Newsletter — October 2021

I hope you are all well, and that the warmer weather (after some lovely rain) and the reduction in Covid rules have made you happier and more optimistic about the future.

Last month we asked you to let us know about embroidery suppliers near you so that we all have places to go when we need things, and that we can spoil ourselves a little in the interests of keeping these places open. Jenni has collated the list, has made sure the businesses concerned are happy for us to share their details (POPI regulations) so please look them up. I’m sure they will stimulate interest and get you to be your usual creative selves and produce some beautiful work. There are always presents needed, particularly towards the end of the year, and now is a good time to start. The list is on the new “Resources” page of this website, which can be accessed via the menu links above.

Other than that, the Covid “Through the Eye of the Needle” project is going ahead. Jenni Langford, Lynn Puttick and Louise von Glehn met at Hilary Walker’s house and, with the added input from Helen O’Hanrahan, your pieces have been placed and the backing and framing fabric has been more of less decided upon. We look forward to more news on this front. This is really exciting.

We will let you know as soon as the Recreation Centre has been upgraded and meetings are like to start again. We presume it will all be ready for the beginning of next year. Let’s hope the builders don’t hit any snags which could cause delays.

For now, happy sewing

Newsletter — September 2021

Happy spring month! Let’s hope it comes with good rains, warmer weather and an increased feeling of hope and looking forward to great things. There are some things to look forward to, although there is not a lot to report this month.

Firstly, the Covid project “Through the Eye of a Needle” is officially through stage one. Around forty pieces have been collected and the “put-it-all-together” committee is looking for a place large enough where they can safely plan the layout but at the same time keep social distancing according to current regulations. There are some pieces which were handed in to other members of the committee/Guild, so will those people who have them, please make an arrangement to hand them over to Jenni ASAP so the process can continue. It would be dreadful for the whole thing to go on display and a participant brings the grandchildren to look and find that inadvertently HER piece was not included in the final work. I’m sure you won’t put us in that position!!!

Now that the project is over, I’m sure you will be looking for new things to begin – or old things to complete. If you can, please think about our retailers (shops) and producers of embroidery materials. Apparently House of Embroidery was badly affected by the riots which we all experienced recently, and have worked very hard to catch up and get their orders out. Please support them if you can and help the company get on its feet again. Chameleon threads has expanded and moved out of Benoni and the company is now based somewhere near the airport. Such a brave move during a pandemic will mean that they could use some support too. Even our imported DMC comes through a local agent. We lost Anchor cottons through lack of support. Let’s not let that happen again.

Our retailers too are finding that things are “a bit slow at the moment.” If these businesses can’t stay open, then people will be out of work, and we will be forced to use inferior materials or import anything we need. “Sales table” type of stuff doesn’t go on forever.

Jenni Langford has offered to collate and distribute a list of all the shops we know of where haberdashery is sold – with particular emphasis on embroidery things, of course. There are heaps of these little shops – gift shops, stationery shops, supermarkets, which have the odd shelf of embroidery stuff, as well as the specialist shops we all know and love. Our members also come from Alberton to Centurion and the borders of Germiston to Roodepoort. PLEASE let us know of any shop within these boundaries. I remember travelling from northern Johannesburg to Boksburg to get ONE ball of wool that I needed. Us crafty people are crazy like that, so no shop is too small or too insignificant for our list, and I’m sure the owners of the businesses would appreciate the support. And I’m sure Janis can make a plan if you need things. She’s a very local retailer! Nobody needs an excuse to buy lovely things. Take the opportunity for a good cause!

If you REALLY don’t need anything, please think about buying a few things to donate to charities. Many of our members are involved in one or other charity, either through their religious institution or other socially motivated societies. Next month, I would like to publish as well as the above-mentioned shops, all charities that could use embroidery materials, fabric, wool, scissors, needles, hooks or whatever else people use, and you as an individual or we as a Guild can support them. Even if money is tight, two balls of knitting wool, or a reel of cotton, or some embroidery skeins, will be well used, and in the October newsletter we will publish the list so, not only will you be keeping people in work, but you will be helping those who need it too. By all means, let me add the name of your pet charity. Marvellous people that you are, I’m sure you’ll contribute. How nice it will be for the poorest, struggling people in our land to have nice new stuff to work with. Other people’s “recycling” is useful, but I’m sure there’s a lot of joy in working with something brand new! Think about it! We will definitely not be meeting as a Guild at the Recreation centre this year. They are upgrading and renovating the building – work which is very necessary apparently – so no groups are meeting. A pity about that, but it’s nice to have a non-Covid reason for a change! In the meantime, we have the benefit of the internet in all its variety of communication options, so let’s keep sewing, let’s be creative, and let’s keep talking to one another.

Have a wonderful month.

Newsletter — August 2021

Colleen Goy has a number of new designs in the pipeline. We are privileged to be the first people to see the final product. This one is called “Summer Flowers”.

I hope you all survived the recent VERY cold front, and that your hands were not too cold to continue your beautiful embroidery. Now that the days are beginning to warm up, spring is on the horizon, and most of us have been double vaccinated (even though infection numbers are still high), we were hoping that meeting again would be possible in the not too distant future. Unfortunately that won’t be possible. The Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre is undergoing some renovations, and will be closed for the rest of the year. That means we will still be working from home, although I’m sure smaller, informal, self-generated meetings will happen, and perhaps the committee may have some plans for later on in the year.

We have reached the last month of our Covid project “The Eye of the Needle”. Jenni has between 20 and 30 pieces, and Hilary has a few as well. Please finish up what you are doing, and let us have them. The next collection day is the 28th August at the Roosevelt Park Recreation centre, and then the team will begin putting it all together. I finished my piece, and was truly inspired by a new book out this year “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter. It is a story of the history of embroidery, but not about who wore what and which stitches were used, but rather a narrative of the author’s discovery of what embroidery meant to the many people (men and women) and how it is more than a hobby, but has been an eternal document of the lives and experiences of people of all ages, cultures and civilisations for about 1000 years. I bought an audible version and am still listening to it while doing handwork. You need a few tissues at times – it can be quite moving. It made me realize our Covid project is more than something to keep us busy during lockdown, but it is a statement of women in Johannesburg, in South Africa, during an event which is profoundly shaping us and will have huge implications in the years to come. Please don’t pass up the opportunity to have your say, and get your bit of cloth and do something for us. This is not about producing a piece of perfection which will be judged by the nastiest Home Economics teacher you ever met, but rather a statement, however imperfect, of our dealing with sadness, frustrations, deprivation, stress and a world-wide sisterhood (and brotherhood too) sharing the uncertainty of a spikey golf-ball shaped virus which has come to dominate our lives. Future generations will get to understand this in our unique way — WE NEED YOUR INPUT! I am including link to a review of the book which will tell you much more about what is in it.

Jenni has once again included a short “how to” piece (see the bottom of this post). You will all remember that last Friday was World Embroidery Day. To mark it, perhaps you may like to try something new if you have never done cross stitch before, or you might like to teach someone. 95% of the time it will be one lesson and they will probably never pick up a needle and thread again, but at least they now know what embroidery is. That other 5% may take to it at once or may pick it up later. See what you can do! There will never be too many embroiderers in the world.

Another of Colleen Goy’s new designs, Volaré.

Colleen Goy has been busy and she says she has a number of new designs in the pipeline. She has given us two of them and we are the first people privileged to see the final product. When you have done your “Eye of the Needle” project and handed it in, here are some exciting new things to take on. I have attached them to this letter. Keep an eye on the Roseworks website, and look in our favourite embroidery shops, and we will soon have new things to do.

In the meantime, keep on keeping on. These trying times will end someday, and let us use our art to make us stronger, kinder, and more resilient people – although most of you are there already! Lots of love.



Most counted cross stitch projects are worked on even weave fabrics made especially for counted tread embroidery.  These fabrics have vertical and horizontal threads of uniform thickness and spacing.  Aida cloth is a favourite because its weave forms distinctive squares in the fabric, which makes placing stitches easy.  To determine a fabric’s thread count, count the number of threads per inch of fabric.

In addition to even weave fabrics, many stitchers enjoy using waste canvas, perforated paper, and plastic canvas.

Waste canvas is basted to clothing or other fabric, forming a grid for stitching which is later removed.

Perforated paper has holes evenly spaced, 14 stitches per inch.

Plastic canvas can be found in different counts and shapes.


Size 24 and 26 blunt-end tapestry needles are used for stitching on even weave fabric and Aida cloth.  The ideal needle size is just small enough to slip easily through your fabric.  When stitching on waste canvas, use a sharp needle. Sharp needles are also recommended for back stitch and other embroidery stitches used to embellish cross stitch work.


An embroidery hoop is recommended for cross stitch, and a pair of small, sharp embroidery scissors is very helpful.

Newsletter — July 2021

Welcome to midwinter – or just after.  I hope you are all keeping warm and safe from the ills that are affecting our society at this time.  I also hope that your embroidery is providing you with that “Zone” where you can escape and forget everything that has to be endured at the moment.

Before we get on to Embroidery business, I have to let you know that we do come under the POPIA act, and while Toni and Jenni are going to send you all a formal notice about it when they have drawn it up, let me assure you in the meantime that 1) we will never give your contact details out to anyone and 2) if you do not want to receive these newsletters, or any other communication from the Guild, please let us know and we will remove your name and details immediately. Other details concerning this Act will be made known soonish.

Helen O’Hanrahan as asked me to remind those of you who have not yet done so, you please to pay your fees for this year if you can.  If you have any problems, please let her know.

The Member Fees are:

  • Under 60          R140,00
  • 60   –   69         R120,00
  • 70   –   79         R100,00
  • 80   –   89        R 80,00
  • 90 +                 Honorary

About the Eye of a Needle Covid project: thank you very much to those of you who have submitted your pieces so far. We now have well over 20 pieces, which even now will make an effective artwork. However, we know there are those of you who have not yet finished and with this current wave, we also know there are those of you who won’t or can’t leave your residences. Accordingly we have decided to extend the deadline until the end of AUGUST. So you have two more months to finish what you have begun, and if you are a super sewer and would like to make another one – please do. Jenni will be at the Roosevelt Park Recreation centre on the last Saturday of each month – the 31st July and the 28th August between 14h00 and 16h00, and you can hand your things in then. Thank you Jenni – you devotion to the cause is admirable. Jenni has also given a useful little article on how to look after your scissors which I have put at the end of this letter.

There are those of us who have been ill, and we hope you have recovered. Please be careful. Many of us will be ready for the second vaccine around now. I hope you all manage to get vaccinated. The sooner this happens, the sooner we will be able to meet again.

We also have some good news. The embroiderer’s Guild has three new grandchildren. Our little Rebecca was born last year, and is proving to be a feisty young woman. Hilary Walker’s Max was born about 4-5 months ago, and is growing into a very charming young man. Louise von Glehn became a granny for the first time last month with the birth of little Owen. Unfortunately he is an English baby, so Louise and Frank will only be able to see him when we are allowed to travel again. If there are any other babies or children you would like to tell us about, please let us know. You are allowed to brag! Otherwise, keep on keeping on. We will get through this, and we will meet again, hopefully sooner rather than later. In the meantime, keep well.

How to care for your Embroidery Scissors

  • After use, wipe the inside of blade surfaces with a soft dry cloth to prevent lint build-up.
  • Lightly oil scissors periodically at the screw assembly and between the blades at the pivot area. Remove any excess oil residue to prevent staining.
  • Avoid using force in cutting as it can seriously damage the blades and alignment. Struggling through a cut means the scissors are too light or too blunt for the job.
  • Handle with care and avoid dropping.
  • A qualified scissor expert should do adjustments and sharpening, when necessary.

Newsletter — June 2021

I hope you are doing well in this cold part of the year. In two weeks’ time we reach the shortest day, then we can look forward to Spring, to warmer weather, and, hopefully, greater vaccine availability, and also to our being able to meet again sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, because of the spike in infections in Gauteng, and those falling ill with Covid have now included some of our members, the committee has taken the sensible decision to cancel meetings for the time being. It’s sad, but it’s the only responsible thing to do.

This month, our condolences go to Mavis Scholes, whose son, Professor Bob Scholes died of a heart attack in Namibia recently. He was one of the world-wide authorities on climate change and sustainability, and this is a great loss to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go to Mavis and her family.

We also lost Mrs Oberholzer — long-time owner and manager of Threads, that one-of-a-kind embroidery shop in Linden. The house has been sold, but her two daughters are continuing from new premises in Linden. It’s number 60, 6th Street. To find it, come out of Arthur Bales’ shop, turn right, at the first corner turn right again, and it’s on the right hand side, the last block of flats before the shops on the corner. It’s one of the ground floor flats, the notice is on the outside, and Joan runs it on Tuesday to Friday mornings, and Elise on Saturday mornings. It’s bigger than the other shop, and they have increased their supply of embroidery wools. I suggest you phone before you go because on some days they are open from 10h00 until 14h00, and others until 12h00. The number is 082 344 2406.

Back to the Guild. We are very grateful to Hettie who has travelled more than the extra mile and left the onerous job of Chairperson, to take on the time-consuming one of the Secretary on the committee, a position she will have held of three years by the end of this year. She has to step down in terms of the Constitution, and we are very glad indeed that Toni (Olivier) Billings has agreed to take over. She will be in training alongside Heath for the rest of this year, and we welcome her as a ci-opted member on to the committee for now.

Our Covid project, “Through the Eye of a Needle” draws to a close this month. Some lovely things have come in, and we are looking forward to a splendid final work of art. Although we aren’t meeting at the moment, so you can’t hand them in at meetings, Jenni Langford will be at the Roosevelt Park recreation centre where we usually have our meetings, at 14h30 on Saturday 26th June to collect the last ones. If that is not possible, and you would like to hand your contribution in earlier, you can still leave them at Ribbonfields or Buttons and Bows and I’ll collect them from there. Please just send me (Margaret Place) a WhatsApp to let me know when you have dropped them off so I know to go and fetch them. A few things have come via that route, but the shops don’t always phone me immediately and I would hate you to miss the cut-off time. Download the form from this website and fill it in to accompany your piece of art.

Finally, Jenni Langford took notes at a talk she attended she attended and wants to pass on to all of us. Thank you Jenni!

Top 10 Tips to Improve Your Embroidery

Happy sewing , keep warm, and we look forward to your embroidery work on our project.

Newsletter — May 2021

Before we begin with the embroidery business of this month, I’m sure we all want to wish our other centenarian, Helen Bird, hearty congratulations on reaching this awesome milestone earlier in April. You are an inspiration to us all, and we are privileged to know you. We all wish you well for the future.

Meeting again

Very Exciting – we are going to start meeting again this week – this coming Tuesday the 4th at 09h00, and this coming Saturday the 8th at 14h00. It will be wonderful to start again. However, some of us are still being very careful, and that is totally acceptable and quite understandable. If you feel safer staying away until vaccines are further down the track and the weather is warmer, by all means. You are still a valued member of the Guild. However, Ina, Danny and the committee have been very intentional about making sure everything is well within the Covid regulations, so we can safely welcome everyone who wants to attend. If we are all sensible and considerate of one another, there is no reason why a very pleasant time will not be had by all. Agness has asked that since the library was always held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays, that we NOT hold library this week, and it will also give us time to work out the logistics of how safely to borrow books. You can however bring back books previously borrowed. I am sure Diane will be on track with the library by Saturday. I also presume those who wish to buy embroidery things from Janis have already been in touch, and that is all organised.

If any of you Tuesday ladies are prepared to come a little early this week to help with the sanitizing, the temperature taking etc, please WhatsApp or sms Danny and find out if anything from you will be needed.

The Committee

Some of you have asked who the committee for this year is – last year’s AGM took place in another era, but the committee then is as it is now:

  • Chair — Danny Wimpey
  • Secretary — Hettie Moller
  • Treasurer — Helen O’ Hanrahan
  • Library — Agness van Rensburg (Tuesday) Diane Walker (Saturday)
  • Tea — Sue Sylvester (in abeyance)
  • Sales table — Jenny Henning (in abeyance)
  • Workshops — Carol Robinson (Tuesday) Jenni Langford (Saturday) (both in abeyance)
  • Communications — Margaret Place (co-opted)


It has been suggested that we get a list of resources for embroidery things – cloth, threads, haberdashery, and also good framers. Janis will keep us supplied with the essentials, but sometimes we need something not readily available. We want not only walk-in shops (and where they are located) but also online suppliers – with their online locations too. We live in different times, and a lot of things have changed. Please help us to help you keep up to date. You can email the Guild address, let any of the committee people know, or else post it on one of the WhatsApp groups.

“Eye of the Needle” Covid project – made easier

We are in the last two months before the closing date for “the Eye of the Needle”. Covid project needs to be handed in. Some lovely things have been submitted but it’s still a little bit slow. We know that some of you are at a bit of a loss as to what to do, and to that end, Carol Robinson has made a very helpful suggestion. She says:

If choosing something to do for the frieze is too much of a challenge, we have some printed cotton fabric that lends itself to stitching and embellishing (Leek embroidery). As the fabric is printed, creating a background, only a portion needs to be worked to have an effect.

  1. Perle No. 8 and normal embroidery thread work well
  2. No backing fabric needed
  3. Work out where the seams will be to ensure work done in the correct space
  4. Use hoop to keep stitching and tension right
  5. All kinds of stitches work fine on this fabric (stem, satin, blanket, French knots etc.)
  6. No two pieces of fabric exactly the same design so all will be unique
  7. Simple redwork (outline stitching) an option
  8. Beads, lace, braids can be added

Jenni Langford has the squares at a cost of R10 per square. (see example in the picture)

All squares need to be handed in at one of the meetings by the third week of June

That’s all for this month. Have a wonderful time, and we look forward to seeing some of you this coming week.

Newsletter — April 2021

First of all, may I wish you all a very spiritually happy month. Those who celebrate(d) Pesach, Easter and the beginning of Ramadan, I hope these ceremonies and processes fulfil all that they are meant to do, and those of other beliefs, or who don’t follow any particular belief, I hope you have had a peaceful time over this holiday weekend

I have some very exciting news this month, which will make it a very long letter, but first the bread-and-butter things:

I must apologise to Alice Per for not including her in our gratitude to those ladies who keep our Instagram page going. Thank you Alice, yours and everyone’s contribution is much appreciated.

I also need to let the Tuesday group know that Liora Weil is no longer going to come to our meetings. The period of Covid has been very challenging for her, and I believe her family have found a suitable, caring place for her. We will miss her, and also Busi and Pretty who looked after her so well. Both of the latter are now looking for another position. Should anyone know of someone needing full time carers, please let Tricia Leishman know.

Please keep working on your “Covid Eye of the Needle” pieces. We have had two submissions from non-Guild people as well, so news of it has spread. Please keep it going – we need a lot more contributions, and we want to see everyone’s work represented. It will be an amazing display when it is all done.

In addition, we are still a functioning Guild, and the rules of the constitution still apply. If you have not already done so, PLEASE PAY YOUR ANNUAL SUBS. Because of the unusual year we have had, we have moved the deadline date to the end of May. I am repeating the banking details. Since so many of us have been confused by the “your reference” “my reference” bits on the deposit form (me included!) please send Helen an email when you have paid, giving the date, the bank from which the money has been sent and the TIME when you put your contribution in so she can mark you off on the list accurately. It would also help to find a twenty-something to help you with the deposit form, so you have another capable foot in the digital age. IF YOU HAVE NOT PAID BY THE END OF MAY, YOU ARE SAYING YOU NO LONGER WANT TO BE A MEMBER OF THE GUILD, AND ARE ASKING US TO REMOVE YOU FROM THE MEMBERSHIP LIST. Please take note of this, and make the necessary arrangements in time. We don’t want to lose any of you.

The Member Fees are:

Under 60R140,00
60  –  69R120,00
70  –  79R100,00
80  –  89R 80,00
90 +Honorary

The bank details are:
Witwatersrand Embroiderers’ Guild,
Absa Bank , savings ,
A/c 9362064660
Cresta 632005



After more than a year, Danny and the committee have been in negotiations with Ina at the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre, and we are able to meet once again, beginning in MAY subject to very strict Covid Protocols. So here is how it will work.

  1. What we MAY do

Starting from the 4th May (Tuesday) and the 8th of May (Saturday) we will meet as we always have, but the times have been slightly extended to give us space to carry out the various procedures which have become necessary. The Tuesday meeting will meet every week from 09:00 to 12:00, and the Saturday group will meet on the second and fourth Saturdays from 14:00 until 16:30.

  • What we MUST do

We will have to sanitise our hands before entering, and our temperature will have to be taken. We will wear masks for the whole time we are in the centre – they may NOT be removed. We will also have to fill in the sort of form you find at your doctor’s rooms or the pharmacy, where you make the declaration that you have not been in contact with any Covid sufferer and you yourself are not experiencing any Covid symptoms. To avoid crowding, these forms may be placed on your table, but more about this in the next newsletter.

  • What we will find when we get there
    • The tables will be separate with four chairs around each, and both Tuesday and Saturday will be accommodated in the hall. The tables will be spaced correctly, and may not be moved. ONLY FOUR PEOPLE WILL BE ALLOWED AT EACH TABLE. I strongly suggest that, if you want to sit with particular friends, you arrange this beforehand, and aim to arrive together. “Keeping seats” creates difficulties, and NOBODY will be allowed to fetch a chair and push in. Should the number of tables in the hall be full, then the overflow will have to sit in what was the tea room, where a few tables will be added.
    • While the centre will sanitise between meetings, the Guild committee has decided that, given the average age of our members, we will sanitise everything ourselves before each meeting. We also have to sanitise when we leave. If you want to leave early, I suggest you sanitise your chair and the table place where you sat. If someone else comes late, they will than have a clean place to sit at if yours is the only vacant place left. Too much is better than too little.
    • All the doors and windows have to be kept open, so if May is beginning to feel like the beginning of winter, please wear suitable warm clothing.
    • While the Centre will sanitise the toilets, I suggest that, since it is a public space, you bring your own sanitiser and clean before and after you use it. You don’t have to, but peace of mind is a nice thing to have.
  • What you will not find
    • There will be NO tablecloths. If you like working on a covered surface, you may bring your own tray-cloth sized piece to work on, but you are required to sanitise it before you place it on the table.
    • There will be NO TEA. The task of sanitising cups and plates and managing crowds around the urn are just not feasible at the moment. If you would like to bring a lunch box and something to drink in a flask or bottle (remember being in primary school?) you may, but there is to be NO sharing.
    • Just as you may not share tea or snacks, you may not share any embroidery things either. Please make sure you have scissors, pins, the right threads, enough material, and anything else when you come. You may not borrow from anyone, and you must say “no” if anyone wants to borrow from you.
    • There will also be NO workshops, no looking at one another’s work (unless you hold it up) and no helping or asking for help. All these lead to unnecessary contact, and rather than risk people “being careful” and then forgetting to distance, the centre is drawing the line to the right of acceptable. There is no reason why you should not arrange a Zoom workshop with someone between meetings if you need help.
    • There will also be NO sales table, for reasons similar to that concerning no tea. There will however be an opportunity buy what you need from Janis (details below).
  • What will still be there but different.
    • The library will be open for a limited time at each meeting. The number of people at the cupboard will be limited – details later – sanitising will take place before and after, so you may still borrow books. PLEASE return any books you may have taken out before Lockdown. No fines will be levied, but we do want those books back.
    • Janis is prepared to sell from her stock during meetings but it will be primarily online. She asks that you let her know by WhatsApp or email exactly what it is you want, eg “DMC 703, light yellowish green – two skeins”. She will see what she has in stock, will reply to your email with your list and the prices with each item and the total. You will either pay her online and submit proof of payment, or will bring said proof of payment OR the EXACT amount of cash to the next meeting where you will be handed your package and she will be/will have been paid. Payment arrangements you must negotiate with her. She asks you please not to phone her because looking for things with one hand and holding the phone in the other is awkward and very time consuming. Her supply of cloth is a bit limited, but all the rest is as it always was.
  • What we all MUST understand.
    • These arrangements seem to be very restrictive and rather petty. Please understand that, not only is Covid pernicious and very unpredictable, but we are meeting in a government-owned building. Those of you who were part of the last Exhibition will remember the run-around Hettie and the committee had, with measuring screens, and pre-wrapped biscuits and other such minutiae. Well, the same people are in control once again, and they have the authority to send round inspectors who, if they find something wrong, may close us down for an indeterminate period. We HAVE to comply absolutely down to the last petty detail. You can’t mess with these people.
    • Should there be a national or provincial spike in infections, or an infection in one/some of our members, both the WEG committee and the Roosevelt Park Centre have the right to cancel meetings until it is safe to return, and even if the country is not put back into stricter lockdowns, we may still feel it prudent to keep our members safe for a time. Please accept these decisions if they have to be made.
    • This probably doesn’t need to be said, but I will say it anyway. If anyone is not well or their spouse/child/domestic worker/elderly parent who lives with you is ill, please stay away until the nature of the illness is confirmed as NOT Covid. There are many of our members in the vulnerable age group, and we need to be more considerate than we would be in a restaurant or shop. In addition, if anyone is diagnosed with Covid within ten days of a meeting, or if their spouse/child/domestic worker/elderly parent is positively diagnosed, please regard yourself as in quarantine, and let the committee and anyone you associated with on the day, know your status, so we can do the necessary quarantining, and look out for possible symptoms in ourselves in time to keep us all safe. 

Even though this is difficult, it is wonderful that we can meet should we wish to. There will be another newsletter before we meet again, and anything further that needs to be decided will be communicated to you then.

Until then, keep safe, and keep stitching.

Newsetter — March 2021

The year is rushing by. It is exactly a year since we last met over tables and with tea and chat and the library and Janice and Sue’s pop up shops, over in Roosevelt Park. We have learnt a lot – particularly about how to communicate via the internet. We have lost two dear friends, Myrna and Leone, but we have made so many more by our interactions with one another. In addition … we are just less than four months to the deadline date for our “Eye of the Needle” project. Some work has come in, and we are looking forward to what other people are doing. But it’s also true that many of us are in a rather restless place at the moment. The end of the pandemic is in sight (on a very far horizon) and we are very tired of constantly looking over our shoulder at those who are too close/not wearing masks etc. While some of us have been meeting in small groups, “the vulnerable” are still being careful, and meetings as they used to be aren’t happening yet. It’s very easy to fall into a state of ennui so I am including an interesting link to a site which tells us how to motivate ourselves to get on with those UFOs which sit in our houses just LOOKING at us! (it’s a crochet site, but the suggestions work just as well for embroidery) Here is the link:

I think we should take time to thank Danny and the committee for keeping us going over this difficult year. There have been lots of ideas, and we are all glad that this committee is continuing for another year. We will also send Helen O’Hanrahan a virtual bottle of Whiskey for cutting swathes through the jungle of our online banking ignorance. Thank you Helen, and I hope, if you have not yet managed to match donor and payment, that at least you have shown a profit.

The Saturday WhatsApp group has been going for some time, but Hilary Walker initiated and runs the “Switch on Stich on” group which includes everyone, but many of the contributions come from the Tuesday group. Hilary was also the brains behind the “Eye of the Needle” project, and she is the one who is taking herself off to Roosevelt Park every last Saturday of the month to collect our contributions, although I believe there are others who help her there. She really has been a significant player in this difficult year. When we know who they are, we will also be able to thank those who will be putting it all together. Thank you too, to Mary Lou and Merica and Robyn who have been/are keeping our Instagram page going. What an amazing display! And how good you all have been for keeping on keeping on, with lovely work, happy thoughts and altogether maintaining the spirit of the Guild. It is truly a privilege to be part of this exceptional group of people, and even more so, to serve under the exceptional leadership of our Chairlady, Danny.

So, not much else at the moment. I hope you have made the most of whatever Sales have been happening, and if any of you are getting down to charitable knitting/crocheting/sewing to help the many who are really struggling as a result of this hard year, that you may find joy in your giving, and that you don’t have to stay up TOO late to fit in the embroidery you really want to do.

Have a good month!

Newsletter — February 2021

A belated happy New Year to you all in this first, official newsletter of 2021. I hope you had a nice festive season, and that you managed to have some quality time with those closest to you. Let’s hope we are at the beginning of the end of our exile, and that face-to-face is on the horizon, even if that horizon seems to be very far away as yet. Well done to all of you for keeping things going and creating beautiful things in a time of anxiety, sadness and huge stress. You are totally awesome people!! (if this was a phone, I’d have some sickly emojis here)

Those of us who got involved in the debate on the WhatsApp group, we decided unanimously to pay our dues for this year. Many of us are paying for the privilege of belonging to other online societies, and the frieze project, if it is to become an heirloom with a long life, will need mounting using materials of top quality. That will have to be paid for. As things are going, with no other Covid curved balls, we should be able to meet again some time at least in 2022, and there will inevitably be things we need to do to make our meeting place nice again. Who knows what we will find when we open up after two or so years? Accordingly, our treasurer, Helen O’Hanrahan has sent a list detailing the amounts you need to pay and the banking details. Please let us have these as soon as possible, and put your own name as reference so we can keep track of who has paid. Any problems, please let Helen know.

The Member Fees are:

  • Under 60     R140,00
  • 60-69 R120,00
  • 70-79 R100,00
  • 80-89 R 80,00
  • 90+   Honorary

The bank details are:

Witwatersrand Embroiderers’ Guild
Absa Bank
Savings account
A/c 9362064660
Cresta 632005

Some sad news. Those of you who came on Tuesday will remember Leonie Pybus, a quiet person who was always there with something pertinent and helpful to say. Unfortunately she has lost the battle with cancer and died early on the 1st February. She was an intelligent woman and very perceptive, and often knew just the right thing to say to encourage you and enable you to see things differently. May she rest in peace. We will miss her.

Last Saturday, Hilary Walker went – in this rather grey weather – to wait at the Recreation centre to receive pieces from you for the frieze. So far we have five pieces, two from Dot Gibbons, one from Helen O’Hanrahan, and two from Mary Lou Kingaby. Not a frieze yet, but so far an awesome flag!!!! I know there are many pieces in the pipeline, so we look forward to some wonderful contributions, and ultimately a final product which will be of great artistic and historical relevance.

We look forward, this coming week, to the ONE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY of our oldest member (by about two months). We wish Helen Paton our very best, and hope she has a wonderful day, and her family will be allowed to visit her. She has, apparently, moved to Elm Park, and with this revolting Virus has had to be kept apart from the world of people who could infect her and others who live there. Should we decide to do anything as a Guild, we will certainly be told on the WhatsApp group. I am sure we are the only Guild in the world which has, (along with Helen Bird) two active 99 year old members. God willing, we’ll be the first with two centenarians.

Interim Newsletter — January 2021

I hope you all had a happy holiday season, and that you did manage to get some carefully and safely contrived time with those closest to you. The Covid Project committee has been listening to you, so they met and have changed a few things around the dates and organisation of our special project. I hope this takes the pressure off a bit, and you can enjoy what you are doing for a bit longer. Please note there is a new Covid Project WhatsApp group specifically for this.

The following are the decisions of the meeting held on January 10th, 2021

1. We will extend deadline of Covid project to 12th June 2021.

2. We would like to collect what embroideries have been completed up to this point so we have a good idea of knowing where we are going.

In addition to the collection arrangements at Buttons and Bows or at Ribbonfields, you may bring your pieces of work to:

Where :- Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre parking area.

When:- last Saturday of every month.

Time:- 14h00….

3. If some of you are struggling with what or how you could go about this,  we will help with inspiration for members who what to be part of project but don’t know where to start.

Some prompts:-

Google – thoughts, feelings, ideas, click on images –

For assistance please contact Robyn de Klerk. Robyn knows of design Apps and where to go to go to download designs etc.

Hilary is also happy to help with inspiration ideas and to assist in drawing simple designs for Guild members.

Ladies on subcommittee of “Covid 19 Lockdown Through the Eye of a Needle” are:-

Danny Wimpy

Robyn de Klerk

Jenny Langford

Hilary Walker

If in need to chat about this project etc PLEASE contact us.

I hope this helps.  There will be an official letter at the beginning of February.