Sturbridge 2007  Fun Report

What a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful time we had at the Sturbridge retreat!!!  There were FORTY of us there, plus the shop owners and our fantastic instructor, Jeannette Douglas of Jeannette Douglas Designs!  This group came from California, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maine,  Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio,  Pennsylvania, and Canada. What fun to see everyone after all the excited email exchanges over the previous months! 

The retreat was held once again at the Publick House in Sturbridge, MA -- just about a mile from Old Sturbridge Village.  There is a lot to see in the area and so many of the attendees worked in some additional vacation time to explore some of it.

                                                                                                                             Let the Fun Begin!

Everyone was very eager for the retreat to begin! As soon as the doors were opened, they poured into the large classroom where they were immediately surrounded by stash, glorious stash!!  Chris’s Collection, Olde Colonial Designs, and Scandinavian Stitches had all set up shop for us.  Wow!!

Everyone picked up their Fun Packs, and while some jumped right into shopping, others dove into the Fun Packs. There were goodies from Calico Crossroads, Chris’s Collection, Elizabeth's Designs, The Gift of Stitching, Glory Bee, Jeannette Douglas Designs, Little House Needleworks, Morning Glory Needleworks, Olde Colonial Designs, Rosewood ManorScandinavian Stitches, Stitcher’s Hideaway,  Sue Hillis Designs, The Prairie Schooler, Victoria Sampler, and Zweigart.  We were delighted, and so appreciative of the designers and companies that donated items for us.

Our first hour together was a mix of getting settled in the classroom, playing in the Fun Packs and shopping and shopping. Ahhhhh.  Paradise!

Once we gathered for class, we discovered who traveled farthest -- Margaret from CA was the winner! But... she wouldn’t have even attended if Denise from CA didn’t tell her all about it, and the two of them live just 15 minutes away from each other. SO, for their loooong travel to Sturbridge they each received some special gifts. Woo-hoo! Here’s Margaret and Denise (holding a doorprize she received from It’s Fine-ally Finished).

Now since I have mentioned Denise, let me tell you a little about her. Denise and I connected over the internet perhaps as long as 2 years ago while her husband was serving in Iraq.  We exchanged a lot of email during that time.  Thankfully, her husband returned home safe and sound and has since retired from military service. Denise had been longing to attend a retreat so once her husband returned she finally made plans with Margaret.  They made an extended vacation out of it and spent time in Boston, too. To the delight of many lucky stitchers, Denise brought along bottles of Wild Bunch wine  to give away as door prizes! ( Denise lives in wine country. ) She has also created some designs for her local EGA and donated some of those for door prizes, too!  What a sweetie. Thanks, Denise!

Jeannette begins our Class

Finally it was time to work on our gorgeous project, Massachusetts - The Bay State, designed for us by Jeannette Douglas.   First, Jeannette showed us the finished sampler framed in two different ways.  Wow, what an amazing difference in the overall impact of each one! We drooled, and some of us tried to make bargains with Jeannette to “free” her of having to transport the samplers, all to no avail. So, we got started on our own samplers by doing a bit of basting in preparation for the afternoon session. We all enjoyed listening to Jeannette’s Canadian accent, ay? 

After lunch, and more shopping (of course!), we began working on the flag banner across the top of the sampler, which sets the tone for the wonderful history that abounds in the State of Massachusetts.  Next we  started working on the trail that runs down the middle of the sampler. This helped us to move from spot to spot to work on specialty stitches in different areas of our fabric. See, the trail represents the Mohawk and Freedom Trails, which connect in the middle to the Boston Common. The design was full of motifs and depictions of early New England, yet retained the land we’ve come to know now. A quote from Henry David Thoreau, the Concord born philosopher and author of Walden, which is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, is used in this piece to reflect the stitcher’s feeling of companionship that we share in our love of stitching. The sampler captures a bit of Cape Cod to the Berkshires. There is a New England church, chickadees (state bird), the Mayflower, tea party, an elm tree (state tree), colonial wallpaper motif, Nantucket baskets, corn, hats (pilgrim, witch, Paul Revere), a grist mill and sheep, Iroquois feather, an American Liberty quilt pattern, stars, flag, maple leaf, Boston Harbor, the grasshopper weathervane on top of Faneuil Building (the Cradle of Liberty), shells, sand dunes, and water, old candlesticks, cranberries, apples, a lobster and cod (state fish), weaving (darning to represent the textile industry), a cape cod house, and so much more!

We worked away happily, breaking here and there for meals and shopping. The room we used at the Publick House is very large. We had roomy seating for everyone to stitch in comfort, plus room for all 3 shops to be set up -- along with all the goodies from Stitcher’s Hideaway, too. At meal time we simply walked into an adjoining room, and wow, did we ever have some great meals!  Every meal was buffet style so that we could pick and choose just what we would like out of their many yummy offerings. Some of us became a little addicted to the Publick House sticky buns! LOL!  Everything was so yummy.   Here’s the menu from just one of our meals: Publick House Bakery Basket featuring Homemade Cheese Bread, Nut Bread, Corn Muffins and Sweet Rolls. Homemade Soup of the Day, New Potato Salad with Artichoke Hearts, Pancetta, Cured Olives, Capers and Fresh Dill. Grilled Asparagus, Mozzarella and Oven Dried Tomatoes. Tossed Spinach Salad with Bacon and Roasted Garlic. New England Seafood Pie, Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken , Rice Pilaf, Seasonal Vegetables, Deep Dish Apple Pie with Vermont Cheddar Cheese and Whipped Cream, Coffee and Decaffeinated Coffee, Assortment of Hot Teas.  Now I bet just reading that is bringing back some delicious memories for the attendees!

 

Note the many packages of Good ‘n Plenty in back of Jeannette! Those who have taken her classes in the past remembered her fondness for them and showered her with many boxes!

One of the framed Massachusetts - The Bay State samplers.

Throughout the retreat names were drawn for doorprizes generously donated by Brightneedle, Brittercup Designs, Cherished Stitches, Chris’s Collection, Earth Threads, Elizabeth's Designs, Finger Work, It’s Fine-ally Finished, The Gift of StitchingGlory BeeJeannette Douglas Designs, Kreinik, Lavender Wings, M Designs, Nordic Needle,   Rosewood ManorStitchy Kitty, With My Needle, and, of course, Stitcher’s Hideaway. Thank you so much, donors! You made a LOT of smiles!

Look at all the recipients of door prizes donated by Glory Bee!
 

And recipients of door prizes from Stitchy Kitty!

After a delicious dinner, we gathered once again in our classroom for a surprise from me!  For this group I created a little pillow to commemorate our time together. Here’s a picture of it (deflated, of course! Kind of hard to scan as a pillow!).

The next morning We had a delicious breakfast together and then gathered for our morning class with Jeannette. We laughed and learned and stitched away the hours. They just flew by!!

Some of the stitches Jeannette taught us were Rhodes, Laisy Daisy, Leaf, Tied Oblong, Ray, Long Arm, Fly , Herringbone, Eyelet, Rice, Shell, Hungarian, Mosaic, Milanese, over one, Italian, Colonial Knot, Star, Woven, Herringbone, and  Brick. It was amazing how much we covered in one retreat!  Jeannette gave us great written instructions and diagrams to follow later when we continued working on the samplers on our own.

 I wonder what stitch she was teaching us here?!?  LOL!!!  Kind of looks like the Roller Coaster Stitch!!!!

 

Some lucky stitchers share their passion for needlework with other family members.

Sisters Elsa and Juana

Mom Georganne and daughter Kimberly

Here’s Mom SueEllen with daughters Ally and Melissa

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