Arena Travel Blog

  • Our Top 5 Free Spring Quilting Patterns!

    free spring quilting patterns

    This Spring we want you to be blooming with inspiration, so we’ve decided to sow the seeds of creativity with five lovely quilting patterns from around the internet! With so much creativity to be tapped into this Spring, we’ve selected some our favourites that you can easily try at home.

    So why not find a pattern that’ll put a spring in your step and refresh your passion for your favourite crafting hobby this season?

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  • Spring into step! Top tips for sprucing up your yarn stash!

    spring clean your yarn stash

    Spring clean your yarn stash!

    With the season of spring cleaning almost upon us and our days getting longer, warmer and brighter - what better time is there to get your yarn in order? There’s nothing more frustrating than left-over and mismatched skeins laying around, so now is the time to breathe new life into your stash and re-introduce some spring freshness!

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  • News from the Bridge Room in Malta

    Host's report by Barry & Maggie Watts:

    For the first time visitor to Malta the island is a revelation. From the moment you fly over Malta’s airport you are immersed in the island’s history. From the air the island’s geology seems simple; it is a golden limestone and virtually all the buildings are built of this material. Seven Neolithic temples built 1000 years before the Egyptian pyramids, churches, palaces and fortresses of all kinds most noticeably the huge fortifications built in the 16th Century by the Knights of St John seem to be grown organically from the base rock.

    Throughout history the island’s strategic position in the centre of the Mediterranean has made it a prize for a succession of occupying cultures from every part of Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Today the population of the islands is a mix of all these cultures. The Maltese language is based on that of the earliest Arab inhabitants yet today most of the people speak English and many still consider themselves to be English regardless of Malta’s status as an independent member of the EU. As usual the bridge programme was interwoven with tours of this fascinating island.

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  • Chat with Pat Archibald



    One of our lovely quilt experts Pat Archibald will be leading our popular textile holiday to Vietnam later this year. Pat’s fascination with quilting started at a very early age after playing with her grandmother’s scrap bag! Since then she has been a co-owner of Scotland’s first dedicated patchwork and quilting shop, has taught specialist textile classes to students from far and wide and has had her wonderful work widely exhibited in the UK, Europe and in the USA. We chat to Pat more about her love of quilting and how her travels inspire her work.

    We are very excited for you to be leading our Textures of Vietnam trip this November. Can you give us an idea of what you will be teaching in your workshops and what you are most looking forward to revisiting?

    I am looking forward to revisiting some of the hidden valleys and the ethnic minorities that live there who have a wonderful heritage of stitching and weaving. Bac Ha market in the north of Vietnam is exciting in terms of colour and textiles. My workshops will be based on the colours of the areas and will take inspiration from the local stitching patterns.
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  • Spotlight on Karin Hellaby



    This week we have been having a natter with leading quilt expert Karin Hellaby. Karin’s teaching has taken her all over Europe and beyond. She is a regular teacher at the Houston International Quilt Show and has taught in New Zealand, Dubai and most of North America! Karin has recently returned from teaching on our quilting retreat on the beautiful island of Madeira. Later this year she will also be leading two Stitchtopia quilting trips South Africa and the Faroe Islands.

    Here Karin gives us the low-down on how her love for quilting blossomed at a church hall, how her passion helped support her sons through university and how she is lost without her much loved Bernina machine!

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