22 September 2016

Gardens of Gawthorpe Exhibition

We were back at Gawthorpe Hall last Friday for a private viewing of the exhibition Gardens of Gawthorpe.   This initiative by the Embroiderers' Guild involving local branches all over the country, marked the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot "Capability" Brown, Britain's most celebrated landscape gardener.  His "natural" landscapes, formed to enhance the grounds of some of our grandest "stately homes", often swept away whole villages, dammed rivers to make lakes etc., so although the end results are very beautiful, some people regard him as more of a vandal than a hero.

We have no examples of his gardens in the North West, so when Gawthorpe agreed to host an exhibition, their own gardens could be taken as inspiration if we wished, and the pieces are a mixture of embroideries based on his work and the grounds surrounding the Hall.

There were six branches from our area taking part, and a lot of  members came with guests to view the exhibition.  Tea, coffee and biscuits were provided on arrival and it was good to see old friends from other branches and meet new ones before we went into the Hall.

Admiring the work - (the man himself, bottom right on the left).

A big thank you to the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection and the National Trust for mounting this exhibition, which is a great showcase for the Embroiderers' Guild in general and our local branches in particular.  The exhibition continues until the 6th November when the Hall closes for the winter.  J

25 August 2016

Zodiac Embroidery at Gawthorpe

Last Saturday, 20th August, the second of our sewing events at Gawthorpe Hall took place, and the aim was to once again give people viewing the Hall a chance to see the Library and try their hand at embroidery, this time with Zodiac signs.

Pendle members Patricia, Val and Sue B. were on hand to demonstrate and encourage.  Unfortunately, no-one from the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection was available on this occasion, so it was not possible to have the Library open to the public, but all the same two keen sewers were able to come in and enjoy an afternoon of quiet stitching.

Photos by Val

8 August 2016

National Stitch Day - Saturday, 6th August

It was National Stitch Day last Saturday and members of our branch joined many others all over the country in sewing in unusual places to celebrate and promote the Embroiderers' Guild, our own Branch and the joys of embroidery in general.

The magnificent Great Hall

Last year members stitched in a supermarket foyer among the trolleys - this year the surroundings were rather more grand as we were lucky enough to get permission to stitch at Towneley Hall, Burnley - in the The Great Hall no less!

We were made very welcome, with tea and coffee on arrival and were set up with tables in the magnificent surroundings.

There was a steady stream of visitors throughout the day to stop and chat and look at our work - maybe some will be inspired to take up their needle or even join us.

Back:Pamela and Val, Front: Sue B, Patricia, Eileen and Sue S.

Val, Eileen and Pamela peacefully sewing

This year we had a theme to work to - Leaves - and the hope is to collect them together so the Region can make use of them at exhibitions and displays, stringing the individual leaves together.  

Some leaves in progress

6 July 2016

Summer Social - July 2016

4th July - an important day on the USA calendar of course! - but also the date of our Summer Social.  It started off on a rare warm and sunny note and for once I set out in just my t-shirt and slacks (no winter fleece, oilskin, waders or sou'wester which have all been needed this Summer) - we won't mention what happened later in the afternoon but a lot of people got very wet!

This was our first Summer Social in our new venue so instead of our usual small Strawberry Tea we had another Jacob's Join, including strawberries and Kathryn's vanilla cream terrine of course (thank you Delia Smith - Summer Collection in case you are wondering). What a spread!

Of course, the usual raffle took place, two big baskets of Yellow things won by Pamela W. and Sue B., but Kathryn had also introduced an "Everyone for Themselves" raffle as well.  Those taking part brought a gift-wrapped sewing related item and paid their £1 for a ticket.  The first number out of the hat chose a parcel and showed everyone what they had won.  The second person could either decide to keep the prize they had chosen or demand that the first person hand over theirs - and so on, with the choice of prizes getting bigger and bigger.

The last number drawn had the pick of the whole room.  It just so happened that Kathryn's ticket was the last one drawn.........I am saying nothing!  It was certainly a lively event and there was no place for British reserve or an "After you. No after you" mentality!

(main picture) Glen reluctantly does a swap with Sue! 

We also judged our annual Bell Trophy competition.  The theme chosen this year was In the Forest. There was a disappointingly small entry, but that was made up for in quality.  All the entries were lovely and it was really difficult to choose a favourite, but Pamela P. came our a clear winner with her book cover.

We also had to say goodbye to Jill, who is moving down to London shortly.  She has been such a helpful and cheerful member of our group and will be much missed, not least because she kept us topped up with cups of tea!  We gave her a begonia plant and a card signed by all of us to wish her well in her new home.

Now for the summer break and a new Branch year starting in September.  Happy Holidays! J.

20 June 2016

Stitching at Gawthorpe Hall

On Saturday 18th June Patricia, Sue S, Sue B (one of our newest members)  Val and Wendy were in the Library at Gawthorpe Hall where they invited the visitors to sit and stitch with them a while.  Here are some pictures Sue S. took - it looked a lovely afternoon, sorry I couldn't make it.  J

Some more pictures I received this evening from Val.

8 June 2016

June Meetings

A busy few days for us at Pendle.  On Saturday we enjoyed a sunny day starting Casalguidi embroidery with Wyn Ingham.  We welcomed four visitors from other North West branches, so although I didn't join in the workshop I visited them over lunchtime to see what they were up to and say hello.


These are some of the techniques used - pulled work, bullions, picots etc.

Then on Monday it was our normal meeting day - and a very busy one.  While the other members set to learning Shadow Work from Eileen, the committee met to discuss the coming year.  It hardly seems five minutes since we were at the last AGM in September and our first meeting at our lovely new venue.  There was lots to discuss, not least the exciting programme Kathryn is putting together for us for the rest of this year and into 2017.

With the committee meeting over we dashed out to catch up with all the sewers whose tongues were as busy as their fingers!  Eileen was kept busy helping 26 eager students and had some lovely work of her own to show us, together with lots of ideas and threads to share. One of our new members, Jenny, had lent her some work of her own to show which was absolutely beautiful.

This is Jenny's gorgeous pale pink voile scarf, so finely worked it looks almost like applique.

It took Eileen a large amount of patience to get me going, but after a few false starts I managed to sort my fingers from my thumbs and this is the work in progress.

The back of the work - which is the side you work from

The front - looking fairly authentic!

We then had a lovely ceremony to perform.  Brenda, who has run our Sales Table since June 2011 has raised over £1,500 for our funds, so it was our great pleasure for Sue to present her with a bouquet of flowers and a card with all love and good wishes.  She has worked so hard and so modestly and thoroughly deserves all our thanks and affection.


Our next meeting with be another busy one - our Summer social and exhibition.  Then we take a break in August, although that won't be uneventful with National Stitch Day and the Capability Brown exhibition at Gawthorpe Hall starting.   J

12 May 2016

The Quaker Tapestry

Last Monday we were treated to an illustrated talk about the wonderful Quaker Tapestry.  This unique work, designed by Ann Wyn-Wilson, tells the story of the Quakers and their beliefs in a series of 77 framed panels of colourful embroidery.

The idea came from a young boy who was tired of "colouring in" and wanted to do something more interesting.  Ann had studied the Bayeaux Tapestry for her City & Guilds course and decided to make an embroidery inspired by this great work with each panel echoing its design with a border top and bottom.   The embroidery is very colourful, using woollen threads - all the early history panels use authentic natural dyes; chemical dyes came later in the story.  Ann even invented a new stitch, which has been recognized as such by the Royal School of Needlework, which gives a smooth line to curves.  This is particularly important as there is a lot of text on the panels.  A calligrapher even designed a special font for the tapestry.

The tapestry took 15 years to complete and in the end over 4,000 men, women and children in 15 countries had worked on it to celebrate their Quaker story and beliefs.

If you want to see this wonderful work for yourself look at the Quaker Tapestry website www.quaker-tapestry.co.uk or better still visit their inspiring exhibition at the Friends Meeting House in Stramongate, Kendal, where there are around half of the panels on display.   J.