Stitcher's Indulgence 2007 Retreat Report
The ladies began arriving Tuesday, April 17, 2007, when Ann and Mhairi flew in from New Zealand, ready to spend a week stitching in Fargo! What lovely ladies they are and we had so much fun with them. They got a head start on the shopping , but others arrived early as well! By Thursday morning, they were all here except one, (who arrived later) and they started registering at 10 AM. We were all set up in the Mezzanine area of the Holiday Inn, which we totally dominated for the rest of the week. It’s a lovely location within the hotel, set apart from the rest of the building and consists of four well-lit rooms with large windows, our own bathroom, and refreshments delivered for morning and afternoon class sessions. We even adapted the men’s bathroom sign with a sign that said, “or women”. Who could ask for more?
After everyone was registered, we all gathered in the Dakota Hall, where all of our meals were held throughout the entire Retreat, to make introductions, give announcements, and we all stitched a quick embroidery on paper card, taught by Jean Mann. Jean is the main teacher for our Retreats and does a superb job. The project was quickly finished and everyone was on their way to take either the Tassel Making class taught by Sandra Gordon, or the first Intermediate Hardanger Embroidery class, taught by Jean, or to make their first pilgrimage to Nordic Needle.
Sue and Roz shuttled those who needed rides for the one mile distance to the store, but others who had driven in for the Retreat were always willing to give rides to those who needed transportation. That’s one of the nice things about our Retreats, even if you come alone, you won’t be alone very long because everyone is so friendly, helpful and all share the common bond of the love of stitching! Many ladies have been to this Retreat before and took the “newbies” under their wings. As a matter of fact, seven of the ladies who came this year have come to all five of our Retreats! We awarded them each a special gift during our opening gathering. They each received an engraved wooden scissors holder with a scissors. The engraving said, “5th Year Nordic Needle Stitchers Retreat”. They were:
- Carole from Omaha, NE
- Terri from Woodbury, MN
- Lana-Lee from Winneconne, WI
- Stephanie from Council Bluffs, IA
- Mary from Brookings, SD
- Judi from Delano, MN
- Shirley from Denton, TX
Our first meal together was a wonderful buffet where everyone enjoyed their food while laughter rang throughout the room – as it did at every meal during the entire Retreat. We gave “table gifts” which our vendors had supplied for every meal and they added an extra measure of anticipation as everyone came into the dining room. It seemed like every time they turned around, we were able to give them a gift of some kind. Whether it was a bag with several Hardanger patterns from Ruth Hanke, or a Burda Hardanger book with fabric samples from Zweigart, or cross stitch charts from several designers, or the wonderful CD with ten cross stitch charts from Cross Stitch Collectibles, the meal gifts were gratefully received. We enjoyed showering them with gifts the entire weekend!
The ICU (Indulgence Central Unlimited) is where we set up our little store at the Holiday Inn during the Retreat and was the first room in the Mezzanine. It was our gathering place and open all the time except during meals where we encouraged our staff to join us. If a person was not in a class or shopping at Nordic Needle, the ICU was the place to be! Tables were always occupied with ladies visiting, stitching, having a snack, or all of the above! We stayed up late every night to stitch. Those Colorado and Wisconsin ladies were the winners of the late-night-stitching contest – well, it really wasn’t a contest, but I don’t think they wanted to take time out to sleep! Like most others who came, they were happiest when they could just stitch and talk, and laugh and enjoy this time set aside to indulge in their stitching habit without any other demands on their time! We are their “enablers” so were happy to oblige. It was close to midnight the first two nights, but Saturday night the stitching in the ICU went on until 1:00 AM!
Friday breakfast was a highlight because that is when we gave everyone a fantastic Door Prize! I mentioned before what great products our vendors sent us for this event. This year was better than ever. We had created 60 door prizes, each presented in a clear plastic bag so everyone could see them. We put numbers on each bag and matching numbers in a basket. On each table we placed a number and then we drew numbers to see which table got to draw prize numbers first. Totally fair! Cheers when up when a table was chosen to go next. Our staff was on hand to assist in finding the matching numbered gift. Some of the prizes were thread assortments from Rainbow Gallery and DMC, sets of Canvaswork or Cross Stitch books from many designers, a beautiful wooden box from Sudberry, and also from Patches ‘N Planks, scissors from Gingher, Tool Tron, Wray Parsons, and others, stitching accessories, a beautiful tatting shuttle from Handy Hands, lamps, magnifiers, kits, and so much more! It was amazing! Some were saying they had to go buy another suitcase just to take home all the free gifts they received! It truly is fun to be able to give!
On the way out of the dining room after breakfast, one of our ladies, who drove with her husband here from Washington, had a terrible mishap. Barbara collided with one of the staff of the Holiday Inn, fell down on her hip and fractured it! She didn’t realize it had broken right away and walked up to the mezzanine and started taking the Brazilian embroidery class before the pain got so bad she had to say something. After a trip to the clinic to have an X-ray, they determined her hip was indeed fractured and they took her to MeritCare Hospital in downtown Fargo. Saturday morning she underwent hip surgery where they put three screws into the bone below the socket. We all felt so sad for Barbara. She came half way across the country and didn’t even make it to the Nordic Needle store.
After Friday breakfast, classes were held for Beginning Hardanger, taught by Sue Meier, Beginning Counted Canvas, taught by Lynn Hanson, and Brazilian Embroidery, taught by Jean Mann. Others went to Nordic Needle to shop and take a tour of the building. Our manager, Duane, showed people around the store, the offices, and our shipping and warehouse area. From the outside, it looks like a nice little store, but really, it’s much bigger on the inside! Well, that’s what most will say. It’s a busy place with 26 employees working hard every day to keep products in stock, enter orders, answer phones, fill and ship orders that go out all over the world, and find new products for our customers.
We all gathered again for noon lunch, a great baked potato bar, more announcements, and then a special feature before our free afternoon. For the first time at our Retreats, we held a “swap meet” of UFO’s (unfinished objects). We invited our ladies to bring along any unfinished stitching project they just didn’t want anymore and put it in the Swap Meet. We lined up all their UFO’s, and everyone who brought one had an opportunity to choose one they liked to take home and finish. Of course, not everyone wanted to take one so we donated a lot of unfinished projects and lots of unopened needlework kits to our local women’s shelter at the YWCA. They were very grateful to receive this big box of projects and the money donations that our ladies gave. Again, it’s fun to give!
The “special outing” this year was a Chocolate Fantasy Trip to Café Chocolat, just three blocks from the hotel. Each person was treated to either a cup of tea or coffee and their choice of four chocolates!  The afternoon was open for people to shop, stitch, take a nap (ha ha), or work on their class projects. The store was open until 10:00 pm and the ICU was open until almost midnight when the eyes were really getting tired, as well as the bodies.
Saturday breakfast found everyone at their tables, anticipating another day of classes and shopping. Some took the Intermediate Hardanger II class from Jean, while others learned silk ribbon embroidery from Ruth Hahn. Just walking down the mezzanine hallway, one could hear laughter coming from the class rooms and ICU at all times. These ladies just had the best time together, learning new needlework skills and making friends with ladies from all over the country and a few foreign places too! This year we had three from Bermuda (Gail making her 4th trip here, bringing Janet and Patricia this time), the two New Zealand ladies, Ann and Mhairi, and Leah from Israel! Leah was visiting family in New Hampshire so thought as long as she was this close (ha ha), she would just come to Fargo for a few days of stitching! Cher came all the way from northern Saskatchewan, Canada, and from even further north came Karin from Fairbanks, Alaska. Such diversity in many ways, but all love to stitch!
Our Saturday noon lunch buffet was great fun. After enjoying our Mexican Fiesta Buffet, we held our first Ornament Exchange. We invited everyone who wanted to participate to bring a finished stitched ornament in a gift bag, with their name and address on the inside. Everyone who brought one, got one in return. What fun! Some of our staff participated as well and everyone seemed happy with their ornament. There were cross stitch ornaments, Hardanger, Silk Ribbon, crocheted, tatted, canvaswork, and so much more. Everyone admired each others before heading off to an afternoon of classes or shopping.
Jean taught a Goldwork/Shisha class, Vicki Peterson taught beginning Tatting, and Barb Olson taught Framing. More class treats, more laughter, more shopping and lots of learning!
At 5:30 we started accepting finished pieces from our ladies to display at our evening Banquet and Stitcher’s Showcase. Several ladies brought along some of their finished needlework to have on display for all to enjoy. At 7:00 all the ladies arrived and we enjoyed a wonderful banquet meal and viewing of the stitched pieces in the Stitcher’s Showcase. The night continued with more stitching together in the ICU, and being the last night together, some stayed and stitched until 1:00 am.
Sunday morning we opened the ICU at 7:15 am where we served bagels and juice and coffee to those who had a class that began at 8 am. Jean taught Counted Thread while Barb gave another framing class. Others came in to close out their accounts, pick up that last item they just had to have, and say farewell to some of the staff working there. We all gathered at 11:30 in the dining room for our final Grand Buffet Brunch. The ladies received their final “meal gift” which was a cross stitch chart from Ink Circles and the thread to go with it. It’s always difficult to say good-bye to these wonderful ladies, but the time had come. As I told the ladies, we (the Nordic Needle staff) had wanted to make this Retreat the best one ever for the ladies that came, we wanted to blow them away with the gifts, classes, and entire experience, but in the end, it was them that blew us away with their enthusiasm, kindness, and overwhelming desire to learn more stitching techniques. They just couldn’t get enough and they all want to come back again. Even Barbara from Washington, wants to come back.
Harold and I visited her in the hospital Sunday evening and she was in good spirits. She sent a list of supplies she needed from the store so we got those ready for her and her husband, Robert came and picked them up on Monday. By Tuesday afternoon, she was released and they took off on their long road trip back to Washington, promising to stop every couple hours so she could get out and move around to prevent blood clots. They were home again by Thursday. Barbara wrote me an email to share with all the other attendees. She said:
“I can't thank all of you enough and there are not enough words to express my appreciation to all of you for your caring for us the way you did while we were in Fargo.
The Lord Bless You, Barbara.”
Thus, ends another fantastic Stitching Retreat at Nordic Needle.
Thank you for your interest, and we hope to see you at one of our future retreats!
Roz and Sue