Thursday, 30 January 2014

Come Stitch with Us at the Library of Birmingham

Birmingham Embroiderers Guild are at the Library of Birmingham on the first Saturday of every month for a social sewing session.

We will be on the Mezzanine floor above the library cafe from 11am until about 2pm, 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.

For more details on how to get to the library, please see their
Visitor Guide.

To get to the mezzanine floor, just go through the main doors, turn right past the cafe counter, and then up the stairs in front of you. Alternatively, you can use the lifts to get to the Mezzanine floor; simply come in the main entrance and turn right after the cafe to get to the lift lobby.

See you there!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Ravishing Red Raffle Bag

This month was the first time the branch tried out a new idea for our raffle, as suggested by the Oswestry branch.

Each month in 2012, we are having a different colour theme for the raffle, for January it was red. A member decorates a lovely sturdy calico shopping bag to match the colour theme.

In January, I (Heather) decorated the bag with appliquéd shapes in a lovely woven cotton and a piece of snow-dyed cotton that used to be a shirt! I added machine stitching and blanket stitched it onto the bag front. Here's a work in progress picture, see below for the finished article:

Our lovely treasurer Anne won the bag, and she took the time to list the contents. She said "It's just amazing the ideas people had, and this is only the start!  I've just spent 10 mins unpacking the red bag. The contents are fabulous."

The bag contained:
  • velvet and seed beads
  • satin keepsake box
  • bundle of red fabrics
  • printed cotton
  • bottle of shiraz
  • true rose yankee candles
  • Maltesers chocolate bar
  • Red leather box
  • red leather
  • red sheer
  • evenweave and red heart chocolates
  • reel of red thread
  • lengths of red ribbon
  • notebook with red stitched cover
  • red wool
  • red viscose thread
  • red tapestry wool - 2 shades
  • red perle
  • red coton a broder
  • red beads and braid
  • bag of beads

Thank you to everyone who contributed something (no matter how small) to the raffle bag. It looks like it is going to be fantastic going forward.

Next month's colour is Orange - please take a look through your home for anything orange that might fit, both embroidery supplies and other lovely treats.

If you're interested in stitching a bag, or have any items that you'd like to contribute, please see Lorna at a branch meeting.

Finally, the committee would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Betty, who put a lot of hard work into assembling prizes for the raffle over the past couple of years. Thank you Betty!

Tolkien, Silks and the Banner

At the first branch meeting of 2014, we had a presentation, (re-)introducing members to the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, for our next branch project. We looked at pictures and quotes to inspire us, and then chatted about aspects of his work that we might like to stitch.

We also were able to pick from the silk threads given to us by the Central Library when they were preparing to move to the Library of Birmingham.

We are planning to incorporate these lovely threads in our Tolkien embroideries, and we are discussing with the library about exhibiting the finished work there.

Additionally, many members brought their brilliant letters which they had stitched for our branch banner.

We are really looking forward to seeing the finished banner.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

Reminder: Please pack your cheque book!

Just a reminder - if you'd like to reserve a place at any of this year's dayschools, please bring your chequebook to tomorrow's branch meeting!

Thank you.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Courses for Spring 2014

If you've made a New Year's resolution to try something new, or are simply looking for something fun to do this spring, there are a number of textiles courses in the region.

Anglia Leisure Learning are running the following weekend residential course at Hillscourt just south of Birmingham:

The MAC are running a range of interesting looking courses, many of which are 12 weeks in duration.

Open Studios at the MAC
Angie Hughes has a range of new workshops available at Cutting Edge Studios in Malvern.
Angie Hughes' Embroidery
  • Sat 1st Feb - Inspired by Hundertwasser £45.00
    • "Google him! Collage, tranfoils and machine embroidery on cotton velvet using Angie's unique foiling technique."
  • Sat 15th Feb - Tantalising Textile Tag Books £45.00
    • "I've added my own style to these little tag books. Techniques and materials include calico, Timtex, stamping, image transfer, and hand and machine embroidery. Great fun for all abilities." Materials available for small fee.
  • Fri & Sat 28th & 29th March - Illuminated Letters £85.00 (***new***)
    • "Brand new workshop making illuminated letters using felt and foils hand and machine embroidery. The designs are inspired by ancient manuscripts."
  • Fri & Sat 23rd & 24th May - Bejewelled Bags £85.00
    • "Taking pattern from artists such as Klimt and Hundertwasser, we will design a little bag with velvet, foils, silks and organza, enhancing the design with machine embroidery. Materials extra"
  • Fri 27th June - Stitched Landscapes £45.00
    • "Enjoy collaging a textiles landscapes from scraps of your favourite hand dyed fabrics then learn about all the machine embroidery stitches I can squeeze into a day and use then to decorate and enhance your lovely landscape. Pure machine embroidery pleasure."

Claire Muir has a wide range of machine embroidery courses, at Frank Nutt's in Kings Heath - see their website for more info.
Fabulous Flowers by Claire Muir
Topics include Taster Classes in Basic Free Machine Embroidery, Fabulous Flowers, Thread & Texture Course, Organza Flowers, Silk Paper & Embroidered Cards, Beautiful Butterflies, Funky Fascinators and Creative Cuffs, on a range of dates including week days and weekends.

Do you know of any other textiles courses running locally? If so, please comment and let us know. Thanks!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Dayschools 2014

We have three exciting dayschools in 2014, details of which are below.

If you would like to book place on the dayschools, we would prefer it if you could pay either by cheque or bank transfer, as we incur fees for banking cash, which we currently do not pass on to members. If you would like the branch bank details, please speak to Anne at the next branch meeting.

Saturday 8th March 2014 – Kay Dennis – Stumpwork and Needlelace
This is a hand embroidery day school, and those attending will be able to learn basic stumpwork techniques or how to needlelace. See to find out more about stumpwork and needlelace.

Saturday 28th June 2014 – June Parkinson – Lutradur Workshop
Explore the real potential of Lutradur, create a vibrant piece of work using crochet cotton and metallic thread, further embellish with beads etc.  Fix to a frame.  Now comes the exciting part, add colour and burn areas out with a heat gun. The piece is then mounted above another embroidered and beaded background to create a lovely 3D effect.  This is a great technique and a really original way to use Lutradur.  Sewing machine required. See for more of June's work.

Saturday 29th November 2014 – Box of Chocs 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 stitched.  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. This is a hand embroidery workshop. shows Greta’s designs etc. 

In September we hope to have a number of informal workshops run be members in their own homes for small groups. We will be asking members to volunteer to run sessions if they are interested in sharing a technique with others - if you fel you would like to run a session on any textile art topic, please speak to a member of the committee. There will be a small fee, which will mostly go to the member leading the session.

To find out more about dayschools, please see this post.

About Dayschools

While many of our members are familiar with dayschools, and what they involve, we have both new and potential members who may be interested to learn about this aspect of the Branch, so this post aims to give you an introduction to dayschools.

A number of times a year we run a day school on a Saturday at the Meeting House. This is a tutor led workshop with the aim of introducing members to a new technique or a “to do” project based on a theme. Generally they run from 10am until 4pm, although if those attending can be there slightly earlier to help set-up the room that means we can make a prompt start at 10am. Also if those attending can help put the room back to how we found it that is appreciated as we have to put away tables and chairs to leave the room clear for the next group who may use it.

Dayschool places are available to members of other branches, and non-Guild members, however places are offered to members first. If you are not a member of the branch but are interested in attending, please get in touch, and we will see if there is space on a dayschool.

For 2014 we are holding the workshop fee to £25 per person. Payment is by cheque or electronic transfer to the branch’s account. Since day schools have a limited number of places we ask those who sign up to pay in full unless they can find another member to take their place. Refunds for non-attendance are not given except in exceptional circumstances. Refunds will be given if the workshop is cancelled by the branch.

The day school fee includes tea and coffee, however lunch is not provided. You can bring your own packed lunch, or there is a local Spar shop and fish and chip shop near the Meeting House. Additionally, there is a kitchen at the Meeting House with some facilities including a microwave.

At most branch meetings the day school secretary will be available with sign-up sheets for the next day schools in the programme. You can pay her, preferably with a cheque, not cash, for whichever schools you are interested in. A deposit can be paid at one meeting and the balance either at a following meeting before the day school, or at the day school itself.

If you need to get in touch with someone about a dayschool in advance of the date, please email, emails to this email address are typically checked frequently and can be forwarded on to the relevant person. If you find on the day that you are unable to attend, please endeavour to call a member of the committee, so that people at the session are not waiting for you to arrive. Telephone numbers are in your welcome pack.

Each day school has a requirements list available from the day school secretary, and published on the blog under the 'Requirements List' tag, from the list o the right hand side of the blog pages. Some tutors will bring packs of key materials available for a small extra fee payable to the tutor.

Additionally, each year we try to arrange smaller member led workshops on a wide range of topics. Previous sessions have included beading, goldwork, weaving and felting. If you feel that you would be able to lead a members workshop, please speak to a member of the committee.

We hope that this information is useful to you, if you have any further questions, please speak to a member of the committee.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild: Programme 2014

We are looking forward to another fabulous year of talks and workshops for 2014:
  • January 13th - Branch Workshop: Drawing Inspiration from the works of Tolkien, and Library Silk Threads (Visitors welcome)
  • February 10th - A Tale of Two Members, with Angela Attwood and Margaret Richards
  • March 8th - Stumpwork and Needlelace Workshop* with Kay Dennis
  • March 10th - Amish Quilts with Tina Helfrich
  • April 14th - The Cutting and Stitching Edge with Mr X Stitch
  • May 12th - Members Evening - Visitors Welcome
  • June 9th - Ecclesiastical Embroidery with Felicity Howatson
  • June 28th - Lutradur Workshop* with June Parkinson
  • July 14th - Summer Party - Don't Count the Calories with Greta Fitchett
  • August - no meeting
  • September 8th - Folios from the Guild; we are borrowing 'folios' from the Embroiderers' Guild Headquarters. These are collections with examples of intreting stitching on particular themes. We are hoping to borrow the Stitches, Tones & Textures and African textiles folios to inspire you, a great opportunity to see some excellent embroidery.
  • Various Dates in September - Mini Workshops - see the blog for details later in the year
  • October 13th - AGM and Hats, Flowers and Fascinators with Claire Muir
  • November 10th - Stitched Brooches with Tina Francis #
  • November 29th - Box of Chocs Workshop* with Greta Fitchett
  • December 8th - Members Evening - Visitors Welcome 
Normal branch meetings take place on the 2nd Monday of the month, from 7:00 for 7:30pm. Visitors are welcome at all branch meetings - see this page for details of our meeting venue.

Items marked with an asterisk (*) are workshops, which need to be prebooked in advance at any branch session, by seeing Margaret Richards, or by emailing Workshop places cost £25, which includes the speaker, hall hire and tea/coffee. Lunch is not provided. Details of any required materials will be provided in advance of each workshop. To find out more about workshops, see this link.

Programme may be subject to change at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control. Any changes will be posted on this site. # above denotes a programme change.

A Year in Review: Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild in 2013

As we look forward to starting our 2014 programme this coming Monday, I would like to take the opportunity to review 2013, and look back on all the exciting things we did as a branch. The year continued the lively, buzzing atmosphere which merging the afternoon and evening meetings at the start of 2012 brought, and built on this with a range of great speakers and day schools.

January 2013:
We started the year with a really lively session, planning our participation at the CoCoMAD festival. We held a lovely members session, with everyone bringing ideas of projects we could make and sell.

Also in January: we saw our new 2013 programme leaflets, a design which we have again for our 2014 programme, and publicised various other groups, including the Computer Textile Design Forum and the Embroidery Friends email group.

February 2013:
In February, we enjoyed a fabulous Tale of Two Members talk, with Anne Haigh and June Parkinson, who shared a wide range of fabulous embroidery with us.

Anne's stumpwork picture of her and her grandmother

June's Lutradur pictures
We have booked June for a Lutradur workshop this year, and judging by the enthusiasm for her work, places are sure to book up fast, so to book on see Margaret at an upcoming meeting.

In February, we also started planning our trip to Westhope, and started organising our trips to the Library, which we are now in full swing with.

March 2013:

In March, we welcomed Melanie Bermingham, a fabulous feltmaker, who brought lots of lovely traditional and contemporary felt to share with us.

A hat
One of Melanie's felt hats.

Also in March, we enjoyed reading a new West Midlands Regional newsletter.

April 2013:

In April, Angie Hughes came to lead an 'Inspired by Klimt' dayschool, where we enjoyed using transfoils and sweetie wrappers to make fabulous pictures:

Inspired by Klimt
In April we also enjoyed a fabulous talk by Marion Plumb, 'Opening the Kimono':

Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild Opening The Kimono April 2013 (2)
One of Marion's beautiful Kimono
The Young Embroiderers were on Midlands today as well.

May 2013:

In May, we spent the evening making Lavender hearts to sell at CoCoMAD, and looked forward to our dayschool with Bailey Curtis.

June 2013:

In June, Crazy Mary came to demonstrate her lovely machine embroidery:

Some of Crazy Mary's beautiful embroidery
July 2013:

In July, we enjoyed a lovely summer party, with Margaret Dunning demonstrating her fabulous silk painting:

Summer party photos Margaret Dunning's Silk Paintings
Margaret Dunning's Silk Painted Pictures
We also had some brilliant cakes and lovely entries in our Summer Competition, and had a marvellous day out at the CoCoMAD festival:

Our stall at CoCoMAD
We also started our Summer Fun series of posts, with each one teaching a new embroidery technique.

August 2013:

In August, we didn't have a branch meeting, we carried on our Summer Fun series, with posts about Workshop On The Web, JogglesBonnie McCaffery Vidcasts and Interweave Press.

September 2013:

In September, we had an absolutely marvellous weekend at Westhope, creating lovely metal stitched projects:

Bernadette's Metalwork piece
All our finished work
We also welcomed Kay and Michael Dennis, who shared their fabulous stumpwork and needlelace with us:

Kay Dennis Stumpwork
Kay's Stumpwork Dragonfly
October 2013:

In October, Crazy Mary joined us for a dayschool sharing her fab machine embroidery techniques. We all had a great time building up lovely pictures with swirls of wool and sequins:

We also had the Branch AGM, which included a talk from Karen Parry from Entaco/John James Needles, entitled 'A Needle for Everything'. This was a thoroughly fascinating talk, with background to the history of needles, and lots of samples of needle for a range of embroidery purposes. Karen also brought a brilliant sales table, so we got to pick up a range of needles for our projects.

November 2013:

In November, we had a fabulous branch meeting looking at the marvellous boxes made by our own member, Louise Burn:

Louise shared lots of her lovely boxes, and talked through the process of making them, inspiring us to all want to start our own etui.
Also in November, we had our first 'Come Stitch With Us!' session at the new Library of Birmingham, which was a great success, and we now get together on the Mezzanine floor above the cafe on the first Saturday of each month, from 11am.
December 2013:
In December, our meeting focused on starting our branch summer bunting. members also enjoyed handmade cakes, hot mulled apple juice and lots of chatting!

We also had a fabulous competition, with some beautiful stitching, and handed out our members survey, which is being analysed at the moment. Additionally, we shared the Embroiderers' Guild Chairman's Christmas Message.
So, in summary, it has been another great year for the branch, where we enjoyed talks on a wide range of topics, and developed our skills in a number of ways. New members joined us, and we enjoyed a lively, buzzing atmosphere all year.
If all this sounds very interesting, or perhaps you've made your New Year's resolution to take up a new hobby and meet some new friends, you're very welcome at any of our branch meetings. We meet on the second Monday of the month, at 7pm for 7:30, at the Friends Meeting House in Cotteridge. Additionally, we'd love to see you at any of our Library Come Stitch With Us! sessions.
Watch this space for the 2014 programme, to be published soon!