Arctic Needleworkers meeting today. That’s my “local” EGA chapter, local being Anchorage.
I discovered the chapter when I started as Superintendent of Handwork and Needlework at the Alaska State Fair. When I asked for volunteers, they filled every space on the sign-up sheet, then showed up and worked hard with smiles and enthusiasm. I can’t exaggerate how great they were because there simply is nothing greater. I wanted to join the guild just to hang out with such happy, positive, can-do people, and that’s what motivates me to plan and make the long trip to town for meetings and events.
Today, I gave everyone the pattern we’ll be using at the Stitching for Literacy Make-It/Take-It in October. Members will now go nuts stitching a variety of models: some straightforward cross stitch on aida (which is what we’ll be teaching), some needlepoint on canvas, some whatever on perforated paper, and some fancy-schmancy, imagine-the-possibilities-with-amazing-materials. I can’t wait to see what they come up with! I’ll try to remember to take a picture to share here.
In addition, while we are receiving donations from The Gentle Art, Norden Crafts, and Weeks Dye Works, chapter members will bring fabrics and fibers from their personal stashes to share. Everyone is excited to participate, to give their time, knowledge, experience, and materials. How great is that?
At the end of monthly meetings, we have a program to teach/learn/practice needlework techniques. Everyone shares what they know, what they’re working on, what they are struggling with, whatever. Today the project was surface embroidery (crewel), and while most members knew the stitches being used, two did not, and those two were coached by the project teacher–a more experienced guild member.
Now, I’m sure that what makes Arctic Needleworkers so fun are the individuals, but the opportunities to mingle, learn, share, and participate in outreach events are probably similar for all chapters. I think it’s worth finding out if you have one near you.