Mystic, CT 2006 Fun Report!

Oh, boy!  What fun we had!!  I just LOVE the annual Christmas theme retreat in Mystic!

Instructor Betsy Stinner of Earth Threads arrived the afternoon before the retreat began, and she and I, along with my buddy Deb, went to a Japanese hibachi restaurant for dinner.  It was delicious!  If you’ve never tried it, you’re missing out!  Hibachi is a favorite of Betsy’s and I was so pleased to find a brand new restaurant barely 5 minutes away from the hotel.  You sit around a U-shaped table and in the middle of the table is a large grill.  The hibachi chef prepares your meal right there on the grill in front of you, usually with great flair.  Some hibachi chefs can be very entertaining.  This one gave us quite a show with his knives and a raw egg!  The food was great and we had a lot of laughs.  It was a wonderful way to relax before the retreat.


The next morning Chris and Pam from Chris’s Collection arrived to set up shop for all the stitchers in need of stash enhancment.  Betsy and I enjoyed taking sneak peeks as we set up our own displays.

When the stitchers arrived they found their Fun Packs, dove into their stash, shopped, and snacked on fresh apple cider, Vermont cheddar cheese, crackers, and other goodies -- so perfect for a New England fall day.  Quite a number of stitchers have returned each year to the Mystic retreat and so it has become something of a reunion. There were laughs and hugs as they greeted each other and caught up with each other’s lives. There were stitchers new to Stitcher’s Hideaway, too, and we had a fun time meeting them.  Four ladies traveled all the way from Michigan by car to take Betsy’s class.  They were a great group. They all wore matching pink t-shirts that said “Michigan to Mystic 2006” on them! Here’s Sandy, Janet,  Chris & Meg.

But the “Pink Ladies” from Michigan weren’t the ones that traveled the farthest this time. These stitchers came from MA, CT, VT, NY, NH, RI, NJ, MD, and ID.  Idaho was the farthest away and for the first time there were two that traveled the farthest!  Sisters Juana and Elsa, who share a house, each received gifts for traveling the farthest! Here’s Elsa on the right, who just won a door prize from Morning Glory Needleworks, and her sister Juana is next to her.

The goodies in our Fun Packs were donated from Brittercup Designs, Calico Crossroads, Chris’s Collection, Elizabeth's Designs, The Gift of Stitching, Glory Bee, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Knotted Tree NeedleArt, Lavender Wings, Morning Glory Needleworks, Nordic NeedleOlde Colonial DesignsRosewood Manor, Scandinavian StitchesStitchy Kitty, Sue Hillis Designs, The Prairie Schooler, The Sweetheart TreeWith My Needle, and Zweigart.  Thank you so much!!!

After a bit we got set up in our classroom for class time with Betsy.  Boy, she is a hoot!  During the two days we spent together, we worked on two ornaments that used the same specialty stitches used in the Victorian Noel Sampler. The stitches included Double Running, Woven Spider Web, Diamond Rhodes, Triple Upright Cross, Smyrna, Bullion, Fir, Pine Cone, Algerian Eye, Diamond Ray, Ray, Modified Van Dyke, Herringbone Leaf, Flower, and Enclosed Rhodes over eight threads.  Here’s a picture of the Victorian Noel Sampler. 

The ornaments we worked on were a big help in learning the different stitches.  Many of us completed them during the retreat.  Donna from NY finished hers and sent me a scan (left).  I stitched mine in different colored threads and finished them a bit differently (right).  Donna and I have ours on our Christmas trees.













For most of us, the bullion stitch was new and we spent awhile nailing that one down.  It’s what makes up the little Christmas tree.  It was fun learning it together.  We laughed at our own clumsy attempts!  One stitcher had never done any specialty stitches and you should have seen how quickly she picked everything up!  We were all so proud of her!

All throughout our class time together Betsy talked about various Christmas customs and their origins -- holly, wreaths, Christmas pickles, and so much more.  It was clear that she had done a lot of research just for our class, and it was so appreciated. She also played some beautiful Christmas music in between instructions as we stitched.   It was  so relaxing and enjoyable to stitch while listening to the music and hearing about various customs.  One of the CDs was by the Celtic Women.  Wow, it was great! 




It’s so much fun to get together with other stitchers!  We may come from tremendously diverse backgrounds, but get us together talking about our passion for needlework and all those differences disappear!  Instant friends!  LOL!  I love seeing all the stitching toys people bring with them to class -- needle books, ORT containers, various tools and pretties.  Oh, I LOVE to look at it all! 

At this retreat I had the pleasure of sitting next to Gayle (right).  Gayle and I both enjoy hanging out at -- a message board for stitchers.  It was great to meet another 123’er in person!  I’ve been able to meet quite a few at the retreats over the years.



Here’s Alda from Maryland.  She had just won a doorprize from Rosewood Manor.  And do you see that lovely frog looking up at her doorprize?  She won that at Stitcher’s Hideaway, too!  When you press it, its whole body moves as it sings “What a Wonderful World.” 

We had some very generous doorprizes donated to us for this retreat.  They came from

 Brittercup Designs, Cherished Stitches, Chris’s Collection, Earth Threads, Elizabeth's Designs, The Gift of StitchingGlory Bee,  Jeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, Lavender Wings, M Designs, monsterbubbles, Morning Glory Needleworks, Nordic Needle, Old Colonial Designs, Praiseworthy Stitches, Rosewood Manor,  Stitcher’s Hideaway, Stitchy Kitty, The Victoria Sampler, With My Needle, and a friend of Stitcher’s Hideaway who donated some wonderful stash. 



These six stitchers won a chart and accesory pack from Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler!  Lucky gals!

Some stitchers from New York have been attending the annual Mystic Stitcher’s Hideaway since 2002.  They are part of a group that gets together to stitch on a weekly basis.  They call themselves the Stitchin’ Witches.  They presented Betsy with one of their t-shirts.  I guess this makes Betsy an honorary Stitchin’ Witch!  LOL!

These same gals have handmade me gorgeous gifts throughout the years.  At this retreat they presented me with a beaded scissors fob and a crocheted piece that has my last name in it!  I’ll have to find a way to take a picture of that to post on here.  It is long and can’t fit on my scanner.  I think it would look awesome mounted on some deep colored velvet as a contrast.  They are so thoughtful! 




Here we are having a yummy lunch in the same room where Chris’s Collection is set up.  Right across the hall is our classroom, which is so convenient.   Here’s Deb, Marianne, and then Donna & Liz (Stitchin’ Witches).

Six of us participated in an old fashioned cookie exchange.  That was great!  We each made a batch to share and took with us some of each other’s cookies.  It was a nice assortment.  When I got home they went immediately into my freezer so that I could take them out for Christmas. 

Betsy and I posed for many photos.  We do our best to keep the paparazzi happy.  If you know the two of us, you know that it is difficult for us to behave for very long.  Please don’t tell Santa. We have concerns about that list he keeps....



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