What Are You Stitching?

21st July 2023

Today we are looking at the many ways embroidery can take form. Much like in chemistry how energy is neither created nor destroyed only converted from one form to another, we’re looking at how our threads are converted into stunning finished pieces.

Sara Zander

‘My 70-member chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Marin Golden Threads in the SF Bay Area of California, joins in large community events to advance the joy of stitching and to encourage new members. Our huge Marin County Fair (running over 4 days and averaging 20,000 visitors) has been such an opportunity to do so for two decades.

We decided our display in the fair’s textile wing deserved a new identification banner of some sort and our members subsequently created 32 hand stitched pennants for two long banners.’

‘The day we decided on the harmonious hanging order before the toppers were added. That’s Velma, Lori and Cheryl in the photo, making hard choices.’

‘The original construction plan came from member, Sheila Iskin. Celeste Chalasani, another member and respected teacher, was instrumental in the planning. Each pennant is a gem, with a beautifully stitched technique (28 different ones!) represented on the front along with its printed name label on a grosgrain topper. The grosgrain tube then suspends each pennant on one of two long upholstery cords. Each pennant is 4” x 6”, with every step created by hand.

This has been a year-long project with much advance planning, cooperation, laughter and friendship – not to mention consummate stitching skills. A binder with full size colour photos of each pennant and three indices (by artist, technique and placement) will help daily event monitors communicate with fair-goers.’

‘I created one pennant for ‘crazy quilting’, shown in the detail photo. Velma Williford created the chapter pennant in ‘satin stitch’ (with the California poppy, our chapter logo).

‘I thought you might also enjoy seeing this, the ‘flower smocking’ pennant by Ingrid Chan. Isn’t it lovely? I can’t wait to see the work of many hands proudly displayed at our upcoming fair, and for many years to come.’

Stitching together all the pennants with different techniques for your banners is such a wonderful way to display them, Sara. Congratulations on all the hours your chapter has spent on what we are sure will be a very dynamic and engaging banner to capture the attention of the crowds and draw them over to visit your booth.

Julie Harvey

The latest project that I have finished is the Parham Owl Etui by Jenny Adin-Christie, that I was able to take as a class with Jenny last February. I love Jenny’s beautiful, intricate designs and knew it would be quite a challenge, but with Jenny’s wonderful instructions and guidance I was able to complete it with no problems.’

‘Jenny uses so many interesting techniques and materials, I learned so much working this project! I can’t wait to try my hand at another of Jenny’s designs!’

Your Parham Owl Etui is divine, Julie! Jenny’s designs are absolutely stunning, aren’t they? Part of the appeal is indeed the intricacy of the needlework, but as you’ve beautifully demonstrated her easy to follow instructions and superb teaching style is such that your Parham Owl Etui was always going to be destined for the skies. Well done.

Vivienne Garforth

‘For the last 15 months, I have been working on this fabric book as a gift to my church and pastor. It was a project that gave me something to focus on while I was undergoing treatment for melanoma. All good now, I don’t need to see the doctor for six months.’

‘I finished it yesterday, finally added the braid around the edges of all eight pages and eight velvet backings.’ 

‘My next UFO is a queen size crazy quilt that is 7/8 of the way finished. Why do I get to 7/8 of the way through projects and then leave them and move on to something else?!’

An incredibly special project, Vivienne, incredibly detailed and well executed. We love the clasps you have used to keep the book sturdy, ensuring its longevity. We are so glad to hear your stitching helped you through your treatment and wish you all the best with finishing your UFOs! Oh… and you’re certainly not the only one who asks such questions that no-one seems to know the answer to! 

Have you been a part of any community stitching projects? Do you like to take a class when trying a new technique? Or have you finished a recent UFO?

Whatever you are stitching, we’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about the project and your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com 

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