A friend recently gave me the pattern to make these owl pincushions.  I looked around the net and found it available from Sewn into the Fabric if anyone is interested.  I didn't fill mine with walnut shells though but used wheat instead plus a washer at the bottom so they would sit a bit better.  Gave all these away so I now have to make myself one!

I am currently working on stitching this hardanger ornament that I am keeping for myself this time.  Gave a number of them away as Christmas gifts as well.

Managed in between owl pincushions and hardanger ornaments to sew the edges onto the top of the leaf lid I'm also working on.  Will tackle the sides next year.  Making a stitched box with leaves as our theme is the Regina Stitchery Guild's program this year led my Leann Clifford.

Made this cross stitch design into a pillow many years ago.  It's always such a pleasure to bring out the hand made Christmas things to decorate the house.

A few ornaments that I made many years ago that are now on the tree :)

I love birds and bird watching and am also a member of Bird Feeder Watch Canada. 19 beautiful Grey Partridges come into our yard on a daily basis.  One or 2 are usually standing guard while the rest forage. They have such wonderful chestnut barring, reddish face and dark red belly patch.  One of these days I'd like to stitch a partridge too!

Have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy Holiday, a Frohe Weihnachten and a Joyeux Noel!!  I wish each of you good health, joy and plenty of creativity in 2014 :)

Jeannette Luther

By Kathryn Drummond

Christmas is my favorite time of year.  I know that a lot of people say that, but there's a good reason for it. 
It's magical and sparkly and warm and wonderful all at once.  It's a time when you feel like love is literally in the air, when you see family and friends and think about those that you won't be seeing.  It's tied into many wonderful traditions, some of which are shared by all who celebrate Christmas and some that are very personal to each of us as well.  I love it so much, in fact, that when my wonderful husband asked me to marry him, over 19 years ago now, I told him that I wanted a Christmas wedding.  And the following year, that's what we had - with a tree decorated with hand-made ornaments (each guest got to pick one as their wedding favor), vinetarta (Icelandic Christmas cake) as our wedding cake, bridesmaids in green dresses carrying red roses and holly and lots and lots of good cheer.  It was perfect.

One of my favorite Christmas traditions is to make a Christmas ornament for my husband each year and one for each of our wonderful sons, Boone and Liam (this photo is of two "Love Knots" that I made for the boys - that year I made a Love Knot for each of our nieces and nephews as well).  Almost always, these are stitched ornaments and sometimes they are even my own design.

This year I'm working on Punto Antico ornaments for each of them, something with metallic braid and crystals to add to the sparkle of the season.  I hope they like them!

Another tradition that I love is Christmas baking.  Let's be honest - I just love baking, so adding Christmas to that is like icing on the cake (so to speak!).  My favorite is cookies.  There are so many wonderful kinds of cookies to make it's hard for me to choose some days (although my hubby says that you can never go wrong with chocolate chip and I have found this to be true).  This year, my family has requested cinnamon buns for Christmas brunch, Nanaimo bars (like I didn't see that one coming!) and chocolate chip cookies. 

All classics in this house.  But one of my favorites is a little different - Lavender Cookies.  You can find lavender flowers (yes, you can really eat them!) at some bulk food stores in their spice section.  It has a wonderful scent that's even better when you combine it with butter and sugar and bake it - heaven smells like this, I'm sure of it!  This is a recipe that I found that didn't work out well the first time, but I modified it a bit and now I think it's wonderful (I usually make a triple batch and round up the butter to a full pound).  I hope you find it wonderful too!

Lavender Cookies

5/8 cup butter
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
1 egg
1 T lavender flowers
extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350F.  Cream together butter and sugar.  Beat the egg and blend into the butter and sugar.  Mix in the lavender flowers and the flour.  Roll dough into 1” balls and roll in sugar.  Place 2” apart on cookie sheets.  Flatten each ball with the bottom of a glass dipped in the sugar.  Bake about 12 minutes, or until edges are golden.  Remove cookies to wire rack to cool
Makes about 2 ½ dozen

Note: The rolling sugar can be plain or half white sugar and half lavender colored decorating sugar.
I knew the Guild Christmas Gathering was scheduled!  I knew that I needed a stitched gift for the gift exchange!  I knew that I had bought a kit for an ornament so I would be ready!  I knew all these things but it made no difference – the clock was ticking and the gift was no closer to completion.  But it is amazing what can be done when desire, help from a very supportive family, and an amazing pattern all come together.  I had found a Mill Hill “Tiny Treasured Diamond – Beaded Kit with Treasures” at “our” stitching shop, Because You Count, in Moncton, New Brunswick, a mere two hours’ drive away and had put it away until

I found the time to stitch – which, of course, was during the past week.  The directions were exact and easy to follow and I picked up all kinds of ideas to be used when I create other ornaments.  The colours, plum and blue, while not traditionally Christmas, worked together to make an ornament that could be on display at Christmas and throughout the year.

It was intriguing to see the ornament develop – with the floss being placed first, the rondele bead being placed next, and the seed beads being placed last.

The kit promo on the front featured a “design wraps to back” banner and I kept folding the fabric, trying to envision how the ornament would look when it was stitched together, all to no avail.

But faith and good instructions prevailed and all came together to make a wonderful pillow ornament, complete with bead hanger and 3-strand bead tassel.   I was delighted when my family declared it “splendid”!  (Aren’t I lucky to have my very own cheering section?!!)  I had a whole day to enjoy my creation before wrapping it for our party, where, I am pleased to say, one of our long-time members fell heir to my gift.

All in all, I agree with the name of this ornament, a “Tiny Treasure” – it will always be a treasure in my heart, with lessons learned (and perhaps heeded!) and a lovely end product.
This week the Toronto Guild of Stitchery members celebrated our Christmas Parties.  The Toronto Guild is very fortunate to have both a day group and evening group and some lucky members are able to attend both holiday celebrations.  I am one of those lucky people.

Our Day Group party began with hugs and cheery hellos as members arrived dressed in fun festival clothes.

Our musically talented member Karen Doak on piano filled the air with Christmas music.

Wonderfully wrapped stitched gifts were assembled waiting to be given out.

Mrs. Claus (Cathy Cormier) arrived in full costume with shortbread cookies for everyone.

There was a sudden excitement as a Ho, Ho, Ho, brought cheers from everyone with the arrival of Santa Claus himself.  Santa greeted everyone merrily and with the help of Mrs. Claus, pulled names out of a snowman bag, presented lovely gifts to the participants.

We had a feast of delicious soup, sandwiches, fruit/veggies and tempting desserts.

We had a wonderful time.

Our Evening Group began with a potluck of delights from our kitchens.  The smell of warm apple cider was sure to get everyone in the mood for fun.  We had salads, chili, meatballs and salmon with more tempting desserts.

Everyone was given a note with a line from a Christmas Carol.  The Christmas Carols were read by Nicole McReavy and people jumped to their feet and dashed over to the table to select their gift.  Everyone unwrapped their gift and one by one each gift was displayed and the secret Santa was revealed.

As a group we are so fortunate to have good friends to share our passion for expressing ourselves in stitches and who embrace the traditions of the season.

Wishing everyone all the Best of the Season!

Lisa Carlin
How wonderful … from the beginnings of a small group who were looking for a daytime Chapter … in the fall of 1998.. to the present… we are now 12 Active members and going strong. (small but strong).
One of our founding members, (who is the only founding member who remains active); was also the first Chapter President is again serving as Chapter President. To mark the anniversary we presented her with a pair of the EAC 40th Anniversary scissors. Needless to say she was pleased. 
For the past number of years we have been discussing the topic of a chapter retreat. Some have attended retreats held by other Chapters they are a member of, but Alderney has not hosted its own retreat. We moved from discussion to reality this past October and spent two relaxing days at Atlantica’s Oak Island Inn & Resort renting the double cottage at the water’s edge.

From Tuesday mid afternoon to Thursday mid morning we stitched, shared ideas and samples of various threads and stitching stands…

And .. learned a new beading technique designed for us by one of our members.

Four of us managed to complete the project, which is a lovely scissor fob (one can never have too many of these or pairs of scissors).

We also tried a new restaurant for lunch and some of us travelled to Mahone Bay to do a bit of fabric shopping.

All in all it was a wonderful two days of stepping off the world of our everyday lives and just stitch and chat without the usual everyday distractions interrupting. For sure, it will not be our last retreat.

Until the next time… enjoy all the magic that the many special days in the coming weeks bring to your lives.

Happy stitching..

by Kerry Leslie

On a recent trip to Kentucky, I played hooky from one of the classes I was attending one afternoon to visit the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  I am very happy that I did.  One of the exhibits on display was made up of the work of fiber artist, Judith Scott.

Part of the exhibit I saw was a video entitled “Outsider:  The Life and Art of Judith Scott". If you get a chance to see it, it is truly inspirational.
Judith Scott was born profoundly deaf and with Down’s Syndrome.  Judith spent 35 years institutionalized with little or no creative outlet.  In the 1980’s, Judith’s twin sister, Joyce, regained custody of her and moved her to the San Francisco area.  Here Judith was introduced to fiber art at Creative Growth.
“Judith Scott was a visual artist isolated from outside influences as a result of the impact of deafness and Down’s syndrome. She was independent and self-directed. In the eighteen years Judith made her work she never repeated a form or color scheme. Crafting armatures of bamboo slats and discarded materials, Judith diligently wrapped each work with lengths of knotted cloth or yarn.” Creative Growth.
To see Judith at work, visit her at YouTube.com.
I had last week off work (vacation, yea!) and I enjoyed myself immensely. I had time to work in my sewing room and did a little reorganizing. It seems that no matter how much organizing I do, after a few months, I need to do more. I didn't have time to do all I wanted to do with the reorganizing, but at least I was able to start and get some of it done. After all, I only had one week off. The rest of the reorganizing will have to wait until after the New Year when I will retire. I can hardly wait. Now I just have to make sure that I don't plan too much into my first few months of retirement.

I also worked on Christmas presents. I am making ornaments for my new daughter-in-law's family. Each family will get six ornaments. I am making a snowman out of beads, a beaded frog, a little crocheted stocking, and three cross-stitched ornaments (don't know what designs yet).

I almost finished my ornaments for the EAC Ornament Exchange and the Virtual Threads exchange. I got all the stitching done and the ornaments put together and only sewing on the braid around the outside remained to be finished this week. They are now done and the EAC ornament is in the mail and the picture of the ornament is posted in the Virtual Threads photo album. Now I just have to complete the ornament for my chapter's exchange in early December.

I also sewed a quilted hold-all bag. I have a book about sewing Japanese style fabrics and there are three patterns for bags. I had some Japanese fabrics in my quilting stash and I sewed the biggest bag. It turned out very nice, so I gave the sample to Deja to see if she wants one made for each of her bridesmaids to use on "the day". She is meeting with her bridesmaids to decide on their dresses for the wedding and she will see if they all want one.

I also spent one day and did nothing but read. I didn't even change out of my pyjamas. I just curled up in a comfy chair with my bathrobe over my pyjamas and re-read The Lord of the Rings. It was heavenly.

Now I just have to get through the next month and a half and every day can be a vacation day!

Linda Brenner
I feel very privileged to have a job that I love.  I work in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg as the Office Manager and Student Advisor.  This means that I get to spend my work days with wonderfully creative people – professors and students who are lively and talented and full of beans.  I always say these right-brained people with their heads in the clouds need practical me to keep them their feet on the ground.  However, working in that world, I have always been very glad that I have my own creative outlets – knitting and stitching.  I was especially delighted when two professors I work with answered my invitation to attend the Members' Show at Seminar in Winnipeg.  They were absolutely blown away by the beautiful stitching they saw there and I was so happy to share some of my art with them for once.

Every year our department offers an annual series of lectures for our students by successful people in "the profession".  Recently we were thrilled to have Djanet Sears with us.  She is a multi-award-winning playwright who was in Winnipeg as part of Sarasvati Productions annual theatre Festival, "FemFest" featuring plays by women for everyone.  The whole Festival was held in the Asper Centre for Theatre and Film, the building in which I work.  Djanet presented an hour-long lecture on playwriting to a group of more than 100 students and professionals.

I was able to greet Djanet and introduce myself but unfortunately I had a meeting at the same time and couldn't stay for the full talk.  I got lucky, though, and my meeting ended early so I slipped into the balcony for the last 20 minutes or so.  Djanet, who does a lot of teaching, is a fun and engaging speaker.  As her parting "gift" to the audience, she had us do a little writing exercise intended, I think, to prompt inspiration and see how ideas start and then get fleshed out.  I wasn't going to participate – I have no aspirations to be a playwright – but as I watched 100 people reach for pen and paper, I thought "why not?".

And this is where stitching comes in.

Djanet told us she was going to give us five words.  We had to pick one, then put our pen down on the paper and write – write anything related to that word for a full minute without stopping or lifting our pen off the paper.  Unbelievably, the first word she suggested was "thread" and I confess that I didn't even hear what the others were.  I was off and running.  She stopped us after our minute and I had a nice little paragraph.  Then she told us to read it through and underline two or three phrases that struck us.  We were then given another minute to write something that related to one of those phrases. 

With no forethought at all, here's what I came up with when prompted with the word "thread". . .

"Thread forms an integral part of my life – the thread of life.  But my life is about thread.  I take threads of all kinds and make beautiful pictures from it – pictures, pillows, sweaters.  I am a thread artist.

"I am a thread artist.  Some people draw art, plant art, colour art, draft art, act art, build art.  But I use a needle and thread to fill my leisure hours.  It's my hobby and my joy.  From my needle flows beautiful images!"

Amazing, eh?!  And I promise I did not edit one word.  In her initial instructions to us, Djanet told us we could write anything we wanted and that we should feel free since no one would ever see what we'd written; we had nothing to lose.  But I couldn't resist sharing my writing with you!  I suspect I'm not alone in noting that I've got "it" bad!
Thanks to everyone who applied for the Seminar 2014 Scholarship.

Before I announce the winner, as the EAC Officer in charge of Seminar Scholarship selection, I thought I would share with you the process the applications go through in order to make the final decision.

1.       EAC appoints two Judges. These must be EAC members in good standing who will not be applying for the scholarship or who do not qualify for it. They can be from a member Guild, a National member, or a Cyber Chapter member. This year we choose one judge from the East and one from the West.

2.       A number is assigned to each application.

3.       A photocopy is made of each application and all identifying information is removed so that the Judges cannot recognize the applicant. All applications are judged "blindly".

4.       Each Judge then reads all applications and assigns each a score between 1 and 10. In this way the Judges identify their #1 and #2 candidates.

5.       The judges send their decisions to the Vice-President. If they agree on the #1 choice, the decision is clear. If there is a discrepancy, the Vice-President refers the selection back to the two judges together with all relevant correspondence and reasons for the decision and asks the Judges to re-read all relevant material and reassess the leading applications with a goal of arriving at consensus. Choices are again forwarded to the Vice-President. At this point, if the Judges cannot agree on the #1 candidate, the Vice-President casts the deciding vote between the two #1 choices.

This year we had 11 applications for A Stitching Symphony, the Ottawa 2014 Seminar. They were all worthy candidates, which made the final decision difficult but a winner was chosen. I am happy to report that the judges did arrive at consensus; a deciding vote by the Vice-President was not required.
It is my pleasure to announce that this year’s winner – Arlene Chanel of the Winnipeg Embroiderers' Guild. Congratulations, Arlene!

To all those who took the time to apply for the Seminar 2014 Scholarship, thank you for supporting EAC and we hope you will apply again in the future.

Beryl Burnett

Rhonda, our Workshop Instructor

At last year's seminar, I was impressed with how happy the students from one class were - those taking Barbara Gilbert's Sashiko class.  While the rest of us were looking a bit frazzled at times, these ladies appeared so happy, stress-free and pleased with themselves.  This was enough to make me want to learn more about this elegant Japanese stitching technique.

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to be among those who took a workshop on Japanese stitching techniques, through the Calgary Guild of Needle & Fibre Arts, from Rhonda who was one of Barbara's Seminar students, and we learned about both Sashiko and Kogin

Sample of traditional Sashiko pattern

Sashiko, which translates literally into "little stabs", is a form of funcional embroidery from Japan.  Sashiko was traditionally used to reinforce garments and provide extra warmth.  Now this running stitch technique is used for purely decorative purpose and the white cotton thread worked on indigo-dyed fabric creates pieces with an elegance unlike any other.  The stitches are an even size which resemble grains of rice.

Traditional Kogin Design
The other half of the workshop was dedicated to learning about Kogin.  Kogin is a another traditional Japanese stitching  that was born in the Northern area of Japan and is also considered one of the Sashiko stitching techniques.  The purpose of this technique is also believed to have been used to add warmth and strength to clothing.  The designs are unique in their symmetry and resemble pattern darning in the way they are worked up.  The work is simple  but the finished designs are very elegant in appearance.  Traditionally, blue threads are used on white background when working Kogin.

We are fortunate as EAC members to have chances to take workshops and classes such as this one which introduce us to new stitching techniques.  Sometimes it is a technique you end up embracing and sometimes it turns out to be something you will not do again.  The important thing though is that we continue to learn and grow in our art and get inspiration from new techniques and viewpoints.  Stretch and grow!
You can find many sites online for information on these stitching.  Here are a few to get you started:
Links for more information on sashiko:
Links for more information on kogin:
Kerry Leslie
I must start my blog off with showing you a picture of my round robin sampler which our Guild just completed.  We started in January with 5 ladies completing their first row and passing the sampler on to our Chapter President who monitored the rotation.  We had each sampler for a 2 month period and then passed it on.  Some chose themes and some just let the sampler flow as it may.  I chose Hallowe’en/Fall and am thrilled with how it came out!  We had everyone write down which row they did and if they used a pattern, where that pattern came from and any other pertinent info which I will attach in an envelope to the back of the piece once I have it framed.  It was amazing to see all the finished pieces which I may post at a future time.

On another theme altogether, I decided last year that it was time to take matters into my own hands when it came to finding someone to take over my ridiculously large stash of stitching supplies down the road.  I signed up 4 of my great nieces and 3 other young ladies, daughters of friends as Youth Embroiderers for a year to see if it is a path they may want to follow or at least sample.  Today on facebook I saw a picture of one of my great niece’s first stitchery.  I am very proud of her first attempt and hope it is only the first of many.  I still remember my first stitched piece.  It was a needlepoint kit, a gift I received for Christmas when I was 13 years old.  I had no idea how to do it, but my mum guided me and I followed the instructions and have never looked back.  That piece hung in my parents’ house until mum passed on and I now have it back.  Writing this blog made me think of it so I dug it out of the closet.  I have included a picture of it here, the needlepoint deer.  As I looked at it I realized I likely did not follow any of the proper protocol for mounting and framing such a piece as there was no matting so the stitching rested right against the glass, but it seems not to be too much the worse for wear.  I think sometimes we get very worked up about preserving our pieces for posterity and although I am very proud of this piece for my first try, it is not likely to pass any further than myself.  I will attempt to reframe it though with at least some matting.  I am tempted to wash it and stretch it to properly mount it but am kind of afraid of how it would react after 40 years in this position.

So many people I talk to about stitching at our displays and shows say they wish they could stitch but think they could never do it.  That is why I think it is so important to expose young people to stitching.  If they do some of it when they are young they know it is not some mystical, magical thing.  Many times over the years life has gotten in the way and I have hung up my needle and thread for a while but I always find my way back.  I am a firm believer in getting children to use their creativity as much as possible.  I always remember being so excited to receive something to do for special occasions like birthdays, Easter and Christmas.  It may have been a colouring book, paint by number, jigsaw puzzles, doodle arts, etc but it was something to sit down and physically do once the excitement of the occasion was over.  It was likely just a very smart parenting skill of my mother’s to try to have a moment’s peace while preparing the meal, but I firmly believe it has led me down the path I have taken in life, loving all things creative.  I even still have a stack of colouring books in my book case which I use for such things as gallery glass, embroidery and even knotwork pictures like the pumpkin trading card attached.  As I have mentioned in a previous blog it is also what led me to start a new project every Christmas.  I wrap up all the necessary supplies and give it to myself Christmas day to start something new no matter how many projects I already have on the go or how busy the day is, it is my gift to myself to start out on a new creative adventure.  It still gives me that contented feeling I remember from so long ago.

So I challenge everyone to foster the creativity in a youth.  Spend some time with them doing something creative and fun for their age and attention span level.  Show them the possibilities of what they can do with their own little hands.  Let’s overwhelm the Youth Director with potential new stitching Picassos (sorry Linda…lol). 

Kathy Taylor

This week, I have three things to tell you about.  You may already be familiar with one or all; if so, that’s good!

First, EAC now has a cyber chapter called EAC Virtual Threads.  It runs like a regular chapter but everything is done online.  The chapter is just getting going so everything is very new to all of us.  The plan is to have challenges, workshops, projects, and discussion groups (like regular chapters).  The membership fee is $10.00, and if you would like to join EAC Virtual Threads, please send a cheque or money order to its membership coordinator, Dianna Thorne, whose address can be found in the back of EC Magazine under Treasurer.  Currently, there are about 85 members.

Second, the EAC board is planning two online auctions for 2014, one of which will be in January, and the other in June.  We are asking the membership for donations of needlework or related items for these auctions.  Our plan is to have eight to ten items of various prices for each auction. If you would like to donate a finished piece, a kit, a pattern, or a needlework book please contact me for details (Sue Thomas – and my address is in the back of EC Magazine under Past President).  All funds raised from these auctions will go to the Memorial Scholarship Fund.

And last, but not least, I’d like to recommend a favourite book: Zen and the Art of Needlecraf by Sandra Detrixhe.  I first read about this book in Inspirations Magazine, and Carole Van Die of Books for You got it for me.  It explores the reasons why we stitch and why we stitch at different times in our lives.  Specifically, it looks at how to employ beginner’s mind with every new project, the Zen philosophy behind gifts, and the sisterhood of stitching, knitting, or quilting groups.  I pick this book up frequently to reacquaint myself with this way of thinking about stitching.  Try it; I think you’ll like it, too.

Sue Thomas
I received some fantastic news this past weekend and I want to share that news with my stitching friends.

My son, Devin, has been with the most wonderful young woman for the past few years. This past weekend he proposed to Deja and gave her the most beautiful engagement ring. Deja has become part of our family over the years and we are all thrilled that it is now official. I hope and pray that their life together will be as enriched and full as mine. I am fortunate to have Deja as my daughter.

I also wanted to list some of the people in my life that have made it enriched and full. With Thanksgiving coming up so quickly, I thought this would be the best time.

To my husband, Bruce, of 42 1/2 years. He has been a rock for me to lean against, my best friend and the best companion I could have on life's journey. He has supported my enthusiasm for stitching and is always ready to critique my work and help with solutions when the design isn't working. I couldn't be where I am today without him.

To my two wonderful sons, Jeremy and Devin. They have brought laughter and love. Sometimes I think I've learned more from them than I taught. I can't conceive of my life without them. I thank God every day for letting me raise them and be their mother.

Finally, to all my stitching friends. You have all given me ideas to stitch, laughter and fun. At the annual Seminars, I have improved my embroidery skills, renewed my enthusiasm and received memories to savour throughout the years. I think I would have abandoned embroidery a long time ago if it wasn't for the passion I see in each of you. Thank you all.

Linda Brenner
This is a short reminder to say we are looking for people to apply for the Seminar Grant of $500 towards a course for Seminar 2014.
There is still some time as the deadline is October 15 2013.
        The EAC Seminar Scholarship has been developed to support and encourage the aim of the Association to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery by providing the tuition to an EAC member for a course of study at an EAC Seminar.
        The scholarship will be applied to either one 4-day or two 2-day classes.
        One $500 scholarship may be awarded annually by the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada, Inc.

Check it out on the EAC web site – “members only”
If you want more details or would like an application please go to EAC Web site, Chapter Presidents, Regional directors or
Beryl Burnett  at                               vicepres@eac.ca
Many knitters that I talk with say that summer is too hot for them to knit.  For me, knitting is a summertime activity.  The long car drives through the beautiful Nova Scotia landscape give me time to absorb the beauty and vitality of the places through which we travel.  They also give me time to knit items to donate to Fall and Winter sales and my Church’ s Knitting Tree . It is easy to whip up a small pair of mitts or some fingerless (texting) mitts or the ever-useful knitted dishcloth.

This year, a trip to the Annapolis Valley in June set me off in a different direction with my knitting.  We stopped at the Avonport  Discount  Centre (www.avonportdiscountfabrics.com) where I found a skein of Briggs and Littles hand painted “Softspun” yarn in shades of purple, blues, and turquoise; it cried out to be knitted into a pair of wool mitts! 
I decided to knit a pair of “Fiesta Mitts”, a pattern that I obtained from the Lismore Sheep Farm Wool Shop (
www.lismoresheepfarmwoolshop.com) in River John on Nova Scotia’s North Shore.  This is a pattern that is knit double on four needles using 2 balls of wool.  I found the second ball of wool, a natural cream skein of MacAuslands 100% Maritime Wool, in the Annapolis Valley at Gaspereau Valley Fibres (www.gaspereauvalleyfibres.ca). 
There I also found a skein of turquoise, purple and green  100% Maritime Wool which had been hand dyed in Nova Scotia and a delightful pattern for “Manda’s Maritime Hat”.  I even picked up some wonderful wood knitting needles; they make knitting so quiet that I can now knit at night without waking anyone up! 
With yarn, needles and patterns at hand, I found the time to knit my hat and mitts and, for once now have a hat and mitts for myself that actually match my winter coat!  The nights are getting cooler and there is no telling when I might need them.  I was sorely tempted to wear them recently when I attended an outdoor concert in Truro’s lovely Victoria Park; s
inger / songwriter Dave Gunning and guitarist / fiddler Allie Bennett played and sang for over an hour in single digit temperatures while those of us in the audience shivered and shook but refused to break up the party! Next time I won’t be too proud to take my warm hat and mitts with me!

I have a hard time deciding which type of handwork to pick up but, whether it is a type of embroidery or some knitting or some other “fancy work”, my hands are usually busy, creating something for someone to make their lives easier and more beautiful!

Sheila Stewart
Marigold Guild of Needle Arts

As I have previous shared with you, I have been rearranging my stitching and sewing supplies, (that work continues .. bit by bit ), in addition to that I have also been going through the last things I have kept from my working years along with older things from the Girl Guide side of my life. I came across a ‘Fact Sheet’ on ‘Reflective Practice’ which prompted some thoughts…

‘Reflective Practice’.. how many times did I hear that phrase during my working years? Who knows… it is a required component of Nursing practice… but …. it is not restricted to Nursing… we All do it, in All arenas of our lives… and in some we are much more critical of our work than in others.

How many times have we compared something we have baked from a recipe given to us.. and decided it was not quite as good…. and we checked to determine what brand of flour or butter or other ingredient was used so we could use the same brand.. so ours would be as good as our friend’s?

When it comes to our needlework, I think this is the arena we are The Most critical of our own work..  stop and think of the last time you worked the same piece as your friends/Chapter colleagues… and you nit picked your own piece to within an inch of its life… a stray thread there (well it Is there.. must be your eyes that you can’t see it without a high powered microscope).. oh no, my stitch line is not evenly worked… (again back to the microscope for checking)… in fact, some folks do not frame their works or even finish them because they deem the work to be less than satisfactory for viewing by others.

Now I am not making a case for loosey goosey work in any of the arenas of our lives… that could easily lead to a slippery slope of anything is good enough, and we know that is not so. (and if we tried to rationalize That.. well can you just imagine the discussions we would be having with ourselves and others on That philosophy of work!)

However, there has to be a balance between accepting our best… which in truth is rather well executed.. and Not comparing our work to the same work done by another in response to a visual image.

As Lisa mentioned in her blog post last week, September is the start of a ‘new year’ for many areas of our lives from children returning to school for a new year to the many groups we belong to starting up again after the summer hiatus.  New year, new beginnings, special events, new projects, celebrations. What are the ‘new’ items in your life as we begin this ‘new year’?

Until the next time, Happy Stitching
I would like to start this blog by thanking Sue Thomas for her leadership in organizing and starting our EAC blog. 

September 27th 2013 Nat'l Stitch in Public Day
Downloadable EAC Poster

With September comes the start of the new year of guild/chapter meetings.  As part of the Toronto Guild of Stitchery I am extremely fortunate to attend both the day and evening meetings.  When I joined the guild I attended the evening group as I worked full time and had two small children in school.  Now my children are both at university and I am retired with my husband and can attend both groups.  Many guilds across Canada have noticed that it is difficult to attract new members.  Offering a day and evening group is a great way to attract new members and revitalize your guild.  Our evening group has it’s own program committee therefore day and evening groups can work on separate projects and learn new things.

September 27th is also EAC’s 40th Anniversary and National Stitch in Public Day events across Canada.  Our website has posters, badges and suggestions for making your event visible and 
attractive.  If your group wishes to be included with our press release for media coverage of your event, please send your event contact information to Lisa Carlin at
communications@eac.ca.  Our National Stitch in Public Day is an awesome way to introduce people to the art of hand stitching which we are so passionate about.

I had an opportunity this summer to give my son’s girlfriend a stitching kit while she was in the hospital.  The kit I selected was a floral needlepoint on a painted canvas that when completed zips up into a mini purse.  No framing or fancy finishing is required.  I was hoping for her to experience that awesome sense of completion and usefulness.  I must admit I was thrilled when my son told me she had completed the purse and was interested in trying something else. 

When I was a child and I was travelling on a bus or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room people were stitching or knitting etc. to pass the time and make something.  Today people have many, many diversions to occupy their time and energy.  Living in Toronto you are far more likely to see people engaged with their smart phones or iPods.  As stitchers we need to flaunt our talents.  You may never know how you might influence someone to take up a needle and enter the world of stitching!

Lisa Carlin

I sometimes ask stitchers, “Why did you choose to stitch this piece?” The answers are varied and personal.  Right now I am stitching a few Hardanger angel ornaments.  Why?  It started when a friend asked me to finish two angel ornaments which another stitcher had started but couldn’t finish.  Another reason was in play as well.  

Over the years, members of the Marigold Guild of Needle Arts have been challenged to stitch angel ornaments to donate to the local Hospice Society for their yearly fundraiser in mid to late November – Angels Remembered Trees.  At that time the trees – usually three or four – go from bare evergreen branches (artificial trees, of course!) to branches loaded with angels, each bearing a message and the name of a loved one who has dealt with a life-threatening disease.  The first angels to be chosen seem to be the stitched ones.  

One Marigold Guild member, Gladys Cooke, had a passion for stitching and, even in her 90’s, stitched little Hardanger angels to be donated.  Gladys passed away at Easter in 2012; part of her legacy is to challenge us to stitch a few angels each year.  The pattern that we use is a variation of one charted by Janice Love.  

Each year, I dig out my “direction book”, Hardanger Basics and Beyond by Janice Love and sit down to stitch.  As I do, I keep in mind the angels I remember – my Dad, my Grandmother, my next-door neighbor growing up, and so on – and the wonderful support of the Hospice Society.  My stitched  angels are never quite the same – some are filled with eyelets, some with dove’s eyes, some with backstitch.  The little pattern gives lots of scope for trying out spider webs and wrapped bars and picots – the imagination can run wild.  

If I get tired of using white perle cotton, there are lots of other colours to use and embellishments to try.  And it is easy to vary the look by using congress cloth or linen or evenweave fabric, usually in white, ecru or pastel.  

This is a perfect project to practice and hopefully perfect some of the stitches that I will use in larger Hardanger projects.  It is special to have the time to invest in this pastime and to know that there are many angels who will be touched by this simple little ornament.

Sheila Stewart
Marigold Guild of Needle Arts
Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
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About EAC

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The Embroiderers' Association of Canada (EAC) is a national non-profit educational organization whose purpose is to have a fellowship of persons who enjoy needlework and wish to learn and share their knowledge; and thereby to work towards maintaining higher standards of design, colour and workmanship.

Our aim is to preserve traditional techniques and promote new challenges in the Art of Embroidery through education and networking.

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