Salt Spring Island Retreat

Salt Spring Island Retreat

I recently went on a trip to Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada with a group of my friends from my Level 3 Stitch Class. What an enjoyable visit we had!

We drove up from Anacortes, WA to the Vancouver Tsawwassen ferry and then ferried over to Salt Spring Island.

We stayed at Catherine’s sister Fran’s, who kindly hosted us at her house/farm. It was a gorgeous property on the water, with a working farm/orchard.

The first day we went to the farmers and craft market. I took a bunch of photos of colorful produce as you can see above. We also visited the town of Ganges and went to a few galleries and shops.

Next up was a walk on the beach which was rocky but Edgar had a blast. There were four dogs during our stay and I think Edgar thought he was in heaven. He played and explored and had an absolutely wonderful time.

Then we started making baskets. Fran is a wonderful basket maker who supplied us with everything we needed and taught us how to make a simple basket. We thought it would take two days but it actually took three. I haven’t made a basket before and I think this will be my last one.

Here we are working away on our baskets. You can tell by my face that I am having a great time – ha ha! We also made a basket for one of our classmates who could not come to the retreat. That’s the basket I am working on in the bottom right photo.

Here is the result of our basket making. We all have a finished basket and they are pretty colorful too. Group of women sitting at dining table folding small books.

We also had a short session of folding small books with pockets.

Sunset over the water from deck.

We had a wonderful time together, great meals and Fran was so welcoming! Thanks for everything Fran and Catherine!



23 thoughts on “Salt Spring Island Retreat

  1. What a fabulous retreat – Fran’s farm is heavenly.
    Basket making looks hard on your fingers so well done for making an extra one for your friend 🙂 All the baskets look lovely.
    Edgar probably didn’t want to come home?

    1. It was absolutely wonderful and relaxing and fun… Basket making is definitely a bit fiddly for me but it was good to try it out. Edgar loved it there but was ready to jump in the truck the minute the suitcases came back out. He loves to visit but wants to stay with his people at all times 🙂

  2. Looks like you had a fabulous time with wonderful weather and how cute that the dogs got to have their own retreat in tandem with yours. Your basket looks awesome! Are you sure this is your fist go at basket weaving?

    1. Thanks Teri, the weather was really good except for a bit of smokiness from the fires. And yes, it was a retreat for the dogs who all seemed to enjoy it. I have done a bit of weaving before but not made into a basket. Although my girl scout skills of lashing came into good use with the god’s eyes holding the circles of wood together.

  3. Oh yes! What a place to have a retreat. You’ve certainly got some photographs for future picture inspiration. I don’t know about Edgar, I bet you didn’t want to come back either. 😉
    All those baskets looked very good, I love the shape and colour.
    Can you show us all how to make folded books with pockets some time?

    1. Thanks Ann, yes, I could have stayed longer but guests shouldn’t wear out their welcome, now should they? Fran had dyed all the reeds before we came so we had an excellent selection of colors to choose from.

      The folded books are from this book:
      I highly recommend this book if you are interested in learning how to make books with folding techniques. It is well worth the money.

    2. Thanks for that link Ruth, it does sound interesting. I’ve managed to trace a copy at our County Library, so I’ve ordered it to see if it’s a rabbit hole I can’t resist going down!

  4. Really neat to see these retreat photos…and what an amazing location! It reminded me of taking a basket class with my mom years ago. Great memories!!! For Edgar too!!! ❤️

    1. Thanks Marie, it was wonderful to relax in such a beautiful setting and have ‘me’ time with my friends. I highly recommend retreats if you can go.

  5. You obviously enjoyed your retreat & no doubt with all of you together, you enjoyed much laughter in addition to quality ‘me’ productive time….your photos will be a permanent reminder.

    The farm & surroundings look great & you were lucky with the weather….although I’m glad you all arrived back in one piece!

    Good that Edgar enjoyed his away time too….no doubt being spoiled en route!

    You sounded exasperated that the baskets took ‘3 days’….I’m amazed you finished them in that time. They are huge! In fact a very useful size and they make a fabulous colourful collection – well done to all of you. And what a wonderful friend in Fran!

    1. Thanks Antje, Edgar is always spoiled but he thought this was over the top. Catherine had told us the baskets wouldn’t take very long so I guess I had prior expectations. We didn’t have control over the size as Fran made the rings in advance. I got the smallest two I could get:)

  6. Looks like you had a great time even if you made some funny faces. The baskets look great. You didn’t start small did you? LOL . It is so nice you could take the dogs with you. Giver you a good excuse for a walk too. Basket making is on my list. Not that I need another basket. A lady her Janet Whittam ( ) teaches baskets where you go foraging for the materials first. I will get to it one day.

    1. It was such fun. I’m always making funny faces but generally don’t see them 😉

      We had no choice on the size since the rings were already made. I snatched the smallest ones up as quickly as I could. Foraging for the materials sounds like fun, you should try it 😁

  7. What a wonderful retreat Ruth, Fran pulled out all the stops and made it really special for your all – what a super host she must be. It looks like you had fine weather too. I love the idea that canine companions also had their own doggy holiday – I imagine that their scampering around added to the experience for their humans too.

    I love all of your baskets and the coloured reeds make them all so personal. I hope hands and fingers are still intact following this once off project (your face says it all in the photo!)

    I have just reappeared out of a rabbit hole that I fell into when I checked out the farmer’s market Ruth. What a treat to visit such a place (I just fell in love with Anne Byrne’s pottery but that is just for starters ….). It is super that our canine friends can also go to market – the doggy daycare is a great idea although I don’t think one hour would be enough lol.

    I have checked out the link to Art of the Fold. Gosh, they look amazing and very complicated and also exquisite.

    I imagine the experience left the whole party refreshed and inspired for future works.

    1. Thanks Helene, Fran was an excellent hostess and we all really enjoyed getting to know her a bit better. The dog part of the retreat was very entertaining as Edgar fell in love with Fran’s dog Luna (Great Pyrenees) and followed her around all over the place. She was probably three times as tall as he was. It was so funny.

      The baskets actually turned out so different for each person, the color choices and sizes made a huge difference.

      The Saturday market on Salt Spring is wonderful and had loads of people attending. Hopefully, all the artists and farm stands made some money off all the tourists (including us). The doggy day care was fun to go and watch. There weren’t very many dogs in the day care but plenty of owners who can’t read signs forbidding dogs in the market itself. I suppose their dogs were special and the rules didn’t apply to them.

      I have been really enjoying the Art of the Fold book. Once you know how to fold an accordion correctly, the books are fairly easy to figure out. And she shows you how to make the books larger or have more pages or make them into your own design. Great book!

      The retreat was definitely refreshing and relaxing!

  8. Fran’s farm looks dreamy – just the type of place I’d love to live in. How I wish I had a cloning machine! 😀

    Your retreat sounds like a lot of fun, and I’m glad Edgar had a good time (maybe even better than you did, considering he didn’t have to make a basket?) Very jealous of both of you! I hope you get to enjoy it again soon and show us all the pretty pictures again 🙂

    1. Thanks Leonor, the farm was really dreamy and I agree about the cloning machine. It would be heavenly to live there but it would involve a lot of work on the farm. Edgar had the bestest time and as you say, no basket making 😉

  9. Sorry to hear that you didn’t get on with basketmaking – but the results look great! It can be time-consuming – I thought felting was slow until I started making baskets. 🙂

  10. Thanks Kim, I was thinking of you when making the baskets actually. And yes, it is a slow process. I like your abstract approach to basket making better than traditional baskets. But I certainly don’t need another direction to follow right now.

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