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.

Newsletter — November 2020

I do apologise for not having sent this out last week. A dose of Lockdown-itis affected the way I read the calendar. However, this has given us a new opportunity to get some embroidery stock. 

I know there are some who are doing really well on their Covid Frieze project – this is so exciting! We look forward to the final work of art. Many people are designing their own pieces, but I know there are some whose skill lies in execution rather than in design, in which case some of our most celebrated teachers and producers will be showcased in this rather special way. 

We are still working in isolation, and it has to be that way at the moment. How lucky we are to be able to keep ourselves busy with our craft! Danny has been in contact with Ingrid Meyer ( who has decided to close her shop and she has the following items for sale. Please contact her directly – this not a Guild project, but we are trying to give her a market for her stock. Details are in at the bottom of the list. 


  1. DMC stranded skeins ( full range of numbers)  @ R 6 .00 a skein
  2. DMC Perle in No. 5,8,12 ( limited numbers)  @R 20.00 a ball 


  1. Aida  8ct. 110 cm wide  R 120.00 p.m.
  2. Linda 27ct. 140 Cm wide R 140.00 p.m. 
  3. Yellow even weave  25ct. R 140.00P.m.
  4. Hunters green even weave 27 ct. 140 cm. wide R 130.00 p.m. 
  5. Dark Green even weave  32ct. 140 cm wide R 150.00 p.m. 
  6. Dark beige even weave 17ct. 140cm wide R 140 .00 pm. 
  7. Aida white / beige 110 cm wide R 150.00 p.m.
  8. Vinyl Aida 14ct. 78cm. wide R 200.00 p.m. ( it is for making 
  9. magnets, etc, craft cross stitch

To end with, I am including an episode from the series “Rosemary and Thyme” which you may remember aired a few years ago. In this one, embroidery features (a small role, but an important one). Enjoy!

Covid19 Lockdown Through the Eye of a Needle — 1 month to go

*** The deadline is 26 June 2021 ***

*** CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE SUBMISSION FORM that must accompany your embroidery when you hand it in ***

*** This project is open to all hand embroiderers living in South Africa ***

Please join us in the nationwide collective project which will displayed at Ighali (the biannual South African embroidery festival) in August 2021.

Download the Information Sheet and required Registration Form by clicking the image below.

Newsletter — October 2020

Not a lot of news this month. We have discovered that it will not be practical or wise to return to meetings at the Recreation Centre for the present, so we are creating ourselves as the best online embroidery Guild there is. Please keep your photos of your masterpieces coming to Robyn, Merica or Mary Lou, for the Instagram page and Hilary is still doing a remarkable job of managing the WhatsApp group. We have a facebook page as well, so we are really OUT THERE.

The committee has formalised the Covid project, and the flyer which the members designed can be downloaded. Please advertise this amongst all your embroidery friends, put copies in any shop near you that looks remotely like it sells needlework amongst its crafts. Many crafty people do more than one thing, so getting our flyer there is an important part of publicity. 

Also, the committee has decided to keep the collection of our “Through the Eye of a Needle” Covid projects as we originally said. Please deliver them to either “Ribbon Fields” or “Buttons and Bows.” It would be helpful if you notify the Guild when you have delivered something there, so we can fetch it sooner rather than later. You may of course keep your work with you and submit it early next year nearer the deadline. By then hopefully movement will be a bit easier, and being mid-summer, will mean more of us are confident going out.  Other than that, keep on sewing! And keep on enjoying what you are doing.

Embroidery — going global since 1804

From about 1804 until 1844, schoolgirls at Westtown School, a boarding school in Pennsylvania established by Quakers in 1799, embroidered globes, both terrestrial and celestial. Used to teach geography in the early decades of the nineteenth century, real globes were expensive; thus, a stitched globe was an economical way for a young girl not only to learn her lessons but to practice her needlework.
When you’ve finished your piece for the Covid-19 Through the Eye of a Needle project, the patterns for embroidery designer Nancy Nehring’s globe can be downloaded, free for personal use, from PieceWork Magazine’s website. Photo by Joe Coca.

Newsletter — September 2020

Spring has sprung, and after a chilly few days at the beginning of the month, the weather is beautiful.  Now for the rain!

Since the last newsletter we said goodbye to our friend and Witwatersrand Embroidery Guild matriarch, Myrna Vandam.  We will become really aware of our loss once we are able to meet again, whenever that will be.  Her good humour, her interest in everything that was going on around her, her willingness to help anyone who asked, and most of all, her incredible skill in giving expression to the most wonderful pieces of embroidery art, are things we will always cherish.  Unfortunately we were unable to be at her funeral, but we remember her with great fondness and our thoughts go out to Ron and the other members of her family.  

The Covid Frieze is still going ahead.  The Committee has taken over the running of it since it belongs to the whole Guild and not just to a few of us, and a sub-committee will be duly put in place to run it on behalf of all of the members.  The name of the project has been decided by the WEG committee and is as follows:  

Covid19 lockdown: Through the 👁 of a needle 

Should you have completed any piece and would like to hand it in, you may still do at the shops mentioned in the original information, and I will make sure they are picked up.  Otherwise just hang on to them for the time being and the Frieze committee will let you know their new arrangements.  Please don’t forget to put your name and the initials of the Guild on it, and if you have used a pattern from a designer, please include that on your work – “Mary Jones Designer”  or if you have borrowed some ideas and parts of another design, please acknowledge that too – “Influenced by Mary Jones”  We depend of these designers for our art, and they need to make a living too.  Please extend them this courtesy.

A request has come from some members of the Guild, particularly now that we are in level 2.  While most of us are in lockdown, there are others who are working – some back at the office and others still from home.  Should you wish to speak with anyone, please send them a WhatsApp or sms and ask when it is convenient to phone.  Often Zoom and other meetings are taking place and it’s very awkward to have to reject a call or to have to tell someone to phone later. I’m sure it’s something you have never thought about, and you will be considerate of those who are employed. Otherwise we still have the WhatsApp group where ideas and information are freely shared.  

Please keep you photos coming in. Robyn de Klerk has taken over the job of managing the Instagram page, and there are some wonderful works, completed and still in progress, featured there.  It’s a good advert for our Guild, so please keep sending them.

Finally, Danny has asked me to include the following two messages from Ina at the Centre, and pertinent considerations about re-opening.

Dear members,

We have been receiving messages from Ina at the Rec Centre about the reopening process. I will duplicate the last two here:

The last one:

Good Morning Everyone, still no news, I will notify you on this chat the moment we are allowed to open. Please don’t get your hopes up by listening to gossip from groups at other centres. That will just lead to frustration and disappointment. The staff will do the Covid course next week and that will put us on the path to re-opening. Kind Regards Ina.

And the second last one:

Good Afternoon Everyone, we are closed again. OHASA did inspections at 2 Rec Centres and our Manager Annette Volschenk realized that none of the Centres complies.  
I will keep you up to date of any changes. 
Look after yourself and be safe.

I have had some discussions with various members, informally, about the situation and the possibility of reopening. I know we are all anxious to get back to ‘normal’ whatever that may be. However, I think we need to be realistic. Almost all of us are in the high risk age category, and many of us have co-morbidities. This makes us vulnerable to a bad outcome if we do become infected with COVID. 

In addition, we would be responsible for safety protocols, sanitising, checking temperatures, keeping records etc. just as is required when you go anywhere. The Guild would have that responsibility as the council has no resources…That will mean money, as well as time and action by committee members themselves in a high-risk category.

Then there is the question of the hall. We have to sit, masks on, at least 1.5 metres apart – is that even feasible? Additionally, we would have to sanitise the hall before and after the meetings, make sure the tea and coffee etc, cakes and so on, is all safe. 

I really don’t think it’s doable for us.

I am terribly sorry, but right now we need to think sensibly, and long-term, for the health of our members. We are of course reassessing as we get information. We will let you know if anything changes, and if we have a time-frame for reopening the meetings. In the meantime, I encourage everyone to keep in contact via the WhatsApp group, and with your table, or in ZOOM or Google Meet meetings. And keep stitching.

Warm regards,


Have a wonderful month, and let’s keep on with the work we are doing.

Newsletter — August 2020

I would like to begin this month by saying thank you to all of you for being such wonderful, supportive people. The Instagram page is looking lovely – quite festive – with all the super things you have been making over the years.  We really did celebrate International Embroidery Day.  Now to think of something special to do next year ;-). Thank you too, for your support, virtual and actual of one another.  I know there is a lot of building up and helping those of our members who are struggling one way or another, and you have really done what you could under the limitations we are living with at present.  You are a lovely group of people.

A few of us have been meeting every fortnight on Zoom and we were thinking that actually, living through this pandemic with its new demands and challenges is something of a once in a lifetime event.  Even if we will have other pandemics, (and there are plenty of pessimists who seem to think so), this is the first time in 100 years that we have lived through something which has affected us as globally as this one.  Values have completely changed, and our perception of strong nations and weak nations has been turned upside down.  Weaknesses in our society have been exposed, and the strength and endurance of the human spirit has been expressed in some wonderful ways.  We felt that living through this needs to be given some sort of expression, and that we need to mark it in some way.  Accordingly, we have come up with the following:

Lockdown Project — open to all

We would like everyone who does embroidery (and we are not limiting it to this group only) to contribute to creating a small piece of embroidery which our Zoom group will put together in a frieze which will be exhibited at Ighali, when we hold it next year.  We will then look for other places to exhibit it, and hopefully find a permanent home for it where it will speak to those who have lived through it, or to those who come after us, for some time.  Eventually the “pandemic” character will fade from memory, but then, we want a piece of art which will speak of our craft for years to come. I hope you can catch the vision too, and will want to be part of this.

This is what we are looking for:

  • The General heading – at the moment– we can tweak this later:  “2020 – The View From the Inside.  Experiencing  Pandemic”
  • Each member produce one piece of embroidery which expresses her experiences of this period in our lives.  
  • The material should be a light coloured even weave (white is preferred, but we are aware that people may not have this in their stash).  
  • It can be either linen or cotton as long as it is of fairly good, durable quality.  “Threads” have some good quality stuff, (open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday 10h00 – 12h00) some of it still old stock at a reasonable price, but you don’t have to buy anything if you already have something that will do.  Should anyone have absolutely nothing in their stash, Danny has said her son and/or husband are willing to buy what you need and deliver it to you if you are unwilling to travel (thank you so much Danny!).  However, ordinary fabric is absolutely fine.  We cannot use canvas of any sort, and Aida is difficult to fold and attach to something else, so PLEASE don’t use those.  They are also too heavy in comparison with most other material. 
  •  Each piece needs to be 25 centimetres high by as long as you want it, up to 80 cm long, with an extra 2 cm border all round so we can sew it onto the holding fabric. You can make it a small square, or you could make it anything up to 0.8 metre in length.  The HEIGHT is important (25 cm), because it needs to match its neighbours.  You may also fit in more than one piece –  like four bookmarks in a row, or six miniatures on your piece if you want to, as long as the finished product is within 25 cm in height. You are asked to mark the boundaries of your picture, either as an embroidered frame around your work, or to tack where the picture ends so we can centre it properly when mounting it. The frieze will look something like this:
Each block represents one piece of work. We hope to have enough pieces to need three rows of frieze, so please join in this project if you can.
  • Any depiction of your experiences of this pandemic is valid.  Any embroidery stitch or technique, any subject matter, internal and abstract, or a picture of a scene, or a tribute to medical staff, any additions such as sequins or beads, ANYTHING that expresses your experience and conveys it to the public.  You may submit up to five pieces, and each piece must have your name (or artistic identity) and the initials of your organisation embroidered in small letters at the bottom right of your piece.  You want to your admirers to know where your work is, and for this to be recognised by those who come after you!  As they come in, we will display them on our Instagram page.
  • We would love it if Thusani or any other upliftment group can be included.  It’s important that all sectors of the population can be represented. Any other embroidery group you belong to would be very welcome to participate, and if your great-great granny is keen, or your great granddaughter’s Brownie group would like to be part of this, please let them! 
  • The time limit for this is by the 15thJanuary next year.  That allows us to work at piecing it together while it’s summer and we can work in the open air with suitable distancing if we are still in lockdown.  Hopefully, by then things will be a little more under control. 
  • When you finish your piece(s), since we are not meeting at the moment, you can submit them in one of three ways.  
  1. Deliver it to “Ribbon Fields” embroidery shop, which is situated at 14 Pierre Road, Bordeaux in Randburg.  At the moment hours are 10h00 – 12h00 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, but Sue Clegg says she is considering opening on Saturdays too. Give her a call 082 338 4312.
  2. Deliver it to “Buttons and Bows”  at shop 31B Cramerview village, 277 Main Road, Bryanston. They are open Monday to Friday 09h00 to 14h00, and Saturday 09h00 to 13h00 (the shop is at the back of the centre).
  3. Send it to Postnet Victory Park, and make sure the recipient is marked “Margaret 082 880 9229” and they will phone me and I can pick it up. (Just make sure the Postnet you send it FROM is reliable.  I have had very mixed experiences, which is why Victory Park is the one I use.)
  • Advertise this to everyone you can think of. I will be sending something that can be printed out as a flyer so you can advertise it along with these instructions to your WhatsApp group, your local Spar or wherever Lockdown allows you to go.  And START SEWING!

We are really looking forward to what you will produce, and we hope to have something really special!