Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas party and Tactile Books

We were all engrossed with our speaker Alex Britton from Clear Vision who gave us a good understanding of the need for fabric books for young people learning to read Braille and how the experience can be made both interesting and inspiring. We were able to try the experience by 'feeling' shapes and understanding how difficult this can be without a variety of textures.

Many of us took away a hand out giving guide lines and we will have a discussion of how to go forward at our January meeting. If you can't wait or want to know more here are the links to Clear Vision:   Twitter: ClearVisionOrg

After our speaker rushed off for her train we were able to get on with the serious business of hot mulled apple juice, cakes and mince pies whilst we had the results of the Christmas competition which was won by Meriel with her wonderful book of holiday memories.

For the raffle we had 2 prizes, a festive  gold bag created by Janet Lee and won by Clare and a Christmas Hamper which was won by Angela - well done both hope you are enjoying the goodies!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

December Branch Meeting - Clear Vision Tactile Books and Christmas Party

Our branch meeting on Monday (December 8th) will feature a speaker from ClearVision about the tactile books they make for blind and partially sighted children. We will be able to look at a number of sample books, and find out more about how they are made.

An example tactile book.
We hope this will inspire you either to make your own tactile book, or to work together with a guild friend or two to make a book between you for this fabulous cause. If you wanted to bring a camera or a notepad and pen to jot down some ideas you'd be welcome, and ClearVision provide very detailed instructions.

We will also be having a Christmas party, with mince pies, mulled apple juice, and our Christmas raffle. It will be a fun, festive session, so we hope to see you there.

If you're new to the Guild, visitors are welcome, and the first session is free, with a charge of £4 thereafter. Please see here for details of where we meet. See you there!

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Requirements List for Greta Fitchett Dayschool

This is the requirements list for the Greta Fitchett dayschool this Saturday

Box of Chox with Greta Fitchett

This is the solution to those of us who are calorie conscious! A box of chocolates made entirely from fabric and thread and hand stitching. Soft sculptures made to look like chocolates, and embellished with hand embroidery and beading to create inviting surfaces. Set off in a chocolate box you will have to stop your friends from eating them.


  • An Empty Chocolate Box with all the packaging – a single layer is enough. I used a Fererro Rocher with the plastic tray inside. The lidded Perspex container allows for easy viewing of the box contents. These come in different sizes depending on how ambitious you are!
  • Small petit four paper cases
  • Padded sticky fixers
  • Fabric and Threads:
  • Fabric in chocolate colours such as dark and medium brown and cream. Plain cotton, calico and polyester fabrics are suitable.
  • Matching sewing thread
  • Beads – brown, black, pink and tiny pearls
  • Toy stuffing
  • Hand embroidery thread such as stranded cotton in brown, cream and pink


  • 45 mm yo yo maker by Clover, if you have one, or something to draw a circle of the same
  • size (compass and pencil)
  • Sheet of A4 paper
  • Hand sewing, embroidery and beading needles
  • Scissors for cutting fabric and threads
  • Book of embroidery stitches
If you would like to download a printable version of this list, please click here.

There's still a place left on this workshop, so if you're interested, email

Raffle Bags and Christmas Basket

In November, our raffle bag was silver in colour:

It contained these beautiful items, and was won by Geri - congratulations!

December's raffle bag will be gold, and we will also be having a Christmas basket, so please bring in any gold items, and anything festive for these.

See you at the next branch meetin on December 8th, where we will be finding out more about Clearvision tactile books for blind and partially sighted children.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Stitched Brooches with Tina Francis

We had a great branch meeting this week, making our own tapestry needlework brooches with Tina Francis, who brought detailed instructions, canvas, yarns and needles to enable us to stitch our own brooches.

Tina showed us some of her work, and explained that as we were using multiple colours, they would tone well to make beautiful unique items, something that was borne out when we saw the finished article.

We also enjoyed the opportunity to chat, and there was a lively buzz in the air.

Our new set of daylight lamps came in handy too.

A brooch in progress

And the finished article

Monday, 3 November 2014

November Branch Meeting: Stitched Brooches with Tina Francis

Our next Branch meeting on Monday the 10th of November will be a practical workshop session, open to all members and visitors.

Tina Francis, a tapestry embroiderer who has recently joined the Birmingham branch, is going to be teaching us all how to make canvas work brooches, which are ideal for using up oddments of tapestry or other wool you may have around. The materials are being provided, so the session is ideal both for beginners to canvas work, and for more experienced stitchers, as it presents the opportunity to stitch, catch up with guild friends, and also to finish (or nearly finish!) a project, ideal for a Christmas gift.

Brooches by Tina Francis

If you've always thought about coming down to the branch, how about giving this session a go! See here for info on where we meet.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Library of Birmingham November 1st

We are in our normal spot  on the Mezzanine floor above the library cafe from 11am until about 1pm, and we would love for you to join us. Feel free to bring any stitching projects you are working on, and we will have felt, binca and other activities for both adults and children.

As always everyone is welcome and it will be great to have lots of members there. So even if you can only make it for an hours or so do come along to catch up, have a chat and a stitch.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Weavers Spinners and Dyers 8 November

The Birmingham & District Guild of 

Weavers, Spinners and Dyers

Invites you to its 

Annual Exhibition and Sale


Demonstrations of Crafts

Saturday November 8th 2014
the Friends Meeting House
Watford Road

Enterance free      tea and cakes

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Claire Muir correction

Just a quick note to say I have amended the entry for the October meeting. Claire's work experience was with Phillip Somerville and not Phillip Treacy as I said in the original notes. Apologies to all.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

2014 AGM and Treasurer's Report

Birmingham Branch Embroiderers’ Guild
Chairs Report October 2014

Birmingham Branch has had a very successful year thanks to the hard work of branch members and particularly of the committee. It is also thanks to the enthusiasm and friendliness of all of the branch members and to the knowledge and ideas you all contribute.
We have welcomed new members and enjoyed a varied programme with fantastic workshops including one usingLutrador with June Parkinson and another on Stump Work with Kay Dennis.  This year two of our current members talked about their lives in embroidery Angela Atwood and Margaret Richards led a fantastic evening with beautiful textiles to take inspiration from. Angela has also been published in Stitch Magazine and many of us have bought her kits. We looked at Guild folios in September and have hadwonderful speakers including Felicity Howatson on Ecclesiastical Embroidery and Greta Fitchett on making fabric chocolates.  We have also enjoyed stitching together and this year completed the branch banner thank you again to everyone who produced a letterThe Tolkien Inspired display is on its way to completion and we hope to have it finished early in 2015.
That banner is now used when we meet informally at Birmingham Library on the first Saturday of the month at 11 am. This new development has proved to be a lovely opportunity to sit and stich together and to meet members of the public and tell them about the Guild. We have welcomed new members to the Branch as a result and have also been visited by members from other Branches. Lots of members have participated during the year which also gives us a chance to get to know each other better.
We have again been involved in CoCoMad, the local park festival in July where we had a stall selling kits and finished items and providing a chance for others including children and their parents to join us in stitching. This was fun and also helped to generate funds for the Branch. Some branch members including Clare Wilkins, Elizabeth Parker Janet Lee and Betty Rourke made a very significant contribution to the Staffordshire Hoard Hanging congratulations. 
This year was the 40th Anniversary of the young embroiders and the local group have had another excellent year with numbers increasing to 18 during the summer months.  They have been in several exhibitions locally and nationally and the work has been well received and a lot of interest shown (hence our increase in numbers).  They have made badges, butterflies, book marks, and seashore panels, and will be completing firework panels and Christmas wreaths before the year is ended!  They are also making a “Celebration Panel” which will be on display next year at the Guild’s AGM and other occasions.
They also came to our summer party and the children really enjoyed the lecture on making cakes and especially loved the birthday cake which was made for them to celebrate the 40 years of Young Embroiderers.  The children were thrilled with the stitch books and packet of needles they all received as a gift in July.
This year’s committee; with Anne Haigh as Treasurer, Clare Wilkins as secretary and Heather Ramsden as vice chair, will continue. I will carry on as chair but want to stress how heavily I rely on all the other committee members. I would like us all to thank them for their hard work on behalf of the guild. Among other things Jayne has taken over much of the responsibility for the blog, Lorna manages the raffle, Margaret the day schools and Angela meets and greets and organises refreshmentsMeriel took the lead in producing our bannerand runs the sales tableNext year we will need some sub committees, including one to plan the regional day and while we will be involved we really want to encourage others to join us. We have fun as well as working hard. We are also continuing our raffle with a slightly different theme and hope that lots of members will have a go at producing a bag.
We have started a DVD library. The blog continues to thrive and that and email are really useful ways of communicating to each other and to others outside of the branch. We must however also keep in touch with members who do not use computers and endeavour to always send key documents separately to them. We try to be responsive to the needs of members so please let us know if there is anything we can do differently. We have taken note of the findings of last year’s survey and are seeing if we can do anything to make it easier for members to hear what speakers and those giving notices are saying. 

On a national level the national AGM is being held at the Library in Birmingham giving us a great chance to build contacts. The Sustainable Future strategy is being developed with a national consultation meeting with invited members at the beginning of November. There will be a report and recommendations going to the national AGM in Birmingham in 2015. Congratulations should also be extended to Clare Wilkins who as well as being a brilliant branch secretary is also to be the regional secretary. Heather also sits on the regional committee so we are well represented and look forward to growing those links. Clare and heather are attending the consultation meeting.

So we are looking ahead to another busy year and with some trepidation to 2016 when we are hosting the regional Day we have already provisionally booked Cas Holmes to speak and are in the process of finding a venue.

Treasurer's Report

A copy of the accounts were given to all those who attended the AGM. Branch ended the year in profit with money coming in from increased membership, CoCoMad festival, reclaim on Gift Aid and the new raffle with the themed bags. This has taken the burden from Betty Rorke who has managed the raffle for a number of years, and we do thank her for all her efforts on this.  
Day Schools continue to make a small profit so we’ve held the cost the same for 2014/15 as we feel given the variety of topics we should be able to get sufficient members attending.
Monthly meetings made a small profit when branch subscriptions, sales table and raffle are included.
So overall a good financial year for the branch.
Budget for the new year is looking ok, as we’ve already had 37 members join this year including 5 new members, and assuming we maintain a good attendance at meetings as we did last year.
The room rent stayed the same last year as the previous year, and as yet Cotteridge haven’t told us of any planned rent increase.
We are looking to invest in things that the branch can utilise and in the past few months have bought the DVDs and the lights for everyone to use at meetings/day schools etc. If people attending the library want a committee member to bring lights along please let us know in advance so we can arrange it.
We are investigating the possibility of a portable PA system and headset microphone for speakers to use during meetings for notices and talks.
We are considering buying small portable equipment e.g. more small ironing boards and if members have suggestions of small equipment please let us know.
We still hope to provide a decorative folder for the welcome packs. 
In last year’s report I also suggested we would be investing in more extension cables however when we tidied the cupboard we found a lot so these are not needed.

If you’ve any questions please contact our treasurer, Anne Haigh

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

October Notes

Branch Notices Oct 2014
Welcome to the AGM. Thank you all for all of your support and involvement in the past year;really looking forward to the next 
Lights please let Anne Haigh know tonight if you would like to order a light (small portable battery operated light).
Membership renewal is still happening now if you haven’t already; please get a form from Anne who can also answer any queries you might have. We really hope that you will all feel able to join again.
Hopefully some progress has happened on your Tolkien pieces over the summer and we will have some pieces tonight, but there is still time if not. I still haven’t started mine but am intent now on the December meetingSee Clare if you need any help or advice and if you can finish pieces by the end of the year would be perfect.
Hoard Hangings: the gallery with the hangings opens at Birmingham Museum on Friday 17th October. There is a VIP evening on 16th October. Trisha James, who co-ordinated the project has been invited and invited Clare as her 'plus one'. There is an open evening on Tuesday 21st October to which all those who took part in making the hangings have been invited. The museum wants to take a group picture.
We hope you enjoyed the DVD library those of you who borrowed something it is a continuing resource so please make use of it.
Please send items for Branchline  to
Thank you to all who went to the Library on October 4th. Those of us who went to Heather’s wedding had a wonderful time and Heather and Simon made a lovely couple. The bouquet and bridesmaids flowers lot of us had made looked brilliant. Sure Heather will have photos to show us in due course. Please keep supporting the library events if you can.
Workshops Please see Margaret if you would like to sign up for the Greta Fitchett workshop on 29th November. If you haven’t been to a workshop yet they are really good fun and not a bit intimidating.
Our next meeting in November will include a stitching activity led by Tina Francis. It is the silver raffle bag that night, so silver themed contributions please if you can. 
Advance notice for the Christmas Party on 8th December as well as mulled apple and Christmas treats we will be having a talk on Tactile Books. We will need to start this promptly at 7.30 because of the speakers train times
Bernadette Wilkinson on behalf of the committee

Saturday, 11 October 2014

October fun at the Library

Despite a few regulars going AWOL there was still a good turn out at the Library this month.

Angela, Janet Geri, Emma, Stuart, Jayne and Marie were joined by June as well as regular visitors       Sue, Bron and Megan

Megan trying everything

Janet following her pattern

Angela explains the finer detail

Thursday, 9 October 2014

October is here and it's the AGM

Don't forget to join us on Monday 13th for the AGM followed by Claire Muir talking about  Hats, Flowers and Fascinators.

To find out more about Claire and see some of her designs go to


This months  ravishing  raffle bag is Brown so if you can please bring a donation and don't forget to buy a ticket from Lorna. 

There is still time to sign up for the 'Box of Chocs' workshop, if you haven't already do see Margaret Richards to reserve your place.

Tolkien Project: 

If you have been working hard on your Tolkien piece remember to bring it along on Monday

And if you didn't manage to renew your membership last month Anne will be delighted to see you and your cheque book on the night. Also see Anne if you have asked to be added to the next 'light' order.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Sign up now for the Box of Chocs Workshop November 29th

Do you remember the fabulous creations that Greta Fitchett bought to us at the summer party meeting?

Well you can have your chance to create your own calorie free chocolate at our own Box of Chocs Workshop November 29th where Greta herself will lead us through the process. You will then be able to go way and create your own chocolate box. Great for stocking fillers and table decorations in time for Christmas.

To book contact Margaret Richards, email  or see Margaret at the meeting on Monday 13th. 

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Breaking news! Programme change November 2014

Sadly Linda Carter is unable to join us in November but we have been lucky to sign up Tina Francis.

Tina creates one off tapestry designs using second-hand wool, these designs are then used as the basis for wall art and interior accessories.

At our meeting Tina will take us through a workshop creating a unique Canvas Work Brooch using second hand wool and everyone will take away there own creations.

Image from tina-francis-tapestry

Want to see more - take a look at Tina's website.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Library of Birmingham Saturday 4th October

Lots of support at the Library please. It's Heather's big day so we are short of a few regulars. 

We are in our normal spot  on the Mezzanine floor above the library cafe from 11am until about 1pm, and we would love for you to join us. Feel free to bring any stitching projects you are working on, and we will have felt, binca and other activities for both adults and children.

As always everyone is welcome and it will be great to have lots of members there. So even if you can only make it for an hours or so do come along to catch up, have a chat and a stitch.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014


Did you miss out on the desk lights or would like another?  Anne is looking to order a more and as price will depend on the number ordered can you please email to let her know you are interested and the number you require.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Coats Craft UK Members discounts

Don.'t forget Coats Craft UK are offering a 10% discount on full priced articles in their House of Fraser/Beatties and Concession Departments to Guild Members on production of their membership cards. There are branches of House of Fraser/Beatties in Birmingham, Solihull, Sutton Coldfield, Wolverhampton, Worcester, Telford and Leamington.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

September notes

Branch Notices September 2014

Welcome back everyone we hope you had a wonderful summer. Bernadette is sorry to be missing the September meeting but having had a sneak preview of the folios is sure that you will have a great evening. The following notices update you on a number of issues. Pleasecontact any committee member tonight, or at any time if you want to discuss anything further.
Membership renewal is happening now if you haven’t already, please get a form from Anne who can also answer any queries you might have. We really hope that you will all feel able to join again.
If at any time you come across a possible speaker for a branch meeting please let one of the committee know, with full contact details especially email if possible.
Hopefully some progress has happened on your Tolkien pieces over the summer but there is still time if not. Good news from Bernadette’s point of view who has yet to produce something. See Clare if you need any help or advice and if you can pieces by October would be great if not by the end of the year.
We hope you enjoyed the DVD library those of you who borrowed something it is a continuing resource so please make use of it.
Please come along to the Birmingham Library on 4th October if you can, to sit and stitch. Owing to Heathers wedding some of the regulars won’t be there so additional support would be really welcome.
A reminder that we would like to have an additional Committee member so please if you are interested speak to an existing member. Existing members will be standing again, but may revise some roles. Clare has nomination forms.
Branch Timeline Clare has done a great job producing this. Copies will go in welcome packs
Staffordshire Hoard
The October bag is brown so any contributions for that would be very welcome.
Bernadette Wilkinson and Heather Ramsden on behalf of the committee

Friday, 12 September 2014

Inspiring September Meeting

September Members Workshop  Guild Portfolios

Wow we had the chance to be up close and personal with 3 of the guilds portfolios. Members passed around the folios, many photographers  and some sketchers whilst others just chose to look and be inspired.
The new lights had their introduction and came in very useful.

Janet sketching

We are expecting great things for next years branch competition ' Inspired by The folios'.

There was also a lot of interest in the books, created to help blind children, bought along by Elizabeth, some were Elizabeth's own creation others by members of Solihull Branch. The books are now ready to go off and be transcribed in Braille and will then go to a library to be lent out to individual children and schools.

A book already transcribed in Braille

And this moths pink raffle bag (or was it not!) won by Janet

See you next monh for the AGM, The 'Brown Raffle' and Claire Muir will talk to us about Hats, Flowers and Fascinators

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

September at the Library

We had our lovely Saturday chatty, sewy (and knitty) Saturday at the library with members and visitors working on a variety of projects. Janet from the Derbyshire Branch came along to see what we got up to along with Susan, Angela, Margaret, Marie, Emma, Stuart, Janet, Anne, Elizabeth, Betty, Laura and Jayne.

Sue starting her Dorset Posy 

A bit of guidance from Angela

Margaret working on hessian 

Anne's Pharaoh 

And the finished article 

Angela inspired from Stitch magazine bought along some finished Posies.