Eden Prairie, MN 2004 Fun Report!

We were absolutely thrilled with the Northwest Sampler -- our retreat project designed by Jeannette Douglas of Jeannette Douglas Designs for the Eden Prairie, MN stitchers.  It was far more beautiful and detailed than photos were able to capture.  Jeannette has a wonderful way of adding dimension to her designs through a variety of stitches.  I’m still marveling over the raspberries made from beads -- they look good enough to eat!

But here I am once again getting ahead of myself.  Let’s start at the beginning.

First, Jeannette was the one who picked me up from the airport.  She had driven from Canada with her friend Nancy.  Since we had never met, Jeannette told me I should wear my Minnie Mouse hat -- which I did -- but we had no problem recognizing each other after exchanging some very silly photos of ourselves by email.  We immediately drove to the Minnetonka General Store where we had a DELICIOUS lunch and then spent about 3 hours shopping.  The store was filled with unique gift items.  Oh, my. We definitely lightened our wallets there!  Then we drove Nancy back to the airport so she could hop a flight to Des Moines to visit her son.

After checking in at our hotel, Jeannette and I paid a visit to Stitchville USA in Minnetonka.  WHAT AN AWESOME SHOP!!  If you’re ever in the area, you’ve just got to stop in!  They have an extensive selection of linens and fibers, lots of models on display, all the newest designs - a stitcher’s paradise. Jeannette and I lightened our wallets once again and enjoyed every second of it.

That night we ate at Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que in Minnetonka.  We can report that the barbequed ribs are outstanding enough to truly be famous!  We were there quite late enjoying our meal and chatting.  Soon we realized we’d better get back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before the retreat began.

There is always a lot of excitement and anticipation as each retreat begins -- not only for the stitchers, but for the instructor and I as well.  We could hardly wait for everyone to arrive!  We set up the room as quickly as possible, and Deb (right) from Stitchville USA set up a mini-shop.  Suddenly it was time!  The stitchers began to arrive -- from Wisconsin, California, and Minnesota.  Everyone received their Fun Packs, played in their stash, and shopped for more stash!  (We did a LOT of that - ha-ha!!).  I told Debbie she was the Evil Enabler because she had so many wonderful things that none of us could resist them!!

Emily (left) from California won the prize for being the stitcher who traveled the farthest.  Oh, she was a happy girl!  And her prize prompted a stitcher to ask longingly, “Is there one for the stitcher that traveled the least?” That had us all laughing!

After a bit we all settled down for our first class.  I LOVE opening a brand new kit and seeing a brand new design!!  We had a generous cut of Zweigart Flax Linen, Jupiter Inc! charms, Mill Hill beads, Just Another Button Company buttons, and threads from Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Art Sampler Threads, Simply Shaker Threads, Needle Necessities, Gloriana Silk, and The Thread Gatherer Silk ‘n Colours. It was such an interesting assortment -- but not surprising after we began working on our project and learned how particular Jeannette is in her selection of colors, fibers, and stitches to capture the details of her design.  And what a design!  It began with a lodge among pine trees and then continued with bands depicting history and scenery of Minnesota.  There were loons (state bird), butterflies, Lady Slipper (State flower), moccasins, lakes, canoes, oars, wheat sheafs, beaded raspberries, pine cones, fish, a moose, flag, scampering deer, and even mosquitoes!  What a wonderful remembrance of Minnesota! And written in with her instructions for each band was information about Minnesota.  Her instructions were so easy to understand, and there were new stitches for us all to try.  

As we began working on the sampler, we learned a bit about Jeannette and her travel adventures.  It was quite a story and we gave her a lot of ribbing about it throughout the retreat. 

After lunch we shopped and played in the Fun Pack stash.  There were items from BrightneedleFinger Works, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Just NanRosewood Manor, Kreinik, Mill Hill, monsterbubbles, Nordic Needle, Sue Hillis Designs, The MonkeyWorks, The Victoria Sampler, The Prairie Schooler, Udder Cream, With My Needle, and Weeks Dye Works.  It was great!  Thank you, DONORS!

We went back to class and accomplished quite a bit that afternoon.  We went over the mosaic stitch, long arm cross stitch, half rhodes and tied oblong stitches, and the pinched cross.  The pinched cross was new to a lot of us, and was pretty cool!

We had a lot of fun getting to know each other throughout the retreat.   Many of us made a point to sit with different people at each mealtime just to get to know each other.  Gee, it seemed like we were doing a lot of eating!  Ha-ha!

That evening we had Show ‘n Tell and it was great!  We saw a variety of stitched designs and techniques used.  Kenne, who stitches models for Stitchville USA, just amazed us.  She had stitched the same design in about 12 different color schemes.  When we looked at them one after the other they all seemed so different it was hard to believe it was the same design!  Kenne just about stitches at the speed of light.   A week after the retreat she already had her sampler being framed at Stitchville USA!  Kenne even stitches standing up!  See?

W e sa w so m e wo nd erf ul stitched pieces -- even some quilting.  So many of us are multi-talented!

We had some sisters among us, and  some sisters-in-law.  It’s so nice to have a family member to share your addiction with!

I told everyone about my husband paying a visit at the first Stitcher’s Hideaway in Mystic.  He stuck his head in the room and had the strangest look on his face.  I thought something was wrong!  I stepped out into the hall with him and said, “Honey, what’s the matter?”  He glanced back into the classroom a couple more times and then said, “They...they...they look like aliens!”  I looked in and cracked up!  The stitchers had a variety of magnification devices on top of their heads and attached to their eyeglasses!  He was right!  Ha-ha!!  And when I received the photos back from the MN retreat and saw this shot of Mary, I knew I had proof that stitchers are at least another breed!!

Some of us had some common sense and went to bed at a decent hour, but as usual, I had no common sense.  I’m so thrilled to have time to just sit and stitch that I never want to stop once I start.  Eventually butt paralysis and blurry vision took over and those who had remained finally admitted they needed to sleep.

The next day after a hearty breakfast, we gathered once again in the classroom.  Every time we returned to the classroom we found more freebies and surprises waiting for us!  And there were some wonderful and generous doorprizes from Stitchville USA, too!




Vicki & Loretta

We continued with our sampler, learning to make mosquitoes, moccasins, trees, pinecones and Lady Slippers.  We learned the firefly stitch, sprat’s head, windmill, off set woven stitch, and feather stitch.  We quickly learned that Jeannette has her own way of modifying just about every stitch you could think of!  And she just loves to compensate her bands!  This led to our giving her a lot of ribbing about it, of course.  And we LOVED her modifications and compensations!!

We proclaimed LuAnn (right) our Class Clown.  She continually livened up class time and was a real delight.  What a stitch!  (pun very much intended!)

After lunch and yet more freebies, we learned many more delightful modified stitches:  herringbone, wave stitch, and butterfly stitch.  Then, oh joy!  We learned to make raspberries with Mill Hill beads.  They came out so nice!!

Next we tackled the three-sided stitch, and some one-over-one stitching, the star stitch, medievel stitch, and long arm cross stitch.

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