We are so sorry to Announce
NO Classes for this Fall Retreat

Stitching Girls Society   held our first ever Fall Sewing Retreat with classes at Camp Burton on Vashon Island in 1985.  Our unique, personalized, hands-on classes have been a hallmark of our organization's purposes.  Over the years our experienced teachers have been both locally and national known sewing experts who are passionate about sharing their knowledge and love of sewing. This year's Fall Sewing Retreat will be held without classes for the first time ever.

Hopefully in future years, when Covid-19 is behind us, we can return to offering classes.
If you have ideas for topics and potential teachers you would like to suggest,
please contact Cheryl Scheeler with your ideas.

See Also About - Our Founder, Lorraine Kimmel
and her daughter, our retiring  Executive Director, Penny Kimmel

Founder, Lorraine Kimmel

Lorraine Kimmel
(1920 to 2008)

Lorraine started the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat. Having a passion for sewing all her life and having owned the Plaza Fabrics store on Vashon Island, she became a founding board member of the Seattle Chapter of the American Sewing Guild. She talked the Sewing Guild into sponsoring a sewing retreat on Vashon Island, but before the first retreat in 1985, a change in the Guild's national policy caused the Seattle Chapter to disband. Lorraine kept the retreat alive by personally taking over the Retreat project. Shortly there after, Lorraine brought Camp Burton in as a co-sponsor. Over the years since then, many retreat instructors and attendees have pitched in to make the retreat the cooperative effort it is today.

Lorraine had a loving and friendly but firm way of managing this group of creative and independant individuals, so we soon came to affectionaly call her "Mother Superior." Gradually Lorraine handed the directorship duties over to her daughter Penny. Lorraine will be greatly missed, but never forgotten!

Lorraine had a flare for colors and styles, sewing her own clothes from an early age. Later, she concentrated on crafts, dolls and quilt projects, combining flashy new fabrics with the colorful stash left over from the closing of her fabric store, which she owned with her sister-in-law Sally. She was an active member of both the doll and quilting clubs on Vashon, plus part of a small group of island sewers who make hundreds of lap quilts for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center patients. Her later years were filled with quilting projects for American Hero Quilts. She will always be known for her unusual soft sculptures which she sold on consignment and her colorful, individual sweatshirt jackets, that she wore everywhere.

Back to Top

Executive Director, Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel

Penny Kimmel has been the Director of the Vashon Island Sewing Retreat since taking over from its founder, Lorraine Kimmel, her mother. She has also been the first ever President and Executive Director of our sponsoring non-profit Stitching Girls Society which she helped found in 2009.

Penny has been attending the retreat since 1988. With her Apparel Design Program training from Seattle Central Community College, she has also been a well qualified instructor when needed. She has taught sweatshirt appliqué, purses and bags, adaptable aprons, and then for several years she became the Retreat's polar fleece guru, known for the mounds of Polar Fleece scraps she always brought to classes.

Before attending the Apparel Design Program, Penny was working full time in television production. She has combined her 2 loves on a number of sewing videos for Jinni's Personal Patterns, Kathy Ruddy Live Guide Series, Unique Measuring video, Clotilde, and Creative Feet. Her professional video abilities also made her the important Pen_y part of Pengy Productions with Peggy Grber, the Pe_gy part of Peng.  Together they created this web site as well as the 20 year Retreat History DVD/Video and the 30 Years of Retreat History Video on YouTube.

Sadly, in spring of 2021, she had to step down from all of those activities to focus on her personal health issues.  See Celebrating Penny's Retirement where we have shared many memories of our years of sewing and retreating under her leadership.

Back to Top