The weather may have been unusually hot for late spring, but it had no effect on the excitement and enthusiasm of the gaggle of ladies who participated in the annual Blueberries quilting boot camp held from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th November.
Officially the three-day pilgrimage to Tocal Agricultural College in the Hunter Valley was an opportunity for the women to all work together on a specially-designed quilt in a social environment, but it was just as much a rare chance to get away from their usual weekend responsibilities.
“It was mostly Jackie from Blueberries who organised the event,” said Susan Carr, spokesperson for the group and designer of the quilt that was the weekend’s project “We all met up for lunch at Morpeth on Friday afternoon before driving on to Tocal for a 3pm arrival. There was a great turn out. Even an internet customer who we’d never actually met turned up from Singleton.”
The meals were provided by the College and one of the ladies, Jacqui Gardner, kindly brought along some of her husband’s home-brewed liquor, becoming the unofficial barperson and helping to really set the scene for jovial merriment that lasted well into the night.
But of course, the real objective of the weekend was the sewing and everyone threw themselves into Susan’s quilt design with the same dedication and commitment shown at the regular Blueberries classes. Susan Carr and Carol Roberts provided on-site tutoring and the group worked so hard that by Sunday afternoon when everyone packed up to head home, the quilt was mostly finished.
That’s not to say there weren’t other specially organised activities to augment the sewing. Another memorable aspect of the weekend was the ‘pass the chocolate’ game, where everyone sat in a row passing a tray of chocolate while music played. As soon as the music stopped, the person holding the chocolate had to eat some while wearing white gloves and a scarf.
“It’s like Pass the Parcel, but with an element of good old fashioned public humiliation thrown in,” explained Susan with a laugh. “The thing is, most of the women didn’t really want to eat any of the chocolate as we’re all watching our waistlines, so the tray was passed around at lightning speed.”
Summing up the weekend as a festive whirlwind of eating, drinking, sewing, talking and laughing, Susan expressed a bit of concern that it all might come across as too “naughty”, thereby discouraging potential participants from next year’s boot camp. History will probably prove otherwise, however, as we all need a bit of harmless naughtiness in our lives every now and then, don’t we?
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