Thursday, 31 January 2013

Stitch of the Month January 2013: Wheatear Stitch

The stitch of the month for January is Wheatear Stitch, a lovely linear stitch that add great textured lines, and is useful as wheat, grasses, or undersea plants, and it also looks lovely used less literally.

Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (8)
I've used wheatear stitch as seaweed, in lots of lovely textured threads, on this hoopla picture.

Wheatear Stitch (TAST 2012)
Book Cover by Smallest Forest on Flickr
Here, wheatear stitch has been used to embellish this lovely book cover, in toning rows of embroidery thread.

tast 2012 #17: wheatear stitch

Wheatear is also a stitch that works well on counted fabrics, and in this piece, HGK Handmade has experimented with a number of variations.


Isolated wheatear stitches also work well as single units, as in the red stitches on this dragon.

Anthriscus finished detail (3)

And Magpie's Laundry has used massed wheatear stitches to good effect in this picture of an anthriscus plant.

We'd love to see how you have incorporated wheatear stitches into your embroidery.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

New Embroidery Friends Group

I've received the below message from Guild and thought that our members might like to know about it:

You may have heard that the current Embroiderers' Guild forum is being closed on 1st February 2013. As the new Guild web site will not include a forum, it was suggested that a new independent forum could be formed instead, so members of the current forum have started one on Yahoo Groups.

The new forum is called Embroidery Friends and can be found  at

Although this is no longer part of the Guild, it is still very much focused around a shared connection to the Guild and all Guild members are very welcome to join in, so if you think any of your branch members would be interested, please let them know.


I have joined the group  and it looks to be a nice lively place to chat about embroidery. Signing up wasn't too tricky, if you need a hand then let me know at the next meeting.

~ Heather

Monday, 28 January 2013

Computer Textile Design Forum Summer School

On Sunday 28th July 2013 to Tuesday 30th July 2013 the Computer Textile Design Group will be holding their Computer Textile Design Forum Summer School at Christleton High School, Christleton, Chester CH3 7AD.

From the CTDG exhibition at Ness Gardens.
Tutors include Sarah Brownie, Clare Lane, Janet Bevan and Pauline Green: all skill levels, including beginners will be catered for. We are finding that textile artists are becoming increasingly excited about the opportunities that new technologies offer. For more details contact

For more information about the Computer Textile Design Group, take a look at their website, or see this sample copy of their publication, DesignIT- Free Sample.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

2013 Programme Leaflets

Our 2013 Programme Leaflets are here:
2013 leaflets for Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild

They look fabulous - thank you to PPDG for the design work and printing.

Can you think of anywhere we could put these leaflets? If you're going to the Cotton Patch or another craft shop/cafe any time soon, could you please speak to a committee member at the next session in February.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Embroiderers' Guild Scholarships 2013

The Embroiderers' Guild awards two scholarships per year to embroiderers to develop the practice of embroidery. One Scholarship is for students in the age category of 18 to 30 years inclusive, and one Scholarship is for students over 30 years of age, in order to further their embroidery practice.

If you, or an embroiderer you know, would like to find out more, please see the Guild website.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

January 2013 - Planning for CoCoMad

We had a fabulous Branch meeting on Monday, welcoming Emma Woolf from The Friends Of Cotteridge Park, who run the CoCoMad Festival in the park in early July.

Emma spoke to us about the festival, and we all felt we would be able to enthusiastically participate, and started sharing ideas of projects that we could make and sell, as well as ideas of simple sewing projects that people could make at the festival.

Over the coming months we would like to ask all members to help us make the event a success by making items we could sell. We would also like to form a sub-committee to organise the event - if you have an idea of a project we could make, or would like to join the sub-committee, please speak to Heather at a Guild meeting.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Guild is on tonight!

Just a note to say that the scheduled Guild Meeting is going ahead tonight, so if you're planning to join us, travel safely, and we'll see you there.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Reminder: Making Session this Monday

Just a reminder to all that our Making Session is this Monday, the 14th of January.

We will be making items to sell at the CoCo Mad festival this summer, and welcoming Emma Woolf, the Chair of Friends of Cotteridge Park to speak to us about the festival.

Could all members please bring a basic sewing kit (needles, pins, fabric scissors, thread in a couple of colours, embroidery hoop) with them? We will have projects using felt, organza, scraps of material, etc, so if you have a scrap bag it might be helpful to bring that too!

If you have an idea of a project you would like to make to sell, could you please bring the supplies to share your idea with someone? At the moment we have embroidered hearts, greetings cards, place mats, elephant brooches, embroidery kits and finger puppets, amongst other ideas.

If you'd like to make a project but are not sure of what you could do, here are some suggestions:

  • Simple art on canvases
  • Necklaces/brooches made out of dyed newspaper and pelmet vilene (E.g. these)
  • Felted & stitched soap/pebbles (e.g these instructions)
  • Book wraps
  • Simple tote bags/coin purses
  • Biscornu pincushions/mini cushions, e.g.crazy quilting style
  • Dyed silk scarves, like the ones people did at Margaret's (No idea if the raw materials are affordable for this, but the end result is gorgeous)
  • Lavender bags
  • Hooplas (attractive embroidery framed in a hoop, I've got a framing tutorial here)
  • Coasters/mug rugs
  • Simple felt pictures
  • Coffee cup wrappers/covers
  • Cushion covers
  • Owl door stops - very fashionable, but materials may be pricey
  • Felt flower pictures
As we are promoting the Embroiderers' Guild, we are keen for anything we make and sell to represent embroidery (either machine or hand stitching), rather than craft, so we will need to bear that in mind when making. We would also like items to be sold for under £10, which makes them affordable, and we would like some 'pocket money' price items too.

Hopefully this has got your creative ideas flowing - we'd love to see the ideas you have, so see you on Monday!

New Year Message from Guild HQ

The New Year message has been published from Guild HQ, so I am posting it here to allow members to read the contents:

New Year News Briefing
Branch Members
AGM – Bookings are excellent for Cheltenham on 5th/6th April. However, there are still places available on the new workshop by Gill Riordan (Japanese-style Pocket Book). There is still space on all the talks and entertainment – ‘Pearl Buttons’, ‘Tudor Tales’ and ‘A Woman of all Seasons’. The evening entertainment includes the Silver Shadows Band on Friday and the Cardiff Arms Park Male Voice Choir on Saturday.
Annual Accounts – The full set of accounts and Report by Trustees will be posted on the current Guild website by 10th January latest. The Guild Head Office accounts show a small surplus for 2012 and the debt to Unity Bank has now been paid in full. A summary set of accounts and précis of the Trustees’ Report will be in the January issue of Contact and in the Branch Pages on the Intranet.
Big Stitch – The 1-day ‘Big Stitch’ event at the Ashmolean Museum was, by any measure, a huge success. We would like to repeat it, this time in a North of England and/or Scottish venue. To do this we need a partner museum or stately home that would welcome such an event and the c.2000 extra visitors it may attract. If members have any venues in mind please send the contact details to me. Thank you.
Beryl Dean Gallery at Embroiderers’ Guild House – The exhibition of items from the Collection has now been up for 18 months. The main items will now return to our on-site store and a new exhibition will be available from 10th April and will continue for at least a year. The exhibition is usually open from 9.30am to 5pm on Monday to Friday although the Gallery is also used for meetings and workshops. Members are welcome to ‘drop in’ but they may wish to contact us in advance.
Branch Promotional Cards – The first print run has been exhausted. Based on feedback (thank you) we made some changes to the next print run – available now. The cards are designed to help you interest people in the branch and invite them along to a meeting. Many branches have ordered 100 or more of these promotional cards. One branch ordered 700 promotional cards!
Contact – The January issue will be sent out to each member’s home address in the last week of the month. Members who have requested the E-Book version will receive an email link. We will only be able to send Contact to members who have registered on the database and renewed their subscription. We would appreciate it if Branch Treasurers could remind any members who may not have renewed their Guild membership to do so.
Branch Meetings – As promised, we have been looking at ways to help branches deal with the increasing costs of speakers. The first of these initiatives will be ready by the end of January. All initiatives can be adopted by branches at any time to suit their programmes and forward planning.
Finest Stitches, Splendid Stitches and other exhibitions involving items from the Collection - Important diary dates...
  • AGM 5th/6th April (Finest Stitches)
  • Glasgow Caledonian University 9th May to 20th June (Finest Stitches plus World’s Longest Embroidery)
  • Macclesfield Silk Mill 10th August to 6th October (Final content to be agreed)
  • Grantham Museum 15th October – 4th February 2014 (Finest stitches plus World’s Longest Embroidery)
  • Bucks County Museum 9th March to 6th July (Exhibition of items selected by the Museum Curator and EG Collection Manager)
Loan Repayments – The loan from Unity bank has now been discharged. We are now in a position to repay the balance of 60% of outstanding loan amounts to branches and regions. A claims form is being sent to Branch Treasurers this month.
Membership Renewals/Payments to EGH – Our thanks to all who have renewed their Guild subscription for 2012/13.
Postcards – The broad consensus across the Guild is for this magnificent collection of images to remain together and to continue to be exhibited. They will all be on display at Embroiderers’ Guild House from 21st January to 22nd March, in Glasgow Caledonian University from 9th May to 20th June and in Grantham Museum from 15th October to 4th February 2014. Other dates will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. In addition, we have plans to extend the life of the ‘postcards’ by adding countries to cover all nations recognised by the United Nations - details to follow. Each postcard will be photographed in February and DVD recordings will be available to members and branches in March – again, details to follow shortly.
Website – The new Guild website is, at last, being prepared. The initial content on the new site will go ‘live’ in January. When ready, the new site will load in place of the old. At that point access to the members’ area will require their new Guild Membership Number and PIN.
YE 40th Anniversary 2014 – We are planning to mark 40 years of Young Embroiderers with national and regional events. Members may have ideas they wish us to incorporate or know of people (possibly past YEs) they would like us to involve.
Wishing all members a very Happy New Year with our thanks for your continued support,
Terry Murphy

Thursday, 3 January 2013

A Year in Review: Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild in 2012

2012 was a great year for Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild. We started the year with the first session merging the afternoon and evening groups together into one, and had a fabulous programme of speakers and events. It's also the first year that we have had a full year of blog posts to look back on, so here are some highlights:

January 2012:
In January, several members met up to look round the Lost in Lace exhibition at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, where we really enjoyed the wide range of lace-inspired work on display:

Also in January: Our first meeting of the year was spent planning pieces to enter in the Industrial heritage exhibition at the regional day, and we got a first look at our new posters.

February 2012:
In February, we heard from our own Janet Molloy, and Jacqui Thompson, from the Solihull branch, who told us about their journey through embroidery, and brought lots of work along to share, including this lovely Celtic embroidery by Janet:

March 2012:
In March, we enjoyed a great talk from Teresinha Roberts, who brought lots of gorgeous samples of animal fibres along with her, as well as the wools and felts that she had made from them:
From Angora To Yak 2012-03-12 (2)

Also in March: members went to see Four Tragic Tales and Made In The Middle at the Mac, looking at lots of innovative embroidery and crafts.

April 2012:
In April, Angela Thompson joined us to lead a Polish Rhapsody dayschool, where we created beautiful embroidery using simple stitches on a background of felt with couched wool:
Polish Rhapsody 2012-03-31 (21) Janet

Also in April: we had a great show and tell session - you can see that the Industrial Heritage pieces are really starting to take shape.

May 2012:
In May, we had a brilliant members workshop, the beginning of our monthly focus on hand stitching. Janet Wright led us in creating embroidery using web and wheel stitches:
2012-06-11 Show and Tell (2)

Also in May; Another great show and tell session, with embroidery from the Polish Rhapsody dayschool and more Industrial Heritage work, and we welcomed Angie Hughes to talk about  Inspiration on your Doorstep; Angie will be back to lead a dayschool this spring, which is sure to fill up quickly.

June 2012:
Our speaker in June was the amazing Annette Emms, who came to show us all her embroidery inspired by Gargoyles, ghosts and gravestones, and fairies, myths and legends:
2012-06-11 Gargoyles Ghosts and Gravestones (15)

Also in June, we had a bumper show and tell, full of webs and wheels, silk painting from the summer mini-workshops, more Polish Rhapsody, and lots more, and several members had a great day out at the WM Regional Day.

July 2012:
In July, we held our Summer Party, with strawberry cream teas, a raffle, book sale, exhibition, and people queueing out of the door to get in! Bailey Curtis came to speak about her Colourful Life in Textiles:
July 2012 Summer Party (37)

August 2012:
August is usually a quiet month for the branch, as we take our Summer break, so we simply blogged about a local embroiderers' exhibition. If you know of any local embroidery exhibitions, please get in touch.

September 2012:
In September, Annette Emms returned to the Branch to lead a sold out dayschool about Inspiring Image Transfers, where we all learnt lots of new techniques:
Annette Emms Image Transfer Workshop

Also in September; we took a look at how people had been using fly and herringbone stitches in their embroidery, and held a great session entitled 'Then, Now and Yet-to-be', all about members past, current and future projects, which was a great insight into the fantastically talented embroiderers who are members of the Birmingham branch.

October 2012:
In October, I had a holiday, so instead of the usual embroidery related posts, we instead featured a series of posts about getting the most out of the blog, including staying up to date with new posts, finding interesting articles in the archives, and leaving comments. See
How to use this blog - Part 1 for the first of these posts.

Also in October, we joined Facebook, and I shared some photos of Goldwork I discovered in a church in Spain.

November 2012:
In November we welcomed Felicity Howartson to give a fascinating talk about her Great-Grandma's Workbox, and we got to look at so many beautiful treasures:

Also in November; Steph Redfern led a fab dayschool taking us through elements of composition and design, and we published our programme for 2013.

December 2012:
In December, we had our Christmas party, with mince pies, a raffle, and we learnt to make beautiful mini-cushions:
Sumptuous Mini Cushions December 2012 (2)

We also got a first look at our completed Christmas Bunting, expertly stitched together by Janet Wright:

So that's it, a fabulous year of embroidery and friendship. As we said in our New Year's message, thank you for all of your support in 2012, and we look forward to seeing you in 2013!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from all at Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild!

I (Heather)  took a bit of a blogging break over the holidays, and spent time with family and friends, and even fitted in some sewing, a trip to the John Lewis Haberdashery sale, and discovered a great quilt shop in Milton Keynes. I hope you had a lovely relaxing break, and managed to enjoy some needlework too.

We have a brilliant year ahead of us here at Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild - new members are joining us regularly and we have a fabulous programme of events lined up, which includes a workshop with Angie Hughes, a talk from the prestigious stumpwork embroiderer Kay Dennis, and a follow up dayschool from Bailey Curtis, as well as loads of other events.

If one of your New Years' Resolutions is to learn a new craft or brush up on your embroidery skills, you would be very welcome to join us. We meet at the Friends Meeting House in Cotteridge in the second Monday of the month, at 7:30pm. New members and visitors are always welcome, with sessions costing £3.00. Our January session is next Monday, the 14th*, and it is a sewing evening where we will be starting to make items to sell at festivals during the year; please bring a basic sewing kit, scissors, and embroidery threads if you have them.

Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm during 2012; we hope to see you at a Guild Meeting during the year, and wish you every happiness in 2013.

From all at Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild.

*corrected from the 7th in the first draft of this post - thanks to keen-eyed Angela for pointing that out!