Quilting retreat at Hotel stitches a community


Diana Zimmerman

Quilters from all over the region, California, and Hawaii attended the first Quilters Retreat at the Hotel Cathlamet. The group became fast friends and many hope to return for the next retreat in the fall.

If Laurel Waller could harness the warm energy that greeted me when I walked into the Hotel Cathlamet last week, she could probably save on her monthly heating bill.

It was the first of what may be many quilters retreats at the establishment, and the lobby was filled with women sitting at tables, working at sewing machines varying from the style my own grandmother might have used, to modern tech driven machines I never knew existed, and art, lots of art, in fabric form.

Karen Bruggman of Edmonds runs such retreats up north, but this was her first one in Cathlamet. She first visited the area with her husband and friends, and while the menfolk went pike-minnow fishing, the ladies wandered down Main Street to look around.

That's when Bruggman met Waller and got to talking about quilting and retreats. Both immediately embraced the idea of making it happen here.

"Everybody is having a wonderful time," Brugg-man said.

She said that the quilters, who were all different ages, were working on their own projects. They share what they know with each other, and have spent a little time practicing their craft on group projects.

"A lot of the quilters here picked up the art from family members, and some picked it up on their own," Bruggman said. She practices a variety of crafts herself, but she always comes back to quilting.

"I just love all of it, and all of the wonderful people I meet," she said.

Though Bruggman has organized several quilt retreats, she was surprised to find this group to be a special one, and was feeling blessed to have found a new group of friends. Most of the women in attendance were from the region, but one person traveled from California and another arrived all the way from Hawaii.

This first retreat was called Jump into Spring, and because they are all themed, the coming event in October will be called The Haunted Hotel Quilt Retreat.

"So many want to come, we might have to do a couple back to back," Bruggman said. "Then we'll come again next April."

"I'm so excited," she added. "I'm not making much. It's not a money maker for me, I just enjoy doing it and sharing things I know and meeting new people."

"We only paid $350 for five days four nights and she feeds us?" Teresa Collins of Ocean Park said happily. "We saw the ad on Facebook and jumped on it. When it comes to having a retreat, there's not very many and they fill up very fast. You want your name in the hat, because if you snooze you lose."

"These people here are the most wonderful people I've ever met," Bruggman said. "I feel like I've known them for years. I may have to move down here."


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