Minnetonka, MN 2005 Fun Report!

Oh, I love those Minnesota Stitchers!!  What a wonderful time I had with them!!  What a great retreat!

I arrived in MN early so that I could visit some friends and play.  Vicki  stopped by to unload all the boxes filled with door prizes, Fun Packs, and class materials that  I had shipped to her. Vicki showed amazing restraint and didn’t even peek!  She took me out to a great place where I purchased some take out supper and then returned me to the hotel where I relaxed for awhile before leaving to pick up instructor  Thea Dueck of The Victoria Sampler at the airport. 

Now picking up Thea was an adventure in itself!  Her plane was due to arrive at 9:30 p.m. but was delayed until 10:30 p.m.   I guzzled coffee in preparation for our drive to the hotel.  Thea arrived in good shape and it was so good to see her in person after all the emails we had exchanged!  Following printed directions I had been given, we then headed for the hotel.  Turns out the instructions were not right and so we spent some time wandering back roads and seeing the same signs over and over again.  I was beginning to feel pretty tired and silly, and even went the wrong way down a one-way street, but by then it was about midnight and no one in their right mind was out on the roads -- um, except us.  Thea might have been in her right mind, but I’m not sure about me!  It was feeling like 1 a.m. to this east coast body.  Thea said to head for the lights and that seemed like a better idea then the dark back streets, so that’s what we did and suddenly we were at our destination.  In one piece. Whew! 

The next day Thea visited the area with her internet friend Linda and had a tour of the city.   I hooked up with Vicki for most of the day.  She took me on a wonderful drive around Lake Minnetonka -- WOW, it’s BIG!  We ate at Antiquity Rose -- a combination restaurant and antique shop -- obviously popular with the locals for the wonderful food.  We then went to Stitchville USA where I lightened my wallet and had a fantastic time playing in the linens and threads, picking out materials for a design I had in my head.  Next stop was the Minnetonka General Store for a fun shopping spree.  Afterwards we picked up Thea and joined several other stitchers for dinner at Dave’s Famous Barbeque -- oh, MAN, those ribs are so good!  It was fun to see some of the stitchers I’d met at last year’s retreat and to meet some new ones, too.  After dinner we just couldn’t help ourselves.  We had to go to Stitchville again!  LOL!!  Then we headed for the hotel for a good night’s sleep before the retreat began.

Early the next morning Deb from Stitchville and I did last minute set up in the classroom and then the excited stitchers began to arrive.  Thea joined us in greeting them. They had a great time stash enhancing, going through their Fun Packs, greeting each other, and drinking coffee, tea, and nibbling on muffins.    Their Fun Packs contained items from   Brightneedle, Brittercup Designs, Elizabeth’s Designs, Finger Work, Grateful Hearts, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, M Designs, MonsterBubbles, Piecework Magazine, Rosewood Manor, Scandinavian Stitches, Sue Hillis Designs, The Prairie Schooler, The Victoria Sampler, Udder Cream, Weeks Dye Works, With My Needle, and, of course, Stitcher’s Hideaway.  In two of the Fun Packs were unusual items that identified the recipients as winners of special door prizes!  The stitchers were from SD, FL, WI, MN, NE, CA, and MO.  Kathy Moore from California was given special gifts, including a stuffed Minnesota moose, for being the person who traveled the farthest.     Deb from Stitchville

We were all so thrilled to be able to learn from Thea and couldn’t wait for classes to begin!  The great majority of us had never tried hardanger or had very little experience with it.  Thea had a big job ahead of her, and she was more than up to the challenge!  We had all previously done some prework on our project so that we could concentrate in class on learning the more complex techniques.  Our prework consisted of basting and stitching kloster blocks, the foundation for the hardanger portion of our Friends in Stitches project.  We had our choice of a pink or blue colourway.  The kloster blocks were worked in caron watercolours in Rose Quartz or Silver Blue depending on our colourway.  This thread was varigated so each of our pieces looked somewhat different from the others. 


Thea expertly led us through creating Algerian Eyelets, cutting threads, needlewearving, Dove’s Eyes, Partial Greek Crosses and beading.  She gave us excellent tips for cutting threads consistently and neatly, and walked about helping us as needed.  When she came to me I had my scissors in position and she urged me to cut them. I kept looking at my threads -- was I about to remove the correct ones? Go ahead, she said, cut them.  My mind said do it, but my hand wouldn’t move.  Finally I confessed that I was frozen!  But she assured me that the threads were the right ones and so I went for it!  It wasn’t so hard after all!!  Ha-ha!!  What a wimp I had been!!  Diane, who was sitting next to me, managed to cut a wrong thread. “Ah, a learning experience!” proclaimed Thea, who came to the rescue and explained to us all how to easily repair the boo-boo.  That was very reassuring! “Hey, Diane -- thanks for messing up,” I said. We decided to blame the error on Dawn from Florida, who wasn’t even at this particular retreat, but since she’s usually around when stitching mishaps occur, we figured she ought to get credit! (Hi, Dawn!)


Kathy & Gwen (daughter and mother) and Rosie

Throughout the retreat there were drawings for more and more doorprizes.  They were from Brightneedle, Brittercup Designs, Calico Crossroads, Finger WorkGlory Bee, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Just One More, Ladybug Lane Designs, Nordic Needle, Rosewood Manor, Stitcher’s Hideaway, Stitchy Kitty, The MonkeyWorks,  and Wichelt Imports, Inc.  Thea also gave us each a wonderful gift -- Buttercups, one of her Beyond Cross Stitch Learning Collections that features loop stitch done in silk ribbon!

Our meals were so delicious!  What a great chef!  And what deadly desserts!  MM-m-m-m-m!!!!  On Friday evening after yet another ful-FILLING meal, the stitchers gathered in the classroom to find out what the surprise was that I had for them.  They had been taunted and teased about this surprise for quite some time and tried to get hints out of me, but nope...I wouldn’t budge!

This was their surprise.  I designed “Lacis in Lavender” for them and taught them how to do lacis!  Weeks Dye Works donated beautiful threads for this project: Periwinkle, Utraviolet, Sugar Plum, and Cadet.  It was stitched on 28 count Cashel Lavender Bliss.  

There are some times when the sewing method is better to use then the “poke and stab” method, and needleweaving in lacis is definitely one of those times.  I gave everyone a live needleweaving demonstration showing both methods and using stitchers for wrapped bars!

My guess is that they’ll all remember how to needleweave!!  Ha!!

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