have felt slightly nervous about meeting a large group of “new” people, everyone soon felt at ease and realised that this was going to be fun, spending time with so many like minded people, who all had one thing in common, their love of crochet and of my designs.

I designed a special large square for the retreat, and I have called it Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary square can be used alone as a cushion facing or can be made larger using the Continuum pattern for either baby or full sized blankets.


Sanctuary is now available to purchase in either US or UK terms

On Saturday we started the day choosing colours and then on to making the Sanctuary square.

I took along a selection of yarns, all Stylecraft, some from my stash and some very kindly given to us from Stylecraft Yarns.

They included the ever popular Stylecraft Special dk, Bambino, Bellissima, Wondersoft, Linen Drape, Life dk and Batik.

I also took along my Sacred Space and Arcadia blankets and two new designs which will be coming out next month, Par Sands Shawl and Amorette a wrap/scarf.

I spent the day helping with handy hints and tips and the laughter continued all day, which also meant there was a fair bit of frogging or unpicking of work as laughter, chatter and counting don’t always mix well 🙂


Something that was said more than a few times was that the atmosphere in the room was just like it is in our Helen’s Hookaholics group, kind, helpful, friendly and supportive.

No-one feels left out when there is an energy of love.


There was so much cake that everyone brought to share even some with purple icing, I know with that, breakfast, lunch and dinner it is going to take quite a few walks on the beach with Mr J to work it all off!



At the end of the day on Saturday the ladies presented me with a gorgeous blanket made up of a selection of my afghan squares….with one random square sneaked in and made by Gaye who organised the weekend.

The squares included are all in the chart below with the name of the ladies who made the squares [with the exception of 2]

Spiro Star, With Love, Star Crossed, Ripples on the Shore, Rosetta, Moody Blue, Desire, Clarissa and Lotus Pavilions  are all free patterns.

Destiny, Chantelle, Darling Buds, Spinning Around, Berry Pie,

Corabelle, Clarissa, Sienna, Briony and Oriana are all squares from the Floral Fantasy collection.

Heart of Life is from Heart of Friendship.

Imagine is from Dream Weaver.

Winnie’s Flower is from the Whispers from the past cal.

Mandala Madness, this square is an adaptation from part 1 of the Mandala Madness cal.

Sweet Caroline, again this square is adapted from the Sweet Caroline cal.

And a huge thank you to Gemma Lale who joined all the squares using the join from Whispers from the Past and she also adapted the boarder from part 2 of the cal to make the boarder.

Here is another photo of the blanket laid out flat on the floor, with the normal photo bomb from Mr J.

Sunday morning there were a couple of sore heads, not mine I will add, but the laughter continued as we spent the morning together continuing to work on the Sanctuary square.

Jude Henderson showed us all how to make these gorgeous tassels, and I have promised to make a video tutorial at some point in the future.

The ladies all brought their Sacred Space blankets, at various stages of completion along and we made the most of the glorious sunshine and took some amazing photos to mark the occasion and to show all their wonderful hard work.


And we had to get a group photo of the ladies wearing their Helen’s Hookaholics T-shirts.

The final photo I have to share with you all is of the ladies progress over the weekend.
As you can see some of the more experienced hookers among us actually managed to finish their Sanctuary squares and the other ladies all took theirs home with them to finish off, so I hope they will be sharing their finished makes in the Hookaholics group.



There are some beautiful colour combinations here, from pretty pastels to deep colours and from brights to muted mixes.

Although I had a wonderful weekend I was very tired by the time I got home, although all the sloppy kisses from Mr J, who was very pleased to see me, made the perfect end to a magical weekend.


Because I know some of you are going to ask…. Yes we are planning on doing more retreats in the UK and I have been asked to do some in the USA, and I have also been asked to do a cruise in a couple of years.

It all takes lots of planning and I would again like to thank Gaye Brown for the amazing organisational skills she has to have put this weekend together so very well.



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