by Diane Mugford

This is what some of my guild members said when I told them I had signed up for a two-day goldwork class at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court, London, England. The answer is, "Yes, you can take a one-, two- or three-day needlework class there."

Instructor Helen's Finished Piece

I checked the Royal School of Needlework website when we were planning our trip to England and worked the London portion of the trip around the days of the class I want to attend. This time, it was a two-day goldwork class with Helen N. Stevens who trained at the Royal School and now specializes in designing and teaching goldwork.

This was an intermediate level class for those who previously took the beginning goldwork class which was a bumble bee.

Diane's Class Project in Progress (2 days of work)
We learned new techniques (cord padding and applying leather were new for me) and practiced working with the passing thread and the springy pearl purl. It was a fun class with only two students (medical emergencies kept the others away) so we had a lot of personal instruction.

The classes cost around £75 per day and the kit costs vary – for this class, it was £30.

You can do this …
Marigold Guild of Needle Arts has a lovely website with a number of resources. One is a list of things to keep in mind when attending a workshop. I have been given permission to share their workshop etiquette pointers with you.
  • Do respect both the teacher and fellow classmates. All it takes is one rude student to ruin the class for others.
  • Do be on time - or let the chairperson know ahead of time, if you plan to be late.
  • Do turn off your cell phone or set it to vibrate; if you must, answer quickly and quietly; leave the room to talk.
  • Do be prepared - if you must borrow another participant's tools do not do so without first asking permission.
  • Be kind, courteous and respectful.
  • Do keep chatter quiet and to a minimum and be silent when the teacher is talking.
  • Always listen intently to what the workshop instructor has to say, put your needle down, don't ask your neighbor - then they won't be able to hear.
  • You are sharing the teacher with the class - do not hog their time.
  • Do not critique the teacher's methods.
  • Do not bring or show projects from other classes.
  • Do not touch someone else's stitching or materials.
  • Absolutely no food or drink near the stitching.
  • No smoking, and no perfumes or scents.
  • Do not copy or teach any of the class work without the teachers' permission.
  • Clean up your work space before leaving the workshop.
Do you have any pointers to add?
by Marie Cron

I have known Marie for many years through Guiding, before I joined EAC. While I've been in touch with her over the past several months, I mentioned that this would be my first Seminar and I’d like to have her advice about packing and other information that a “newbie” needs. She offered help me out and share with anyone else in my situation on the blog. Thanks to the members of Virtual Threads who have provided some additional pointers. 

In one short month we will all have our suitcases packed or almost packed. So it's time to begin the process of thinking about what will be going into those suitcases.

For part one, I will concentrate on the ‘other’ things needed (not stitching related).

The residences have kitchens, but… those kitchens are not stocked with dishes or cutlery. There are microwaves, so it would be a good idea that whatever you bring in terms of mugs and plates are microwave safe. There is no meal plan at Seminar this year. There are shopping options not far from the residence; so many will elect to shop for breakfast foods, so bring dishes and cutlery for whatever foods you may choose to purchase. 

Bedding and towels are provided.

Clothing, what to wear: although this is the never-ending question in the context of Seminar you will see everything imaginable, from the ‘dressed up’ folks at the banquet to those who prefer the more comfortable casual style of dressing. So… anything goes and you should pack with comfort in mind, especially footwear. The campus is advertised as having everything “close” but we should remember that the descriptions are written for those much younger than some of us, so pack comfortable foot wear (nothing is right if your feet hurt).

No matter the weather forecast, remember… this is Canada and ‘anything goes’ when it comes to weather. Last year in Calgary I woke to snow on the ground the morning after my arrival and my footwear was Birkenstocks only! Brrr, fortunately a friend loaned me a couple of pairs of socks, and yes indeed I did wear socks with sandals! Remember comfort trumps fashion.

Bring clothing to dress in layers so if it is warm you can take a bit off and if it is cool you can add. A scarf can always double as a shawl to keep cool temperatures or breezes off your shoulders.

Your apartment will not be stocked with clothes hangers so put a few in your suitcase, suitable for the clothing you are packing. If you are stressed by wrinkles, a small travel iron will not go unused.

Toiletries: for the week at Seminar do you really need that large bottle of shampoo?! Consider purchasing small travel size bottles for liquids, they will take less space, weight less (which is a consideration if you are traveling by air) and as well for getting your suitcase to its destination in your room. Many are sensitive to scented products, from shampoo, spray on perfume and lotions. Please select your toiletries from the wide range of non-scented products available. No one wants to be the reason why someone in our class becomes ill and can not finish Seminar.

Communicating when you are away from home: although it is a break from home, we do like to keep in touch, so telephones, iPads, lap tops, whatever your preferred method of keeping in touch would be good to pack. While on the topic of technology, cameras are always  good to have, photos of table groupings, friends and activities are always great memories to bring home. Remember you will not be able to take photos of the pieces on display. Some teachers do not object to photos being taken during breaks in classes, however you should always ask the teacher and others in the class who might also be included in the image you are capturing. Don’t forget the chargers for your electronics.

First time at Seminar? When traveling to Seminar solo, remember there are no strangers in the embroidery world, only friends we have not yet met. There is an opening reception on Tuesday evening, registration day, a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself to others, include the fact that you are attending your first Seminar. The rest will follow from there and you will leave Seminar with many new friends you have met in person.

My suitcase is ready, the next few weeks will see it fill, bit by bit, packing from my personal list.

The next installment on this topic will focus on your stitching related supplies. Until then, happy stitching!
There has been a new page added to the "members' only" area of the EAC website. It's a memorial page to honour members who have passed away. Find out how to submit stories and/or photos on the EAC website (you may be prompted for the user name and password).

If you are having trouble accessing Your EAC, the "members' only" area of the website, please contact the Membership Director or your guild/chapter president for the username and password.
by Jeannette Luther

Yay - the long awaited day finally arrived and the frame and linen panel were set up in Darlene's living room.  Darlene Clifford (president of our guild) & Andrea Laturnas (treasurer), were among the first to put in some stitches here in Regina.

Darlene & Andrea
A lot of beautiful stitching has been done on it and it was wonderful to see.

West Panel

Phyllis Perkins & Eleanor Podl spent an afternoon stitching away.

Phyllis & Eleanor

A Great Horned Owl is patiently waiting for more stitches.

Horned Owl Detail
Jeannette Luther (newsletter) & Marilyn Bird (secretary) came by one afternoon as well.

Jeannette & Marilyn

The osprey has been finished off very nicely … but one of the Canadian geese has yet to be started.

Completed Osprey

One more goose!

Carol Storie (past president) and her good friend Ellen Basler came to stitch together on the project too.
Carol & Ellen

Mountains, a totem pole, killer shale, salmon, wheat ....  all wonderfully embroidered scenes of Canada.

Coastal Close Up with Orca and Totem Ploe

The project and frame were taken down this week and it is now on its way to Edmonton.  When finished this is going to be quite the work of art that we can all be proud of.

Close Up with Fishing Boat & Blue Jay
Canvas Work Stitches with Hand-Dyed Threads
Lorraine is a National member and she has a beautiful website for her business Colour Complements. On her website, she shares inspiration for using her hand-dyed threads in a wide range of embroidery applications, from canvas work to wool applique, temari and beyond! Check out her blog, too!

You may be familiar with Lorraine’s threads already - I was introduced to it in a kit for one of Carolyn Mitchell’s courses. She specializes in hand-dyed embroidery threads in a variety of fibres. Lorraine has always been fascinated with colour and colour combinations.  She painted for many years and eventually ventured into textiles/quilting which led to an interest in dyeing fabric and experimenting with surface design techniques. In recent years she became interested in hand embroidery, specifically crazy quilting and canvas work.  It seemed a natural progression to start dyeing her own threads.

Lorraine opened Colour Complements in September of 2012. She dyes threads in her studio located on the Sunshine Coast outside of Vancouver, British Columbia.  She is constantly “experimenting” with colours to create original and unusual colour variations.

Beautiful Threads!
You can view all of Lorraine's threads in her Etsy shop (sale on now!)


Mary Corbett of Needle ‘n’ Thread is holding a give-away of Lorraine's threads. Take a look and enter before Friday!
Sometimes we hear a word in the middle of a stitching conversation that leaves us scratching our heads. Here are a few that may have that effect on you:

FROG - un-sewing or picking out stitches, from the sound of a frog’s croaking - rip it, rip it
CONFETTI - name for single stitches of many different colors
PARKING - putting threaded needle(s) aside in the outer margins of a project to be picked up later, when the same fibre is used again in the project
STITCH BUDDY - pet that "helps" you stitch by sitting on, in, or near materials
NEEDLE MINDER - two-part, usually decorative, magnetic item attached to your fabric to hold your needle(s)

Do you have any others that you've heard? Add them to the comments to help a stitcher out!
One of Iryna's snowflake designs!

Iryna Varabei came to Canada in 1999, when she was 40, bringing her old dream along. She desired just to stitch; back home, she had no opportunities to do so.

In 2005, she joined the Toronto Guild of Stitchery. Now, she is happy to offer her own designs to Canadian stitchers. All of them are based on Belarusan traditional ornamental motifs or on Belarusan images. Iryna tries to transform the traditional patterns into modern designs enriched with diversity of stitching techniques. "I work in different techniques, with different colours, but I still think Belarusan," she says.

In Canada, a country rich with the stitching traditions of many nations, needleworkers can now try their needles at stitching a piece inspired by the traditions of Belarusan needlework and to include it in the mosaic of Canadian stitching styles.

Iryna Varabei's work has been regularly published in A Needle Pulling Thread magazine and displayed at the Creativ Festival in Toronto.

You can find a free Belarus Nizanka tutorial on Iryna’s Craftsy page. In addition to a very thorough step-by-step guide, she has included some great finishing techniques in the tutorial.

Make sure you take a look at her Facebook photo album! Iryna has stitched two roses for the EAC’s Presentation in a Box, rose display project.
Find out more at the Embroiderers' Association of Canada website.
EAC is not responsible for content at external links provided within this blog.

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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