A Little Stitch of Heaven 2011 Retreat Report

The 2011 "A Little Stitch of Heaven Retreat" at Nordic Needle was incredible. Thanks to the 68 delightful women who came and our amazing Nordic Needle staff and teachers, who all came together for one of our most exciting Retreats yet! This was our 9th Retreat in as many years and we try to make every year's Retreat better than the last and I think we succeeded again!

Let me start with all the planning that goes into each Retreat. We have already begun to talk about next year's event. Our Retreat Committee consists of Duane, Debi, Sue K., Chris S, Gwen and me (Roz). Everyone on the committee has a specific duty and all 25 of the staff are involved during the Retreat in one form or another. Those who teach or angel in the classes are covered by the other staff back at the store by picking up their normal work load. Our part time staff works more hours and our full-time staff works even more hours! What a team we have and I am SO thankful for each and every one.

This year we had ladies from 23 different states, from 2 Canadian Provinces, and from Bermuda, New Zealand and Australia. Twenty-eight were here for the first time and the rest were returning Retreaters. Three of our ladies have perfect attendance having been to all nine Retreats! Minnesota had the most attendees at 15, followed by Colorado at 9 and California with 4. The other twenty states represented had between 1 and 3 from each. We are amazed at the distance these ladies come year after year to attend the Retreat!

Why do they come? Let me tell you and let me show you some shots from this year's Retreat. Jess Storey (my daughter) is our official photographer and massage therapist. This was Jess' 7th year coming to the Retreat so she has made many wonderful friends through the this event as well! The photos in this newsletter are all included in her DVD of the Retreat that includes 689 photos and you can still purchase one if you wish. (Yes, she's an over-achiever!)

Wednesday our staff set up the little store at the Holiday Inn Mezzanine. These four rooms are set apart from the rest of the hotel so we have this space all to ourselves for the entire time. Our little hotel store was called "Cloud 9", keeping in our theme, "A Little Stitch of Heaven". At 1:00 we began Registration and welcomed the attendees as they arrived during the day. Each person received an amazing Goodie Bag filled with gifts donated by our generous vendors. Each person was on their own to settle into their rooms, or rest up for the Kick-off that began at 7:00 Wednesday evening.

The Kick-off event involved everyone introducing themselves and telling where they were from, how many years they have attended, and sharing what their first piece of needlework was. After that and other announcements, we had several stations set up around the room with new or tried and true needlework products and gadgets.

In addition to this feature, we invited all the attendees to bring a treat to share during this opening night event so we had food tables set up with all sorts of goodies to taste from all over the U.S., and the other countries.

Thursday morning we all enjoyed a poolside breakfast with table gifts from Lacey Thread Designs (an original design just for the Retreaters) and Needlepoint Now (their newest magazine issue).

After the delicious breakfast, several headed to classes while others went to Nordic Needle to shop! The three classes this morning were Intermediate Ukrainian Whitework, Hardanger Fix It and Tips, and Chinese Dragon Boats.

During our noon buffet on Thursday, our fabulous DOOR PRIZE GIVEAWAY took place. Everyone received a door prize that included everything from threads to fabrics, to kits and books, to wood boxes and stitching frames. Our generous vendors really came through again this year with incredible gifts for all.

The afternoon classes included, beginning cross stitch, beginning Hardanger and beginning needlepainting. Many attended classes while others shopped or stitched together in Cloud 9.

Our Thursday evening meal gifts were from Floss Away and ThreadworX. During our meal we held our Bookmark exchange where anyone who brought a hand-stitched bookmark to exchange was able to receive someone else's bookmark. Some people brought extra bookmarks to donate to the Bookmark Literacy Program. Over 80 bookmarks were donated.

Thursday evening was our special event at Nordic Needle where we held a Treasure Hunt, and where everyone could have their embroidery scissors sharpened by a professional. Several returned to Cloud 9 to stitch and visit until 10:00 at night.

Friday breakfast table gifts were donated by A Candle in the Cellar (a little Brazilian kit), and a hand-made card from one of our Retreat attendees, Janet. What talents our ladies possess and their generosity is overwhelming! After breakfast the classes offered were Advanced Blackwork, Brazilian Biscornu, and Intermediate Hardanger. More shopping and stitching all afternoon!

Friday noon buffet included table gifts from Sharon Shetley, Brazilian embroidery designer and one of our Retreat teachers. She gave everyone a little canvas tote bag. Stitch Happy gave everyone a pen and Zweigart packaged several fabric squares for everyone to have! We love our generous vendors who donate such amazing gifts for our Retreat. During this meal we held our STASH/UFO SWAP Meet! We drew ticket numbers and whoever brought a UFO or Stash could exchange theirs for someone else's.

The afternoon classes consisted of Beginning Pulled Thread, Intermediate Canvaswork and Advanced Hardanger embroidery.

That evening everyone was on their own for their meal and then several came back to Open Stitching in Cloud 9. Nordic Needle was open until 9:00 so the shopping continued!

Saturday breakfast table gifts were two skeins of silk thread from Needlepoint, Inc., and a tatted butterfly from the Shuttle Brothers! After breakfast several ladies went to one of the three classes offered; Advanced Blackwork, Intermediate Hardanger Card Designing, and Intermediate Hardanger embroidery.

Our Saturday lunch buffet included table gifts from the new Spool Magazine where each person got the first three issues of this magazine! During our lunch time we held our Ornament Exchange where those who wanted to be involved brought a stitched ornament to exchange for someone else's. What talent everything from cross stitch to Hardanger, Blackwork, Wessex, Brazilian, silk ribbon, crochet and more!

The Saturday afternoon classes included: Romanian Point Lace, Intermediate Drawn Thread and Advanced Hardanger.

Our Saturday night Banquet also featured our annual "Stitcher's Showcase". We invited everyone to bring a finished piece of needlework to have on display that evening. Again, the stitching ability represented was "over the top" impressive! The banquet ended with flaming bananas foster and our group photo. If you think this was an easy task, think again! Laughter filled the room, as was the norm throughout the Retreat.

Stitching in Cloud 9 continued until 10 again, this last night of the Retreat. Sunday morning the classes started early at 8:00 and they included Beaded Stitching Accessories, Intermediate Hardanger, It's a Wrap, and Japanese Temari. We all gathered for our final Grand Buffet at 11:30 and bade everyone fond farewells and God's blessings until we meet again.

What a truly fun time we had with these incredible ladies from all over the globe. We look forward to 2012 when we have our 10th annual Stitcher's Retreat! This fall we will let you all know what classes will be offered and when Registration will begin. Keep it in mind and we hope YOU can come and enjoy our next Retreat! Thanks again to all who came and to the staff of Nordic Needle for making it all happen!