Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Spare Fabric Needed Please!

Hi All,

As you are probably aware, the Branch are going to be taking part in the CoCoMAD festival in Cotteridge Park on the 6th of July. We had our first subcommittee last night, and we would be very grateful if members could go through their fabric stash and bring any of the following items along to the March or April Guild meetings, if they are spare:
  • 8" or larger pieces of cottons, or easy to use shiny fabrics (non-slippery, non-fray), to be used to make mini crazy patchwork cushion kits
  • Plain white or pale coloured cotton or calico, pieces at least 15" square, to be used for backing cushion kits.
  • Tapestry wool (or smooth knitting wool of a similar thickness to tapestry wool), in bright colours, to be used to make kits and projects for young children
  • Felt pieces at least 3" square, to be used to make felt brooches for people to sew on the day of the festival, (also brooch backs if you have them)
Fabric scraps
Image by Bego Diaz on Flickr
We might need other items in future, which we'll ask for as we make a few more decisions, but that is the things we definitely need for now.

If you have any of these items, please pass them to Heather, Bernadette, Clare or Angela Attwood at the next meeting.

Thank you for your support!

Heather, Claire, Bernadette and Angie
The CoCoMAD subcommittee

Friday, 22 February 2013

Stitch Magazine

You may not know that the Guild publishes a fabulous magazine, Stitch:

StitchMag FebMar 2013

It's really interesting, and has a good mix of projects, inspirational features, and interviews with textiles artists. If you want to subscribe to the magazine, you can do so through the Birmingham branch, and we benefit by receiving £2.50 from each £25.50 years subscription. It's a great way to make an extra contribution to branch funds and get a great magazine every other month!

If you're interested in taking out a subscription, or have a subscription that is up for renewal, please either see Anne at a branch meeting, or email

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Opportunities at the new Library of Birmingham

The Branch committee have been in discussion with members of staff at the new Library of Birmingham about the Branch being involved with the library, in order to help them engage with local groups, and help us attract new members and raise the profile of embroidery in Birmingham.

We are in discussion about hosting monthly Sit and Sew events in a public area at the Library, e.g. a café, and members would be free to bring their own work to sew. We could possibly have supplies of thread, fabric, needles etc. to encourage the public to sew with us, too.

We are also contemplating being involved in the opening events for the Library, on the 3rd of September. We could host a simple sewing workshop, and show some of our own embroideries, as well as having the chance to promote the Guild to people.

To help us work out how members feel about these plans, we would be very grateful if you could fill in the below survey. It only has 4 questions, so shouldn't take very long to answer:

Thank you!

Monday, 18 February 2013

Angie Hughes Requirements List

On March the 30th we're looking forward to welcoming Angie Hughes to lead an Inspired by Klimt dayschool, where we'll be making a flat piece inspired by one of Klimt's fabulous drawings.

Angie's large Klimt bag
Angie will bring all of the below materials, but if you have any bring them as they are bound to be a bit different, which makes things more interesting. She will also have a kit available for £5, which includes a selection of Transfoils, black cotton velvet and full instructions.

Requirements List:
  • Basic sewing kit
  • Transfoils
  • Sweetie foils (e.g. Ferrero Rocher)
  • Small pieces of brightly coloured silk fabric
  • Metallic and coloured embroidery threads
  • Transparent coloured organza
  • Bondaweb
  • Iron and pad
  • Baking Parchment
  • Sewing machine
Don't forget we will be using Klimt as an inspiration for our work, so if you have any favourite bits, enlarge them a bit and bring them along to work from. The base fabric will be black cotton velvet, which Angie will supply. She will show us how to use this and some clever tricks to make the most of transfoil, even pieces which you've used the most from.

If you've not yet booked onto the dayschool, there may still be a couple of places available. Please see Margaret at a session, or email

Programme Change: April 2013

Unfortunately we have had to make a change to this year's Programme of Events, as Margaret Dunning is no longer able to do our scheduled April talk about Silk Painting and Dyeing Landscapes for Embroidery. We are hoping to reschdule her talk for 2014.

Luckily, one of our own members, Marion Plumb, will be giving her talk about Opening The Kimono. It looks set to be very interesting, we hope to see you there!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Jean Littlejohn Talk - Leamington Spa EG Branch

leamington Spa branch of the Guild would like to know if members of other local branches would like to attend the below talk:

a talk by Jean Littlejohn

Friday 3rd May, 7.00 for 7.15 pm
Members £3 Visitors £4

We are extremely fortunate to have booked Jean Littlejohn for our branch, as she has a very busy schedule both at home and abroad. She describes herself as a lecturer, teacher, author and textile artist and member of the 62 Group, but members who have followed her career will know that she is a highly respected embroiderer with more than 30 years' experience of teaching and exhibiting on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as in New Zealand and Australia. Jean (with Jan Beaney) is also part of Double Trouble Enterprises which publishes their well-known embroidery books and DVDs.

We invite members from the West Midlands branches to join us for this rare chance to listen to Jean talk about her work and what inspires her stitching.

Leamington & District Branch
St Mary’s Church Hall
St Mary’s Road
Leamington Spa
CV31 1JW

If you are interested in going, could you please email, and could you also include whether you would be willing to give other local members a lift.

Thank you.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

A Tale Of Two Members: Anne Haigh and June Parkinson

We had a fantastic Branch meeting this Monday, where members trekked through the snow to listen to two of our own members talk about their embroidery practice.

First, Anne shared here stitching experiences with us, from her earliest traycloths, through her stumpwork course, to the present day, where she is studying for her City and Guilds at Missenden Abbey.

Anne shared this great piece of stumpwork, inspired by a photograph of Anne as a child with her grandmother:


As part of her City and Guilds, Anne has made lots of sketchbooks exploring aspects of design, and she brought these along so we could see her work. There were loads of fabulous examples of these explorations. I especially liked this page about texture:


Anne talked about how her tutor, Janet Edmonds encourages them to isolate an element of a design, and then use this for extended periods of work, both for design and stitch samples. As part of a seaside theme, Anne took the shape of a spade, and worked it into repeated patterns and images, leading to this lovely textured stitch sample:


Anne brought along lots of fascinating books and pieces of embroidery. Click play on this slideshow to see some more photos:

The second member we welcomed was June Parkinson, who is a member of both Solihull and Birmingham branches. June started embroidering a number of years ago, inspired by a resolution between June and her sister to do something creative.

He recent work has been in a very distinctive style of embroidery, and brought a number of pieces to share with us, including this gorgeous image worked onto canvas, inspired by a holiday in Rome:


June has also been experimenting with stitching into lutradur, and painting and embellishing it, to gorgeous effect:


We were very interested in June's fabulous large vessels, constructed of fabric, felt and heavily textured stitch and beading:



For more photos of June's embroidery, click Play on this slideshow:

We're hoping to book June for a workshop in 2015, so watch this space!

Thank you to both Anne and June for bringing their fantastic embroidery to share with us.

Westhope Weekend - Course and Room Choices

We are making arrangements for this year's planned trip to Westhope Craft College, on the 13th to 15th of September.

Our tutor will be Dorothy Symonds, and we have a choice of two courses - Sheer Magic, or Mad About Metal.

In Sheer magic, we could make a machine embroidered bag, mirror frame or panel, using sheer ribbons and organzas, using free machining and an optional soldering iron.

In Mad About Metal, we will learn how to prepare metals for embroidery, making various useful samples as we practice (e.g. brooches) then when we are more skilled we will make an artefact of our choice (eg jewellery, bags, panels, bowl, box or other vessels).

To find out more about these courses, see these documents:

Sheer Magic Requirements List
Sheer Magic Poster
Mad about Metal Poster -
Mad about Metal Requirements List

With regard to accommodation, there are 11 bed rooms. If each bedroom is single occupancy (Cost = £220 per person), 16 beds at one person per bed (£150 per person), and 19 if 3x2people are happy to share a double bed (£130 per person). Total cost from Westhope is £2400 including meals, tea, coffee and tutor for Saturday and Sunday.
I suspect the best we can aim for is 16 people – which would mean 3 people willing to share the Gold room and others (6 people) willing to share 2 to a room in the 3 twin rooms. Then 7 bedrooms are for single occupancy including 3 with double beds. If no-one is willing to share then its 11 people maximum and cost will be at least £220 – less than 11 and costs rise further.  

Single beds
Double Beds









Old House Mum's

New House Mum's




Total one per bed


Total if using all places

If you are interested in attending, could you please email, with details of:
  • The course(s) you would be interested in doing
  • Whether you would be willing to share a room/a double bed with another attendee
  • Whether you'd prefer a shower or bath
  • Any other comments/preferences.

 Thank you!


Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Lost Waistcoat

The waistcoat has now been found, so all is well!

A waistcoat was lost at the Guild meeting last night, if you found it or accidentally took it home with you could you please email


Monday, 11 February 2013

Guild on despite the snow!

Hi All,

I have now spoken to Janet, and she thinks we should be Ok to go ahead with tonight's meeting, so if you feel safe to travel then we would love to see you.

In case you don't fancy driving, the Meeting House is a short walk from Kings Norton Train Station, and it is on the 11A and 84 bus routes. If you need to plan a journey by public transport, you can use Traveline Midlands, the postcode of the meeting house is B30 1JB.

Stay safe, and we'll see you tonight!


Sunday, 10 February 2013


Hi all,

Just a quick post to say that snow is falling here in Brum, and I've spoken to Janet, and we'll make the decision about whether tomorrow's Guild meeting is on in the morning, when we can see what's happened overnight. I'll update the blog and Facebook, and probably send an email out either way, so please keep your eyes peeled. If you are going anywhere tonight, stay safe, and if not, wrap up warm with a cuppa and some stitching!


Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Craft Club volunteers needed at Smethwick Library

Smethwick Library has a really active community focus, and they are looking for volunteers to run various clubs, including a craft and activities volunteer. If you have some spare time and would like to volunteer, please contact them on 0121-558-04-97, or email

Embroiderers' Guild at the Fashion, Embroidery and Stitch Show at the NEC

As in previous years, the Embroiderers' Guild will have a presence at this year's Fashion, Embroidery & Stitch show at the NEC. As well as showcasing the work of local branches, talking to people about what the Guild does (and hopefully attracting some new members!), the 'Stitching a Welcome to the Athletes of the World' postcards will be on display. They have received a lot of media attention, and have gone down well whenever they've been showed.

The exhibition is on the 21st to 24th of March, at the NEC. The Sewing for Pleasure and Hobbycrafts shows are on at the same time, in neighbouring halls. If you've not been before, it really is a must-visit, there are so many amazing techniques on show, lovely supplies to buy, and a chance to catch up with friends and exhibitors you have met previously.

The region are looking for help with running the stall:
  • Are you able to help man the stand on any day of the show? As the postcards are going to be displayed in a separate area opposite the main stand, more volunteers than usual are needed. In previous years, volunteering has also given free access to the show on the day you volunteer. I've not had it confirmed that this is the case this year, so it would be worth checking, but it seems likely.
  • Do you have some of your own embroidery that can be displayed on the stand? The branch are contributing the 25th anniversary squares, which will be a great promotional opportunity for Birmingham, as lively, interesting textile displays always attract visitors.
Birmingham Embroiders Guild Exhibition 30 May 2011 (24) - St Martin's Church Exhibition
One of the 25th Anniversary Squares that will be on display
If you are either interested in volunteering, or lending your work to be displayed, could you please email, and I will pass your email on to the relevant members of regional committee. If you could do this ASAP, it would be greatly appreciated, as the committee want to start finalising arrangements.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Fabric paper

Last weekend, Bernadette, Lyn and I went to Margaret's house to have a go at making fabric paper.

Fabric paper

We had a great time sticking all sorts of textured things, including lace, tissue, dusters and fabrics onto fabric, let it dry and then painted it. I've added gold and metallic acrylics and some gold Markal Paintstik, then stitched into it, mostly with gold metallic thread.

Fabric paper
Fabric paper

Fabric paper
I've got some plain notebooks, and I'm planning to cover them to sell at the CoCoMad festival.