Friday, October 29, 2010

Stitcher's Hideaway

After spending Sunday exploring the needlework exhibit at the museum, Monday started our two day stitchathon. After a very late night hanging out with my new friends, I was up early Monday morning to start our class.
Our teacher for the two day retreat was Belinda Karls Nace of Blue Ribbon Designs. I had a few of her designs at home and was very excited to actually be a taught a "class" by a designer. Not to mention the excitement of getting to spend time with a group of other ladies that share my same interests in cross stitch. I could talk about linen counts,fibers, and designers without getting that deer in the headlights look I usually get from Matt and my friends. For our class, Belinda designed a special sampler alone with matching ornaments! All charts and instructions were wonderfully packaged in a lovely white, shiny binder. Oh, I loved her already! Our class materials also came packaged as a kit including fabric, all the threads we would need to stitch not only the sampler but the ornaments, finishing materials for the ornaments, and beads! It was fantastic to just be handed these awesome goodies! Not to mention, upon our arrival, all attendees received a goody bag full of patterns and accessories donated by other designers and Sue who organized the retreat.

Class Sampler

We were off and running after introducing ourselves and receiving our kits and binders for the class. Since we wouldn't all have time to stitch and complete our samplers in the two days the class ran, Belinda actually designed a special ornament to teach us all the specialty stitches that are in the sampler. Some of them were a bit difficult, but Belinda provided excellent illustrations in our binders and was more than happy to work with us one on one until we got the hang of it. Belinda had also brought models of her designs and had patterns available to buy from her. A few patterns I already had, but of course, couldn't resist buying a couple more. There was also a mini needlework shop set up in the one of the hotel rooms by Chris' Collection. So, during breaks, we could wander in and take a look around and spend some dough. I picked up a few things by the end of the two days, but reined myself in quite a bit.

After dinner, we all got a surprise visit from Santa!

Santa had his naughty and nice list and gave each of use little treat bags with some yummy candy inside!

By the end of class that day I was about halfway done the front of my ornament when I realized I hadn't made my backstitched outline quite big enough so I wouldn't be able to fit all of the design inside it. I spent the evening in the my hotel room relaxing to "Intervention" and "Hoarders" while I ripped and restitched the outline then finished stitching the front.

Tuesday morning we stitched a bit more, I started working on the back of my ornament. Belinda was letting us go willy nilly on the back so I decided to personalize it by stitching my initials. Then decided since I had room to add the dove from the sampler and some stars to perk it up a bit. Belinda then used class to teach all of us how to make twisted cord to use as the hanger for our ornament and then how to assemble and finish it.

My friend Lisa and her mom, Kathy

Belinda of Blue Ribbon Designs, Teaching Twisted Cord

By the end of class I had successfully finished my ornament! We even had some time to spare before dinner, so Lisa and I decided to go through town to the local bead shop You've Got To Be Beading. That place was fantastic! I'm not really a beady type person, but there were just a few things I could not pass up. I picked up a couple silver charms and a few bead packs in my favorite colors.

Front of ornament

Back of ornament

Tuesday night after dinner, those who had made ornaments and brought them to the retreat were able to participate in an ornament exchange. I made the Blue Ribbon Designs ornament from this years JCS ornament issue. All the ornaments were wrapped and I drew number one so I was the first to pick! I picked a love ornament that was also a Blue Ribbon Design and was finished with a really pretty paisley fabric on the back, with a sassy little tassle!

I picked the top left ornament (prettyyyy) and I made the one on the far right second row

All in all, Stitcher's Hideaway was fantastic and I am definitely looking forward to a time when I can go again! Sue and Belinda were so nice and fun to spend time with, I would recommend the retreat to anyone. The best part about the two days of class was how flexible everyone was, Belinda in particular. If you couldn't do a particular stitch on the class piece or you just simply didn't like it, you could just do whatever you wanted. It was so much fun, I left Wednesday morning wishing I didn't have to leave!

A view of Mystic Seaport

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