Over 100 ladies from all over the U.S. temporarily emigrated to Myrtle Beach, SC for a few days of stitching, laughing, and comaraderie. There were even ladies who came from Scotland and Canada.
Sue, Laura, Me, and Katie
Another person I met for the first time is Shelleen. She was the first person to comment on my blog when I started it eight years ago.
EXCHANGESI participated in three of the exchanges. If you ever go to the PALS Stitching at the Beach retreat, you definitely need to participate. It is so much fun! The Fall and Halloween exchanges were held on Thursday night. Here's the piece ornament I received from Cathy in the Fall Exchange:
The ornament I stitched for the exchange can be seen HERE.
The most fun exchange was held on Friday night: The Grab Bag Exchange. Participants were required to bring a "grab bag" of stitching goodies (needles, floss, accessories, fabrics, beads, etc. but not patterns or kits) worth $25. The cost of the container was not to be included in the $25 requirement. Many ladies went way above and beyond the requirement.
All the grab bags were placed on long tables where participants could peruse. The exchange itself was done like a dirty Santa exchange where you could steal someone else's "grab bag". We couldn't look inside so stealing was based on how what the grab bag looked like. There was a nice wood sewing box that lots of ladies wanted, including myself. I had no idea how I would get it home on the plane, but it sure was fun stealing it from other people, lol. It ended up being the most stolen bag of the night.
I stitched it for the grab bag exchange and filled it with all sorts of stitchy goodness. Of all the grab bags, mine was voted as the "Most Creative". Believe it or not, the judges were men. I was totally surprised, considering there were many creative grab bags. I received a prize, too! I picked this gorgeous fabric and gift card as my prize.
As I mentioned, the sewing box grab bag was so popular. I was so close to "winning" it but at the last moment, someone stole it from me and I was left with the remaining grab bag on the table.
She was a pinata filled with stitchy goodness beyond belief. I joked that it was the bag that kept on giving, lol. Here's what she was filled with:
Laurie in NY came up with this creative grab bag idea. Thank you again, Laurie! Those M&M's are white chocolate candy corn flavored. They really do taste like candy corn! Incidentally, Laurie and I were stealing the sewing box from each other several times before someone else ended up with it, LOL.
The Christmas Ornament Exchange was held on the last night of the retreat. Participants could stitch as many ornaments for the exchange as they wanted. Some ladies stitched 10-12 ornaments! That meant they went home with the same amount of ornaments.
I only took one:
When it was my turn to choose an ornament, I chose the one Katie stitched. She did a great job of finishing it, too. (Thanks again, Katie!)
I took several projects to stitch at the retreat. Ya know.... It would make sense that a lot of stitching would get done at a retreat. Right? With every retreat I've been to, I never get as much done as I originally thought I would. Too much socializing? Nah...
I spent the bulk of my stitching time working on Japanese Garden. I almost have the third stork finished. The over-one stitching takes forever.
Even though the Thinking Positive started a couple months ago, I kitted it up and saved it to start at the retreat. While sitting at the airport for three hours, I almost finished Part One. I decided to change the colors of the lettering which is why I didn't finish it.
Laura worked on her Lizzie Kate piece. By the end of the retreat, she had it almost finished.
Sue started a new project, Peridot Fairy. The fabric is more of a mottled black/gray, but looks blue in the photo.
Does it count as a retreat finish if I finished it on the bus trip home? I probably would've finished this when I was still in Myrtle Beach, but.... I had to frog everything I stitched during my airport layover on the way to the beach. When I sorted the colors, I what I thought was "gold" was actually "light brown" and vice versa. I had most of the face stitched when I realized it. Rarely do I like how the backstitching is on the little ornament kits, so I changed it.
Original Kit Design
Fabric: 18ct Seafoam Green Aida
Fibers: Unknown Cotton
Designer: NMI Needlemagic Inc
As we all know, the fabric that comes with the kit is very tiny. I swapped it out with a larger piece of seafoam green fabric (it looks white in the photo, though).
That concludes my series on the PALS Stitching at the Beach retreat. If you've never been to one, I highly recommend it.