Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Stitch Camp!

I’m back to tell you about my Camp Wannasew weekend. I should warn you – I’m having a hard time separating the emotional experience from the nuts and bolts of the trip, so if you just want the “facts”, you may want to read about the Camp Wannasew weekends elsewhere. I’ll try to keep my personal comments to the end of this entry, so you don’t have to wade through my personal stuff first.

I opted for the day-early arrival, so I had to leave my house at 4AM to catch my Thursday flight to Tulsa. (Hm. Tulsa is not the easiest place in the world to fly to if you live in Pittsburgh.) But you know how at the beginning of the trip you’re all excited, so the early morning doesn’t seem so bad? 4AM didn’t seem so bad.

Arrived in Tulsa around 11AM, (and this is exciting) my bag was the FIRST bag down the chute in baggage claim. That’s never happened before…it was a good omen. I picked up my rental car and headed straight to the Silver Needle, which was very easy to find.

Wow. Words escape me. It’s a wonderful place, filled floor to ceiling with everything a stitcher could want, but especially with stitched models. Really and truly, I’ve never seen so many awesome models in one place. Lots of models were stitched over one on 28-count fabric, probably because they took up less space? I took at least three spins around the store just to try to get an idea of what all was there, and honestly I could have done three more, because there’s no way I saw it all.

And I didn’t even look at the Vera Bradley stuff. Not because I don’t like it, but because I don’t need one more thing to collect.

Word was that a quilt shop had opened in the same plaza, and ordinarily I would have visited there, too, but I wanted to get on the road to the Western Lodge, because I thought it might not be particularly easy to find. And I was getting kind of tired.

As it happened, it was quite easy to find. The ladies at the shop provided me with great directions, and I was there and unloading my stuff within the hour.

A handful of us were getting settled in for the long weekend. The sleeping rooms were nice. Quiet, clean, comfortable. And the common area for stitching was pretty great. It was big and bright, with a communal kitchen handy. There were plenty of outlets for lamps, and although I had brought an extension cord, I was happy that some of the wiser and more experienced ladies had thought to bring power strips. So by evening about half of the campers were there and we were plugged in for light and ready to stitch on whatever projects we had brought with us till bedtime. Thursday night was kind of subdued, especially at my table where we all were just starting to get to know each other.

The other half of the campers arrived Friday. And by late afternoon the Silver Needle ladies arrived with carloads of shopping stuff, groceries, and prizes. The place was buzzing! After supper Lindy gave out the weekend’s projects – a snowman ornament, a Christmas tree box, and a Halloween needle and scissor keeper. Some of the ladies jumped right in, but there was really no pressure to work on all of them. In fact, some campers just put them aside and kept going on the personal projects they had brought along. As for me, I finished the snowman ornament, but didn’t do the other two.

Saturday was spent stitching, and then Sunday morning there was just a little time to stitch before it was time to check out.

It was a pleasure to spend a weekend with people who really "get" this whole needlework thing. We were all different... various personality types, various backgrounds, various ages and life situations. But our commonality was our love needlework and all of its forms and its meaning for each of us. And by our love of gadgets! Lamps, pinkeeps, needleholders, magnifiers, scissors, threadholders, oh my!

Non-stitchers may ask you politely what you are doing or comment on your scissors or lamp, but if you talk excitedly about your project or gadget, they get that glazed look in their eyes and you know you've lost them. But not these ladies! They were usually just as excited about your project as you were. And very generous with their praise. What joy!

Some of you guys who have been visiting here for a while may remember that I’ve been wanting to attend some kind of camp or retreat for a for quite a while. See – over the years I’ve become a solitary stitcher. I love my friends, but none of them stitch. And I love stitching, but sometimes I get a little lonely. Years ago we had a Thursday craft group with anywhere from four to eight of us, but over time we broke up. Some of us moved, others had health problems, and as for me – I just couldn’t fit it into my weekday schedule any more. Meeting online stitchers thru their blogs or through internet groups has been wonderful, but that will never match the give and take that happens in person, you know? So I was really looking forward to the companionship part of the trip.

Then, just days before the camp, my dad passed away. After everything had settled down, I came home on Monday night and told Dave that I just didn’t think I could leave again on Thursday to go away for a stitching weekend. I had been on the road so much all through the fall, and the last trips to Philadelphia had worn me out. Not to mention that I was feeling really fragile emotionally. But he told me to go, to get away, and to rest. I still wasn’t convinced.

Well, until I talked to my dear friend Patricia. Patricia always helps me to see things in a different light, and she asked me if I thought I could take the weekend as a meditative weekend. I was going to a place that would care for me physically, which could free me up for time spent sitting quietly and stitching with my own thoughts and that time could be very healing. She even encouraged me to find a project to dedicate to my dad. So…with all of this in mind, off I went.

And I’m glad that I did. I was much more quiet than usual – I was always afraid that I’d start to cry. But that quietness allowed me to listen to other people’s stories, and that was a good thing. Sure – there’s always a person or two that will dominate the room and they can be kind of annoying. But if you’re quiet, you can hear about other people’s lives, both in the words they say and in way they act and I’ll tell you – there were some lovely women in that room.

As for the tribute to my dad….well, as it happens I had the perfect piece. I’ll tell you more later, because this post is way too long already. And I’ll get some photos together and show you the stuff I bought.

So till then….


  1. It sounds like you had a good time. I'm glad you went too!

  2. I hope one day I can take a trip like that and meet other stitchers. I am so glad you went and could then share the experience. This was a lovely post and I so enjoyed it. :)

  3. Oh, Lee, I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm sure it was difficult to decide to go ahead with the trip, but it sounds like you had some good advice and it was good for you. Can't wait to hear more about it. Hugs!