Kissimmee, FL 2004 Fun Report!

What a treat it was for us to have Betsy Stinner of Earth Threads as our instructor for the Kissimmee, FL 2004 Stitcher’s Hideaway!  Her class instruction was excellent and her lecture on needlework history was so rich.  We learned so much!!

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  First let me tell you what took place before the retreat!  Betsy and I were there the day before and we took a little drive in the area before checking into our hotel rooms.  Betsy kept referring to Kissimmee as “Kiss-a-me” and so I told her I thought it was pronounced “ka-sem-me”. She tried and tried to pronounce it differently, then finally announced that she thought Kiss-a-me was cuter!  And anyway, she figured that was New York for Kissimmee!  Ha!

We stopped at some very touristy shops on Rt. 92 in Kissimmee, and then ate dinner at a Japanese restaurant -- the kind where you sit with up to 8 people around a grill and the food is prepared right there for you with a very entertaining chef.  Oh, it was WONDERFUL!!  Then, after checking into our hotel rooms, we spent some time at Downtown Disney -- a first for Betsy.  She had fun picking out some items for her grandchildren.  We wisely made it back to the hotel early to get a good night’s sleep in before the retreat began.

The next morning Pam and Jan from The Someday Shop and Linda from Needle Craft World arrived to set up shop for the stitchers.  Betsy and I got all of our things ready, too.  We had lots of room and were able to set up the classroom in a U-shape.  All around the U were Fun Packs at each place.  And Betsy set up the Stitcher’s Hideaway t-shirt display -- debuting at the Kissimmee, FL retreat.  The shirts looked so pretty all lined up on the table in teal green, sage, violet, yellow haze, iris and azalea.  Then there was the last minute check on food services and suddenly it was time for the stitchers to arrive -- and in they came!!  Some of them had been at the last Stitcher’s Hideaway in Kissimmee and already knew each other, and then there were new stitchers, too.  They were all from Florida except Pat from Illinois -- so guess who won the prize for the stitcher that traveled the farthest!!

Linda, Ellen and Marge play in their Fun Packs!

Everyone loves the Fun Packs!!  At this retreat there were items from Brightneedle, Finger Work, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Just Nan, Kreinik, Mill Hill, MonsterBubbles, Rosewood Manor, The MonkeyWorks, Stitcher’s Hideaway, The Prairie Schooler, The Victoria SamplerWeeks Dye Works and With My Needle.  We also enjoyed the Nordic Needle catalog -- which, of course, made us want more and more stash!!

After meeting each other, stash enhancing, and eating yummy sandwiches, chips & dips and cookies, we settled down for our first class with Betsy:  The Lazy Days of Summer.  It was such a cute project!  It came with a little tuck-pillow and dragonfly button.  We had our choice of blue or yellow, which was a very pleasant surprise.  As we worked on it we learned several of the stitches we would also need to know for the next day’s larger project.

That evening we had a terrific dinner.  Some chose broiled grouper and some roasted chicken breast -- both were delicious -- and there was so much!!  We finished our dinner with birthday cake for Margaretjoy who was celebrating the BIG one!  (You!)

After dinner we shopped for awhile.  There was a great selection from the two shops, and both had some completed needlework on display.  Pam from The Someday Shop loves doing one-over-one stitching, and Linda from Needle Craft World had some Victoria Sampler work on display.  Both shops had fun items for the stitchers, which they received throughout the retreat.  It was great!!

Next Betsy gave her lecture on needlework history. We saw slides of needlework from different centuries and cultures and were able to ask questions to our heart’s content.  Betsy showed a slide of an antique needlework tool that was a real curiosity.  She asked us what we thought it was and no one could guess.  It had several sharp jagged pieces to it that she explained were used for ripping fabric. Attached to it was what looked like a very tiny spoon.   When we found out what that was used for we were absolutely shocked!!  A collective “eww-w-w-w-w-w” could be heard throughout the room!  Oh, I could tell you what it was for, but I’ll let Betsy surprise you herself at one of her lectures!!!

Left:  The Birthday Girl!


After the lecture some of us stayed and stitched on our Lazy Days of Summer -- with some of us even finishing it.  I think Marge and I were the last ones to head for our hotel rooms -- and even then we did so reluctantly.  Marge is a night owl (we have often exchanged silly late night emails!), and I was just so thrilled to be able to stitch for an extended period of time.

The next morning we gathered for a yummy breakfast and coffee, coffee, and more coffee -- and then headed off to class to begin working on Spring Serenity.  It was great to see Betsy’s stitched model -- which was far more beautiful than what I was able to show on the website.  The silks in the Spring Serenity project were so pretty.  It was fun just opening up our kits to get ready to start!  As some of us began putting our linen into Q-snaps, Linda from Needle Craft World shared a great tip with us.  It seems that Q-snaps can sometimes draw color out of the linen in the area where the plastic meets the linen, and sometimes Q-snaps can slide a bit.  Linda told us about putting a paper napkin or towel between the linen and the plastic snap on portion.  I tried it and it worked great! 



There were 25 different specialty stitches in the Spring Serenity project, and we managed to learn them all between Friday and Saturday!  Some were a breeze, and then there was....the queen stitch!  Oh, that was really a challenge for some of us!  But we all managed to do it, with some of us already being old hands at it.  A Stitcher’s Hideaway retreat is a great environment to learn new techniques because you’re with the same instructor and stitchers throughout the event, and have the extended time to learn not only from the instructor, but from each other.   One stitcher came alone and was pretty much a beginner at working on linen.  Now she has two stitching buddies to continue helping her along!

Betsy sits contentedly after another fine meal!

Now, let’s talk about Betsy a minute, shall we?!?  That woman loves to eat!!  About a half hour before each meal she would begin saying, “Isn’t it about time to eat?”  “Are they getting that food out yet?”  “Don’t you think we should check and see if it’s ready?” Now if stitchers had heard ME saying that, they probably wouldn’t have been surprised -- but little Betsy?!?  Ha!  But we sure did enjoy our meal times.  Betsy & I both enjoyed switching to different tables and eating with different stitchers at each of our meals.  It was a great way to get to know everyone better.  There were cancer survivors among us, mothers, grandmothers, single women, and numerous occupations represented.  Some have lived in Florida all their lives, and some were transplants.  Several had family up north or had come from the north.   Some were new to needlework, and some were practically born stitching.   We had varying backgrounds, but our love of needlework drew us together and we sure had a great time!

During class we took some breaks to admire and buy wonderful threads, linens, charts and needlework toys from Needle Craft World and The Someday Shop, and to look at each other’s toys -- needlecases, fobs, boxes, and more.  It’s so much fun to look at what everybody else has made!!

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