October 1st – October 6th, 2023





Join Denyse for four days of hands-on improvisational sewing and color exploration, using stripes as our structural base. The motto for this class is “sew more, think less” – learn to trust your intuition, unlearn the “rules” of color, build your creative confidence, and streamline your patchwork process. With fast-paced sewing practices, guided explorations, and group discussions, you’ll go home armed with momentum and inspiration to apply to all your patchwork projects, and make a large quilt top during our retreat in the process! We’ll also work with internalizing the language of design to help us discuss and direct our results, and learn how to define parameters to encourage innovation.

Denyse will provide hands-on instruction in improvising stripes, including:

  • Overview of the “language” of design
  • Visual presentations
  • How to prepare materials to minimize sticking points
  • Tips for curating your “stash”
  • Improvisational cutting and sewing techniques
  • Using limits to free our minds
  • Group critiques and discussion
  • Overview of composition and layout
  • Overview of finishing techniques



We will stay in a gorgeous seaside inn on the Maine coast, where hiking, swimming and gardens are just outside of your bedroom door. Your days will be spent in the studio, and meals will be served straight from local chefs. You will learn new skills, make new friends, and awaken the spirit.


Each evening we will gather for a beautiful dinner feast, and embroider on a communal tablecloth. This project will bring us together at the end of the day – allowing for continued stitching practice and conversation, and connecting us to the part of the craft which historically took place, side by side. The finished cloth is an embroidered recording of this retreat. We look forward to your addition to our legacy cloth!

There will also be other evening opportunities for sitting and stitching, both in solitude and with your newfound friends

Sunday, October 1st – Friday, October 6th, 2023

Midcoast Maine

Single Room – King Bed – Water View: $4,500

Shared Room – Two Queen Beds: $3,400

Single Room – King Bed: $4,300

A former graphic designer and graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, Denyse Schmidt has been sewing since she was a young girl. As a professional seamstress, she worked on everything from tutus and bishop’s mitres to fine clothing. Today, she brings these eclectic influences together in patchwork quilts characterized by simple graphics, rich color and quality workmanship. Firmly rooted in the techniques of American quilt-making, Denyse Schmidt reinterprets tradition to make modern functional quilts that are fresh, lively and offbeat.

Denyse’s Couture and custom quilts, in production since 1996, are pieced to order in her studio and hand-quilted by Amish women in Minnesota. Denyse Schmidt Works, a line of machine-quilted quilts, pillows and upholstery fabrics with an industrial-chic aesthetic, was developed in 2003 for the design trade and retail markets. Denyse Schmidt Designs for Sarita Handa, a partnership with Sarita Handa Exports, launched in 2004 with an affordable line of high quality quilts and decorative home accessories. Since 2003, Chronicle Books has brought to market more than a dozen stationary and gift items based on her work, as well as her first how-to book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts, 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects. With FreeSpirit Fabrics, Denyse designs fabric collections for independent quilt and fabric stores from 2006-2018. Denyse designs for Windham Fabrics as of 2020. In 2011, her DS Quilts Collection fabric line debuted with record-breaking sales in JoAnn Stores (US) and Spotlight Stores (Australia). In conjunction with her DS Quilts Collection fabrics, Denyse launched quilt patterns featuring her signature style with the venerable McCall Pattern Company. Denyse continues to teach her highly successful improvisational patchwork piecing workshops in her studio.

Schmidt’s studio is located in a historic factory building in Bridgeport CT.







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