Things are almost back to normal after a wonderful retreat week. It was fun catching up with old friends and making new ones. Including the instructors, Nordic Needle hosted 60 people, 20 of whom were first time attendees. There were 21 states represented: Minnesota, California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Oklahoma, Iowa has 2, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Washington state, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Two countries were represented: 8 from the Canadian Providences of British Columbia, Alberta, and Manitoba. And a first for the retreat, we had Daniela representing Romania. Daniela had a little trouble with US Customs. They looked to be sure there was a needlework retreat in Fargo, North Dakota before they let her enter. So we presented her with a couple of gifts typical of our Scandinavian heritage, the Lutefisk mug and an Uff da Swedish dishcloth.

Thursday kicked off the first day of classes. Everyone got to attend two classes. Ryan visited all of the classes and captured some candid moments.

Sharon Shetley taught the Brazilian/Stumpwork class. The beautiful Sierra Snow Rose enticed many people to try this technique for the first time.

Bob Herceg designed two bands. The Hardanger band highlighted the linked buttonhole arc flower.

Bob's Bargello band was one of the reasons the lavender and pastel green colors were added. ---While the white threads had different textures, it was hard to see the Bargello effect. So, we picked up some of the color from Sharon's piece.

Kathryn Drummond's band was Punto Antico. This band was so popular Kathryn graciously taught the class twice. When and where to cut the fabric threads caused a few Uff Da moments!

Terri Bay also designed two bands. Her Ukrainian Whitework band popped with eyelets. Terri's Pulled/Drawn Thread band was spectacular with different stitches in the petals and leaves.

Debi adapted a piece designed by Linda Driskell for the German Schwalm band. Her class had a lot of fun working in a free-form folk-art style instead of counted thread.

We've been asked if we will sell the instructions for the retreat project. No, we will not. This was a special collaboration. However, the individual designers may be releasing their work at a later time.

There were several exchanges: Ornaments, Stitching Accessories, Towels, and Bookmarks. Everyone could participate in any or all of the exchanges.

Everyone who donated a bookmark got a chance to win half of the donated bookmarks. Those bookmarks are to be given to a literacy program or school in their area. Betty K from Minnesota won.

We did a few things differently. On Friday night, we held a poker run. Each person could stop by a table to watch a demonstration or do an activity. Some of the tables were needle felting, tassel making, Technique matching game, scissor sharpening, and how to print your design onto fabric. Each person got to choose a random playing card at each table they stopped at.

The retreat ended this year on Saturday night. So many people in the past had early flights on Sunday and those still in classes were exhausted, so it was decided to end the retreat with a big bang on Saturday night. Throughout the retreat, attendees collected Norm the Gnome tickets. Saturday night there were over 20 large door prizes. People put their Norm cards on the items they wanted to win. There were some very happy winners.

The Saturday night Stitcher's Showcase was amazing.

Mamen of Hardanger Carpacar sent the model for the Pinkeep Pink and everyone got the pattern as a table gift. We want to thank all of our vendors for their incredible donations. People went home with LOTS of goodies.

Before we knew it, retreat was over. It ended with the group picture. Isn't this a fabulous looking group?!