Monday, 29 February 2016

Requirements list Mountmellick Workshop March 26



Welcome to the wonderful, textured, technique of Mountmellick work.  It is a whitework method developed in Ireland during the 19th Century.  Traditionally it is worked on closely woven white cotton satin ‘jean’ with white cotton thread and has the following characteristics:-

1.              It is always white-on-white.

2.              It has contrast:-                        [a]  smooth satin stitch against padded and knotted stitchery

[b]  Cotton satin fabric, matte cotton thread.

3.              The absence of eyelets or open work.

4.              Natural floral design, fairly large in scale.

5.              Buttonholed and fringed edges.


Please bring the following items:-

General sewing equipment to include embroidery scissors and chenille needles.

A frame – either tambour (round) and/or a slate frame (square) size 8” or 10” or 12”

Crochet cotton, to lace fabric to frame if using a slate frame.

Pre-washed closely woven heavy duty white cotton fabric (Twill or cotton sateen or satin jean) to fit frame

A variety of white cotton threads, i.e., Perle 3, 5, 8 and 12, coton a broder 16, 20, 25, embroidery soft, etc. etc., if you already have them.  Mountmellick thread if you have it.

Tracing paper.                          }

Pencil,                                      }           OR       Blue water soluble fabric marker pen.

Dressmakers carbon                 }

A pair of number 10 or 12 knitting needles (old size – or metric equivalent) (I’m not sure of metric sizes)


Pat will have the following for sale on the day:-

Heavy duty cotton satin fabric suitable for Mountmellick work from £5 upwards

A few yarns from £1 upwards

Photocopied sheets of stitches, instructions and designs.

Square/oblong frames on which to work from £2 upwards.

Copies of my book at £8.95.

All the above prices are liable to change depending on market prices at the time of class.

Fabric suitable for Mountmellick work, and Mountmellick matte cotton threads can be obtained from Empress Mills on 

Or a beginners/sample pack, as well as suitable fabric by the metre, can be obtained from Mace and Nairn at


Friday, 26 February 2016

Tags Tags and more Tags please (and a help day for constructing them)

Thanks for all the lovely contributions so far.
A small selection of tags donated

Meriel tells me we still need another 50 so keep producing please.

We are also planning a play day for constructing tags this will be at Meriel's house in Edgbaston from 10 to 2 on Wednesday April 6.

We are hoping some members can come along to help on the day and have some fun whilst we put the tags together (with guidance from Meriel of course). If you can come along please email or add you name to the list at the branch meeting.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

February Meeting - A tale of two members

Bernadette started meeting and handed to Clare for an update on the Capability Brown project:
Our slot at Charlecote Park commences 10 August until October 31, plenty of time to get working and we need 25 pieces to be mounted on A3 or A4 canvas (available from the works) If you are feeling it big scale canvases up to A2 are acceptable. Follow this link Capability Brown for lots of pictures from Charlecote including the Orangery where the display will be and let Clare know if you are working on a piece.

Clare then updated us about Regional Day 18 June 2016 lots of volunteers are needed from the branch and they will have £2 off price ticket price.there will be a rota for lots of different tasks e.g. book stand, sash wearers, competition, cakes and refreshments etc. The more volunteers we have the more time we can all have to enjoy the day so names to Clare please. Many of you have already completed tags, we need 150 so please keep working and handing completed tags to Meriel, remember these will be finished and mounted onto luggage tags so the finished work needs to be around 2.5 x 3.5 inches. The finished tags will be attached to goody bags for all attendees which amongst other things will include a sewing kit and hoop.

The sub committee confirmed that plans are progressing well and several traders have confirmed so we know there will be plenty of retail therapy.

Then we progressed to the main event a tale of Two Members: 
First we heard from Elizabeth Parker who told us of her very varied artistic background from potter to textile artist via watercolour and photography, we didn't know how she found time to produce the wonderful pieces that we had the pleasure of looking at close up.

With a little help - the garden gate created by Elizabeth's husband who helped with other pieces  

A commission for a Masonic Banner reproducing a Victorian design

an intricate quilt 

Yes it even include cable knitting as well as crochet 

Margaret finding out just how to make the bowl
As well as being an active member at Birmingham Elizabeth is also a member of Solihull Guild. Elizabeth has worked with Carolyn Gayton, Edwina Mackinnon and Ineke Berlyn

Our second speaker was Anne Watts who told us of her stitching career from her childhood learning to knit with her aunts and the sewing machine she received for her twelfth birthday.

Early examples 

Is it a work of art or a shawl - well its both

more wearable art

No I didn't get the mathematical reference either but it resulted in this lovely piece

Memories from a trip to Japan

Thanks to both Elizabeth and Anne for an inspiring evening.

The orange raffle had a great collection of goodies to fill the large and small bags.

Next meeting we have Nicola Jarvis talking about crewel work so see you all on March 14.

Thursday, 11 February 2016

EG: Council Communique 27th January 2016

Meeting of the Council of Regional Chairs
27th January 2016


1. Members and Branches Consultation
The initial consultation exercise has indicated that there is no consensus within the Guild membership on a remodelling of either the Branch or Membership model.

However, the profile of the Guild has to be in the forefront of people's minds. Membership was 13,500 in 2008 and is 7,500 in 2016. There has been success in slowing the rate of loss from 500 per year to 280 per year but a different gear is needed to raise the public's awareness of the Guild as a charity and to re- build membership numbers.

Recent initiatives such as the Magna Carta Embroidery, the Capability Brown Festival and the Game of Thrones project have demonstrated the enhanced impact all elements of the Guild working together can have on its public profile and this ‘combined efforts’ approach will be pursued on other occasions.

The Board will be considering the outcomes of the consultation exercise and, as a result, the need to achieve significant savings in overhead and administrative costs.

2. Branches at risk of closure
There have been a number of closures of branches in recent years and Regional Chairs are being asked to monitor branch sustainability closely. Branches are asked to give early indications of problems to Regional Chairs so that help can be given to prevent possible closures. The majority of closures have been in branches with less than 30 members but it is acknowledged that some of the smaller branches are among the most stable and committed.

3. National Celebration of Stitch Day
This will be on 6th August in 2016 and building on the partnership theme it is hoped to raise the number of branches participating from 65 last year to 100. Guidance notes will be sent out to branches during February, a new poster is being designed and , to link to Capability Brown, there will be a common theme for participating branches of Landscapes and Gardens. Public involvement in stitching can be encouraged in ways which relate to this theme EG.' Stitch a leaf ' and add it to a tree branch etc.
Branches are asked to indicate to regional Chairs if they intend to participate by the end of May.

4. Capability Brown
Plans for Capability Brown exhibitions are now well under way and branches and Regions are encouraged to utilise all social media and press outlets to publicise events in their areas.

5. A Game of Thrones
All designs and materials have now been sent out to those people participating in this initiative and Press and PR issues will be handled centrally by the production company. The CEO is seeking ways to capitalise on the publicity and to mount exhibitions of the work produced around the country. It is felt that this has the potential to significantly raise the profile of the Guild and to generate income.

6. Inspired to Create Courses
These new courses were publicised in the previous issue of Contact. Branches, clusters of branches and Regions are now able to offer these courses to existing members and potential new members in order to promote learning. If sufficient indications of interest are received by HQ by the end of May then further resources will be devoted to their development.

7. National AGM.
This will take place on Saturday 7th May in Manchester when the speakers will be Susie Vickery and Sian Martin. Full details are available on the national Guild Website.

8. New Guild Trustees

New Trustee posts have now been announced and can be accessed via the Guild web site Members page - About Us – Our Organisation/Trustees