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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Report from Salty Yarn's Ocean City Stitcher's Jamboree

Hi all stitching friends! Once again I have to apologize for being so bad at keeping in touch. One more week and then I am hoping that things will get back to normal. I have work to do on Saturday and I need to prepare for it over the evenings, so that makes for very long working days right now. I figured that I'd sneak off into the basement to blog real quick before bed-time!

But first - many congratulations to my Littlest Sis who has her birthday today! Grattis Emmis! Alskar dej, saknar dej, pussar och kramar i massor!
Here she is, my gorgeous sister (Little Sis to the very left, Littlest Sis - today's birthday girl - in the center):
This photo was taken during a Swedish winter-day in 2009. Looks cold, huh!?
Here is a nice contrast - Ocean City last weekend:
10 points to anyone who can spot the Swedish connection in the photo below.
NJ-Babe and me taking an early Saturday morning stroll in the sand:

So what to say about the weekend? Remember that I mentioned that I was a little bit intimidated before I left? Well, no reason to feel uneasy - shows up that I know the shop-owners since before from ASG in 2008. Sally and Sara and I even had lunch together at one occasion and we sat next to each other in class!!! How cool is that?
Salty Yarns is definitely a family company in its true meaning. The shop is connected to the family owned hotel, The Lankford Hotel, and also with the family driven gift-shop. It is the coolest set-up. The store fronts are located smack down on 8th street in the middle of the board-walk, so there is a lot of random foot-traffic coming through during the high season. We were allowed to run amok is the huge store after hours, so we were all in heaven.
This is the store front, with the hotel on the right:
A peak inside:
Needless to say I came home with more stash than I have the stomach to post on this blog... :-)

Anyway, Friday evening started off with a homemade lasagna dinner, followed by a cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres. (Let me tell you, we were constantly stuffed during the entire retreat!) We got to make new friends and re-connect with old ones. I was especially happy to meet Lady P from Luxemburg, who is absolutely lovely. We have met at several different events across the US and she is always very graceful and generous with showing all her stitched pieces. What is really cool with Paula is that she actually travels with her own trunk show! She has a huge collection of stunning pieces that she shows all of her fellow stitchers and it is always much appreciated.

Saturday started with class at 9 AM. We were split into 3 groups, one per teacher, and we all got assigned a class-room each for the entire event. Our first class was with Amy Bruecken and it was really fun. She is a merry lady whose key-word was "cute,even though I think that most of her designs combine cute with funky so that it is not too sugar-sweet. The class piece is a large raven sitting atop a huge pumpkin. The leaves of the pumpkin are made from memory tread glued onto felt and the lose thread ends form the tendrils. A very cool design that I am excited to finish! I was having way too much fun to take any photos, but I have a pic of the project:
As you can see, I still have to stitch most of this piece and cut out my felt-leaves. I did find it refreshing to have a teacher who encouraged us to play with the thread and be liberal with glue. You could tell that many of us were definitely out of our comfort zone when we could not count squares... LOL
Amy did even give us an extra little chart (she had a big drawing and she decided that everyone needed to get a prize) of a spider with memory thread legs; Crazy Legs. She told us that the reason why she is so into memory thread is because there is a DMC office next to her studio, so she always get the latest scoop directly from DMC. How cool is that!?
She did also talk about how she always try to keep the prices down on her charts by making them a one-page deal. That is why some of her charts tiny, but she encouraged us to make enlarged working copies to stitch from.

After lunch (or rather, after being attacked by recklessly brave/stupid seagulls during lunch on the porch), my class and I got to take the strawberry class with Barbara Jackson of Tristan Brooks. She has a very different style compared to Amy - the first thing we did was baste the linen for a good 10-15 minutes, so this aiming less for "cute" and more for "correct". She is a pretty assertive lady and the basting step was not optional. Even I, who hate basting to death, decided that I'd better go with it! the strawberry taught was a counted stitch, not crewel work. I would probably learned more from a crewel work class, but the piece is very pretty and I finished all my stitching over the weekend (the trip home was long...)
I did actually take a photo in class, but Barbara prefers not to end up on the web, so here is a photo of her finished piece instead (and my stitched piece below):
Barbara knows what she is doing, so it was quite entertaining to see her get really frustrated when her class did not know what they were doing... She even had one poor student stand up while she fixed their mess - that took quite a few minutes, by the way. It is so interesting to see how different teaching-styles can be. She was still a delightful teacher and seems to be a really sweet person.

After class was over (all classes were short - 3-3.5 hrs, which was also very nice), we ran around in the store like head-less chickens. Oh, I forgot to mention all the gifts we got from Salty Yarns. I am pretty sure that I forgot a bunch of my gifts there, but that is alright. This is what I managed to actually get with me home:
The coolest gift was a chart, November Word Play from With Thy Needle and Thread, plus a small note that said that we would get a cut of linen to stitch the design on of any count, color, brand, that we wanted. I picked out a really neat piece, but since I don't seem to have the chart anymore, I may have to come up with something else to stitch on it. Dinner with the stitch-buddies, early bed, and ready to stitch again on Sunday.
Even though I did stay up a little bit extra to work on my Hare Pyns companion piece:

The last class was the one I enjoyed the most. Elizabeth Talledo, who owns two design companies - Dames of the Needle and Finger Work - had designed the coolest design for us. She decided to use the Mexican "Day of the Dead" for her inspiration and created a very cool and colorful felt small for us. You can check out the project photos and read more about it on her blog, http://damesoftheneedle.blogspot.com/ and while you are there, leave her a comment (or even better, sign up to become a follower). We were gently encouraged to keep in mind that there were no rights or wrongs and to do our own thing, as in picking our own floss colors and to not fret over the evenness of our blanket-stitches. I think that my creative juices were over-flowing at this point, so the fabulous colors (and an early stitch-mistake) made me give up and just do my own thing. I really liked it and Elizabeth was very graceful and did not get irritated that I hijacked her kit.
This is what I have at the current stage - note the wonderful buttons and the pin,, threader and thread holder with the little sculls on them - aren't they cool!?
I felt really great after the end of this class. Elizabeth told us that she had noticed an interesting development during the retreat. The first class was very picky about getting thievery just so, and after that, each class got more and more creative. Our class was definitely having fun picking funky color combinations, but we were also asking for help constantly, so she was very,m very busy while teaching our class.
As a little bonus project, we got a beautifully printed piece of heavy-weight paper, extra wool felt and a ribbon, so that we could make a needle book - very cool!

Well, that was the end of class. Since Sally owns the hotel we were free to keep our luggage in our rooms as long as needed. I managed to do some more damage and picked up a few Dames of the Needle kits (Maryland Hornbook and Primitive Needle-Roll (neither photo makes the actual pieces justice). The trunk show was just too inspiring to say no to. After browsing the net a bit, I realized that even though I am not entirely familiar with Elizabeth's companies, I do own quite a bit of her designs, like and Elizabethan Purse and Elizabeth Savilles 1841 Sampler (published under Finger Work -check out Terri's gorgeous finish on her blog Chocolates for Breakfast, Stitching for Lunch, here)..

It showed up that Elizabeth was getting to Philly on the same flight as I was going on, so we had lunch and drove back to the airport together. I had such a great time and I can't wait to take a class with her again! The weather was fantastic, so we even had time for one more walk along the boardwalk before we had to leave Ocean City. I am definitely coming back to Salty Yarns again and I recommend this retreat to stitchers of all levels - it will be a bunch of fun, I assure you!

Well, time to hop to bed (no work got done this evening....)
Have a Good Night, some Happy Stitching, and talk with you soon again (on Sunday I hope....),


  1. ohhh wooo .. can't believe you lost some of your goodies ..lol ... love the different approaches of the teachers to their style of work :) you sound like you had a fab time ... can you tell there is a wee hint of jealousy here hehehehh :) love mouse xxxxx

  2. What a wonderful weekend. The pictures and projects look great.
    You have gotten so much stitching done.
    I hope that work settles down soon.
    Happy Birthday to your beautiful sister :)

  3. Oh, I've spent so much time reading this post and drooling over the pics. How could you leave some of your gifts behind? I'm so sorry! :( Such a bummer. It's good you seem ok with it. I love seeing pics of the ocean and boardwalk, and especially of Salty Yarns! Always been curious about what it looks like! Your class projects are all wonderful too! I love seeing it all! Thanks for sharing your experience! And happy birthday to your littlest sis too. You and your sisters are a pretty bunch of ladies! (Thanks for the link to Elizabeth Talledo's blog too. I'm off to look!)

  4. wow..what a great weekend..the pictures and projects are looking so lovely :)sound like you had a lovely time..
    happy birthday to your sister :)
    have a lovely day dear xxx

  5. Dear Jenny
    you are such a sweetheart and my
    Lord, you have been stitching during the weekend!
    I am usually not a very good class
    student but catch up later.
    I love your blog and will keep in
    Have fun!

  6. WOW!! That really looks like it was a great retreat. I looked for some mailing list to sign up for on Salty Yarns' site, but I didn't see anything.

    How did I not know about DMC Memory Thread??? That will be so useful for stumpwork. It was very difficult to get the thread-covered wire before. This is such great news.

    I love your crazy-eyed bird on your felt small!!! It's wonderful. And you are so good to be done with all your strawberry stitching already!

  7. Wow! What a great time! Very lovely class projects. :)
    And I, for one, would have loved to see the gut-wrenching stash you picked up at that lovely Salty Yarns store but I know how it goes. I'm always getting packages that make me feel a little woozy when they finally arrive. lol
    Happy Birthday to your sister! :)

  8. Längtar till våren när jag ser dina bilder! (och till pysselshopping)
    Fina saker du gjort, som alltid!
    Tack för grattisbilden, den mörtsjöpromenaden är ett fint minne!

  9. I love the piece! I want your design! ebeth aka Elizabeth Ann Talledo Dames of the Needle/Finger

  10. Wow, it sounds like a fantastic retreat! I loved all the pictures.

  11. PS--happy birthday to your sister!

  12. Jenny,

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful retreat experience! I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the classes, the people and the designs. I will have to check out Salty Yarns and hopefully attend the retreat next year!

  13. What an amazing retreat you went to and the photos are fantastic!!! Looks like you had a great time!