Friday, March 7, 2014

Needleworkers Rock My World

A year or so ago, I was approached by Essex County Needlecraft Guild about a lecture and  workshop combo. I'm always terribly giddy when I open happy email about a guild wanting to hire me to talk about myself and hopefully inspire quilters to try new things, and this was no different, but with one notable exception. ECNG (not to be confused with Energy Management Consulting Group in Canada, who apparently come first when one Googles "ECNG" despite the fact that their name should be EMCG and I am going to be confused about that for the rest of the day) was not a quilt guild, but a Needlework guild. It said it right there in their name.

What exactly was a Needlework guild? Would there actually be quilters? Should I bust out the crewel work teddy bear I made at age 9 to prove I was one of them? If only I hadn't sold it in my last yard sale. Now you are dying to see it, but sadly it is too late. Who knew I'd regret letting it go for a dollar?

Needlework in this guild is, unsurprisingly, defined by "anything done with a needle," and when I met them on Wednesday of this week I was greeted by a roomful of 100 knitters, embroiderers, tatters, crocheters, needlepointers, and yes, quilters. The only needle activity that seemed to be absent from the fray was "professional splinter removal." Although I would not put it past these ladies to let someone with that skill join in. It sure would make for some interesting show and tell, anyway.

ECNG was so many things beyond a room full of needle lovers. They were a hearty group who were completed unfazed by the snow that fell which I found unbelievably refreshing. They had the best show and tell ever, because there were so many different art forms represented. Those who weren't quilters were just as enthusiastic about the idea of "Perfection is Overrated" in whatever craft they preferred, proving we all just need a little more forgiveness in our own work no matter what our media. And last but not least, they were hands down the Best Dressed Guild I have ever met, possibly because many of them had made their own dresses, scarves, sweaters, etc and they had me wishing I had polished my boots the night before. Not to scare any future guilds I may speak to, but the bar is way high now, and if you are not dressed to the nines, you won't come close. It was delightful all around.

I wasn't sure how many members might be interested in a quilting workshop, so I had suggested to the program chick that maybe an Embellishment Sampler class might work well; members could learn some cool techniques to use on other projects, and maybe discover a new product or two.

I won't lie. There may have been Jewel-It involved.
My sample for the workshop. You may have seen this before. Humor me.

I structured the three hour workshop to include several of my favorite simple but elegant embellishment techniques: couching, gathered ribbons, iron on threads, beading using Jewel-it, and my favorite new invention, 3D petals and leaves. Everyone had to bring a simple quilted quilt sandwich to attach their pieces to; I will remain mute on whether all ten people did their homework, but nine of them were able to start the first embellishment technique right away.

We started with the 3D leaves, which I figured since I just came up with them by accident myself would probably be a new thing for everyone.  

We all worked well sharing the iron. I love how quilters are just so nice.

Might have been nice of me to move my suitcases so Barbara had more legroom, huh? Love her two-colored flower, though.
The 3D petal technique really is so much fun, and really quite easy to master as long as you aren't afraid of singeing your fingers with the iron. These ladies did a great job with it their first time out!
Look how great these look!
 The next technique I showed was the simplest one, but everyone was quite enthused by it as it just is one of those things that is so simple and yet awesome. The gathered ribbon technique was embraced by all, I am thrilled to report not one thread was broken in the actual gathering process, and Susan did a lovely job of sewing hers on first.
Someone has to be the winner.
This photo was snapped at the end of class to prove that even those who didn't arrive to class prepared (see, you never live it down, do you?) were able to finish most of the techniques. Here we can see how this quilt, which may have been my favorite for the fabrics, will eventually look when the beads are glued and the cord is couched.
It's very "Pond Lily Classy."
 I'm actually considering making my first video (!) and showing the 3D leaves and petals technique. What do you think? Would that intrigue you? Would that scare you? Would you watch it only to see if I am as wacked in person as I can be on here? Would you try such a thing in your own work if you could see it done? I'd love to know. This would be a larger venture for me than the average person sine I am such a complete moron when it comes to technology, so do help me decide if it is worth the trouble!

Thanks to ECNG for a lovely day of quilty, needly, and guildy fun!



Kevin the Quilter said...

Cool! You're a super star!

MissPat said...

Yes, you should definitely do a video. Just put your daughters in charge. They'll handle the technical details.

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