Never been to a cross stitch retreat? Never even know such a thing existed?? Well, that was me up until about 4 years ago!
I want to start this off by saying, if you have ever attended one of my retreats, please leave a comment below with a few words summing up your thoughts and experience so that others can hear how much fun they are :). Thanks!
Now for those of you that don’t know me or have never been to one of my retreats, I started hosting retreats for my Facebook cross stitch group called Cross Stitch Club Originals back in 2015. I came home one day and said to my husband “you might think I’m crazy, but I have been thinking about trying to organize a cross stitch retreat”..and he looked at me and said, “yup, you are crazy”. LOL But the idea got stuck in my head and I started talking about it in my group and everyone was like “YES, please do it!”. So it began.
2015 Cross Stitch Club retreat
The first retreat was a year and a half in the planning and the anticipation was serious agony for everyone! But that time was well worth it as about 175 cross stitchers came together from all over (included one from the UK and about 4 from Canada) for a weekend of stitching and fun! Many friendships were forged. We had the honor of having Ursula Michael and Joan Elliott joining us and mingling with their “fans”.
If you have never heard of either of these two cross stitch designers, do a google search on them and you will see they are pretty big names in the industry and very awesome ladies! If you are familiar with these ladies, please feel free to join their Facebook fan pages which are Let’s Stitch Ursula Michael and Joan Elliott Cross Stitch Designs.
It was truly such an honor to have these 2 great designers as our guests for our first retreat. I also wrote a feature story on Ursula that must check out:
To see pictures and posts in the group of this retreat, you can go to Facebook group Cross Stitch Club Retreat – October 2015. It is a public group now and you do not have to join to check out the posts and pictures.
2016 Cross Stitch Club Retreat
The second retreat in 2016 we had designers Sue Hillis, Beth Seal and Jean Farrish as our guest designers. Each of these great designers also taught some wonderful classes from how to finish projects to specialty stitching. Again, if you aren’t familiar with these designers, please look them up as they all have some wonderful designs (in fact in some later posts I will probably do some features on their work as they are just so amazing!).
At the 2016 retreat, I also got married! You are probably thinking “what??? Are you serious?? Who does that?” LOL Well, if you read our “About Us” page, I believe I mentioned how much the stitchers of my group Cross Stitch Club have become like family to me and I really meant it.
For the majority of the attendees, it was a surprise as I did not want anyone to feel obligated to bring anything or dress a certain way as I all wanted was their presence, not “presents”..LOL.
Since the retreat was on Halloween weekend and we already had a costume themed party for that Saturday night, I decided to keep with the theme and had a Cinderella wedding. Yup, I was Cinderella! 🙂 blue dress and all from the new Cinderella movie and I got to marry my Prince Charming!
It was truly a fairytale wedding and the best part was having so many of my cross stitch family there to help me celebrate!
It was made even sweeter by the generosity of designer Sue Hillis. Sue Hillis has some REALLY awesome designs, but some of my favorite are her skeleton designs. Those of you who are familiar with Sue know what I am talking about. When I decided I was getting married at the 2016 retreat, I asked Sue if she would be willing to create a wedding sampler for me that combined Cinderella with Halloween.
Sue normally does not do special requests, but because of all my hard work putting together these retreats, she said she would be happy to. So she set to work on it. When she first showed me what she was thinking, she was scared..lol. She said she was going a bit out of her comfort zone in designing this one. But what she showed me was absolutely perfect!
It took me a while to get started on it, but I went through my stash of fabrics and I had a piece of blue sparkly linen that was perfect. Now up until this point, I had only ever stitched on Aida. I had tried evenweave once before, but didn’t get very far on it and ended up not finishing what I had started on it and just never attempted it again.
But then in a gift exchange that I participated in, my partner bought me a few pieces of linen (even though I had said I usually only stitched on Aida..lol). But that was okay..I am so glad now that she did. Even though I was scared about doing what was such an important piece to me on this piece of linen, I dived right in and did not let my fear get the best of me.
And guess what? It turned out beautifully! And I got over my fear of stitching on linen and evenweave..so much so that now I rarely stitch on Aida! I always see people say “once you go to stitching on linen or evenweave, you never go back to Aida”. I had always laughed at that and was like “nope, that will never be me!”. Well, guess what? That is now me! So as the saying goes, “never say never”. lol
Once I finished stitching my wedding sampler, I decided I was going to give it the proper finish it deserved and I treated myself to a Jill Rensel frame job. If you have never heard of Jill Rensel or have never seen her work, be prepared to be awed! I had seen pictures of other people posting finishes that had done by Jill Rensel and I finally joined her group.
I will give you the link to her group in a minute, but first, let me show you what she did with my wedding sampler.
Isn’t this just absolutely amazing? Jill has a partner in her business, Amber, that does the artwork you see painted on the matte. Between the 2, they do amazing work and have created an heirloom for me to pass down through my generations.
And I know you are probably thinking, “OMG, that had to be soooo expensive!”. Actually, no it wasnt. It is not much more than taking it to a regular professional framer. Was it just a bit more expensive? Well yes, of course. But remember you are getting a personalized piece with art work painted on it that was done just for YOU!
And then it has to be shipped through the mail so yes, the shipping isn’t exactly cheap either, but let me say this, Jill did one heck of a job packing it so that it did not get damaged! No lie, I think it took me like 10 minutes to just get it all unpackaged! lol
Some of you might be saying, “OOOOO…where can I get that pattern? I just love it!”. Well, initially this was done as an exclusive as a gift to me from Sue, but when others saw my progress as I stitched it, they wanted to know where they could get it. I told Sue that she really needed to go ahead and make this available for everyone…I truly didn’t mind!
The only place I know that this pattern has been made available is through Needleworker’s Delight in NJ. You can email them at email@example.com and tell them you are looking for Sue Hillis’s Wedding Sampler pattern, Til Death Do Us Part, and they will be happy to get that to you.
So now that you have seen a taste of the wonderful work of Jill and Amber, please check out their Facebook group and be prepared to drool and break your piggy bank so you can have one of their masterpieces!
My matron of honor and my bridesmaid are both members of my Cross Stitch group and the 2 flower girls are daughters of members of the group..our young stitchers! And of course, all the boys in black are my 3 handsome sons. Darn, they all looked so good, didn’t they? LOL My husband told me that when my 18 year old (he’s the one in the tux in the front) looked in the mirror after he was dressed, he said: “wow, I do look GOOD!” LOL
This event was definitely an event that I will cherish dearly for the rest of my life!
To see more pics and posts related to this retreat, you visit this Facebook group:
2017 Cross Stitch Club Retreat – UK
Joan Elliott and Ursula Michael actually followed me over to the UK this past July to do a retreat in Birmingham, England. Yes, I really did go all the way to the UK to host a retreat! lol That retreat was 3 1/2 years in the planning! Granted it was also a vacation for me and my 18-year-old son (was his graduation present), but it was my cross stitch group that inspired the idea and made it happen.
It was worth everything minute of the anticipation of those 3 1/2 years and I can’t wait to do it again (hopefully in no more than another 5 years or so).
I got to meet many of my wonderful UK friends and brought together about 90 stitchers from the UK, Germany, Scotland, the Netherlands. We also had one come from Canada and one other besides myself from the US.
If you have ever been to the UK, you know that is an incredible feat to bring that many people together because traveling over there just plain sucks! LOL
But it was an opportunity for many of them to meet some great designers and enjoy the company of other stitchers, not an opportunity that is all that plentiful on that side of the pond. Here is a picture of all of us from that most awesome retreat!
2018 Cross Stitch Club Retreat – Harrisburg, PA
This retreat was held in September and was yet another great event! You can read about all the fun that was had by going here: 2018 Cross Stitch Club Recap
2019 Cross Stitch Club Retreat – Nashville, TN
To check out the fun we had in Nashville, you can click below and visit the Facebook group for pictures and posts. It is a public group so you will not need to join it to see the posts and pictures:
2020 Cross Stitch Club – Reno, NV (click to get details on upcoming retreat in Reno)
If you have any questions about anything at all, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or look me up on Facebook (click and it will take you to my profile).