Chair’s Chat 2020

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December 2020

Although we haven’t met in person for some months your committee has been busy with plans for this month and next year. Do keep in touch with the events via our web site; Hilary keeps up-dating the website on a regular basis.

There was a good number of entries for our latest competition and also of votes. The variety of work is amazing and every piece asks to be voted for. Do send to Sarah your choice if you’ve not done so already.

December 12 is the day of our virtual party. You’ll have to supply your hot toddy and mince pies but we hope you’ll join in the fun and merriment! Some members who run craft businesses will be joining us to show and tell what they do, with the opportunity for buying goodies (this is something we’ve not been able to do during lock down). Prizes for the competition will be announced!

After much heart searching it was decided to move the NW Regional Day onto zoom -same date as before April 24 2021; we can enjoy two inspiring speakers and have the opportunity to ask questions. All from the comfort of your home! If you think zoom is not for you, please think again. It will be very sad if a microscopic form of life prevents us getting together and enjoying ourselves.

This last lock down is over and hopefully none of our members have suffered. Once All Hallows informs us of their plans for re-opening the Centre we’ll let you know, we’ll be able to meet again. What a meeting that will be.

Keep safe and enjoy your Christmas.

November 2020

I recently collected a legacy from a deceased member of our branch of the Guild. A number of boxes proved to contain a lifetime’s selection of embroidery materials and other treasures one lady enjoyed. This experience made me wonder what would happen to all the bits and pieces I have accumulated over the past 70 years. I’ve threatened my children if they put my items in a bin! Will relatives want any piece I have made over the years?

I’m resolved to make a decision this winter and will welcome suggestions of how to combat this indecision; is it a sign of age or the restrictions in our lives at present? Meetings are difficult to arrange but keeping connected is important.

I do hope you have sent a picture of your recent sewing to Sarah for the competition. A bit of fun will lighten our dark days and bring a smile; someone has to win!

Congratulations to Kim who is retiring from work very, very soon.

Our next meeting is with Gill Roberts, a talented member for over 25years. Join us for her talk and appreciate her talents.

We have plans for our final meeting of the year so join us for some fun over Zoom.

Annual report of Merseyside Embroiderers’ Guild October 2020

The past 12 months has been a year of 2 distinctive halves.

Last October we reported the case of the German lawyers and an accusation regarding a certain photograph. Unknown to us HQ had been sorting a second fine and shocked us with a demand for £1320. This we were asked to pay in instalments. After much debate and heartache we agreed, spreading the payments into 2021.

Since then our funds have been run down considerably due to the change in meetings. Ways of raising money feature in all committee meetings; a Pop-Up sale held in a small venue at Crosby raised £151. Members were very generous with gifts and donations. Many more such venues are needed and all members can help by finding such.

Items are often donated to the branch by retiring/deceased members. These can be purchased or given to the library. One such gift is 3 large files I recently received “Embroidery Magic”, 3 large files featuring a wide variety of stitches. Also Joan Curtis has left us items in her will; I’m waiting for the solicitors to sort the details.

Various members of the committee have contributed to the change of direction of the branch. We have been enjoying a variety of talks/demonstrations using Zoom, managing to keep the programme alive and giving us a brief social time. The technical knowledge of members is a great asset to the branch, many thanks. A few members who do not own computers receive paper copies of all letters etc.

October 2020

My favourite time of the year, with a myriad of colours appearing on the trees; this year one in particular seems to have an orange spot way up above the greens that appears to be spot-lit. Yesterday we spotted a busy robin among the bushes in Crosby gardens. We also found a bush laden with quince so picked our own harvest bounty.

We’ve all been busy with our needles. Choose your best piece and send a photo to Sarah Lowes; she will sort out the pieces into a collage then send a copy to all members who will be invited to vote for their choice, closing date to follow. There is a small monetary prize for the 3 that receive the most votes.

Some people haven’t re-joined as of today; please do otherwise your branch will not be viable when the Great Unlocking happens. Until keep smiling and I hope to greet you at our next Zoom meeting, 17/10/20.

September 2020

Lights on at 8 15 tonight! Trees beginning to change colour! Cats almost stopped moulting! Must be nearly autumn! Where has the year gone? So many oddities to deal with and not seeing friends made this past summer quite depressing. At least we can grab a coffee when out although some places have raised prices. Our branch had a good sale in the Waterloo café and hopefully will hire a table in November for the Christmas sale. Yes, I know using that word in September is not good but we need to think of ways to use our stash to make fun/intriguing items to tempt people. Please look through your collection and patterns to make pieces to sell, more details to follow.

Kim and I will be going to All Hallows soon to see what restrictions the Hall is bringing in and how we can comply. Watch this space. Until we have the all clear to return to the Hall please join us on Zoom; Maggie Pearson will be talking to us this month.

I hope you have returned your subs form to HQ. Hilary will be sending out our subs form soon. We have a small increase to help pay increases of speakers etc. We still pay less than other societies, less than £1 per month.

I have actually picked up a needle over the past week so my piece of Crewel work is slowly growing. No UFOs have been completed, unlike many of you, who I’m sure put me to shame but I’m pleased to say I’m looking forward to a new season and meeting up with you all. Take care.

August 2020

One of my favourite sources of embroidery is “Inspirations”, the magazine published in Australia; it certainly lives up to its name and often inspires me. The latest edition carries a short item on “threads”, asking what we imagine the future holds for users of threads; how modern technology changes what we know and how we use thread. My use of thread has changed over the years; I don’t just stick with the crewel wools I first learnt with but welcome new colours and textures. Such leads me to new styles of decoration.

I also subscribe to the Royal School of Needlework blog, again an exciting source for learning and new ideas. Over the lockdown period I have spent more time browsing the web and communicating with people far and wide. A well-known expert, Helen M Stevens, has written her first historical novel; apparently she is a great fan of 10th century Britain. More about this when I have read the book!

Please remember our Pop-up sale starting 11 08 for one week at the Waterloo Sunset Café. Every sale will help swell our branch coffers. Contact me if you can help in the café or have a donation. Items can be delivered to my address, preferably after 4pm.

Various changes are planned for paying subs etc. Our plans for the coming year are growing, so amidst the restrictions and difficulties your Guild is forging ahead. Please stay with us and lend us your skills and enthusiasm.

July 2020

The year’s rushing past and I’m no nearer clearing the UFO’s under the coffee table! I hope all members are fit and emerging into the sun, when it appears. At least the rain means I don’t need to water pot plants each evening, in fact some plants are performing very well. I do have 2 grumpy cats in the house who take the rain as personal affronts.

Our second Zoom meeting was a jolly affair with 20 members tuning in. Our next one is on August 18 at 2pm; watch your emails for information. I know a few members do not have web connections; perhaps they could be invited to a house that does?

We are still on track for the next Regional Day; LACE is not operating at present but we hope it will resume bookings when regulations allow. Do keep 24 04 2021 in the diary.

Please look out for any suitable premises where we could hold a pop-sale; somewhere that has a reasonable footfall and where people are allowed to browse. Also please look through your finished pieces that you are happy to sell to help our branch funds. Brenda has completed 2 bags with raffia embroidery which look very jolly.

June 2020

Flaming June seems to have been blazing down for a number of weeks; some days the temperature outside seems too hot to tempt me, the car measuring over 25degrees recently. Perhaps this lockdown business is meant to keep us out of the sun!

Our first Zoom meeting seemed to go well. We had a close up of various projects that are underway and Sarah gave a very clear explanation of her piece for “Renewal“. Do join us on 20 06 when we’re having another session. It’s good to see everyone! Don’t forget that day is also our Guild day for stitching birds. The creatures have been very busy round here and noisy! The magpies chase everything including my small cat, which appears rather bemused.

My reading material has increased over the last few months. I enjoy social history. The newest book on my table is “The Accomplished Lady” 1660-1860. The chapter on embroidery is very interesting. The various styles are many, with illustrations from collections including Gawthorpe Hall. The book also contains chapters on other skills that “gentry” ladies spent their time acquiring, beadwork, shellwork, japanning and penwork to include a few. The results are admirable but I’m glad we make our embroideries for purely pleasure and not to fill long empty hours.

I hope all your families are well and you all remain fit.

May 2020

This date is amazing; we’ve just spent the sunniest April mainly indoors when we’ve all wanted to be out in the spring and admire the blossom. So frustrating! I do hope you have managed to absorb some rays and your gardens are looking lovely.

5 weeks of this isolation can be mindbendingly boring; have you completed your UFOs? Completed the piece for the Speke Hall display, the 4” square to send to HQ, begun your piece for the “Renewal” exhibition? I have been lucky in having a tutor who organised gold work classes through Zoom; these were good fun and I even learnt to use WhatsApp, well I did on Monday, don’t know if I’ll remember next time!

I’ve also been reducing the bedside book pile. If you have been on canals try “Narrow Dog to Carcassonne” by Terry Darlington; great fun and a refreshing style. Makes me quite envious of their travels. A very light read that takes you away from the present troubles.

I hope you’ve all received your copy of “Contact”, interesting and understandably thin. I dislike reading from a computer so I print myself a copy, much easier to check. HQ has requested we all sew a 4” square then send in to them for combining into hangings to be presented to various hospitals, a thank you. Do sew a square, closing date is 30 06. This is one piece I have made; I just need to tidy the back and give it a press.

Margaret has been putting the finishing details to the slip hanging. This work just requires a backing and hanging loops. Michele’s husband has the hanging rod and finials, so hopefully we’ll see this at our first meeting.

April 2020

“In like a lion and out like a lamb”, the old saying goes about March; I hope the lamb has a good woolly coat as it is going to be a chilly start to April. Plants seem to know the temperature will be pleasant, with trees blooming and daffodils dancing but I feel they are teasing us.

I hope you’ve all read the notice sent by Hilary for the new themed display. Ann Thyer suggested we all start work on a new piece, to give us something to work towards. I had my first experience of a Zoom meeting this week and it has helped me to pick up a piece begun months back. People I’ve spoken to have reported on going back to pieces begun a while ago. We all have UFOs lurking so these enforced quiet days are the golden opportunity to continue with them.

I’ve also purchased two lovely books, one a real treat, so watch the Book review pages for more details. I’m also doing much catching up in that department, with the bedside pile reducing.

Many of you know I’ve been experiencing decorating problems; this matter is in abeyance but will resume once we’re all allowed to resume a normal life. Kim, our programme secretary is hard at work sorting the rest of this year’s speakers/workshops. The postponed Regional Day is booked for 24 04 2021, at the same venue and with the same speakers! Please let the sun shine and the virus disappear!

Take care where ever you are, keep your spirits up and phone a friend for an uplifting chat.

March 2020

How’s it growing? Your entry for our display at the Regional Day I mean. I’m sure many of you have lovely pieces to bring to our meeting this month. Please make sure your details are recorded on the reverse and also on your wrappings.

There is a second chance to bring your piece to the April meeting so don’t panic. I’m still sewing my design based on an area of Speke Hall. A smaller design I completed last year was recently featured in the Australian magazine “Inspirations”. Quite flattering!

Also this month one of our members is giving us an insight to her growing knowledge of costume making, come and learn what is required.

The present wet weather is having a bad effect on our cats; the little one keeps looking through the cat flap, but decides against venturing out as the sleet descends! In frustration he turns on the older/larger cat that shares our home and fur often flys! Peace comes eventually. I trust all members are keeping warm and dry.

February 2020

I hope you have received the latest copy of “Stitch” magazine; it contains a number of items which are relevant to our branch.

If you went to Harrogate you would have admired the entries for the “Home” exhibition; two of our members submitted pieces and one is featured in the magazine, well done Maggie!

There is also Nikki Parmenter’s award winning piece in the Drama and Creativity section. We saw this in Nikki’s exhibition at the Williamson Gallery and all the other brightly coloured examples when she gave us her inspiring workshop last year.

Thirdly, there is an announcement of our forthcoming Regional Day for all the embroidery world to see in the “What’s On” section. Do purchase you ticket soon and look forward to a jolly day with like-minded people. The price is very reasonable when compared to other events in the city. Two renowned speakers sharing their expertise plus traders bought to you. The venue is on the edge of Sefton Park so hopefully the spring flowers will be out, making for a pleasant stroll to conclude the day. Encourage friends and others who enjoy the use of textiles and colour to join us, who knows they may join the Guild and bring fresh enthusiasm to our meetings.

January 2020

New Year greetings to you all! I trust this holiday season has been fun for you all. Not too much time spent in the kitchen but with loved ones and friends.

My son cooked on Christmas day and family were busy in Surrey when I arrived on Boxing Day; two delicious meals with family! Lucky me.

2020 has arrived which means our Regional Day at LACE is that much nearer. I hope you all have the date in your diary and will contact Hilary for your ticket. The subcommittee has been working hard on details; we had a Christmas meal at LACE to sample the food and all decided it was very good! A positive sign for April 23. There will be more details at our meetings. Many thanks to those of you who have offered to help steward; no one will be expected to help all day, just at certain times, so we can all enjoy the speakers. The Lord Mayor is attending the afternoon session and will help judge the competitions. I know many of you are busy stitching for these and our Tudor display.

Here’s hoping for a peaceful time ahead and more time for sewing