Cuddle Up and Retreat!

One of my favorite things about hosting retreats is getting to spend time with guests who have come here to learn. Watching people get excited when they accomplish something new brings a lot of joy to me! What I love most of all, is the opportunity to get to know my customers and fellow stitchers on a more personal level. I feel like I have gained a lot of new and close friends by spending so much time at The Gathering, which is a beautiful thing. Friends, family, good food, and stitching every day… What more could I ask for? I am literally living my dream!

Many of you know of my good friend and colleague, Kathy Decker. She is not only a long-time friend of mine but also the host of many great stitching tutorials – some of which you may have seen during my YouTube LIVE broadcast, Stitch with Lisa Bongean.” She recently attended the “Winter Wonderland” multi-day retreat here at The Gathering back in January. Despite being a regular face around Primitive Gatherings, this was her first time staying as a guest for a multi-day retreat. I asked her if she had anything she’d like to share with you about her experience, and if she’d recommend it to her friends. She had this to say: “If people haven’t signed up for a retreat yet, they need to. Lisa really has thought of everything – it’s wonderful. You pull up to the front door, unload your stuff… You can go straight in, there’s no steps anywhere so you don’t have to haul everything up and down. There are even little buggies available to carry your things with! The retreat house has a huge activity room so we had a ton of space to spread out. There are a lot of electrical outlets and the lighting is fantastic. This was the first time I stayed over and it was great! I will definitely be back in April. The only downfall to all of this is, you don’t go home with fewer projects than you came with – you add to them instead!” LOL!

Our most recent retreat, “Love is All You Need” was a great success. We started our day with delicious mocha lattes and homemade raspberry scones prepared by Chef Erica (SO good – I may or may not have had two…). Once we got to work we focused on a couple of simple, yet adorable Valentine’s day-themed projects that many of the ladies managed to finish before leaving. Participants were able to choose from two different projects, including a long pillow or table runner.LOVE Long Pillow or Table Runner

It was a fairly simple design and easily modified, so there were a few different versions once it was all said and done. Each person added their own personal touch, which I think is so cool. I love to inspire people and then turn around and BE inspired by what they come up with! That’s one of the many things that makes quilting sew much fun.

Nancy from Independence, IA enjoyed her first visit to the new retreat house at Primitive Gatherings since it opened last summer. She is definitely no stranger to quilt retreats, however. She has been to many in her quilting career – which is actually how I met her years ago. It was November of 2000 when she and her quilt guild came to Ewalu Retreat Center in Strawberry Point, a little town in IA where they invited me to teach as a special guest. I was happy to see her again, and as usual we spent time stitching, catching up, and reminiscing. I asked her if she remembered how we met and she was happy to tell the story. “I always like to say I knew you before you were famous. I met you because we had a lady in our quilting guild who’s mother knew you somehow, so she invited you to teach at Ewalu while we were there. I have been following you ever since. Once a year I try to go to an event where you are doing a workshop or retreat. The four hour drive to WI from IA is doable, and totally worth it. I really like retreats because I get to meet people from other places. I have a lot of friends that I’ve met doing this, and retreats make it easy and fun to meet up with them. Not to mention all the beautiful projects you get to do. This is my main hobby along with rug hooking, which are both perfect reasons to buy MORE wool! I keep telling my kids their inheritance is going to be all fabric and quilt books because that’s what I’ve spent all my money on. After all, I always say you can’t put a price on a good time!”

Nancy, you are so right! Retreats and workshops at The Gathering really are the perfect way to meet up with your stitching friends. As the ladies mentioned there is plenty of space to spread out and work with power stations at each table. You can bring your own machine or rent one from us if you need to!

I’m already looking forward to our next event which is coming up fast! Cuddle Up & Stitchwill be held Friday February 25th and Saturday February 26th, 2022 here at The Gathering. Come join the fun and fellowship with chai lattes and Chef Erica’s famous cream puffs in the morning. Then we’ll get to work on a project I call, “Rustic Retreat.” This quilt has a finished size of 58″ x 74 1/2″ and is perfect for your lap or across the back of your favorite love seat. Designed with brushed cottons in monochromatic grays, blacks, and browns, this cozy little beauty fits in just about anywhere.

The pattern and kit for “Rustic Retreat” is not available for sale anywhere at this time, so if it’s a must have for you, sign up for Cuddle Up & Stitch! Retreat participants will receive exclusive project kits in their package, along with my one-on-one in-class instruction from 9AM until 4PM both days. Of course meals, and some other great party favors are included as well.

Space is limited for this event so don’t wait to book! Please call 920-778-8031 to reserve your seat. You can also email

I hope you all are planning to tune in for, Stitch with Lisa Bongean on YouTube at 1PM CST on Thursday. I don’t know if you heard, but my long anticipated Starlight Gatherings line has finally arrived at our warehouse, so we’ll be doing an exclusive Trunk Show on that. Even better news is that my “Starlight Gatherings” project book and project kits are also here (with the exception of the kit for, “Off Limits” due to pre-cuts not being available yet). We are still waiting on pre-cuts and anticipate those to arrive sometime at the end of March, 2022.

Talk about exciting! We’re big on celebrating around here so in honor of the arrival of Starlight Gatherings I’m offering 10% OFF all Starlight Gatherings Quilt Kits now through midnight on Sunday February 20th, 2022 (offer valid on Starlight Gatherings quilt kits only – does not include Starlight Gatherings fabric line, pre-cuts or Starlight Gatherings book)!

I’m really looking forward to this Trunk Show! The Starlight Gatherings collection was inspired by the twinkling stars and the night sky. Living on the lake allows me the privilege of not having much light pollution so my view of the night sky is amazing! The designs include my favorite shades of blue-indigo, navy, and cadet. Starlight Gatherings is perfect for blue and white style quilts, a classic color combination that remains one of the most desired quilt designs for antique quilt collectors today. Most of the quilts in this book are re-creations or inspired by my prized antique quilt collection. I am truly honored to own these quilts stitched with love by our foremothers. It amazes me what they were able to accomplish using just needles and thread. Blue and White style quilts never seem to go out of style and are just as cool today as they were 150 years ago. Maybe more! You’re not going to want to miss this show so hit the link below and tune in at 1PM CST Thursday to watch! See you there! ~Lisa

3 responses to “Cuddle Up and Retreat!”

  1. gijane279-Liz Avatar

    Love the retreat center, can hardly wait until I can join in the fun. In the meantime I saw Starlight Gatherings at a shop her in Texas yesterday, it’s FANTASTIC… can’t wait until my pre-orders arrive!!!! And yes some of it came home with me as yardage!

  2. Pat Widmaier Avatar
    Pat Widmaier

    Lisa, you never cease to amaze me. Such fun beautiful projects! Can’t wait to see what you will share with us at the Spring event.

  3. Darci Strobel Avatar
    Darci Strobel

    Love, love, love the retreat center!! I kid all of the time that I am going to see my financial guy to see just how long I could live there until I had to get a job!!

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