All That Glitters Retreat 2009 Report

Stitcher's Retreat Lament
By Roz Watnemo

Why do they come, these many gifted women?
What makes them leave their homes and why are they so driven?
Why do they plan a year in advance
To take this long and tedious dance?

They come from near and from places afar.
With purpose and call, no one can jar.
From just down the street and from many distant lands, They all come to Fargo with a needle in their hands.

Some are retired from years of hard work, From being a mom to jobs with nice perks.
While some must return to various tasks
All have stories they tell to anyone who asks.

Some come for the first time not knowing a soul.
Many come to learn new stitches as their goal.
While many have made this an annual event Meeting and making new stitching friends is their intent.

Way too soon it will be time to go
The classes will end, the pieces we'll show.
To bid farewell to friends both old and new We'll all feel a little bit sad and blue.

We will keep in touch and friendships will grow And as we part ways we want you all to know; As we hug and smile and go to our own lands, We will see you next year in Fargo with a needle in our hands.

Yes, the 2009 Stitching Retreat - All That Glitters - has come to an end and all that remains are the happy memories and the stitching projects everyone took home with them from all the wonderful classes our teachers taught to the 62 in attendance. This year we had 20 ladies come from Minnesota, 6 from California, 4 from Colorado, 3 from Florida, 3 from South Dakota, 2 each from Maryland and Illinois, Washington, Nevada, North Carolina, Massachusetts, England and Bermuda and one each from Iowa, Nebraska, Indiana, Wyoming, Maine, Michigan, Oregon, Texas North Dakota and New Zealand.

Wednesday April 29, was set-up morning at the Holiday Inn where we created a little shop, named the "Treasure Trove", and prepared the classrooms for the days to come. In the afternoon registration began and we greeted many familiar faces as 43 ladies were returnees from previous years. We were happy to have 19 new ladies this year and it didn't take long for them to feel welcomed by the "old timers" and our staff.

Wednesday evening at our kick-off event, everyone had the opportunity to tell us their names and where they are from and tell us why they came to the Retreat this year. Overwhelmingly, the reason people come back is because of the friendships they found in previous years, and for the classes that enable them to learn a new needlework technique or to learn more of their favorite technique. During this time, I awarded the five 5-year attendees with an embroidery scissors in a beautiful engraved wood case. The five 6 year and four 7-year attendees were also recognized with a small gift as a remembrance of the Retreat. Yes, four ladies have perfect attendance for attending all seven Retreats! Debi and several of our staff helped each one make a colorful sparkly scissors tassel using several colors and sizes of metallic threads donated by Kreinik Mfg. They also supplied us with many finished embroidery pieces for everyone to view. After the opening event, many came back to the Treasure Trove to visit more, while others turned in early in preparation for the next day's classes.

Thursday morning after breakfast and announcements, classes were taught in Crazy Quilt Embroidery and Silk Ribbon by Diane and Ruth.

Other classes included Advanced Beginning Hardanger by Carol Pedersen, Intermediate Hardanger by Jean Mann, and German Schwalm Embroidery by Debi and Chris S. After that, during lunch, we distributed wonderful door prizes to each and every attendee. The gifts ranged from thread assortments from Rainbow Gallery and several other thread manufacturers, hand-made wooden tools from Wray in Canada, an Ott Light, a wide variety of needlework books and kits, and accessories of all kinds; all donated by our generous vendors.

The Thursday afternoon classes featured Beginning Hardanger taught by Sue, Beginning Canvaswork taught by Debi, and session 1 of Jean's two-part Advanced Hardanger blue design. When the ladies were not in class, they were busy shopping at Nordic Needle or stitching in our Treasure Trove.

Thursday evening after a delicious meal together, we held our exciting Bookmark Exchange and collected the donated bookmarks for the Needle and ThREAD Bookmark Challenge. Everyone who brought a hand-stitched bookmark was able to receive one from someone else participating in the exchange. In addition to that, we received 102 donated bookmarks for the Bookmark Challenge. We had a drawing for half of these bookmarks and the winner got to take home half of the donated bookmarks and distribute them to their local children's or adult literacy programs. This year Gail from Bermuda got to take them home with her.

Photos shows some lovely bookmarks.

After dinner everyone came to Nordic Needle for an exciting Treasure Hunt! We hid 40 cards in the store, all numbered, so when they found a card, they brought it to me to claim the prize that matched the number on the card.

These treasures ranged from a wide variety of books to accessories and kits. At that time we also had a scissors sharpening professional at the store sharpening the many embroidery scissors brought by the ladies. More open stitching in the Treasure Trove continued well into the night.

Friday dawned with another delicious breakfast buffet and more table gifts. Every meal meant another table gift given to each one! Some of these included gifts from My Big Toe Designs, Mighty Bright, Lacey Thread Designs, Compu Stitch, Sharon Shetley, BagSmith (who donated cross stitch kits from Sajou of France), and also Brazilian embroidery kits from A Candle in the Cellar, a Needle Minder from Nordic Needle featuring the North Dakota quarter, and fabric rolls from the local Mill Ends Textiles Store! We love giving away gifts to our attendees!

Friday morning classes included Intermediate Hardanger by Debi, more Advanced Beginning Hardanger with Carol P., Reversible Blackwork by Ryan, and Jean's first of a 2-session in a second Advanced Hardanger class. Noon time brought more delicious food as well as our UFO/Stash Swap Meet. If a person brought an item, they were given the opportunity to choose someone else's item in exchange. The many items that were left were donated to one of our local women's shelters. UFO's were unfinished objects (or projects) that someone just didn't want to finish and wanted it out of sight!

The afternoon classes included Beginning Tatting by Vicki P., part two of Jean's advanced Hardanger blue design, and Carol P's class in Intermediate Hardanger. That evening was "dinner on your own" time with everyone coming back to the Treasure Trove by 8:00 for desserts and gadget demonstrations by Ruth and Mary Ann. Some stitched well into the night again before returning to their rooms.

Saturday morning classes included Continuing Tatting by Vicki, Beginning Brazilian embroidery by Debi, and part two of Jeans advanced Hardanger white class. At noon, after our buffet lunch, we held our Scissors Fob Exchange. The same rules applied; if you brought a stitched scissors fob, you were able to receive one that someone else brought. The afternoon classes included bargello and intermediate Canvaswork by Debi, Stumpwork and Brazilian embroidery by Sharon S., and Carol P's Hardanger Fix-It and Tips class.

The Saturday evening meal is always a banquet with a Stitcher's Showcase display! We invited each of our attendees and staff to bring a piece of needlework they have completed and we placed them all on our display boards and tables so before and after the banquet everyone could view these amazing pieces. Oh, the hours and hours of needlework on display would take your breath away. We had this photo taken after the banquet showing the whole group attending the Retreat as well as several of our staff.

Sunday morning brought early classes in Hardanger on Paper by Chris S., Advanced Beginning Hardanger by Carol P., and Drawn/Pulled Thread by Jean.

We ended with a "Grand Buffet" and farewell. No one seemed to want to leave in a hurry and in fact, many stayed on until Monday so they could keep stitching and visiting with their stitching friends. What a great time we all had and what great ladies they all are!

So, now it's time to start planning for next year's Stitcher's Retreat! We already know the theme will be "Stitching Around the World" and the dates will be April 14-18, 2010. Over the summer months we will be working on the class projects and in October we will present the information brochure and registration will begin sometime in October. We will keep you posted on when that will be and how it will be done. All I can say is, we would love to have YOU attend our next Retreat!

I want to publically thank all the staff at Nordic Needle for all the hard work and effort that goes into the planning and executing of our yearly Stitcher's Retreat! Many of our staff pitched in and taught a class or assisted in a class and worked many hours overtime to make this the best Retreat ever (or so many of the attendees said!). From Duane our manager giving tours of our building and helping behind the scenes with hauling things over to the Holiday Inn, and to each and every one on staff, I can't thank you enough for helping wherever we asked you to help and working together so well. Our Retreat would be nothing without each of you wonderful ladies on staff!

Also, a big thank you to my daughter, Jess. This was her 4th Retreat and she is the official Retreat photographer as well as the massage therapist on hand to give a professional massage to those who need or want to experience the touch of her healing hands. Ten ladies got to enjoy a massage this year. Thanks, Jess!

Gail from Bermuda brought this very interesting piece of needlework and showed it to several of us, trying to find out what the technique is called.

If anyone knows what type of needlework this is, please write to me - we are all curious!

Photo of mystery needlework.