I recently attended the fall CreativFestival in Toronto, due to an initiative by the EAC to bring more needlework teachers to the event.  The reception that I got was beyond anything that I had expected.  In each of the four classes that I taught, my students were overwhelmingly happy to see me.  I felt a little like a celebrity!  

In two of my classes, I had the same group of dedicated stitchers - three wonderful ladies who are friends all year round and attend quite a few events together.  They always buy the Platinum pass at the CreativFestival, which entitles them to as many classes as they can fit in their schedule, and they try to take full advantage of this.  They told me that in recent years, they had been finding it difficult to fill their schedules with classes that interested them, mostly due to the lack of needlework classes (although they are willing to stray outside of the needlework box, if something looks really good - like the Arm Knitting class they took this year).  They were so happy to see more needlework classes this year that they were almost giddy about it!

Another woman, who was in three of my classes, comes to the Festival every year from Chicago and calls it her Week of Happiness.  I asked her why this show was her favorite, of all the ones that she could choose from closer to home.  She told me that she loves that there isn't just one focus at this show.  She meets her sister in law there, who is a knitter and crocheter, and they can both get classes that they enjoy and spend the rest of the time together.  And she just loves the city of Toronto as well!

I was happy to see some younger people in my classes as well.  I had at least three who were in their twenties and it was a huge relief to me to see them.  My love for needlework will live on!  One attended with her mother, and they were having a lovely bonding time at the show; I think that Mom was really enjoying sharing her love of needlework with her daughter.  Another was a really passionate needleworker who blogs about her needlework and collects (or rescues) pieces from antique stores.  She even sent me a photo of a tablecloth she found in Toronto while she was there!  The third was a very quiet young woman who never spoke in class except when spoken to, but worked diligently and seemed to be enjoying herself.  There are many kinds of stitchers.

In every class, my students came with a great attitude - happy to be at the show and ready to learn something new.  I was told over and over that they were so happy to see more needlework classes this year and they wanted me to return next year to bring them more again.  

Outside of the classroom, the show floor was a visual feast!  Everywhere I looked, there was creative inspiration - gorgeous quilts (including one of the most stunning quilts I've ever seen - Fire and Ice by Claudia Pfeil with over 55,000 Swarovski crystals on it!), enticing beads, crocheted wonders (the Crochet Crowd booth was really something to behold!), fabrics galore.  I had to hold myself back from buying too much to take home in my suitcases, but I couldn't leave behind these gorgeous "Color Stories" from That Bead Lady.  She puts together 6 vials of Miyuki Delica beads that go together beautifully; she is great at this, so they all look delicious.  I would happily have taken one of each, but I restrained myself to these two and hopefully they will inspire me!  If you've never used Delica beads in your needlework, by the way, they are wonderful!  They are a perfect cylinder, so they always lie on the fabric the correct way (they don't roll so that the hole points up).  I just love them!

But one of the very best things about the show for me was spending time at my own table in the EAC booth.  Beyond the leaflets and kits that I sold (and I sold more than I had expected, which is always great!), I loved meeting the other EAC members and seeing people come every day for the Make and Take of the day (all beautiful projects!).  That table was always crowded with eager people wanting to learn, but my very favorite was a boy of about 10 or so.  He spoke to me first, since my table was at the front of the booth, and I directed him to the Make and Take table.  He stayed for quite a while and was very focused on his work.  I could tell he was enjoying it, and I truly hope that it will become for him what it is for all of us - a lifelong passion.

Two friends checking out their new Gingerbread Girl kits
It was a whirlwind of a week, so fast that it seems like a dream.  I think that I will be processing all that I saw and did and experienced there for a long time to come.  Perhaps until the next time!  Hope to see you there!

Kathryn Drummond


  1. Kathryn,
    This is a very interesting article. Thank you for all the information, for instance the explanation about the Platinum pass. I would like to also see photos of the embroidery projects you taught.
    Please, is it possible for you to link us to the young stitcher's blog: "Another was a really passionate needleworker who blogs about her needlework and collects (or rescues) pieces from antique stores."

  2. Thank you Lucie for your comments. I've put in a request with the young blogger for permission to share her blog site, so I'll add that to the comments when I get her permission. You can check my Facebook page for photos of all of the classes that I took. I did a post on each class, and I included photos of the students and the projects. Kathryn

  3. The young woman that I spoke of in this article is named Dima and here is a link to her blog, which includes several entries about her experiences at the CreativFestival: http://d1-d2.blogspot.ca/

  4. Kathryn,

    Thank you so much for all the information. My visit to Dima's blog delighted me. I wrote to her to tell my enchantment.

    And for the Gingerbread Girl, oh! those little cupcakes have made my imagination to fly away since last night. If I can gather a group of student, would you consider to give an on-line class (all technical support would be provided)?

    I still have in mind those so clever pieces' titles, like The Window of my Sole. Thanks again.



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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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