The 12th Annual Stitcher's Retreat was a huge success! Oh Sew Sweet!, as a matter of fact! With that Sweet Retreat Theme this year, many of the class projects reflected the name as did the decorations and special features.

The Retreat began Wednesday, April 9, with 74 happy Retreaters registering, receiving their bulging Goodie Bag, and meeting up with their stitching friends from previous years!

This year we had 10 "newbies"! I love seeing where everyone comes from as in previous years they come from all over the USA, Canada and several foreign countries. This year we had 17 Canadians, representing 6 Provinces; Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Prince Elbert Island and British Columbia. Other countries represented were Bermuda and New Zealand. Minnesota was well represented with 19 in attendance. That was followed by four from Illinois, three each from Indiana, Washington and Georgia. We had two each from Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Colorado and California. We also enjoyed having one person each from Iowa, North Carolina, West Virginia, Texas, Wyoming, Oklahoma, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, South Carolina, South Dakota and Nevada! All in all, they came from all directions to make this a very special Retreat!

Our first evening together included all the introductions and announcements and then a buffet of sweet treats that many of the Retreaters brought to share. Hugs, laughter, and inspiration filled the room until everyone decided they had better get some rest for the classes that began the next morning!

After a hearty breakfast buffet, everyone headed to one of the three classes or to Nordic Needle to begin to check off items on their shopping list! The classes included session one of Needlepainting with Ruth Hahn teaching,

Wessex with Gail Graham as teacher

and Intermediate Hardanger taught by Mary Chamberlain.

The noon lunch on Thursday is always an exciting time as EVERYONE receives a fabulous Door Prize, donated by one of our generous vendors. I had prepared and numbered each of the gifts and as their table number is drawn, they come and draw a number out of the basket to match up with their gift. I can't begin to list all of the fabulous door prizes but they ranged from threads to fabrics to scissors, kits, accessories and lights. We are so thankful to our vendors for donating such fabulous gifts!

After lunch, the next set of session one classes included Canvas embroidery with Debi Feyh teaching,

Ukrainian Whitework taught by Terri Bay,

and Intermediate Hardanger taught by Bob Herceg.

Others trekked over to Nordic Needle to start their shopping adventure with their own lists as well as lists from their stitching friends back home!

Dinner was on their own but everyone came back by 7 or so for an evening of visiting, stitching and a special presentation from one of our local elementary school librarians, Connie. She brought along 3 of her students and they told us how much they appreciate the stitched bookmarks we give them each year. Debi was able to present her with over 240 bookmarks! These bookmarks come from the Retreaters as well as many others who participate in our annual Bookmark Challenge.

After all the bookmark excitement, we had our own bookmark exchange and everyone was busy showing off the one they received!

Friday began with our breakfast gathering and then everyone headed off to a class or shopping. The classes included first sessions for Brazilian Embroidery/Stumpwork taught by Sharon Shetley of Threads in Bloom,

Punto Antico with Kathryn Drummond,

and Advanced Hardanger taught by Jean Mann.

During Friday's lunch, we held our annual Stash/UFO exchange and then enjoyed a free afternoon of shopping, resting, visiting, and/or stitching. We gathered again for an evening together with several demos of products and some creative sharpie art, making silk scarves and dying fabric for stitching. We enjoyed exchanging tea towels and admired what each person had received! There were Hardanger towels, cross stitch towels, huck weaving towels and even some surface and vintage embroidery!

Saturday we were headed for session 2 of three classes and then at noon we enjoyed our Ornament Exchange. More afternoon sessions began and then an evening of fine dining at our Banquet. We had invited all the attendees to bring one of their finished embroidery pieces to display at our Stitcher's Showcase. What talented people we have in our group! These amazing people also presented me with a bouquet of flowers and roses for each one of our staff! How lucky are we!?

Sunday morning brought us to the last session of classes followed by a delicious farewell brunch. It is amazing to us how the past 4 days had just flown by! Everyone is sad to leave but anticipate seeing each other again. We are taking next year off so everyone was a little sad that they won't be together in a year. Lord willing, we will see you all again! Thank you for making this Retreat so special for all of us here at Nordic Needle!