Friday, October 8, 2021



I had the wonderful pleasure last weekend of attending the Pacific Northwest Stitch Summit (PNWSS) virtual retreat hosted by Acorns & Threads. This was my fourth time attending an Acorns event, three of which have been held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Jeannine (the shop owner) said she is hopeful they will be able to start offering in-person events again next year (2022), but also hopes to continue offering virtual options as well since that gives people who might not otherwise be able to attend a chance to participate. While I love attending in-person events, having a virtual option is nice as well. It's makes it so much more affordable since I don't have to worry about transportation or lodging costs.

The designers for this year's PNWSS event were Cathy Habermann of Hands on Design, Tracy Horner of Ink Circles, and Beth Seal of Summer House Stitche Workes. I'm not quite as familiar with Beth's work, but Cathy and Tracy are definitely two of my favorite designers.

The three pieces they designed for the retreat are called Seeds of Friendship. Under that main umbrella, there is Seeds of Friendship: The Book, Seeds of Friendship: The Basket, and finally, Seeds of Friendship: The Ball. Here is a photo of the three pieces in their intended configuration.

Aren't they lovely?! While designed to go together, each piece could also be used independently. In addition to the Aztec Red linen from Weeks Dye Works and Gloriana silks being used on all three pieces, another cohesive element to the designs is the use of some simple embroidery details on each piece. I haven't done any embroidery in over 40 years, so it should be interesting when I get to that part. LOL (Note: I didn't link to the Weeks Dye Works site because I was getting a certificate error when I tried to visit their site.)

The Book was designed by Tracy (Ink Circles) and includes a pattern for the stitch book as well as for a fabric pillow to sit inside to help the book hold its shape. Alternatively, instead of using the pillow, you could place any 4x6" item inside the book instead (photo album, journal, an actual book, etc.).

The Basket was designed by Cathy (Hands on Design). Each section of the basket has a repeating cross stitch design on the inside and the embroidery on the outside. It's not visible in the photo, but in the inside bottom of the basket has an adorable little scene with squirrels and spools of thread.

The Ball was designed by Beth (Summer House Stitche Workes). The top linen section has a really pretty little leaf motif and each of the wool sections around the sides has a repeating embroidery pattern. There is a small washer whip stitched to the inside bottom of the ball which can be lined up with a coordinating magnet hidden in the bottom of the basket to secure it in place and prevent it from falling out. Very clever!

If you would like to hear the designers talk about their projects, be sure to check out Cathy's FlossTube #61. Tracy and Beth were still at her house and made a special appearance in her video. They did a bit of a recap of the retreat from the designer/teacher view and showed off each of their designs.

A couple of people have asked me on Instagram about whether these charts will eventually be released for general purchase. On the final day of the retreat, Cathy stated there are no plans at this time to release these designs publicly. That's not to say it couldn't potentially change at some point in the future, but for now, it seems retreat participants will be the only stitchers with these designs. Take heart though, there is a way you CAN get one of the retreat charts!

The three designers also collaborated on this beautiful set of circular designs titled Around My Friends. The set was created to celebrate and honor the 25th anniversary of Acorns & Threads this year. Jeannine didn't know anything about this extra project and as a surprise to her, they gifted her with the models during the retreat. Her face when she opened the box and pulled out the models was priceless! 

If you would like to get your hands on these three beautiful designs, the chart will be available exclusively at Acorns & Threads. It is charted for Gloriana silks, but also includes a DMC conversion. Click here for all the details and to purchase online.

Each retreat participant was gifted not only the chart, but a full kit as well! These designs use the same Gloriana silks used in the Seeds of Friendship designs, so there wasn't any floss included since we had it already. The kits we received included the chart, linen (36 ct Platinum), red trim from LadyDotCreates, a little make & take kit to make the "acorn" pins, as well as a full finishing kit with precut mat board for each of the three designs. How incredibly generous!! I just want to send a big thank you to each of the designers for the extra kit! 

In closing, I also want to thank all of the crew at Acorns & Threads for putting on such a wonderful event! Of course, we have to start with Jeannine as the shop owner who is at the helm of everything at Acorns & Threads. Up next is Jeri who always does such a great job as the event manager. Tasha has been a big part of things as well since they've moved to virtual events. She takes care of helping everyone on Zoom with any technical issues that arise as well as things like helping people change their name on Zoom reminding people to mute, etc. Of course, we can forget Jenn who does such an amazing job with the giveaways. Finally, there is everyone else who works behind the scenes putting together the kits, getting them shipped, sending invoices, holding down the fort at the shop during the event, etc. Events like these wouldn't be possible without the entire team, so I just wanted to publicly say thanks! 

Speaking of the giveaways, I was actually one of the lucky giveaway winners during the retreat! The prize package I won included the Be a Pineapple chart from Hands On Design (shown above) and the Chronicles of Oline Marie - Volume I by Summer House Stitche Workes (shown below). 

All in all, I had a great time! I'm already looking forward to the next one!

**PNWSS logo image used with permission of Acorn & Threads

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