Retreat Report from our 2013 "Tea and Friends Stitcher's Retreat". This was our 11th annual Stitcher's Retreat and it was the largest with 90 in attendance! We were off and running Wednesday, April 17, in spite of the nasty wintery weather. With that and the airline delays, cancellations and storms, not everyone arrived when scheduled but when everyone did get there, all the former challenges and delays were quickly forgotten and the fun began! This is what Nordic Needle looked like the first Retreat day!

Registration began at 1:00 with Chris S. and Debi F, checking in everyone and sending them to me so I could give them their huge Goodie Bag. These bags each had about 25 different items donated by our generous vendors. Several ladies sat and stitched and visited their old and new stitching friends who were continually arriving all afternoon.

Our Wednesday night "kick-off" event began when I welcomed everyone and had each person stand up as I read their names and where they were from. The first group I introduced was the group of 32 first time attendees! They came from Tasmania, Australia, British Columbia, Alberta, Nova Scotia, and 14 of our United States! On the other end of the spectrum, two of these ladies have come all eleven years! Over the eleven years of our Retreat we have had a total of 269 individuals come from all over the world. Besides almost every State, the countries represented have been Bermuda, New Zealand, Australia, England, Israel, Norway, Philippians, Trinidad and Tobago, Iceland, and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia, Northwest Territories and Prince Elbert Island. The common love of needlework has brought people together from all over the world to Fargo, North Dakota for 5 days of stitching, making life-long friends, learning new techniques, shopping and in general, having the time of our lives!

After the introductions and announcements, the rest of the first evening was spent enjoying treats that some of the ladies brought from their part of the world, seeing some gadget demonstrations, visiting and preparing for classes the next day. Being my daughter, Jess, was not the photographer this year, several of us did our best to take photos. Sue and I took the photos that appear in this Report.

After our delicious breakfast buffet, classes began for Redwork Embroidery taught by Megan Shirley, Ukrainian Embroidery, taught by Terri Bay, and Wessex Embroidery taught by Gail Graham. Those who didn't have classes, flocked to Nordic Needle for a morning of shopping, touring the facility, or stitching together.

During our noon buffet, everyone got a fabulous Door Prize, compliments of our many generous vendors! What fun to see what everyone received. We can't thank our vendors enough for making our Retreat so fabulous with all the FREE items everyone gets throughout the entire event! Every meal has a table gift!

After lunch there was more shopping at the store Duane, NN Manager, gave tours of our facility many times during the Retreat

Classes Thursday afternoon included Beginning Hardanger Embroidery by Carol Pedersen, Whitework by Debi Feyh, and Intermediate Stumpwork/Brazilian Embroidery by Sharon Shetley.

Thursday evening we enjoyed gathering together for stitching, visiting and the Tea Cup Exchange.

After Friday morning breakfast, classes included Carol Pedersen teaching intermediate Hardanger Embroidery, Terri Bay teaching Intermediate Ukrainian Embroidery, and Amanda Weigelt teaching Beginning Pulled/Drawn Thread.

Afternoon classes on Friday included Needlepainting by Ruth Hahn, Intermediate Canvaswork by Debi Feyh and Advanced Hardanger Embroidery taught by Amanda Weigelt.

Our Friday evening gathering included stitching with friends and a fun Tea Towel Exchange! Something new every year and being the theme this year was "Tea and Friends", the teacup and tea towel exchanges worked out super!

Saturday's breakfast came too early for some of us who stayed up stitching together until after midnight! Those who didn't have classes got in their last day of shopping at Nordic Needle and some enjoyed Open Stitch together.

Saturday morning classes included Ruth Hahn teaching Huck Embroidery, Debi Feyh teaching Beginning Naversom, and Amanda Weigelt teaching Advanced Hardanger Embroidery.

Our Saturday noon Buffet included our annual Ornament Exchange. Oh, what beautiful hand-made ornaments with many different techniques!

Whether you were shopping, stitching or taking a class, the fun continues. Saturday afternoon classes included Carol Pedersen teaching her second intermediate Hardanger class, Debi Feyh teaching the second Whitework class and Amanda teaching Intermediate Pulled/Drawn thread.

In preparation for our Banquet and Stitcher's Showcase, several brought their stitched pieces for us to set up the display. It takes a lot of commitment from many Nordic Needle staff to make the Retreat run smoothly every year. Setting up the display this year were me (Roz), Amanda, Ruth, and Mary Ann.

For me, one of the best parts of the Retreat was having my daughter, Jess, and her 5 week old baby Kalea come for the Banquet! Jess has been our official photographer and massage therapist in past Retreats so she knows so many of the people who come every year. She was so happy to be able to come and see her friends again and introduce them to her little baby girl.

After our delicious meal, we assembled to take the big group photo! No small task this year with 90 in attendance plus some of our staff! It took three photos this year to make it happen. Notice my granddaughter got in the group photo too!

Sunday morning brought the last three classes of the Retreat. Cassie Slaby and Fern Elofson taught Kumihimo Braiding, Virginia Dambach taught Crazy Quilting, and Gail Graham taught Biscornu Construction.

Our final Sunday Brunch was our last gathering before everyone went home. There were lots of hugs, some tears, lots of swapping addresses, photos taken and promises to meet again. On behalf of the entire Nordic Needle team, we want to thank everyone who came this year. We are blown away by your enthusiasm, your passion for stitching, your kindness to each of us, and your support for our business and future Retreats. We hope you all went home and shared your stories and will teach someone new to stitch this year. Pass on the love of needlework!

As you can see, the Nordic Needle ladies love each other and we are all looking forward to working together for our next Retreat and seeing many of you again!