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.


  1. This is very interesting. Great patterns, I really like that they're reversible.

  2. How nice to see a technique that is new to so many! Thank you to Iryna for sharing her needlework traditions!


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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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