Newsletter – July 2020

July is always a difficult month.  It feels as though winter is here forever, and we know that there will be at least two or three more cold snaps before things will begin growing again and we can look forward to warmth and blossoms and the hope that spring brings with it. The exponential rise in Covid 19 cases has added more gloom to this July, and it feels as though we have emigrated to a not-very-nice country where the quality of our lives is very much less than it was before and we are not sure if we aren’t some sort of refugee.  Creativity is a lifeline in times like this and we can be very grateful that we have these abilities and access to the materials of our chosen hobby.  Many medical people are working hard to get this virus under control and our prayers and happy thoughts are with them, as they are with those who are caring for the sick and those who are worried about loved ones, and those who have to return to work. 

As a result, we will probably not be meeting for quite a long time.  Everywhere you see “this virus will be with us for at least another year” and some say it will be even longer.  So it is business NOT as usual, but we are creative people and will find a way to keep our craft alive, and keep ourselves busy with it, and let us remember, people were embroidering since the Cro-Magnon days (about 30,000BC). A mere virus won’t stop this hardy, everlasting art form!  I will include a link to a very short article on the history of embroidery with the covering letter.

Our chair, Danny Wimpey has, as some of you already know, initiated and set up an Instagram page where we can display what we are doing.  In her own words:

Hi all, OK, our Instagram page is set up. Once or if you have Instagram, you can find it at @Witsembroidery. Anyone who would like to post, please send me the picture and I will put it up on the page while I sort out how to make posting more accessible for all of us. I am very excited about this. I think we should have some basic ideas about the narrative that goes with the pictures. Please give us your input. I’m thinking something like: type of work (eg blackwork, Jacobean, etc), name of the artist, a date perhaps when completed, size. Not too much but still, people can get an idea. Instagram uses hashtags to identify and classify the posts. Those we will work out over time. Please send me your pictures or let me know which ones from the group you are not keeping for the exhibition. ?? Please, no shyness or modesty. I know from my time with WEG that you are all great and super-talented. This is not the time to hide your light(s) under a bushel.

There are some lovely pieces there already – please look them up, become a follower of the page and let as many people as possible know about it.  If you have something to submit, please send the photos to Danny either on her phone, or email them.  Danny is the administrator of the page, so all entries must go through her.     

We DO exist as a Guild even though it’s in virtual space, and we will continue to do so.  In the meantime, let’s work on some REALLY OUTSTANDINGLY STUNNING pieces of art so that we can hold the

BEST VIRTUAL EMBROIDERY EXHIBITION – EVER!!!!!!!!

Regards,

Margaret

Below is the link to a short page about the history of embroidery.

https://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/4135/history-of-embroidery

Newsletter – June 2020

I hope that you have managed to keep cheerful and keep sewing, and that we have many more lovely winter days as we have had this past week. The good news is that our sewing shops all seem to be functioning either with reduced hours or online and pick up. I suggest that should you need something, phone the relevant shop first and find out what their arrangements are. I have found all their lockdown regulations on their websites and Facebook pages for level 4, but I don’t know whether or not they have changed anything for lockdown 3. Whatever they have done, I know that most of their customers are, like us, of the “vulnerable” age group and they will be managing accordingly. If not, then it is up to us to manage ourselves and take advantage of the helpful things they have put in place. Whatever the system – we can buy embroidery supplies again.

On Tuesday this last week, I took part in a wonderful Zoom meeting with those of us ladies who normally share our table on Tuesday mornings. Since it was my first attempt at hosting a Zoom meeting, we were given a little extra time. It was so great to see one another, and catch up, that we have agreed to do it again in a fortnight’s time. Zoom is ideal for small groups of 6 to 10 people, and I think we all thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s been a long time since we have seen one another. Even if we stick to the free 40 minutes, it’s amazing how much talking can get done in that time.

I would urge all of you to try and make some effort to communicate with others of the Guild, if you are not already doing so. Staying in touch with those you normally interact with on Tuesdays or Saturdays keeps our group alive, and modern technology gives us many options – Zoom, Skype, Facetime, emails, and even ordinary telephone calls. We are all in different places with this, but we can all do something.  

A day or two after that I had a letter from Danny our Chair person, and she may well communicate with you herself at some stage. It appears that it will be some time before we are able to meet again and that is worrying for the life of the Guild. I’m sure we are a tough lot and the Guild will survive, but we will try and make it easier and more pleasant if we can. Ideas are still brewing. Watch this space!

In the meantime, keep sewing. We love seeing what you have done on the FaceBook page (and for those of you who may have forgotten, it is to be found under “Jozi Stitch”) Robyn de Klerk has posted a fascinating article on Embroidery becoming a Power Player – a very worthwhile read. The WhatsApp group is also alive and well, and we are seeing lovely stuff there too.

Embroidery began long before we did, and it will still be creating beauty and keeping sewers happy long after we are gone. Covid 19 is just a hiccup. Let’s keep the flag flying – and we will fly flags done in cross-stitch, Crewel, Jacobean or whatever!

Below is a link to an article telling us why it’s a good idea to sew.

Keep warm and keep well,

Margaret

Newsletter – May 2020

I am sure you are enjoying the little window of “free time” when we are allowed to exercise each morning outside our property. I don’t think the dogs know too much about social distancing, but I am sure they, and all the under 20’s are enjoying being able to move a bit more freely. Let’s hope we see the end of this horrible virus soon so life will get back to normal.

I don’t see us getting back to meetings for another couple of months. The government is being very conservative about gatherings of any sort and many of our members are in the “vulnerable” age group and will therefore have to be that little bit more careful. However, there seems to be a lot of work going on to get a treatment for this illness, and hopefully there will be a vaccine within the next year or two. I’m sure you have all learned a lot by being separated form “normal life,” and by the looks of the WhatsApp group, there is a lot of lovely embroidery going on.

Arthur Bales sent out a notice saying they are not allowed to sell anything other than face mask materials so I suppose that means all embroidery shops are closed for the time being. I’m sure our relative stashes will keep us occupied for a while. I have discovered that Elizabeth Leather and MaryHickmottDesigns sell embroidery designs which you can download and print on your computer if you are short of inspiration. Trish Burr has some free patterns available to download if you want something fairly straightforward to do. Pinterest, Inspirations magazine and Etsy also
have a lot to tempt you or at least give you ideas. I daresay you all have resources of your own which are keeping you busy. (I was wondering if we couldn’t place online orders with Janice Savage and Sue Clegg, and get them delivered in polystyrene containers under the title of “Food for the Soul”. They will be quite cold and therefore not breaking any rules. We can dream!!!)

Please look after yourselves. Now that Lockdown is easing up a bit, it’s tempting to be a bit more casual with the regulations. However the disease is still out there, and if you are one of the people who might get it badly, it’s really horrible.

I got this “periodic table of sewing” from a website called “www.sewfunny.com”. If any of you suffered with chemistry at school you might find it amusing and very clever. The site as a whole is mostly for quilters, but it does have quite a bit of embroidery humour too.

Sewfunny.com image originally from scientificseamstress.com

Newsletter – April 2020

I hope that you have all developed some sort of sanity-saving routine for these days. Many, I am sure, have put the time to good use and created some beautiful embroidery and other things. Some of the pictures sent I have reproduced at the end of this letter. (spread through this post in the online version)

This from Jenni Langford

Some interesting developments – Jenni Langford has re-discovered our FaceBook page. It’s called Jozi Stitch and I think will be useful platform for sharing pictures of what we have achieved, and news about other embroidery things. I know we looked at it for advertising purposes, but no one seems to know who the administrator is. I know Jenny Shippey’s son
came up with the name and was responsible for quite a bit of our online stuff, but it may be useful to scrape of the rust and get this and other things back in service. If anyone knows about this, and where it all came from, please let me/us know, so that proper controls and organisation can be put in place.

This from Gaye Neille

Secondly, I would remind you that Wendy updated the membership lists last October and sent it to all of you. Should you wish to contact someone or to express congratulations/condolences/where–have-you-been messages, please use that list to contact them. No everyone wants their business known to all and sundry, and posting such matters on public places like FaceBook or WhatsApp groups is for THEM to decide, not wellmeaning
but misguided members of the Guild. Which leads me to the next issue – TARA……….

This from Amina Ismail

Thirdly, Hilary Walker has been given the go-ahead to set up a WhatsApp group for the whole guild. This is a very useful way to keep in contact and to get out mini-messages which need to be communicated immediately. HOWEVER!!!!!!!!!! No is obliged to be on the group, and you may exit the group if you wish. HOWEVER NUMBER TWO!!!!!!!!!!!! Please be disciplined and mature about your use of it. If you want to post pictures and motivational articles and funny stories, please use the FaceBook page for that. If you start a long chat about something and people’s phones are ‘pinging’ like a faulty heart monitor when they are in the bank, in church, at the doctor’s or in the cinema, then all that is going to happen is that they will exit the group and it will become a pointless exercise. Something of this sort has happened on the Saturday group, with the result it is now the exclusive domain of about 10 people. WE ARE SENSIBLE, GROWN UP PEOPLE WHO ARE VERY CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS and we know how to behave ourselves. We know that members of the Guild are wonderful people, Everyone is kind and no one means to be a nuisance, but sometimes we are a bit impulsive. Please know we are NOT going to check up on you like a lot of naughty children, but it would be a crying shame if we have to abandon this useful bit of technology because it’s not very user-friendly.

This from Robyn de Klerk

Apart from that – we don’t know yet when lockdown will be lifted and we can meet again. Let’s keep cheerful and busy, and creative, and I’m sure it will all be resolved one day. Keep healthy too, and don’t take chances. You are precious people and no one needs this very nasty virus.

Happy birthday to those who are celebrating this month. We have had two “virtual” birthday parties in my family. It’s not the same, but is something of a life-saver when we can’t physically meet. And NO ONE wants to get or give this virus.

COVID-19 — all meetings cancelled

Dear All,

A message from Danny. Until we know a bit more about this Covid 19 virus, ALL EMBROIDERY MEETINGS ARE CANCELLED – SATURDAY AND TUESDAY. Please will you let those who are NOT on email know about this so they don’t turn up and find no one there.

As soon as we know more, we’ll let you know, and we will also tell you when meetings will resume.

In the meantime, catch up with all those UFOs you can never find time for, watch movies on TV, and enjoy the clean, traffic-free air.

Keep safe, and may your supply of soap never run out!

Margaret

Newsletter — March 2020

Dear All,

Thank you all for waiting an extra week.  We have exciting news from our AGM and a committee which will take us into the rest of the year.

Three main points of interest from the AGM.  Firstly, Toni Olivier came and spoke to us about the progress of Ighali.  She is waiting for the final details from some of the teachers, then we will have a firm agenda and we can open it up to registration.  The only slight concern at the moment is money! If we get all 120 places taken up, we’ll break even, but there is very little slack, and any donations, fund-raising efforts on your part or other forms of getting in funds will be most welcome (and please don’t come with any more ideas unless you are prepared to carry them out.  We have had a plethora of ideas, suggestions, advice and instructions.  We need people to DO things.) Any amount is welcome.

Secondly, you will be glad to know that the charge for tea will not be raised.  It is still R2.50 per day – R10.00 per month for Tuesdays, R5.00 per month for Saturdays, and you have the option of paying in advance for the whole year.

Thirdly, there will be NO exhibition this year.  All our extra efforts will go into supporting Ighali and encouraging people to attend that instead. 

We are VERY grateful that the Guild has always had a committee of dedicated hard-working people who have carried our interests forward.  We welcome the committee of 2020 and assure them of our love and support, and look forward to an interesting year.

Our committee for this year is as follows:

  • Chair: Danny Wimpey (new on the committee)
  • Secretary: Hettie Moller
  • Treasurer: Helen O’Hanrahan (back on the committee after some years)
  • Tea: Sue Sylvester
  • Library: Agness Janse van Rensburg, with Diane Walker helping on Saturdays
  • Sales Table: Jenny Henning (new on the committee)
  • Saturday Rep: Fatima Bhaba (back on the committee after a few years)
  • Workshops: Carol Robinson, with Jenni Langford on Saturdays as before.

Danny, our Chair, has asked me to send a brief biography since she is relatively new to the Guild, and has probably not met most of the Saturday members. I think you’ll agree she has a most impressive background, and will serve us well.  Welcome Danny!

All the best for 2020, and Happy Sewing!

FROM DANNY:

As you may know by now, I was elected Chairperson of the Guild at the 2020 AGM. Many of you do not know me so to make things easier here is a brief bio.

I have just turned 60 and am semi-retired, although as often is the case, am busier now rather than less so. I live with my husband, 2 of my children and several cats, dogs, and parrots, in Parktown North. I am Jhb born and bred, grew up in Parkview, and attended Parkview Senior and Parktown Girls. I studied law at Wits and was admitted as an attorney in 1985. After practicing privately as a lawyer for 9 years I was headhunted to UJ to run the UJ/Alexandra Law Clinic, which I did for 14 years. After leaving UJ in 2007, I worked at FNB for some years before resigning to start working in another direction: writing and fundraising. I have been doing that since 2011. I work part time for several NGOs as a fundraiser as well as writing for PR clients and doing some editing and proofreading.

I love to exercise, walk and do Pilates regularly. I am also a member of a knitting group: St Francis Knitters. We knit baby things for The Baby Box, a project which delivers to new mums in several government hospitals in South Africa. I am a keen cook, reader and gardener. I also do a bit of  machine sewing but not as much as I would like.

I am looking forward to this year and hope to serve you all to the best of my ability. Please feel free to contact me, or chat to me about anything.

Best wishes, Danny Wimpey

Newsletter — February 2020

A very Happy New Embroidery Year to you all!  I hope the holiday was happy, with lots of friends and family and also time to do a bit of stitching.  Welcome back, and welcome too to those who are new, and also to those who are just “trying it out.” We hope you are very happy with us.  We love having you!

We are beginning with a workshop ALREADY!  Carol Robinson is teaching us about silk embroidery, both threads and material. The details are as follows:

On Tuesday in February we will be doing a class in Silk Thread embroidery on Silk fabric.

The design is a sampler of various common stitches designed to give the embroiderer an opportunity to learn how to condition thread and to learn how to work with silk.  It will be a small class.

I presume this class is already full, but you may want to speak to Carol and get your name down for a further class later on in the year. Please send her an SMS message or WhatsApp if you would like to know more.

The major concern at the moment is the AGM which will be held in March.  We need people to stand on the committee.  There is NO exhibition this year, so it is not a stressful “baptism of fire.”  We really need someone with a bit of bookkeeping knowledge to be our treasurer, and we need someone to manage the teas, one for Saturday and one for Tuesday, we would like a secretary as well if anyone is willing.  Please think about it and let Hettie know.

Just a brief reminder about the annual membership fees.  If you haven’t already paid, please do so, and also tea money is due.  Either R10 per month for Tuesday or R5 per month for Saturdays.  You may like to pay your tea money up front for the whole year.

Enjoy your embroidery, and also enjoy the bit of history you will find in the insert. (https://pioneerthinking.com/crafts)

Regards,

Margaret

Pre-newsletter — January 2020

Dear All,

This is not an official newsletter – that will be coming in February.  But I just want to remind you that MEETINGS ARE BEGINNING AGAIN IN THE COMING WEEK!!!

Our first Tuesday meeting is on the 14th, and the Cordelia arranged that the Saturday ladies can have an extra meeting this month, so we will be meeting on the 18th.

I hope you have had a calm and happy festive season.  I know Cordelia has had a hip replacement and she is doing well.  I believe Hettie has had cataracts removed from her eyes, and we wish them both, (and anyone else who has had health issues), well and may their troubles all be behind them.

Sewn pouch for baby animals orphaned in the Australian bush fires

You have all been made aware of the devastating bush fires in Australia, and I hope that if any of you have children or other family members who emigrated there, that they are all OK and that they haven’t lost anything is this travesty.  Many little animals have not been that lucky, and animals indigenous to Australia, most notably koala bears and kangaroos have been seriously affected, huge numbers have perished in the fires, and there are a lot of little ones who are struggling with injuries and the loss of their parents.  Arthur Bales has sent out a FaceBook post offering to take pouches for orphaned baby kangaroos (called Joeys) and if any of you have got bits of cotton or flanalette lying around, you might like to make some and get them to the shop, and Arthur Bales will send them to Australia.  They will be sending a consignment on the next three Fridays, the 17th, the 24th and the 31st.   I’m including the pattern in this letter (see link below to download the PDF).  We can fit this in before the Mandela Day jerseys have to be started!

Love to you all, and have a wonderful year.

Margaret

Click here to download the PDF pattern for the pouches.

Newsletter — December 2019

The last letter of this year comes during yet another heatwave. What better excuse than to sit inside with a glass of something with lots of ice and our embroidery? I hope you are all looking after yourselves in this weather.

We had a wonderful party – at Carvers again. They really did us proud, and music was provided once again by Basil Walker and he also brought a singer, his friend Henry Coppen to add to our enjoyment.

We would like to thank everyone who has made our year such a pleasant one. The centre itself is well-run by Ina and we are kept clean and tidy by the ministrations of Ida, and our cars looked after by the various security guards. The Committee under Hettie Moller has kept us well organised. We have had wonderful workshops under Carol Robinson and Jenni Langford, and Jenni has asked me to pass on the following to you:

To all students and teachers, thank you for your participation.

I don’t know about you but I have learned a lot, I have also been encouraged by your enthusiasm and participation. My embroidery skills have been challenged and in my research I have learnt a lot about the history of the different techniques.

The work produced by the students have been excellent – well done to all of you.

My motto is, “try and see if you like it” some have gone on to do more and some only the class sample.

Thank you too, to those members who assisted them both and taught us so much.

Janis Savage has brought to our attention that DMC has, because of EU regulations, changed the chemicals used in some of the colours of their embroidery cottons, with the result that there are slight differences in some of their shades. The changed colours are now indicated on the colour chart which she has, and she asks you please to check when buying more of any skeins that you need to complete an article, that you check with her (or whoever you are buying from) to make sure that you are able to match what you had with what you now are able to buy. I have heard from other merchants that these chemicals are outlawed across the board, and that ALL brands of thread are affected, including some of our local ones. I haven’t been able to ascertain to what extent this is true, but I suggest that you check with any new thread you buy, and make sure you get enough to finish your piece. Who knows what other changes will be made?

The Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre is closing on the 6th December, and that means the Saturday group has had their last meeting for this year, and the Tuesday group has its last meeting on Tuesday 3rd December. It re-opens next year on the 13th January, so the first meeting of the year is on Tuesday 14th January. Cordelia Robinson has once again worked her magic, and the Saturday group will be getting an extra day in January. We are holding meetings on both Saturday the 18th and Saturday the 25th of January.

There will be no newsletter in January, so please note the dates given above, and let me also remind you that the New Year is also the time to pay our annual dues. If you have forgotten, they are as follows:

60 years of age and under – R140

60-69 years – R120

70-79 years – R100

80-89 years – R80.

90 years + – free

The costs of tea will be the same as they were this year to start off with – any change will be decided at the AGM.

If any of you are able to serve on the committee during 2020 (and beyond if possible) please let us know. It is not an onerous job, but it does need some dedication and a willingness to see things through. There are several people whose term is up and they have to stand down, and there are vacancies on the committee which must be filled. Embroidery people are VERY NICE PEOPLE indeed and you will enjoy your year. Please let Hettie Moller know – and if you can decide to take the plunge before Christmas, that will be the very present she could possibly have!

2020 will be our Ighali year. We need funds to make it an awesome event. Toni Olivier has gone to a great deal of effort to raise funds, and she has organised a fun afternoon. Details are as follows:

A Barnyard Silverstar Fund Raiser (to raise funds for the Ighali embroidery conference) is on Sunday 8 December @ 14h00. Tickets are R150 pp. The show is 101 Radio Hits. Everyone is welcome & I’d appreciate your support. RSVP & payments asap please so I can fill all 56 seats. Thx a mill ladies.

Please go if you possible can, and take friends with you.

In the New Year there will be flyers which you will be asked to help us distribute, and we will all be asked to help as much as possible. In the meantime, let as many of your craft and handwork friends know. We’d love to have a full house.

In the meantime, have a wonderful Festive Season. Travel safely, enjoy time with family and friends, and have plenty to tell and to show by January 2020.

Newsletter — November 2019

I cannot believe there is only one more newsletter for this year after this one. Where has the time gone? I hope you all have lots of completed work to look at so that, you can see that you have achieved something worthwhile and that this year has been a productive one at least as far as embroidery goes.

I am sure we have all longed to pack it in and head for the wild blue yonder at some stage. Most of us never get there, but our erstwhile treasurer, Wendy Hutton and her husband Brian are doing just that. They are spending the next three months in the USA catching up with family, then back in South Africa they are going to travel in their newly acquired caravan and get to see things we don’t even read about in travel magazines. Thank you, Wendy for your sterling work over the last number of years on our committee. We are going to miss you greatly, but we don’t begrudge you the time for yourself at all. We all hope it will be better than your wildest dreams.

Now back to business. Carol Robinson has designed a fun project for us to do which will be completed in one lesson. It’s a key tag, but I’m sure you creative people will be able to do many things with it – Christmas tree decorations, earrings – (exotic ones, admittedly), handbag accessories, and many other things. It is designed to be fun, and the Guild is sponsoring this one. Carol’s instructions are as follows, and the final result in the picture.

This project is designed to be completed during the morning or afternoon meeting. Tuesday 19th November and Saturday 9th November. The perle cotton (8 and 5), wooden bead, gold thread and gold beads are included in the kits. Each lady is to please bring : tapestry needles – size 22/24/26 (embroidery needle with large eye can also work), a needle threader if they use one and normal scissors. If you haven’t yet put your name down to do the project and would like to do it, please contact Carol Robinson as soon as possible.

Samples of the key tags.