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Autumn Leaves Stitching Retreat

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Retreat Options

$30 per person (includes tour, instruction stitching kit)
Lunch will be ordered from Panera Bread for an additional $15 or you are welcome to bring your own
Registration Deadline September 18--JUST A FEW SPOTS REMAIN!
If you wish to pay by check, please email us.

12:30 - 1:30: Picnic  (or lunch inside if weather does not allow for it)
1:30-2:15: Manor Tour or Garden Tour (depending on the weather)
2:15 - 5:00: Stitching Workshop

Join us for a relaxing afternoon of socializing, laughing, learning and stitching. The retreat starts with a picnic at 12:30 p.m. Snacks and beverages will also be served. Students of all skill levels are welcome to our Stitching Retreats, even complete beginners, and no experience is required.

Get inspired by The Shenandoah Valley Tapestry artists who embroidered more than 400 trees and stitch your unique tree, dressed in autumn leaves. You may decide later on to use our universal tree templates to stitch not one, but four trees, one for each season of the year, and make a wonderful wall art display. Embroidery hoops will serve you as the frames.

Tree templates are painted in ink. No matter how many leaves you have time to stitch on your tree ­– your hoop art embroidery is ready to hang on the wall and make a perfect gift!

At our retreat, in just two hours of the stitching workshop, filled with fun, chatting, playing with colors and stitches you will learn…

  • How to do freestyle embroidery and use different kinds of threads
  • How to paint with threads, and create bold textures and colors
  • How to “plant” your tree on fabric with very simple stitches
  • How to prep your embroidery hoop and make it look like a professional wall art
  • You will receive a Certificate of Achievement by the SVT Artists’ Awards Committee to add to your credentials. After the Retreat, we will be happy to promote your work and share photos on the SVT facebook page and at Belle Grove.

Your registration fee will include these supplies:

  • Wooden hoops, fabric, colorful threads and needles
  • Confidence to complete your creation
  • Information to reference at home post workshop
  • Private tour of Belle Grove Manor
  • Delicious lunch, ordered from Panera Bread*, freshly brewed tea and coffee to feed your creative energy.

All supplies are provided, but bring your own tools if you like (e.g., scissors, needles, light if needed, magnifier if needed). 

When you register, please note if you would like to preorder a lunch and beverage from Panera (for an additional $15) or bring your own lunch. 

Registration fee: $25.00 (includes Manor House/Garden tour), If this in-person workshop needs to be canceled due to public health concerns, it will be held as an online workshop and we will contact all the registrants with ample notice.


Hildegard Strydom was born and raised in South Africa, where she worked as a schoolteacher and principal for about 20 years. Hildegard’s fascination with embroidery came from her mother, who created wonderful images in needle painting. Needlework was Hildegard’s major at school, later she learned various embroidery techniques from such renowned teachers as Hazel Blomkamp, Colleen Goy (Roseworks) and Elize Stockenstrom. She also studied quilting and found appliqué to be fascinating. Hildegard and her husband moved to the USA in 2015 to live with their immediate family. In the States, Hildegard joined the EGA and Apple Valley Needle Threaders. She became one of the core stitchers and leaders of the Shenandoah Valley Tapestry (SVT) project, finding solutions and mentoring other stitchers. Hildegard embroidered the Red Lion Tavern, appliqued numerous slips, assembled the tapestry panels. She led SVT workshops, encouraging outside-the-box thinking in using different techniques and threads

Janice McHenry is a Virginian born and bred, and she is proud to be part of this work showcasing Virginia history in stitches. She specializes in needlepoint and surface embroidery, and she is always excited to learn a new technique, work with a new fiber, and learn from other stitchers’ experiences. Janice is a member of the American Needlepoint Guild and its NOVA and Potomac Chapters. Janice stitched Wayside Inn using DMC, Needle Necessities, Simply Shaker, Neon Rays threads, Planet Earth Silk Ribbon and variety of stitches: burden, kilim, cashmere, encroaching oblique gobelin, pavilion diamonds, medieval mosaic, etc.