Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Attic Retreat

Last weekend I was privileged to be able to attend the Sampler Symposium put on by Attic Needlework in Mesa, AZ with a group of friends, some who I knew from my local sampler guild and others who I've only emailed with.  It was such fun!  And, when I got home my Mom and I had the most fun chatting about my wonderful weekend, the shop, the retreat and how much fun everything was on my trip!  Since I'm not sure where to start I'll just dive right in! 

We arrived on Thursday and our first stop after dropping luggage at the hotel was to go directly to the shop.  I have only heard about how wonderful the shop is but having experienced other nice shops with lots of stitched models I wasn't sure what to expect.  Let me just say that if you ever have a chance to go to Mesa (near Phoenix) you MUST go to the Attic.  It is a fabulous shop!  You walk in and immediately to your right there is the most fantastic wall of samplers that I've ever seen!  Isn't that amazing?!?  I happily spent some time at that little table stitching while I was there too!  This puts my sampler wall (that I'll show you soon) to shame so I really need to get stitching! 


Each of the Samplers is numbered so that you can easily find the chart and the Attic thread conversion (if they've done one and usually they have) for the chart.  I have been reading the Attic's newsletters for awhile now and have read about their conversions but seeing the pieces stitched with them in person was just fabulous! 

IMG_0006I picked up this sweet Margaret Brown chart and the linen and threads to stitch it with as just one of the projects that I came home with.  This picture shows it stitched with the Attic's conversion to a lighter pink silk palette and I thought it was just gorgeous (love that frame too by the way)!    


IMG_0014On Friday we went out to lunch as a group.  Although I don't think this is a great picture of me, it's fun to have a picture of our group out to lunch together!  From left to right, this is me, Karin, Sylvia, Tanya, Sandy, Natalia and Katrina.  What fun we had and we went out for Mexican food which is one of my favorites!  One of the things we did after lunch but before the retreat started was... you guessed it... we went back to the shop for more enabling.  In case you couldn't tell, being an Attic newbie I was completely unprepared for the awesomeness in store for me there so was glad to be a frequent shopper over the weekend.  And, all of the ladies in the group helped enable me in one way or another during the weekend.  I was like a kid in a candy store and just got passed from person to person while they showed me what I needed next.  It was really fun!  :) 

IMG_0028Friday night the retreat started and it was great!  To start the evening, Vickie Jennett of Needlework Press shared a reproduction of a sampler that has roots back to who I think she said was the first Mayor of Phoenix!  Here is a photo of Vickie  with both the original sampler and the stitched reproduction.  This chart will be released at market in February so keep an eye out for it!  In addition, we received a chart for a small piece based on the original sampler.  Here is a picture of one version of the chart finished as a great needlework pocket:

Next Darlene Anderson presented a slide show of her sampler ornaments and wow, she brought a bunch of them to share!  Saturday morning she also presented a slide show of the Adam and Eve samplers that she has stitched.  That motivated me to get busy and start stitching!  I know just where I'd hang a collection of A&E samplers too! 

Also on Friday night, Paulette from Plum Street Samplers presented an adorable project called A Lady's Trimkeep.  She also showed us one of her new Market releases called "My Brother's Keeper".  All of us at the retreat got a copy of the chart but since it's a new market release I'm going to hold off on showing a photo.  However, here is the trimkeep project along with two smalls that Paulette made from the Brother's Keeper chart:IMG_0039
Here is Jean, the owner of Attic Needlework bringing the Trimkeep around for show and tell.  I love this project and I really liked Jean, such a sweet woman and her husband is a hoot!

Paulette wrapped up our Trimkeep projects in these sweet little boxes, here is mine before I opened the tissue.  You can also see my progress as of last Friday on Paradise Lost also designed by Paulette.IMG_0044
At the retreat, Katrina was the first to dive in and get some 45 count linen from the shop.  We all wanted to try stitching on it so then we had the idea to all put some stitches in each others pieces.  That will make me treasure my Paradise Lost piece even more.  I won't show you the photo of SOMEBODY pretending to blow their nose in it unless I need it for bribery later... :) 

Here is a quick pic of the contents of this box.  I don't know what to stitch on next, whether I should keep going on Paradise Lost or set it aside to stitch this sweet project! IMG_0046
As if that weren't enough, Paulette also designed this cute project for us!  I love how the cherub happens to be holding it up in this pic:IMG_0048

IMG_0056Wow, what a night! On Saturday, after staying up too late stitching and chatting the night before and after copious amounts of Starbucks we started the day with Darlene Anderson's A&E lecture.  I didn't take any photos but was truly inspired!  Then, we spent the rest of the day with Tracy Riffle of Hands to work making some distressed finishes to wooden boxes, a frame and making a cute little paper mache teacup to hold our ORT's.  Mine aren't quite finished yet but here's a photo of Tracy's box.  Cute, huh?  Then, guess what?  We went back to the shop for more stash enhancement! 

Sunday morning we had Catherine Theron as our teacher.  She presented a great project called "A Stitcher's Envelope" stitched with silks and a lot of Florentine stitch.  It is gorgeous!  I started it in class but have a loooong way to go to finish it.  Here's a photograph of the finished piece. IMG_0072
After class ended on Sunday and we were all thoroughly depressed to be leaving the kind folks at the attic, our group of friends and the warmth of Arizona we decided to skip lunch for one final visit to the shop.  This last trip I was finally good to my budget and didn't buy much but instead took the time to walk through the shop and ooh and aah over the models one more time.  It was great!  Here are a few last photos I snapped. 


If you've stuck with me this far, thanks for reading!  I had a wonderful time with a great group of women at the Attic, a shop that you simply must visit!  Now, I really need to get off the computer and get to my stitching, I have a lot of new projects now!


  1. Nice post, Jen! Love all the pics for sure! Wish I could have been there.

  2. Another awesome Attic post!!!! What a fun, fun, fun weekend :-). Can't wait until the next time.

  3. Great report Jen. I loved reading everyone's blog posts about the retreat and seeing all those wonderful photos.

  4. Love all the photos!! I would love to visit the Attic. So many beautiful models. Love your PL too!! You're making me want to get back to mine.

  5. Jen, what a lovely post. Beautiful stuff everywhere! Paulette and I also have spent so much time yakking about what a wonderful symposium it was. I feel like I know all of you. :)

  6. Thanks for sharing so many photos of your wonderful weekend at the Attic.

  7. Hi Jen,
    Love to read your blog about our fantastic weekend! It was so much fun and I enjoyed meeting you and getting to know you even better! Looking forward to our next retreat and next time when I visit Katrina in Colorado we have to have a stitching day! If you are in the Chicago area let me know and we can get together!

  8. Holy moly did I enjoy this post. That Stitcher's Envelope and accessories, Plum Street's little case, the needlework pocket, everything!! The finishing on those projects is spectacular. The icing on the cake....warm weather!