Thursday, April 23, 2015

SIsters Tied by Needle and Thread

This past week, we had the privilege of attending Janice Vaine's Tea and Stitches retreat in Jacksonville, Florida. We were most excited to learn some new skills in embroidery, which was the focus of the spring retreat, but we were even more thrilled to be able to spend the weekend with some dear friends. Rather, these women have become our stitching sisters. It had been over a year since we were all together, and we came from California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania to join our friends in Florida for this stitching reunion.  

We thought it would be fun to share the story of our weekend in pictures.

Jasmine covered the walls of the hotel, its fragrance permeating the air.
Outside the hotel, on our way to the campus to begin our weekend of stitching. Sadly, we missed a repeat photo with the other two of our group who arrived later.
A lovely tea was set up for us each afternoon.
Jan introduces the pincushion we would make, applying new stitching techniques learned throughout the weekend.
Time to start stitching!

Plenty of shopping opportunity: threads, ribbon, beads, oh my!

We put together a notebook of practice pages with instructions for each new stitch we learned. Our workstation held a new little treasure each day, with the strawberry theme. From left to right: a project envelope, a mug rug, an ort jar for scraps, a scissor holder, and a bag full of threads, ribbon,  and a charm pack. Other treats and doorprizes were given all weekend long.
Bette taught us her technique for using the cast-on stitch to make flowers. Kara's example on the left below uses #12 perle cotton, while Teri's on the right, uses 2 strands of floss on the outside row and #5 perle for the inside row. What a difference the thread can make!

Comparing the cast-on stitch effect with different threads.
Time to play with ribbon! The top two flowers were made with River Silk, the left using the ribbon stitch and the right one with the ribbon loop stitch. Below, we made a rake-ruched rose using hand-dyed Cotton Twill Tape by Threadnuts.
We used wired ribbon to make "Mom's Yellow Rose."
On the last morning, we had to stop to smell the roses before our final stitching session. They smelled better than our ribbon roses, but were a lovely reminder of the natural beauty that inspires us in our craft.
Pincushion tops by all members of the class. Such fun to see the different methods used!
Kara's pincushion
Teri's pincushion
This sign on the deck where we enjoyed our meals is not one often seen in Maryland! Thankfully, we didn't need to heed the warning, as we saw no alligators. Just a turtle, a lot of lizards, and....
...many Canada geese. This mama watched her nest closely, and at the end of our day had just settled down onto her eggs. No doubt she was glad when we left!
Jan with her mom and sisters.
While some of us who gathered for the weekend were sisters by birth, the rest of us became sisters through our love of stitching. But the kindred spirit we feel with fellow stitchers—the love of fiber and the art we can create with them—forms a bond that is deep, for we are sisters tied by needle and thread. A bit sappy, perhaps, but that's our story, and we're sticking to it!!

We would love to hear about some of your "sister" stories. Please share in the comments below, or on our Facebook page, Through the Needle's Eye. We are looking forward to meeting many new sisters, and perhaps some brothers, along our journey. Please join us!

Note: For more information about Janice Vaine's Tea and Stitches Retreats, visit


  1. Your pincushions are so beautiful! What an inspiration to keep on stitchin'!

    1. Thank you, Andrea! They were a lot of fun to make. Happy stitching!

  2. This looks like such a fun time. Love the pincushion. I really enjoy attending workshops - especially when each participant is given the same kit but the results are always different :)

    1. It was wonderfully fun! And it was exciting to see the different approaches made by each person. Thanks for stopping by our blog, Lorraine!

  3. Love seeing photos and read words that bring back a wonderful adventure. Stitching with friends is priceless!

  4. We loved seeing you!!!! Thank you for sharing your space with us. The best part of the whole adventure was being all together.