They didn't just leave comments, they chatted with me online and we made friendships from afar. Last summer I met Nicky when we joined up for the Quilt Festival. Last weekend I met Kat. Today I met Annabella.
For those of you who don't know, though I suspect you all do know already, Annabella lives in Marrakech with her husband and son. She booked the Retreat as determined as the rest of us to meet, sew and have a fabulous time. And then last week she got ill. I cannot even imagine the disappointment.
Happily for me her aunt lives in Warwick which is not that far from here. And she drove over to see me today. It was fabulous to finally meet!
Before Annabella came I did a little mini sewing fest because I wanted to make her something that was an extra souvenir of the weekend though she wasn't there. And I had the perfect piece of fabric to use, courtesy of Kirsten. It arrived out of the blue last week and I was so busy and caught up in retreat preparations I didn't post about it. If you don't know Kirsten please do go have a look. She is so good with colour, things made with DS fabric, HSTs and a whole lot more. Plus she is super nice and all the way on the other side of the world in Australia.
|How good is that London fabric?|
And isn't that blue linen the best colour?
A quick dig about found some fabric that has been in the stash forever. I full yard of it. Purchased when I bought fabric because it was on sale not because I had a use for it. More digging and a red zip emerged from the bottom of the pit. Some cutting and sewing and I eventually had something to give as a gift.
|One pouch, lined (and backed) with rows of little soldiers.|
|With a little bit of hand stitching to mark the occasion.|
Next I went and sifted through my goodie bag from the retreat and decided that it would be much nicer to share than to hoard it all for myself, so I stuffed some things into the pouch.
|I was lucky as I ended up with two Oakshott FQs.|
And I recently won some Aurifil.
It was a no brainer to give some to Annabella.
And then Annabella was here, with the most gorgeous four year old you can imagine. And we had just over an hour to cram in as much talk as possible. I told her about the retreat. She asked questions, more about people than anything. I showed her in as efficient way as possible how to do portholes and freezer paper piecing - thankfully both techniques lending themselves more to my visual aids I got/made last weekend than to my ability to explain things. Annabella claims to have understood. Time will tell!
She seemed happy with my pouch full of goodies that I gave her. I was surprised to receive a pouch for myself. I didn't think Annabella had access to everything she needed to sew over here in the UK but of course she is with her mum and she has what is required.
|Gorgeous linen and Liberty pouch.|
Wouldn't Annabella have been in her element with the Liberty people?!
|Lined with yet more lovely Liberty,|
and one of her great labels.
Needless to say I provided cake and cookies. Any excuse really, though this was a particularly good excuse.
And Annabella looked exactly like she was supposed to. Good of her.
We talked lots. I let her get the occasional word in. I can be nice like that. She loved her Sample Swap items, as I am sure she will blog when she can. And then, just before she had to go, I gave her the Christmas tablerunner from the swap I ran in November.
For those of you who don't know, Annabella was the only one who didn't receive her tablerunner. Not because her partner didn't send, but because the post office buggered up somewhere along the way. We thought it was missing forever. But it wasn't. Some time in the new year it showed up back at Susan's in Melbourne. Susan sent it to me and I told her I would save it until June and hand it over in person. We never told Annabella that the original had shown up. She was expecting to get one I made as a replacement. So this was a double surprise. I will let the photos do the talking now.
And I will end this post with photos of the most beautiful four year old himself. Zaki has gone a bit camera shy but I managed to sneak a couple past him when he wasn't expecting it.
The visit may have been short but it was absolutely brilliant. Annabella will be back in fighting form next year and is determined to meet all the rest of you face to face. I told her she would like you.