Meetings back at the Rec Centre from January 2023

And an update on the market on this coming Saturday, 29th October

I am very happy to be able to write to you with so much good news. I know some of you will have heard already, via the WhatsApp group, but for those that are not on the group here goes:

  • The first and most important thing is that we have arranged with Ina to reopen meetings at the Recreation Centre, from January 2023. The first meeting of the year will be on Tuesday the 10th January, 2023, from 9am to 12 midday. The first Saturday meeting will be on the 14th January 2023, from 1pm to 4pm. The Guild Committee will do the tea for the first meeting and we will be encouraging people to sign up to provide the eats for tea, as before. 

Please start planning what you will be sewing, and come back to us!

We have had long, difficult discussions about costs, teas and subscriptions etc. The outcome of these discussions is the following:

  1. We will no longer collect separately for tea and subs. These will be amalgamated into a membership fee of R300 per year, payable by the end of February 2023.
  2. We have obtained a Yoco machine which will allow us to take payments using debit cards. We are still trying to establish if credit cards can be used and will let you know once we hear back from Yoco.
  3. We would very much like to limit the collection of cash at meetings, but of course, if this is your preferred way, we will take your money! However, I feel sure that most members would prefer the convenience of paying by card.
  4. There will not be any different charges for various age groups etc. other than for those over 90, who will be exempt from paying anything.
  5. Payments for Workshops and any other transactions, will need to be made separately. In that vein, we have some exciting plans for future workshops, but more about that later.
Market
  • Secondly, and I hope all of you know, we are having our inaugural Market this Saturday at the Trinity Methodist Church, 5thAvenue, Linden. This market is a chance for all of us to reconnect, so please wear your badges.

Some members are manning stash-busting stalls and there are several other stalls including jewellery, soap and bath goodies, baking kits, bric a brac, Christmas goodies, smocking and cross stitch. Helen Bird is selling her books of poetry and we have pancakes, hot dogs, tea and biscuits as well as cooldrinks on sale. There will be a display of the Covid Frieze, which Jenni Langford has put together magnificently, as well as other displays of work. Please take a Covid Frieze selfie as a reminder of your contribution/s.

Helen O’Hanrahan has been working tirelessly on the market, despite having an injury to her back, and I am sure it will be a great success. It will be fun no matter what and we have already learnt so much that we can be put to use in the future.

If you are happy to lend us some work for the display, we are at the church on Friday afternoon from 4pm and Saturday morning from 7am, for drop-offs. Please do bring things, we have people on duty to guard them and it will be wonderful to show off the skills in the Guild. I am running a White Elephant to raise funds for the Guild funds, so if you have anything to donate, please feel free to bring it along on Saturday (or Friday afternoon). Anything not sold will be donated to charity.

There is a R10 entrance fee. We will add this to the Guild coffers as well.

We hope to see you all there.

Warm regards,

Danny Wimpey
Chair:
WITWATERSRAND EMBROIDERERS’ GUILD

Newsletter — October 2022

Just a short letter this time, but still an important one. 

Firstly, about when we can meet again. As yet, nothing firm, but things are looking promising. The Roosevelt Park Recreation centre seems to be grinding along to finishing their renovations, but no definite date yet. The committee are investigating another venue, but there are still a few things to be managed. We’ll let you know as soon as we have definite confirmation. It will be wonderful to meet as a Guild again.

The other BIG NEWS is that our market is going ahead. On the 29th October our Craft Market will be held, at the Trinity Methodist Church in Linden, corner 5th Street and 5th Avenue (bordering on Montroux – about half a Kilometre away from Arthur Bales, and round the corner from the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre). It will run between 09h00 and 15h00, and you are invited to come and spend, spend, spend, and if you don’t want to add to your stash (but we bet you won’t be able to resist it,) there will be all sorts of things to eat. I have attached the flyer (see image below, or download here). Please send it on email to EVERYONE, copy it on to your social media, and print out copies and give to your book club, your bridge club members, and you relatives. Make more copies and put some in each of your favourite shops. 

One of the BIG ATTRACTONS will be the first ever display of our Covid “Through the Eye of the Needle” frieze. Jenni Langford has put it together beautifully, and we thank Robyn de Klerk (as she was then), Louise von Glehn, Lynn Puttick and Hilary Walker for their input. It is looking totally stunning!!!!!!!! Thank you to those of you who contributed to the making of it. I have added a mini-flyer for that as well, which you can also print, send, copy etc, and perhaps staple it to the main flyer (see image below, or download here). Drag your family along to look at that if nothing else, and if they don’t want to come, I suggest you go on kitchen strike for a month! That’s all for this month. See you before the next newsletter.

Embroiderers' Guild Market at Trinity Methodist Church flyer
Share this flyer with your friends — download it, share on social media, email it, anything and everything.
The first displaying of the "Through the Eye of the Needle" Covid lockdown frieze

Newsletter — July 2022

Now that we are past the shortest day of the year, we can begin to look forward to Spring and new things. and what exciting things we have in store!

Firstly, WE ARE MEETING AGAIN!! It’s official. Beginning this Tuesday, we have been given permission to meet at St Martin’s In-the-Veld church in their smaller hall, called the Parish Room. We will be meeting on the first and third Tuesday mornings of the month beginning in two day’s time, on the 5th July, and on the second Saturday MORNING of the month beginning on the 9th July. This is not a long term arrangement. The church is a busy one, and they are helping us out at no charge as part of their social efforts to help communities rather bruised from the Covid experience, but it will only be in the short term. The committee are busy investigating some more permanent possibilities, but in the meantime, we are meeting at this venue which is fairly central to all our members, and we can become a Guild again. 

The address of the church is the corner of Eastwood Road and Cradock Avenue in Dunkeld. Cradock Avenue, which runs parallel to Oxford Road, is where you go in. There are two gates in Cradock Avenue, you go in in at the LEFT hand gate and park in the grounds. The right hand gate is the exit and you may meet someone head-on if you try to go in there. 

The Tuesday meeting is at 10h30 and finishes at 12h30 at the latest. There is a service earlier in the morning, and the ladies have tea in “our” room afterwards. They usually finish at around 10h15, but we have been asked to respect their space and not go into the hall before 10h30. We will bring our own tea/coffee/milk/sugar and, while they said we can use their cups and saucers, I think it unfair to expect their staff to wash up and tidy after us when we are not paying anything towards their service, so please, as other groups in the church do, bring your own cup and spoon and take it home with you afterwards. The Saturday group will be meeting at 09h30 and finishing at 11h30 at the latest. On Saturday, the church’s craft and knitting group will be meeting in the hall, and you are welcome to look at what they do, and I have said they can come and see what you are doing. 

Since we are using their premises, the committee decided that some form of donation to the church would be the decent thing to do. You can bring a cash donation or you can bring any knitted blankets, beanies, jerseys or baby clothes that you have made, and we can give to their knitting group to be distributed amongst their charities. Failing that, you can also bring some knitting yarn or bits of material for them to use in their own making of things. 

Finally on this topic, you WILL be required to show your Covid vaccination certificate the first time you return. We will note it on the register, and you don’t need to bring it again unless any new venue we will find demands it. Unfortunately the committee is unanimous on this issue – no certificate, no admission. Covid has not gone away, we are just not testing any more, and we are people of a vulnerable age and our society is totally freed us from protective practices. We are not prepared either to expose a non-vaccinated person to serious illness, or unnecessarily spread this virus. Masks are at your own discretion, but the hall’s windows and doors will be open. 

As regards FEES for this year, we have decided to make it one flat fee of R50 for the rest of the year. Please bring that with you to one of the meetings. The fee structure for next year will be a little different from before – much more user-friendly, and not expensive.  

Secondly, the Flag project is going ahead. Danny has been extremely busy sourcing material, and Jenni likewise has been looking at threads. It’s going to be very effective, and it really puts our Guild on the map. However, we need more people who are willing to be part of this. Some of you have been unnaturally coy about your talents. No one is expecting machine embroidery perfection, so please let’s have some volunteers.

Thirdly, the committee has decided that instead of an end of year party this year, we will hold a come-and-sell-craft day. Anything you make, from jams to jerseys to duvet covers to embroidered tray-cloths, will be acceptable. There will also be the opportunity to sell those craft materials we no longer want to use, so you can make space in your home, and earn money for it. It will be on an individual table basis – you will be able to book a table, possibly for a fee, and you set up your stuff. The pricing system, we’ll let you know later. WE WILL ALSO SEE OUR COVID FRIEZE which will be on display. More details about that later.

Finally, the Keiskamma Trust will be displaying some of their magnificent work later on this year on Heritage Day, 24th September, at the Constitutional Court. Mark the date in your calendar. This is not something to be missed. 

That’s all for now – a very full and exciting time ahead. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday/Saturday, and let’s hope this is the beginning of a new era in our Guild. Like everything else, these two years have changed a lot of things, and we may have to think seriously about attracting new members, about passing on our skills to a younger generation, and about taking our work seriously once more. 

I want to end with a poem by Mary Oliver. I think it may resonate with where we are now.

“I Worried”

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,
hopeless.

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.”

― Mary Oliver, Swan: Poems and Prose Poems

Newsletter — June 2022

This letter is a week late, but I decided to wait until we had our committee meeting (the first full meeting in about a year) and I could keep you up-to-date about what we discussed. We have some very exciting news, and we are intentional about starting up again as soon as we have found a suitable place to meet.

Firstly, some loose ends that need to be tied up. Jenni Langford is getting the last couple of pieces of the Covid Frieze together and will put the whole thing together soon. There were not sufficient contributions to make a decent frieze, so she is forming them into a large wall hanging instead. That should be quite eye-catching.

Some people have been asking about the Instagram page that we started. It seems that there was not enough input – too few people were posting, so it is in abeyance until we start meeting regularly again. However the Facebook page “Jozi Stitch” is still running, and Jenni has been posting several useful articles, and anyone who has work to show can put it on that page. The Wits Embroidery Facebook page, a newer initiative, will be closed. There is also the WhatsApp group which has been our main source of day-to-day communication and anyone who is not on that group can ask to be included. Hilary Walker is the chief administrator.

It appears that the Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre is still not ready, and no one seems to know how soon we will be able to go back there. It is really not very satisfactory but there doesn’t seem to be much else we can do. The meetings at Paputzis and Random Harvest went/are going well, but it’s an expensive way of doing things if we want to meet regularly for a longer time. We are investigating other alternatives, but other recreation centres are in exactly the same place as ours, and those which are not being renovated, are not suitable for other reasons – the lack of on-site parking being one of them. We’ll get back to you on that one. We will have to pay – nothing worthwhile comes cheaply, but we are planning to have another venue available soon. We have waited long enough. 

In the meantime, we have decided to delay the need for annual subscriptions until we DO actually meet. We have also decided to delay the AGM until we are meeting regularly, and the committee has agreed to remain in office until we are back to normal. In the meantime, please download and print a copy of your Covid vaccination certificate. The Recreation centres have ruled that no one is to be admitted unless they have shown on the government official form that they have been fully vaccinated. Most other venues are likely to have similar regulations, so be prepared to present that document.  

Now for some more “newsy” news. I had a phone call from Helen Bird – who is now 101 years old and recovered well after a fall from her stationary bike which resulted in a nasty cut on her leg. She was doing Sudoku at the time and wasn’t concentrating. She manages to walk to the embroidery meetings held at her village, and has at last had to get a hearing aid. But she is well, she is enjoying life to the full, and sends her love to all of you. I have tried to contact Helen Paton’s daughter to find out how she is doing, but have not managed to do so yet. I have also not been successful in contacting her retirement village either, but will keep trying and will let you know as soon as I have made contact, and I’ll let you know.

Now for a VERY EXCITING REQUEST! Our Chair, Danny Wimpey was contacted by the South Africa Air Force near Pretoria, and our Guild has been asked to make a new flag for this important part of the army. It is to replace a similar one which has become very worn, and we will have to submit a quote (yes – all expenses will be met) which will cover material, threads, and anything else we need. The flag is big – at least a metre by a metre and a half. The material will be something very durable and hard-wearing, and the thread will be most likely number 5 cotton. The design is four large proteas in each corner, and an eagle in the centre, and probably some lettering as well. All of this is to be done in satin stitch and long and short stitch, and will hopefully fly aloft for many years to come. 

SO………. We need volunteers who are passionate and very good at satin stitch and long and short to offer their services. We will ask for a sample of your work – not because we have any doubt as to your capability (we wouldn’t have been asked otherwise) but we need to match tension and style so that the whole thing looks uniformly done – this is the military, after all! Please contact Danny or any one of the committee if you are willing to help, and we will let you know further details. This is a marvellous opportunity not only for our status as a Guild, but also it is a significant affirmation of our art. Please let’s hear from you.

Now for the last thing in this very long letter. We need to update our membership list. Some of you have changed address since lockdown and other details may have changed. PLEASE UNDERSTAND WE ARE POPI COMPLIANT and will never share, give away, sell or do anything else with your details without your permission. If you have left Gauteng and would like to continue receiving the Newsletter and remain on the WhatsApp group, you are very welcome to do so. Please answer ANYWAY. Don’t remain silent and let us guess whether you still are a member or not. If you wish to be taken off the membership list, please reply.

The form can be downloaded by clicking this link, and must be filled in and returned to our secretary, Toni Billing.

That’s all for the moment, have a wonderful month, and we’ll be in touch as soon as we can find a meeting place.

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

Covid19 Lockdown Through the Eye of a Needle — deadline extended because of the third wave

*** The deadline has been extended to the end of August 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).

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