A Stitch in Time 2012 Retreat Report

The Retreat for 2012 is behind us now and it was a wonderful time for all! On Wednesday, April 11, several of the Nordic Needle staff hauled boxes and boxes of merchandise from the store over to the Holiday Inn and set up our little mini-store we called "Grandma's Attic" this year. The theme for our 10th annual Stitchers' Retreat was "A Stitch in Time", thus, the nostalgic name and decor of the mini-store. By Wednesday, already a few of the attendees had arrived and had already "hit" the shop with their lists and lists from their friends. By 1:00 Wednesday afternoon, we were ready for the Registration to begin.

Being our 10th Retreat, many of our attendees were returnees, including three ladies who had perfect attendance! Terri B., Minnesota, Stephanie M., Iowa, and Mary P., South Dakota, have been coming every year so it's like welcoming them back to a big family reunion! We honored these three ladies at our kick-off event that night, but more on that later.

When everyone registers, they receive their first amazing gift of the Retreat - the ever popular, "GOODIE BAG". Our generous vendors provide gifts for our retreaters every time they turn around! This year the Goodie Bag included samples of threads, patterns in several different techniques, kits, gadgets and more. The room began to fill as more and more registered and met up with some of their friends from previous Retreats. This year there were 26 NEW attendees but it didn't take long before they blended in with the crowd and the room was filled with laughter, hugs and catching up with each other.

Everyone was on their own for their evening meal and then at 7:00 we all gathered for the first time together in the Dakota Room for our Kick-off event. Thus began their first "Table Gift". Each person received a notepad with the Nordic needle Retreat logo from Copy Kat in Moorhead, Minnesota, a Paper Mate pen from Service Wholesale and a package of Counting Pins, made by attendee, Bonnie Fox, for everyone.

After welcomes and staff introductions, it was time to identify and meet all the attendees. I read everyone's name and had them stand up, beginning with the 26 "newbies". These 26 came to Fargo from Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and the first man to attend one of our Retreats, from West Virginia. Also, our first ever Retreater from Oslo, Norway came as well as seven ladies from British Columbia, Canada.

Second year attendees numbered at 9 and they came from Maryland, Wisconsin, Florida, South Carolina, Wyoming, Minnesota, Nevada and Australia. Third year attendees, 3 in all, came from Minnesota and Washington. Twelve ladies came for their 4th year and they were from, Florida, Maryland, Wyoming, Minnesota, Michigan, Colorado, Washington, California, and Illinois.

We make a big deal out of the milestone attendance of 5 years. This year 10 ladies celebrated their 5th year at our Retreats and they each received a beautiful engraved wooden scissors case with a scissors. These ladies were from Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois, New Zealand, South Dakota and Nevada.

Six ladies came for their 6th year and they were from Minnesota, California, North Carolina and the island of Bermuda. Five ladies came for the 7th time, from Maryland, California and Colorado. Two ladies came for the eighth year from Minnesota and North Carolina. Three made it for their 9th time; Massachusetts, South Dakota and Bermuda, and finally, the 3 perfect attendees mentioned earlier.

I love statistics so in looking back at the 10 years of Retreats, we have enjoyed having a total of 237 individuals attend one or more of our Retreats! They have come from all over the USA, the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories, and Prince Elbert Island. Other countries include Trinidad and Tobago, the Philippians, England, Iceland, and Israel. We are humbled and honored to have these wonderful people come to Fargo from far and wide to take classes, shop at our store, and make lifelong friends with other stitchers.

After announcements and instructions, we turned the program over to Carol Pedersen, designer of Hardanger, publisher, and repeat Retreat attendee, who spoke on the topic, "Ancestral Angst"!

Carol easily held our attention for a half hour as we listened to her talk on preserving our Needlework for future generations. Provenance was her main theme, which means "the source and ownership history of a work of art or literature or of an archaeological find". The more information we can pass on with our heirloom needleart to future generations, the better and more valuable it will be. She covered safe ways to store and display our treasured needle art. Thank you, Carol, for your enlightening topic and professional presentation.

After our program, it was time to taste all the treats several had brought to share from their home area. We had food items from all over the country and world.

Everyone was encouraged to stay and visit and get to know everyone else. On the other hand, it was a time to get some rest as classes were to begin Thursday morning right after breakfast.

Thursday morning breakfast found a gift at each one's table setting from Sharon Shetley of Threads In Bloom. Sharon teaches Brazilian embroidery at our Retreat and she gave each attendee a cute little embroidery card kit. Plus, Jackie and Barbara, returning Retreaters, made adorable little folded paper ort boxes with a candy kiss for each one plus the staff! After announcements and breakfast, many headed up to the Mezzanine rooms for their first class of the Retreat. Classes included beginning lessons in Brazilian Embroidery with teacher and designer, Sharon Shetley, of Threads in Bloom.

Session one of Beginning Hardanger Embroidery with teacher and designer, Carol Pedersen

and Beginning Ukrainian Embroidery with Terri Bay teaching her design.

Those not signed up for a class either headed to the Nordic Needle store, one mile east of the Holiday Inn, or up to Grandma's Attic for open stitching and visiting with their stitching friends.

Everyone received a special coupon in their registration packet for a special gift they had to pick up at Nordic Needle. A packet of hand made Pin Pals from DebBee's Designs, were given out at the store for everyone!

Everyone gathered for lunch and one of the most exciting times during the Retreat, the big DOOR PRIZE GIVE-AWAY! I had packaged up a door prize for everyone, donated by our most generous vendors, and numbered each package. After lunch, I drew a table number and those Retreaters got to come up and draw a number from the basket and match it up with their door prize! You wouldn't believe all the great items we gave away!

They ranged from amazing assortments of fabulous threads, to fabric, to decorative boxes, kits, scissors, all kinds of gadgets and accessories and the latest publications from popular needlework designers. After that exciting event, many headed to an afternoon of classes while others went shopping or to open stitch. While at Nordic Needle, anyone who wanted a tour of our facility was treated to a walk through the building, both up and downstairs, with interesting facts about our business from our fearless leader, manager Duane.

The afternoon classes were: Beginning Wessex Stitchery taught by Gail Graham,

Beginning Swedish Naversom designed and taught by Debi Feyh (right) with Sue K (left) as her angel - don't they look angelic?

and Intermediate Hardanger Embroidery Scissors Case designed by me (Roz) and taught by Amanda Weigelt.

We gathered for our evening meal where the Table Gift for everyone was a cross stitch kit from Kreinik Company. The kit consisted of perforated paper, metallic fibers and a pattern to stitch and insert in the clear pen! After our buffet meal, where Jess enjoyed her corncob - we held our Bookmark Exchange. Anyone who brought a stitched bookmark was able to receive someone else's bookmark in exchange.

Many brought extra bookmarks and donated them to our Bookmark Challenge where we donate bookmarks to a local literacy program. Another great feature of our Retreat is that whoever brings bookmarks to donate gets a chance to win half of them and take back to their town and donate to their local literacy program. Many give to adult reading programs or libraries and schools to use as prizes in their reading programs.

Thursday evening brought many retreaters back to Nordic Needle for an evening of shopping and also the opportunity to have their embroidery scissors sharpened by a local professional sharpening company.

Many stayed and stitched with their friends and shopped at Grandma's Attic, that stayed open until 10:00 PM.

My daughter, Jess, is our Retreat photographer as well as massage therapist. She had every evening and some daytime slots open for a massage and was able to make 11 attendees very happy and relaxed with one of her soothing massages.

Photos show Jess with Solveig.

Friday morning breakfast featured a table gift of Marion Scoular's Hardanger Embroidery book plus a hand-made greeting card made by Janet Sunde, one of our long-time Retreat ladies. She embellishes her cards with little tatted flowers and her gift every year is a much anticipated bonus. She has spoiled all of our staff as well, as she makes one for each of us too!

The Friday morning classes included: Session one of Intermediate Hardanger, designed and taught by Cindy Valentine,

Session two of Carol Pedersen's Beginning Hardanger Embroidery,

and Advanced Ukrainian Embroidery taught by designer/teacher Terri Bay.

Off to the shop several ladies went, or up to Grandma's Attic for more stitching.

The Friday luncheon featured a Table Gift of 3 skeins of silk thread for everyone from Needlepoint Inc., and a cross stitch design from Rosewood Manor. After our lunch we held our Stash/UFO/Needlework-related Book Exchange. Anyone who brought one of these items to exchange had the opportunity to exchange for what someone else brought. Whatever is left is donated to our local Women's Shelter for their use.

The afternoon classes included Ryan Evelyth teaching her original Intermediate Blackwork cameos,

Mary Uppena teaching session one of Advanced Hardanger Embroidery

and Amanda Weigelt teaching session one of Intermediate Pulled and Drawn Thread Embroidery.

Yes, more shopping at Nordic Needle and more stitching with friends in Grandma's Attic.

Friday evening everyone was on their own for their dinner. At 7:00, we had the privilege of having Needlework Mystery author, Monica Ferris, join us for a book signing! Since Nordic Needle was featured in her latest book, Threadbare, many were anxious to meet her and have her sign that book as well as any previous books we sell or that they brought from home for her to sign.

At 8:00 - 10:00, our group activity was called, "Let's Get Crazy Friday Night". It WAS Friday the 13th! There was a Crazy Quilt stitch demonstration and display by Debi and Ruth and exchange of crazy quilt materials. Gail Graham also demonstrated Bobbin Lace, which intrigued many! We stitched until 10:00 and then knew we needed our rest for another great day at Retreat!

Saturday breakfast included the Table Gifts of the May issue of Cross Stitch magazine and a free pattern from Lacy Thread Designs. She is kind enough to design something every year for our Retreat. This year it was a Needle Book Pattern with our theme "A Stitch in Time" in the design. Monica Ferris and her friend, Ellen, were able to join us for Breakfast before their book signing at Nordic Needle. Monica generously donated two autographed Threadbare books and we drew for the winners during breakfast. The lucky winners were Solveig from Norway and Joanne S from Golden Valley, Minnesota.

The classes Saturday morning were Session 2 of Cindy Valentine's Intermediate Hardanger class, Ruth Hahn teaching Beginning Needle Painting,

and Debi Feyh teaching Beginning Perforated Paper embroidery.

Those not in class found their way to Nordic Needle or up to Grandma's Attic to stitch and visit.

Lunch on Saturday included a Table Gift of a humorous Go Girls Magnet and a graph paper tablet from Needlepoint Now Magazine! After our meal, was the much anticipated Ornament Exchange. Anyone who brought a stitched ornament was able to receive someone else's in exchange! What talented stitchers!

Saturday afternoon classes included: Intermediate Canvaswork by designer/teacher, Debi Feyh,

Session 2 of Intermediate Pulled and Drawn Thread by Amanda, and Session 2 of Mary's Advanced Hardanger embroidery. Sometimes even the photographer/massage therapist Jess, needs a little massage!

This was the last chance for shopping at Nordic Needle so many made their way back to the store to pick up that last item they couldn't leave town without!

Later in the day, we started receiving pieces for our Saturday evening Banquet and Stitcher's Showcase. We urged everyone to bring along a stitched piece they had done and let everyone else enjoy and be inspired by their stitchery. At 6:00 we closed the door to the dining room, where we had the display, and at 6:30 we opened the doors for all to come in and enjoy the display before, during and after our banquet. The Table Gifts this last evening of our Retreat was a Hardanger Embroidery kit I designed and included fabric donated by Ubelhor of Austria, Overdyed thread from Leah's and Pearl cotton #8 from DMC.

We also had two special door prizes; Stitch Wiz and Easy Grapher Pro software, donated by Davis Computer Services. Each software retails for $300.00! The lucky winners were Michelle Ganoff who won the Stitch Wiz, and Lauren Widner won the Easy Grapher Pro!

We also drew for the winner of half of the donated bookmarks. This year Betty Knutson of Willmar, Minnesota, got to take home 43 beautiful handmade bookmarks to share with her local literacy program.

After our delicious meal, we all lined up for our Group Photo! Jess has quite a time getting everyone to line up and make sure their face gets in the photo! She managed quite well as she stood up on a chair and used her super duper Nikon camera.

After the group photo, everyone went back to viewing the beautiful needlework pieces and visiting their friends. Our "down under" friend, Ann and Elaine, wowed us with their feather boas. Solveig wore the Bunad (Norwegian costume) she made.

Grandma's Attic was open until 10:00, this last night of the Retreat. We ask everyone complete a Retreat Evaluation so we have insight and feedback about every aspect of our Retreat and hints on how we can improve in the future. For this, they get another gift! This year they received a beautiful little ivory scrolly frame from Cottage Garden!

Sunday morning our classes began early with continental breakfast available for those who wanted something to eat before the brunch. The classes offered to wind up the Retreat were: Gail Graham teaching Chinese Dragon Boats,

Ruth Hahn's beginning Huck Weaving (Swedish Embroidery),

and Megan Rheault's beginning surface embroidery class. We surprised Megan when one of our local television news reporters came into her class to interview her and our first ever male retreat attendee, Robert. They both did a fantastic job and you can watch the clip yourself here.

Our final meal together was the Grand Brunch Buffet and the final table gift was a cross stitch booklet from Imaginating and a skein of floss from ThreadworX. We thanked all who had a part of making this such a successful Retreat, we thanked all for coming, and announced next year's Retreat dates: April 17-21, 2013! Everyone said they are coming again! Registration will happen this fall and we will let everyone know through our newsletters and on our website when registration is open.

We have already begun planning for next year's Retreat and it is always our goal to make the next one even better than the last. We have our work cut out for us! Our vendors go above and beyond in the gifts they donate each year. Our staff is amazing here at Nordic Needle! So many people are involved in so many aspects, from teaching classes, to stocking the shelves every day of the Retreat, to setting up displays, ordering stock, lining up the meals, planning the classes, and the list goes on with hundreds of details. I can't thank my staff enough for all their hard work and how well they work together to make this a top-notch Stitcher's Retreat. And a HUGE thank you goes to everyone who leaves their families, homes and jobs and travels to Fargo for four days of non-stop stitching, learning new techniques and making life-long stitching friends. We call this the Nordic Needle Retreat but it is really THEIR Retreat!