After arriving at the Radisson in Norfolk, Virginia, we went to the ballroom to register, pick up our name tags, tote bag and welcoming kit.
Some of the goodies in the tote bag with fabric I bought at the boutique and a giftie from the Charland class:
We settled in at a table with other stitchers from all over the US and opened our kits. We got some instruction from Lois and admired the model. We hadn't gone too far in our stitching before we noticed folks who had left the ballroom were now back with purchases from the boutique. We looked at each other, dropped everything, and headed for the boutique set up on another floor.
It was crowded with eager shoppers! It was so well set up by Dyeing to Stitch (the folks holding the retreat); everything flowed so nicely around the room. The first table had a Halloween theme. Our tote bag had a nice Cricket Collection freebie of a ghost and it was stitched and framed on the table. Nice buckets and baskets held R&R fabric (of course!!) rolled up and tied with ribbons. The tags on the fabrics indicated the color name, the count and the design for which it was intended. M Designs' Halloween Tree was stitched on a gorgeous yellow. I picked up 2 pieces of the fabric: one for the tree and one for Halloween ornies to be determined later.
The next table was all Charland! All her wonderful silver charms were on display on black velvet. Her Halloween House kit was there, but I didn't pick it up and by the time I had taken her class and learned to appreciate it, the kit had been appreciated by other stitchers. ;) It's on my to-get list. She had a scissors fob and emery kits with the Down By the Sea theme. I picked up one of each and a Halloween Bag kit.
The next table was along the back wall. It had flower pots with colorful, whimsical decorations and Prairie Moon (?) Halloween kits to go on sticks and "planted" in the flower pots. Cute, but I passed. It was the next table that had my interest! Shepherd's Bush!!
The kits from their retreat last year were there, the new stocking, and the new books as well as a Down By the Sea "Virginia Beach" sampler. We were so naive we actually thought this was the piece for the class and that extras were being sold. We quickly found out this was not the case and we each bought one of the little sampler kits. I finished it while at the retreat. They also released a new needleroll with a Halloween theme! It is exclusive to the retreat for a year and will be released next year for everyone.
The next table was along the wall opposite the entrance. I can't even remember what was on that table: keychain? slippers? Not even remotely on my radar. Neither was the rack of charts that came between this table and the next one. It was the sort of rack that you could read the titles, but couldn't see any of the designs. Also not on my radar.
The next table had a model of Cross Eyed Cricket's (CEC) Legend of Sleepy Hollow! A large, but fantastic piece! Love it! Picked up the fabric and should have picked up the specialty fibers they had displayed in front of the piece. However, if I'd picked up the fibers, I wouldn't have known to pick up 2 of one of the colors. I would have had dye lots in conflict!
The last table displayed designs by By the Bay Needleart, including a framed piece. This was about as large as Sleepy Hollow. (I'll need another couch to hang this over!) It was also a Doink! moment for me. Turns out 13th Colony Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be stitched side by side to make one picture!! Who knew!?! LOL Very impressive.
They also had a model of Skeleton Crew by CEC. Nice, but I already own the chart and started it. (It was the "must have" at last years' Hershey.)
The hotel apparently decided to turn off the air conditioning, so that was the longest, hottest wait in line for the register on the planet, but it was a great place to meet people and it gave us plenty of time to chat. All good!
Back to the ballroom and our welcome project. We worked on that until 4 pm when it was time for The Reveal. This was our first retreat so we had decided that we would not "go" to the reveal (thinking it was going to be in the boutique) and would wait until class to be surprised. Well, they closed the boutique so everyone could gather in the ballroom. The designers gathered at the registration table at the front center of the room. After a brief welcoming message and to a roomful of stitchers chanting "Reveal! Reveal!" It was Charland's piece we saw first. WOW!!
Next was seeing the Shepherd's Bush class project. We gasped when we saw the back (yes, the BACK) of the piece. It was HUGE and framed. Assuming Jill Rensel mats were used, that would make the piece similar to all the large sampler kits. We beamed with joy at each other! This was not the tiny Virginia Beach sampler we bought at the boutique.
What a nice blend of Quaker motifs and the sea! The mats are beautiful. I must stitch this sooner rather than later. In class we took a small stitching break to make a sea themed beaded scissors fob. So much fun and I love mine!
The first night after dinner, we all met in the ballroom. We brought our Ott Lights, extension cords and stitching. In our totes was a black pearl that we unwrapped here. Wrapped in the black paper was a package of goldfish crackers (sea theme!!), a button, a shell and one person had a "you won" shell. The first of many door prizes. Although we didn't win this one, a stitcher at our table won and it was lovely.
We received the collaboration project. R&R dyed the fabric, and Charland and Shepherd's Bush each designed one side of the clam shell.
The next evening we had a show and tell by R&R of reproduction samplers and the histories of the originals. All but two or three were passed around so we could see them up close. How nice! What wasn't clear until the end was that we could indicate on a list we were given which ones we'd like to order. Ah, well! What was cool to me was to see the Rachel Ellicott samplers. She did two and I have one of the charts already. I bought it after seeing the originals many years ago.
The lecture was followed by a dessert buffet (sic) and more stitching for those who wanted to stay in the ballroom. It was a large platter of an assortment of cookies more than a dessert buffet, but it was still tasty.
After classes were over for the day, many people gathered in the stitching room they'd set aside for our use. Snacks were available the first day, but not the second. I have to guess that was planned. It was nice to see what people were stitching on and to listen in to the many different conversations. In situations like this I tend to be the fly on the wall and do much more listening than talking. Someone went to the mall that was a few blocks away with her daughter and came back with Coach bags for them both. These were shown off and it was "mentioned" that the daughter was going to be attending Sarah Lawrence for college. I don't know who she was, but she's a name dropper! LOL Someone else mentioned Mary of M Designs has opened a shop in Crossville, TN. Good to know.
We took a trip one afternoon to Dyeing to Stitch. Very nice shop and plenty of fabbie! I liked their fiber wall. Tons of models, too. I picked up the 3 hot pink Ken buttons I needed to finish Floral Fun #2 by M Designs. Yippee!!! I didn't know when I'd find them.
The last night together we all took a dinner cruise on the Spirit of Norfolk. http://www.spiritofnorfolk.com/or/index.jsp It was a lot of fun and the food was delicious! I got to see several of the Norfolk mermaids, too! My hope was to see some on this trip. http://www.mermaidsonparade.com/ I wish I'd known about them when they were all on display. I would've made the trip to see them and bought the t-shirt. ;)
I'm sure there must've been much, much more that I can't recall. It was a wonderful time with wonderful people. I had a blast!