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Arena Travel is proud to present Stitchtopia craft holidays - a wonderful collection of knitting, crochet, patchwork & quilting, textile, and embroidery & cross stitch holidays uniquely crafted with you in mind!
Specially created for small groups of like-minded people, our Stitchtopia craft holidays embrace all things textile. Each holiday has been carefully designed by our dedicated team of travel experts, who share your passion for crafting. The attention is in the detail and we’ll ensure you enjoy a seamless travel experience as you explore the textile heritage of some of the world’s most exotic destinations, as well as the rich textile traditions around our own UK shores. Every holiday is accompanied by a well-known and enthusiastic expert, and under their friendly guidance you can learn new and different crafting techniques. A Stitchtopia holiday is a great way to make new crafting friends, and no doubt you’ll pick up lots of tips as you share exciting experiences.
We have found 24 Holidays available from £475pp
Get to know other stitchers and discover the stunning sights of historic Prague on this stitching holiday centred around the Brno International Quilt Festival.
Enjoy 2 full day hand sewing workshops with expert Pat Archibald (June) or Sallieann Harrison (Oct) and explore the UK’s northeast through tours of the Bowes Museum, Durham Cathedral, and Alnwick Castle and Alnwick Gardens.
Join experts Hazel Tindall and Kathleen Anderson as we discover the breathtaking Shetland Islands, whose past is interwoven with a rich history of wool, textiles and inimitable Fair Isle technique.
Visit the UNESCO World Heritage Sites of Khiva, Bhukara and Samarkand as we pass along the route of the Silk Road, learning about Uzbekistan’s textile culture and history.
Join us in Galway with workshops hosted by Carol Meldrum or Anna Nikipirowicz. Days out explore the rugged Connemara countryside and visit the island of Inis Oírr, home to the traditional style of Aran knitting.
Join us on the fantastic tour of southern India, attend an exclusive textile event designed for our tour group, and experience the world’s oldest and most diverse textile craft traditions.
Discover the rugged beauty and rich knitting history of the remote Faroe Islands. Under the guidance of local expert, Katrina I Geil, you’ll learn to knit traditional Faroese patterns and beautiful Faroese lace.
This adventure begins in Peru's capital city, Lima, and ends at the mysterious citadel of Machu Picchu. Embrace knitting traditions, gaze out on Colca Canyon and take in the majestic views at Aguas Calientes.
Discover the colourful history of the Welsh textile industry on this tour, which takes a closer look at Welsh wool and quilting in the picturesque villages of the valleys.
Learn from our expert Anna Nikipirowicz in her beautiful home country of Poland. As you journey from historic Kraków to picturesque Zakopane, you’ll be inspired by traditional design and crafting techniques.
Join Janice Gunner on this Northwest England quilting retreat and combine quilting workshops on our Bernina sewing machines with the chance to discover some of Northwest England’s textile history. Visit highlights include the Quilters Guild Museum in York and a gallery tour of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection.
Travel to Norway, a land filled with wonderous sights and rich textile heritage. Accompanied by expert, Frederica Patmore, you will enjoy 3 and a half days excursions to Lyngheisenteret Heathland Centre, Hillesvåg Wool Spinning Mill and Museum, and Osteroy aswell as2 full and 2 half day knitting workshops.
Join Karin Hellaby on this creative escape to East Anglia, taking part in quilting workshops on the Bernina sewing machines and discovering the rich medieval history of Sutton Hoo and silk heritage of Sudbury.
Everything you love about our Craft Sanctuary retreats but at a new venue! Based in the heart of the Northamptonshire countryside, this autumn retreat is the ideal opportunity to learn a new skill or indulge in your favourite hobby.
Join Carol Meldrum on this real Christmas treat to Estonia and Latvia, learning about the region’s rich textile and knitting traditions and exploring some of Europe’s most magical Christmas markets.
Explore all three capitals of the Baltic States and learn about the region’s rich textile and knitting traditions on this holiday with expert Carol Meldrum, who has created a specially designed project inspired by the traditional patterns.
We’re excited to be working with Charlotte Newland, winner of the Great British Sewing Bee 2016, to bring you a fantastic weekend of dressmaking. You’ll leave with a pattern that is customised to you, which you can make over and over again!
Explore the traditional Amazigh (Berber) crafts of Morocco as we travel along ancient trade routes and through colourful cities, embracing the weavers, embroiders and craftspeople practicing traditional techniques and lifestyles throughout this wonderful country.
Join us on this Stitch Yourself Happy retreat which combines the physical and mental health benefits of both knitting and yoga in a wonderfully relaxing retreat.
Join us for a relaxing break in the charming city of Galway with friendly workshops hosted by Julie Dubreux. Days out explore the rugged Connemara countryside and visit the island of Inis Oírr, home to the traditional style of Aran knitting.
Visit County Kerry on an 8-day knitting holiday with Julie Debreux. See Kerry’s famous road ‘the Ring of Kerry’, enjoy a guided tour of Kerry Woollen Mills and many more attractions in addition to 2 and a half knitting workshops with expert Julie Debreux.
Discover the highlights of the Scottish Highlands as you join Carol Meldrum for a week of knitting workshops and a variety of excursions.
A perfect summer sewing break, combining guided visits to 2 of Sussex’s most beautiful gardens with 2 full-day hand sewing workshops with Carolyn Forster and the opportunity for shopping at two of the region’s most loved craft shops.
Explore enchanting Uzbekistan on this 15-day tour, taking us to UNESCO World Heritage Sites such as Khiva, Bhukara and Samarkand, passing along the route of the Silk Road, and enjoying 7 knitting workshops with Carol Meldrum.
Accompanied by hand picked craft experts
High quality, carefully selected hotels
Unique 'behind closed doors’ visits just for you!
Small, intimate group sizes
Single guests welcomed & looked after
At the heart of every Stitchtopia Craft Holiday is a hand-picked crafty expert. Chosen for their talent, expertise and passion for their craft, under their friendly guidance you can learn lots of new tips and tricks, making your holiday truly unforgettable.
Hazel Tindall was born and raised in Shetland, surrounded by knitters who depended on the craft to earn an income. Speed & efficiency were the key – something Hazel picked up from an early age and has carried through her career. In 2004, Hazel was recognised as the World’s Fastest Knitter, knitting an impressive 255 stitches in 3 minutes! Throughout her career, Hazel has designed countless patterns, contributed to various publications, recorded two instructional knitting DVD’s and knitted thousands of fair isle inspired knitting pieces. Her main ambition is to help fellow knitters produce high quality knits as efficiently as possible – a nostalgic goal inspired by her childhood.
Janice is an award-winning textile artist, teacher and author. Her most recent award being the inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in Quilting at The Festival of Quilts 2019. She has published two books and has been teaching Textiles for over 30 years. Janice’s work is informed by the natural world and traditional textile techniques from many countries including Japan and Africa and her work is exhibited frequently. She is currently researching natural dyes as part of her MA in Textiles. Janice has a particular interest in traditional Japanese textile techniques including Shibori which was the subject of one of her books. When she is not travelling, Janice likes to visit museums and art galleries, listen to music, photography and reading.
Jane Greenoff is a well-known cross stitch designer, a prolific author and founder of the Cross Stitch Guild. She lives in the Cotswolds where the beautiful local buildings provided inspiration for her earliest designs, which Jane stitched for her own pleasure.
Seeing there was a gap in the market for authentic English designs, Jane started marketing her first commercial kits and an internationally successful business was born. In addition to designing counted patterns, Jane has also collaborated with Ian Lawson-Smith to produce the highly acclaimed ’iStitch2’ cross stitch software. She is the author of twenty three books including ‘The Cross Stitcher’s Bible’, which was translated into ten languages including Chinese and Russian. In January 2017 Jane stepped down as Managing Director for the Cross Stitch Guild but continues as the Guild’s Design Director.
Julie Dubreux is a French knitwear designer and knitting instructor. Her enthusiastic love for the knitting community translates into colourful collaborations with indie dyers from all around the world.
Her designs have been published in Pom Pom Quarterly, Laine Magazine and Knit Now UK, as well as in books such as I Knit Paris, My Favourite Things and Homecoming.
Julie is a very out-going, dynamic instructor. Her experience as a high-school teacher allows her to manage groups of knitters with different levels of ability so that no one feels left out, and everyone gets to learn something new.
Jane Crowfoot has always had a love for yarn and all things crafty and attributes her ‘crochet gene’ to her Great Grandmother, Alice, who was seldom seen without a crochet hook in her hand and a few granny squares upon her lap.
Jane has worked as a freelance designer and design consultant for the past 20 years, working closely with Debbie Bliss, Rowan Yarns, Jamieson’s Of Shetland and Stylecraft. Jane loves playing with colour and has a love of exotic textiles such as Indian saris, Mexican embroidery and Japanese screens. She is the author of 6 books including Bohemian Blooms Crochet blanket, Finishing Techniques for Handknitters, and the Ultimate Crochet Bible.
Katrina í Geil is a textile and knitting designer of international standing who has given lectures and workshops worldwide. As a designer she combines knowledge from knit and design with personal styling to give the garment a more personal edge.
Her work focuses on reinventing the traditional Faroese craft and culture. Her two and a half days of knitting workshops will focus on projects working with traditional garment and patterns, yet using your senses and local inspiration to create a personal design under her guidance.
After qualifying with the world renowned Body Control Pilates Association in 2004, Rosalind Hoyes has been teaching Pilates in a vast range of environments worldwide, running her own studio for many years, and latterly teaching in the form of Holidays and Retreats as well as workshops.
Rosalind qualified as an NLP Practitioner in 2010 and, having studied at Bangor University Centre for Mindfulness, has developed an effective teaching technique which, whilst true to Joseph Pilates' Classic Mat series, incorporates her skills as a Mindfulness teacher to align and strengthen both body mind.
Carolyn Forster is a quilt designer, teacher and author from Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Since self-publishing her first book ‘Quilting on the Go’ in 2007, Carolyn has written ten more patchwork and quilting books with Search Press in the UK and Landauer Publishing in the USA. She has been a regular project contributor for magazines in the UK, including Today's Quilter, as well as abroad.
Carolyn's quilts are an eclectic mix of fabrics, a posh way to say she makes scrappy quilts, and they always have their roots from some point in the past, being inspired by quilt makers who have gone before us. Accessibility is Carolyn’s key philosophy with her teaching, demystifying techniques to allow every quilter to discover their own voice.
Teaching for Arena travel is a great opportunity to combine her love of travel and stitching and the projects for these trips will reflect and explore techniques from Quilting on the Go.
Emma Leith is a crochet designer, author and regular contributor to Simply Crochet Magazine (Immediate Media). Her work is a celebration of colour and an expression of her desire to create meaning and joy in all that she does. Inspired by Einsteins quote “Creativity is contagious pass it on” participants in her workshops feel treasured and valued by her happy demeanour and upbeat approach. Emma’s focus on the mindfulness aspect of working with yarn and colour gives an added dimension to her classes where participants enjoy a warm welcome, a space to breathe and a
boost in confidence.
Internationally renowned for her yarn-bombing exploits Emma has worked on numerous large scale commissioned yarn installations and gives regular talks and presentations on this popular movement. She works closely with Rico Design Yarns, Deramores and Simply Crochet producing projects that keep crochet fresh and exciting as it continues to enjoy its resurgence in popularity.
Sasha Kagan is a well known knitwear designer who chose textiles as her medium of expression after completing a Master of Arts degree at the Royal College of Art. Her first publication "The Sasha Kagan Sweater Book" helped start the Knitwear Revolution in the 1980's and she has continued ever since to promote hand knitting as a textile art. She exhibits regularly at Made London, Wonderwool Wales, craft centers and The Knitting and Stitching shows. In 2000 she had an exhibition at The Victoria and Albert Museum which has helped to elevate the humble craft of hand knitting. Author of 7 design books, Sasha is an experienced workshop tutor and has taught extensively in the UK, USA, Australia and Japan. She has designed for Rowan Yarns since their first magazine, Vogue Knitting Magazine, Interweave Knits, The Knitter and Woman's Weekly. Sasha's passion for beautiful yarns and textiles leads her to teach knitters how to design for themselves so that they can enjoy the process as much as she does!
Karin Hellaby is an internationally known quilt teacher and author of 11 quilting books and numerous patterns. She is a regular teacher at the Houston International Quilt Show and has also been invited to teach at quilting symposiums in New Zealand, Dubai, Paducah and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show in Oregon.
Her teaching travels have taken her all over North America, the Middle East and several European countries. Her style is very much multi technique always finding ways to make patchwork simple, quick and fun to learn. Karin started Quilters Haven in 1993. It became one of the largest quilt shops in the UK and she sold it in 2016. This has given her more time to teach and travel, especially in SE Asia where two of her sons are based.
Anna is a crochet and knit designer, tutor and author of several crochet books. Her designs are regularly featured in craft magazines such as Inside Crochet and she also is a regular on Yarn Lane TV where she shares her designs and techniques. She works closely with West Yorkshire Spinners, LoveCrafts and other yarn brands.
Anna attributes her love of knitting and crochet to her very talented mother whose stranded colourwork jumpers and hats were legendary. Even though she admits herself she really didn’t appreciate the skills in her childhood.
She is an experienced tutor who started her knit and crochet career as a Rowan Design Consultant. She teaches regularly at John Lewis Partnership and independent yarns stores, and also virtually. Anna constantly explores new techniques and incorporates them in her classes. Confidence and skill-building is very important to her, she wants everyone who takes her class to learn something new and leave with feeling self-assured that they have unlocked their creative potential with new skills.
Sallieann Harrison is a popular designer and regular presenter of patchwork and quilting for TV’s Sewing Street. Her passion for sewing led her into the world of American patchwork and quilting in early 2000 whilst living in the USA. Since then Sallieann has gone on to complete an honors degree in education and has been teaching and working in the education sector both as a patchwork tutor and as an education compliance officer for Ofsted. Her love of sewing and depth of knowledge has led her to both exhibit and demonstrate at the Houston International Show and teach residential courses for the Women’s Institute College Denman. Her inspiring fun sewing creations (that are not always limited to quilts) can often be found in popular sewing magazines.
Pat is a UK textile artist and tutor based in Edinburgh. Her fascination for fabric began in her childhood when she discovered her grandmother’s scrap bag bursting at the seams with exotic fabrics and by the age of 11, she had created her first piece of patchwork. Throughout her creative career, Pat has exhibited her work worldwide, won some wonderful awards and even established Scotland’s first dedicated patchwork and quilting shop.
Pat loves to travel both around her home country as well as further afield. As her own horizons grow literally, then so too do the experiences that she can then express in her quilt making. She feels that each collection of quilts has its own unique identity and captures the essence of her view of the country or city.
Coming from a family whose women are talented knitters, Kathleen began knitting at a young age. Her speciality lies in knitting fine lace shawls, the first of which she knitted some forty years ago. She has won many prizes exhibiting at the Annual Royal Highland Show, including the prestigious Championship Award for the best craft item in show, which she has won five times! Her shawls have sold all over the world, including a commissioned shawl for the arrival of Prince William and Kate's first born Prince George, and a commissioned stole for the widow of pop artist Roy Lichtenstein.
Queen of Redwork Mandy Shaw, is an experienced designer and well-known personality within the craft community. Her vintage designs are instantly recognisable and often feature her trademark red and white stitching or charming applique details. Throughout her career, Mandy has contributed to a number of publications and is the author of a number of handmade crafting books which share her quirky crafting style.
Mandy is also the owner of Dandelion Designs, a well-established family run company and is a regular on Create and Craft TV showing her gorgeous patterns & kits for handmade and machine craft projects. She has also appeared on Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Home.
Carol Meldrum is a textile designer, workshop tutor and author of many popular knitting and crochet titles. She is also the creative force behind the fashion accessories label Beatknit. She has worked within the textile industry as a designer for many High Street fashion outlets as well as internationally renowned hand knit label Rowan. Carol is also a successful workshop tutor teaching all aspects of knit and crochet on an informal basis to both groups and individuals.
Charlotte is an all-round crafter who loves dressmaking, quilting, and knitting. She was taught to sew as a small child by her mum, grandma and schoolteachers, and now loves to pass her knowledge on to others. Charlotte was the winner of BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee 2016, and lives in London with her husband, kids, pets and sewing machines.
With so much on offer, you might need some inspiration! We’ve hand-picked a selection of favourite destinations and provided an overview of the very best highlights...
If you’re passionate about Patchwork & Quilting, love to travel and would like to share new experiences with like-minded crafters, then why not join us on a Stitchtopia patchwork and quilting holiday? Whether you’re an experienced quilter or enthusiastic amateur, it’s the perfect way to combine your favourite pastime with sightseeing, visits to textile museums, a chance to meet local quilters and to find that perfect fabric for your stash from carefully chosen quilting stores.
Whether it’s the sunny climes of Portugal, the stunning French Alps, or the ancient walled city of Carcassonne, our European quilting retreats offer the perfect way to hone your machine stitching skills. Venture further and you can explore the rich textile traditions of countries like Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Why not take a quilting cruise? A most relaxing way to travel and plenty of time to create a hand-stitched memento of your holiday. Whilst the quilt shows in Calgary, Prague and the Alsace are all very different, the marvellous traditional and contemporary quilts on display are a great inspiration for your Stitchtopia workshops.
If you love crochet and have a passion for yarn, why not join us on one of our wonderful Stitchtopia crochet holidays? Each holiday is the perfect combination of inspiring destinations, relaxation and creation, and, whether you’re travelling alone or with a friend, you’ll be amongst people who share your interest.
You’ll be accompanied by one of our Stitchtopia experts, who’ll host friendly, informative workshops. Whatever your level of skill, they’ll be on hand to guide you, and offer some insider tips and tricks on how to use your Stitchtopia crochet kits. Each project has been specially designed to complement the beautiful and fascinating destinations you are visiting, whether it’s the landscape, the heritage or learning traditional techniques.
Choose from a crochet cruise, a crochet retreat, or simply a crochet holiday, our Stitchtopia collection is the perfect way to relax, discover new destinations, and of course – crochet!
Whether you’re new to cross stitch and embroidery, a seasoned stitcher or a cross stitch connoisseur, you’ll love Stitchtopia’s embroidery holidays and cross stitch holidays. These ancient crafts are practised all over the world and our ever-growing collection of Stitchtopia holidays, which includes everything from embroidery retreats to cross stitch cruises, means you can do the same.
Embroidery and cross stitch are as portable as they are relaxing and we’ve carefully selected the destinations for these holidays with this in mind. Where better to enjoy a retreat than in the warmer climes of some of Europe’s most beautiful islands, or a charming hotel nestled in the UK’s tranquil countryside. Perhaps you’d like to stitch as you sail on a leisurely cruise?
Each holiday has a full programme of embroidery or cross stitch workshops led by well-known tutors and designers. Under their guidance and using a Stitchtopia kit that’s provided, you can master new stitches, glean tips on techniques and hone existing skills to create your own beautiful work of art. Whichever Stitchtopia holiday you choose it’s the perfect way to meet new friends, relax and enjoy your favourite past time, and take inspiration from the traditional techniques and handicrafts of different countries.
Ideal for anyone who loves knitting, travel and crafting new experiences, Stitchtopia knitting holidays have been created to take knitters where they want to go – anywhere in the World! Our collection of Stitchtopia knitting holidays includes Shetland, Faroes and Iceland, which are top in every knitters’ wish list, but also explores the knitting heritage of the Baltic States and Scandinavia.
Every knitting cruise, knitting retreat and knitting tour includes a Stitchtopia knitting kit, opportunities to meet local knitters and designers, visits to yarn stores, and ‘woolly themed’ excursions. Our experienced tutors will host workshops and under their guidance you can learn the traditional techniques of some of the great knitting nations.
Experienced knitters, novice knitters and knitters travelling alone are all warmly welcomed. So, if you want to improve your knitting skills, make new friends, or simply broaden your travel horizons then look no further than a Stitchtopia knitting holiday.
Anyone who loves textile and costume will love Stitchtopia’s textile tours! Our tours explore some of the world’s most fascinating countries discovering the cultures and people, both past and present, whose creative and technical skills produce the beautiful woven, painted, printed and embroidered fabrics that are used for ceremonial events, and are part of a colourful everyday life.
Every country has its iconic, ‘must-see’ sights and these are complimented by the perfect blend of textile visits including prominent museums and private collections. See how emerging businesses produce traditional designs using modern technology, and watch masters of their trade create contemporary pieces using centuries-old techniques. Workshops with skilled local craftsmen and women are a chance to try your hand at different techniques of dyeing, weaving or stitching, and there is always that all important opportunity to shop for fabric, beads and embellishments, traditional handicrafts and perhaps a bespoke souvenir. You’ll be joined on your textile journey by one of our friendly Stitchtopia experts and you can travel in the knowledge you’ll be sharing truly special experiences with a small group of like-minded, kindred spirits.
Want to venture further and broaden your textile horizons by getting off-the beaten-track? Then take a look at our wonderful collection of Stitchtopia textile holidays, which has been crafted to help you do just that.