Monday, 21 October 2013

Come Stitch With Us! Birmingham Embroidere​rs' Guild at the Library of Birmingham

As you may be aware, Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild have been talking to the Library of Birmingham about having a monthly sewing event at the library.

We now have their go ahead, so the first event will take place on Saturday the 2nd of November, from 11am in the mezzanine floor, above the cafe. They have a lovely range of food, cakes and drinks on sale, however you are also welcome to bring your own food.

This is a great opportunity to meet other people who are also into sewing, embroidery and other related crafts; we would like to see any projects that you're doing at the moment.

Please invite any of your friends, this is open to all, not just Branch or Guild members.

We will be bringing binca and felt for people to use if they're new to sewing, so if you've never picked up a needle and thread before, please feel free to come along - you'll find a friendly welcome and someone to help you out.

The event will then take place on the first Saturday of the month, at the same time and location.

We'd love to see you there!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

October Branch Meeting - AGM and A Needle For Everything

The October branch meeting, this Monday, is the branch AGM, so it is a good opportunity to come along and find out more about how the branch is doing.

Additionally, our speaker is Karen Perry, from Entaco/John James needles. She will be giving a talk entitled A Needle For Everything, and will also have a range of needles to show and sell, so if there is a needle you've struggled to track down, Karen may have some for sale.

Fibre Flurry Cancelled

Some people may have noticed that we had flyers on our noticeboard for Fibre Flurry, scheduled for the end of October. Unformtunately this event has now been cancelled - see for more information.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Sutton Coldfield Creative Stitchers Exhibition

Sutton Coldfield Creative Stitchers are holding a 4-day exhibition and event in the autumn - 'Celebrating Stitch':

They will also be holding a number of Demonstrations & mini-workshops:

Wednesday October 30th
3.00pm Bobbin Lace
4.00pm Kantha

Thursday October 31st
10.30am Christmas cards
11.30am Lacemaking
12.30pm Knitting/crochet
1.30pm Machine embroidery
2.30pm Machine embroidery
3.30pm Book cover in 30 minutes

Friday November 1st
10.30am Adding glitz to hand stitch
11.30am 'Mobbs Blobs'
12.30pm Tambour work
1.30pm Flower stitch machine foot
2.30pm Hardanger embroidery
3.30pm Machine reverse applique

Saturday November 2nd
10.30am Screen printing
11.30am Goldwork
12.30pm Rug bodging
1.30pm Bobbin lace
2.30pm Needle lace

For more info, see

Sunday, 6 October 2013

This month's Stitch magazine

This month's stitch magazine is a veritable feast of Birmingham branch related projects and articles.

We have a beautiful project abut dyeing from our and Solihull's own June Parkinson, which looks great:

Then there are two sneak peeks into next year's programme. Mr X Stitch, AKA Jamie Chalmers will be coming to us next spring to share lots of exciting embroidery with us:

And there is a book review of Cakes and Candies by Greta Fitchett, who will be giving a talk and leading a dayschool about these beautiful stitched treats later in the year:

And psssst, members might recognise this project as well; it will be in next month's edition:

Swirls and Sequins with Crazy Mary

Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild recently welcomed Crazy Mary for a dayschool about Swirls and Sequins.

Mary shared with us some fun, simple techniques using layered organza with swirls of wool to make beautiful machine embroidered pictures.

She brought some lovely examples of her own creations to inspire us:

She also brought lots of lovely supplies for us to dip through and use for our own embroideries:

First we practiced with swirls of wool on calico, to get the hang of the technique:

We all then dived right in and started making these beautiful pictures:



All in all we had a great fun, and very productive day:

Thank you very much to Mary for sharing these fabulous techniques with us - we had a great day. If you are interested in taking a class with Mary, you can take a look at her website:
Our next dayschool is Metallic Elements with Janet Rose, in November. If you are interested in taking part, please see Margaret at the next branch meeting.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Genesis Textile Workshops

Genesis Textile Group have some places available on two of their workshops this autumn:

12th Oct 2013 Claire Muir – ‘Fabulous Flowers’
This course about making flowers by free machine embroidering individual petals onto a soluble fabric. Sumptuous fabrics will be couched down onto the petals before supporting wires are added. Bead and crystal embellishments and wire and feather centres finish off each creation. Students will learn how to make embroidered lace flowers and should complete a flower which they can wear as a corsage or in their hair. Students should be confident and experienced in using the sewing machine for machine embroidery.
9th November 2013 Una Smith – ‘Machine Textured fabrics’
We will be working in small modules approx. 6” square in natural colours and will produce at least 4 different techniques to create textured pieces, which could be dyed, appliqued or worked into at leisure.
The workshops are held at Solihull Methodist church Hall , Solihull B91 1LG 10 am – 4pm
The costs are £25 for members and £30 for non members.
If you are interested in booking, please email and we will pass your message on.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

November Dayschool: Metallic Elements with Janet Rose

On November 30th, Birmingham branch look forward to welcoming Janet Rose, from the Leamington EG branch, to lead a dayschool on 'Metallic Elements'.

To give you an idea of what the day will involve, and the requirements list, Janet has sent us the below:

This workshop aims to give you practice in handling and machine stitching on metals, combining metals, foils and other fibres to create useful samples for future reference. Beginners will learn that stitching on metal is really quite easy and the more experienced will be able to combine a number of techniques suitable to use in a resolved piece of embroidery. The requirements list is not exhaustive so do bring anything that you feel could work well with metals, be it fabric, paper or other embellishments.

Ø  Sewing machine, foot control, electric leads, extension cable, your machine accessories and manual. Feet required: darning/embroidery for free machining and suitable foot for automatic stitches

Ø  Spare bobbins and spare bobbin case if you use one for altering bottom tension

Ø  Machine needles: Universal sizes 90/14 & 100/16,  Topstitch size 100/16* ( can also try 90/14) or Metallica needles of same sizes  if you use them, both are suitable for metallic threads

Ø  General sewing kit, tape measure, pins, fabric and small scissors etc.

Ø  Machine embroidery threads of your choice, most will stitch on metal with metallic threads looking particularly attractive and it is a good opportunity to practice using them, especially if you feel they are ‘difficult’ to manage. Good makes are probably less troublesome and Madeira  threads ( FS & Supertwist ) are generally trouble free. Bobbin fill or polyester sewing thread for bobbin use ( colour/s close to your top threads) to economise when using metallic threads

Ø  Cutting board, craft knife and metal cutting ruler, old scissors for cutting metal

Ø  Fabrics for backing metal when stitching the following are suitable:  Pelmet or craft weight Vilene, curtain interlining ( Bump)*, Kunin, acrylic felt. About ½ metre of felt and bump (or several fat quarters ) will be plenty, plus you will need three pieces of the Vilene 25cm x 25cm ( 10 inch square ) which needs to be pre painted. TIP coat the Vilene with acrylic wax before painting or sponging with several colours of slightly watered acrylic paints, metallics look really effective and the wax prevents too much paint soaking into the Vilene  

Ø  Fabrics for creating backgrounds most fabrics are suitable ( but not too thin ) velvets, heavier silks, furnishing fabrics all good. Think about the colour of the metals, your thread colours etc. Coloured handmade or textured papers also go well with metal. Pieces about A4 size should be big enough for sampling and 4 – 6  should be plenty

Ø  One nylon scarf if you want to try a layered distressed background (black or colour to work with your choices above)

Ø  Soluble film of your choice ( A4/A3 size piece will be plenty if thick like ROMEO , no hoop needed or if using something like SOLUFLEECE you need a hoop and enough soluble for hoop size )

Ø  Bondaweb, please bring a small amount untreated and two approx. A4 size pieces pre-painted (using metallic colours will create integration with the metals)

Ø  Some small offcuts of plain fabric like calico for sampling automatic stitches before stitching on metals

Ø  Heat gun  and heatproof mat or board

Ø  Paper crimper*

Ø   Embossing tools* or spent biro pen*, fine steel knitting needle*, tracing wheel* or anything else that could be used to make marks in m the metal

Ø  Craft scissors with interchangeable  patterned blades*

Ø  Notebook and pen, loose paper in case you wish to draw out a design

All tools and materials marked * I will bring for use or have with me for sale, not in large quantities but enough for the needs of this workshop. Please bring as much as you have available without having to make special purchases

Please bring any metals you have, either for use or identification of suitability for machine stitching.  I shall be bringing metal shims and metal meshes, cut into suitable size pieces and pre coloured using heat and Transfer foil, for sale. I also have collected some tomato puree tube metal but if you have any of the following, please bring them as I do not have huge stocks of these items.

Ø  Copper,* Brass* and Aluminium Shim ( 0.02 thickness) avoid anything thicker than 0.05

Ø  Copper,* Brass,* Bronze* Woven mesh fabric (dependent on availability and cost)

Ø  Tomato/garlic puree tubes* and/or aluminium drinks cans**

Ø  Transfer foils* ( these are the iron on type on a plastic backing)

Ø  Embossing Powders and embossing fluid or suitable adhesive such as Pebeo Crystal Gel* (used in glass painting techniques)


Please take care when handling metal as it does have very sharp edges. Cut off the tops and bottoms of puree/drinks cans, open up carefully and wash clean. Trim off any jagged edges and flatten out.

All thin metals can be safely cut using an old pair of scissors or a craft knife with metal ruler on a cutting board ( flat sections only)

Metals are softened when heated (annealing) and copper and brass shim also produce lovely colours. If your metals have not been heated try the following methods before you bring them to the workshop. Always hold the metal in wooden tongs or heat proof glove etc. and have a tray/dish of cold water for emergencies but try to cool the metal down slowly if possible. Using a small blow torch move the flame across the metal shim/mesh until it begins to change colour (copper shim turns orange, followed by pink, blue/green and then darker to burnt the longer you heat it). Too long it will blacken. Start slowly and stop as soon as you have achieved some attractive colouring. A candle or nightlight will also work but more soot is created which can be washed off afterwards. A heat gun can also be used to heat and colour the metal but it takes a little longer and the heat gun needs to be  300watts or higher to be effective. Take care not to have your heat gun on for too long as it may burn out!

Note Puree tubes and drinks cans are aluminium and usually coated with a protective surface. When heating (annealing) make sure you are in a well- ventilated area and wear a mask as protection as fumes can be released. These metals do not usually change colour when heated but they all vary so give them a try. Just take sensible precautions and work slowly and carefully.

The following items are not essential but could prove useful if you wish to develop your samples

Ø  Beads, sequins, metallic or other hand embroidery threads of varying thicknesses

Ø  Treasure Waxes*

Ø  Small pieces of pre-coloured Lutradur, Tyvek and/or Fibretex ( I shall show samples using these materials with metal)
If you have any queries about the requirements, please email, and we will pass them on to Janet.
There are still spaces available on the dayschool, so if you would like to book on, please see Margaret at the october or November branch meetings. Dayschools run from 9:45 for 10am until about 4pm, and are a great way to learn a new technique and make some new friends. Places cost £25, which includes tea/coffee, however you need to bring your own lunch.