No, I'm not backing off. Really. I'm just back from a stitching retreat with my Stars for a New Millennium stitch-along group. We spent Friday late afternoon through Sunday early evening at Signal Knob Retreat Center outside Strasburg, Virginia. What a marvelous time! We headed out in the midst of snow flurries, well intermittent snow. By the time we arrived, the sky had cleared and we were looking forward to an uninterrupted weekend of stitching and more stitching. Armed with our needlework bags full of tools and projects, along with provisions for sustenance (the usual snacky items, including four batches of homemade cookies to keep our energy up and lots of chocolate), we immediately claimed our bedrooms and set up our stitching stations in the living room. I should have taken a picture of all the bags, luggage, food bags, etc., that filled the backs of the Toyota van and Durango that transported us to Signal Knob. What an incredible amount of stuff for seven women!

     We're just missing Sharon and me in that pic. It was really a lovely room, with lots of natural light during the day. Nighttime, not so great for lighting, but we managed. The only other thing missing from this picture is a box elder bug. Or should I say dozens, nay hundreds? A swarm of those annoying things, which my father cleverly referred to as Halloween bugs, have invaded the retreat center to winter, and they made their presence known. If you're not familiar with these bugs, here's what they look like:

     My father dubbed them Halloween bugs because of their coloring and their annual arrival time. In fact, it wasn't until I was an adult that I learned the real common name of those critters. I get them in my house some years and periodically vacuum them up from around the dormer windows upstairs. So we hauled out the fabulous Dyson vacuum at the center and periodically vacuumed them up over the course of the weekend. Ugh!

     But on to more interesting and fun things. On Fiday night, I took pictures of where everyone was on Stars so that we could document our progress at the end of the weekend. Oddly, I didn't take a picture of my own piece, but the picture I posted here on November 16 shows where I was. Herewith, everyone else's starting point for the weekend.



Ferol's (sideways)




     The color is off in most of these because it was night, and the available light was not that great. (Julie's and Sharon's are the same colorway.) I know. Poor excuse. I should have done better, but I was just interested in grabbing a progress comparison, not showing the beauty of the colors and stitching. So sue me.

     Saturday was a beautiful day, sunny and warmer. Dawn got up early enough to catch the sunrise. Gorgeous!

     After a 9:00 am breakfast, we got right down to work and stitched the entire day with breaks only for lunch and dinner. Both Friday and Saturday nights, there were a few intrepid stitchers who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning. I can't vouch for their stitching the entire time, but they certainly seemed to be having a really good time.

     Sunday morning, we got to work before breakfast, organizing our threads, stitching, getting ready for the final hours in the hope of achieving whatever goal each of us had set. For most, I think it was to complete two of the blocks. After breakfast, a few of us created canvas protectors, following the directions in the September issue of Needlepointers. Donna had made one last August, and offered to bring her tools and the magazine for our use. Sharon graciously did the shopping for the supplies. I'm quite pleased with mine and am sure, based on the amount of progress I made this weekend, I'll get a lot of use out of it before it has to sit idle while waiting for me to do another project that's 15" x 18". Hahahahaha.

     It was with much regret that we bid adieu to Signal Knob Sunday evening. We thoroughly enjoyed the stitching and the company. The experience has shown us that we need more than a couple of hours once a month to make headway on this BAP. So we're going to try to get together every four to six weeks to spend a whole day stitching, taking a break for lunch at a nearby restaurant, but otherwise doing nothing but stitching.

     Without further ado, here are pictures of a slightly higher quality of everyone's progress over the course of the stitchy weekend. Please click on each to see a larger version.










  1. Sounds like a great time! I love seeing all the different colorways.

  2. Okay. If we needed any spark to keep us stitching on Stars, how about the fact that Coni, the Spinster Stitcher, has received her book and threads and is going to start stitching Stars?!?

  3. I know! I saw that this morning.

  4. How inspiring! I just ordered the pattern and am anxiously waiting to start. What a great weekend.

  5. great weekend and great work!!! I love Stars very much and maybe in next year I will start mine - I love all the color choices and I don't know which one to chose ;)

  6. What an inspiration you ladies are. Several customers of Amy's Golden Strand have just ordered the Stars book. Any chance you guys could share your color choices with us? I love them all. Great work. I will be following your progress.

  7. Most of the colorways are in the pattern book you'll receive. Mine is Peacock. Julie and Sharon are doing Toni's original, Plum Honey. JoAnn is doing Jelly Bean. Ferol's is Granite. I think Dawn's is a variation on Morning Garden, a discontinued thread. Donna created her own colorway, which I think she calls Cherry Blossoms, but I may be wrong. If you're interested in her colorway, I'll see if she would share it.

  8. Thank You so much. Seeing these pieces and knowing what thread they were based on is such a help. I have been leaning towards Jelly Bean. Seeing Jo Ann's piece seals the deal for me. Many thanks.

  9. I know that this is a Really old post but thanks for the beautiful photos. I just found Stars and I have fallen in love with JoAnn's version of Jelly bean. Is there any way I can get in touch with her about her thread choices? Thanks so much!

    1. JoAnn's colorway is one of the ones provided in the Stars book. She didn't change anything, but I know one or two threads are now discontinued. If you get the pattern book, you'll find most of these colorways in there.

  10. Hi Sara. Thanks for the speedy reply! I just got my stars book today and was comparing her version to the one in the book. She did indeed change several colors. I think hers is beautiful and was wondering if she would share her thread list. I knew it would be a long shot. Thanks for getting back to me though.

  11. I purchased the threads for the kits (still had my shop), and the only changes would have been substitutions for things that weren't available. I can't guarantee that she didn't change which thread she used for what while stitching though. I can ask her, but I just don't recall making changes to the threads unless forced to.