8 December 2016

Christmas Social

Monday was our last meeting of the year, so we had a party.  Thanks to all our successful fundraising over the year we were able to treat our members to a buffet instead of our usual Jacob's Join, so no work involved!


We also had another Everyone for Themselves  raffle, which caused a lot of merriment and some groans.  Glen was briefly the delighted owner of a very nice decorated notebook, which I took from her and almost ruined a lovely friendship.  However, my own pleasure was very short-lived as a couple of moments later I lost it to Sue T. in return for a blue inspiration pack!  Another notebook must have changed hands five or six times before it settled on a final lucky owner.  Who thought up this fiendish idea?

What's she got?  And will she keep it?!
We then had a very entertaining talk and practical session from Stephen Watson, a self-confessed Origami Nerd.  He had brought a wonderful display of his work with him, some of which took your breath away.  An expensive looking necklace and earrings set turned out to be made from gold wrapping paper, and a very nice silver bangle from the inside of a crisp packet!  He talked about how origami has grown in recent years, after needing to be "rescued" by some enthusiasts like himself. Now it is used in all sorts of ways from architectural models to medical applications - even NASA has used origami to save space in satellites; once in orbit the solar panels open out from their neat folds into an enormous size.

Stephen's amazing paper creations on display

We made a box, a (very loud) cracker which really got our attention, and a place-name decoration in the form of a shirt.  Then, by special request, Stephen showed the easy way to fold a t-shirt......I know, I know, it's a bit sad, but all us women were enthralled and ironing chores just got a lot easier.

We ended with the raffle draw, and a new venture - two bursaries of £50 were drawn and the lucky winners will have to spend their prize on some kind of embroidery-related activity or project and give us a Show and Tell next Christmas.  Sue S was one winner and Glen was the other, so I think she has now forgiven and forgotten her lost notebook.

Our final delightful task was to present Sue B. with a cyclamen plant to thank her for her contributions to the life of the Branch since she joined us this year.  She has been so helpful and has attended every one of the Gawthorpe stitching days, as well as the National Stitch Day at
Towneley Hall.

So, now for a break - see you in 2017!


Thanks to Sue S for additional photos.

9 November 2016

"Corners" session

On Monday last we held a "Corners" session.  It was a lovely occasion, with plenty of time to chat, learn a new idea or skill or just perfect a stitch.  Unfortunately the photographers in the group were busy running their own "corner", so there is no visual record.  Patricia was demonstrating various methods of couching, Sue S. making decorative "spider web" wheels, Eileen J. exploring lazy daisy stitch and I was showing all sorts of knot stitches.

We welcomed two new members and a visitor; a good meeting for getting to know us.

Susan had a table of books and embroidery kits for sale - sadly, a friend had died of breast cancer and her husband requested that her embroidery collection be offered for and a donation sent to Christies.  We were happy to have contributed £85 to this good cause.

The next meeting is our members' Christmas party, which should be a lot of fun.  There will be photographs next time!  J.

25 October 2016

Zodiac Day at Gawthorpe

Patricia and her group of volunteers were at Gawthorpe Hall again this month, stitching in the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth's Library.  Jenny Waterson, Learning Curator of the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection, and one of the House's volunteers sewed alongside them this time.

It was a fine day and there were lots of people visiting the Hall and most seemed to find their way into the Library. They showed lot of interest in their presence and the work to hand and many stayed to join in.  Patricia had prepared Zodiac Signs to be stitched with simple embroidery stitches.  The room was a buzz of conversation and busy fingers.  It was most encouraging for both Jenny and the Pendle members and everyone agreed it was a most enjoyable afternoon.

You can learn more about the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection at their website www.gawthorpetextiles.org.uk       J

6 October 2016

Fantastic Creatures

Wow!  Nikki Parmenter visited Pendle Branch on Monday to talk about her wonderful creations - fantastic is the only word for them!  No bling is too much for Nikki and what a wonderful effect it creates.  She not only raids the haberdashery stalls, but the DIY stores and novelty shops as well to use in her work.

This peacock has a base of chicken wire, bound and padded and then embellished with fused layers of organza, Funky Foam, sequins, beads.....anything goes.

Nikki holds her fabulous peacock
A gorgeous elephant sits alongside a Madonna

Nikki is an artist and much of her work features her drawings of classical mythology from Greece, India and Persia  as well as the Bible and more modern references, together with fabulous creatures of all sorts, which she transfers to acetate sheets and paints and cuts out to enhance to her work.

A hare and a butterfly alongside Nikki displaying a hanging 

Her themed hangings may contain related images from many sources and feature birds, animals, insects and flowers of all kinds.

Earth Mother Gaia with some of her creatures

The Owl shares a boat with the Pussycat in a sea hanging............

..... and an Egyptian queen floats among an abundance of water creatures

What a wonderful afternoon.  Nikki will be with us again for a workshop in February to share some of her secrets to making a Fabulous Fish - something to look forward to in the dark days of winter.   J

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.

4 May 2016

The Young Farmers Show, Gisburn Auction Mart 24th April 2016

Following an enquiry at our stall at the Higham Easter Art & Craft Exhibition, Lesley, one of our members, volunteered to go along to the Young Farmers Show to judge the craft categories.  This is her account of the day:

"I had a lovely time judging the Young Farmers Crafts.  They sent me an information letter prior to the event, which turned out to be regional competition with six groups involved.  The winners would go through to the national finals.  I was elected to judge the sewing section.  

The themes of the show was Lancashire and The Future.  My section had three elements, junior bags, intermediate doorstops and small quilts no bigger than one metre by one metre for the senior section.  The rules for judging were similar to the WI and very specific and each entry had to be accompanied by a story board not bigger than A3.

I was made very welcome and was given a steward to help me, which was a lovely touch.  I had taken a pad and pen but was given a clipboard with prepared sheets on them.  I wrote a note of encouragement for each entrant; that was a personal choice because whatever the standard everyone had put their heart and soul into the work.  I was given a meal voucher for a hot lunch in the cafe.  There was a big selection, beautifully cooked and served in farmers' size portions, with puddings and huge beaker of coffee or tea of course.  Suffice it to say I didn't need anything else all day!!

Now I must confess vanity prevailed!  I wore my lovely thick felted waistcoat that I made last year in Dunblane - well it was in a chilly auction mart!  Plus a felted bag of course!

I admit to being a might full of trepidation when I received the specific rules and regulations, but it was a really great experience and I am glad I volunteered."

Lesley sent me lots of photographs, and here are some of them from the sewing section.  Wish there was room to show you some of the other terrific entries in other categories - woodwork, cooking, flower arranging.....................what talented young people, they should all be proud of themselves. J

Bags from the talented junior section.

Loved these doorstops - particularly the handsome ram!

Senior Section Mini Quilts

26 April 2016

North West Regional Day - Saturday 23rd April 2016

Congratulations to Bolton Branch who hosted the Regional Day last Saturday.  Everyone had worked so hard to make it a big success.  The venue, Haigh Hall, is in a stunning spot high on the hills above Wigan. We were treated to a great display of work by Bolton Branch members, including some superb "travelling books".
I was particularly impressed by their beautiful "ceremonial" table fall (top left),
which reminded me that Pendle needs to finish their own!

There were demonstrations, and traders to keep our purses busy, and more beautiful work to admire in the displays for the Coats Anchor Competition and the Rose Bowl competition.  This year the theme of the Rose Bowl was Under the Sea which resulted in some stunning interpretations.
"Under the Sea" entries - the amazing creation (left) by Sandra Kendall of  North Lonsdale Branch
was the well-deserved winner.

There was also a delightful display of work by the Wirral Young Embroiderers.  

After a magnificent buffet lunch we were entertained by a talk by JuliaTriston, author of books including "Contemporary Applique" and "How to be Creative in Textiles".  She is also the creator of the Bra-ra dress.  She sewed it on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square using bras donated by many different celebrities.  We also got a glimpse of her "knicker bunting"!

Altogether an enjoyable day - well done Bolton! J.

7 April 2016

A busy meeting

Last Monday was a very busy meeting.  In addition to our usual good attendance of members, we had a visit from our North West Area Representative - her first time at our new venue; she was very impressed with the lovely hall and pretty village.  We also welcomed four visitors, three of whom came after seeing us at the Higham Easter Exhibition.  Then, best of all, we welcomed two new paid-up members, Jenny and Sue!

We started with a committee meeting to consider the Exhibition and discuss the plans for two events we are involved in at Gawthorpe Hall later this year; the Capability Brown Exhibition and three drop-in sewing sessions to be held in the beautiful Library of the Hall.  More events to raise our profile and that of the Guild as a whole!

Our speaker had unfortunately had to pull out, but all was not lost as Val, a member as well as being the North West Region Chairman, stepped in with an illustrated talk about the Guild's collection of embroidery.   Well, the talk was there but unfortunately the technology in the hall was not compatible with her laptop so we could not use their large screen t.v., so after much trial and error she was forced to present the pictures from her laptop.  Poor Val, it was her first presentation of this talk and understandably nervous, but she was among friends and we all found it interesting and at least some of those in the front row had a good view of the lovely work.  Despite these problems several people commented afterwards what a lovely afternoon it had been, so all was well.

There was a lot of interest in a Book Auction  - two of us had brought craft related books in to sell and labelled each with a slip giving the name and guide price.  If you were outbid you could bid again (there was competition for a couple of them!) - by this means we raised £50 for our Branch funds and I think it will become a fixture, perhaps three times a year.  Like Louise and me, I am sure there are others whose bookshelves are groaning with embroidery books!  J

29 March 2016

Higham Easter Exhibition 2016

The 46th Annual Easter Exhibition took place in Higham this weekend and we were delighted to be invited to take part.  We were there for the full four days with a lovely display of work from our talented members.   The members of our group had loaned some beautiful work which was much admired.

Our Travelling books proved a great draw.  Each one started with an idea from the "owner" who interpreted her theme with her own ideas.  It was then passed to the next member of the group who added their own work in the same theme.  Eventually the books returned to the owner, full of exciting new ideas - a lovely souvenir of her embroidery friends as well.  The visitors were fascinated by the variety of techniques and all the different interpretations they held in their pages.

We spoke to a lot of interested ladies (and a few men) and handed out a lot of our little leaflets, so we very much hope we will gain some new members for our lovely, friendly group.

Congratulations to the Higham Exhibition Committee for all their hard work, and thanks for inviting us to take part.   J

9 March 2016

Textural Embroidery

The weather has gone crazy since the official First Day of Spring.  On 4th March we awoke to a Christmas card scene, but by afternoon the rain was back.  Monday was our meeting day so I was very glad to have a dry and sunny day for everyone to travel, but it was soooo cold!

There was the usual warm atmosphere though at our meeting, with several visitors - and we hope new members - dropping in to see us.  The Sales table did a roaring trade with record takings and we also had not one, but two raffles.  Louise had donated a beautiful book which was raffled separately, and there was also our usual colour raffle.  The theme was orange and there was some thinking outside the box as one enterprising member has brought some Orange chocolates, a mango body-wash and a packet of fruit tea to add the the collection of ribbons, fabrics and threads!

Our speaker, Sandra Wallace, had brought a wonderful selection of her beautiful work to show us.  She makes beautiful felt pieces which she embellishes with embroidery and beading.  She draws her inspiration from the natural world, and there were pieces reflecting her travels in North America and Iceland as well as closer to home in Cornwall and Yorkshire.
The colour of sea at St Ives in Cornwall inspired these pieces

Dramatic lava flows were Sandra's inspiration in these vessels, beaded necklaces and felt pieces

This beautiful beading was just a small selection of Sandra's intricate work. 

Now we have the Higham Easter Arts and Crafts Exhibition to look forward to.  At the meeting on Monday I collected a large number of beautiful pieces of work to display and am looking forward to showing them to the Exhibition visitors.   J.

21 February 2016

Multi Media Books - Workshop

Yesterday, Sue Bartlett returned with her beautiful books to teach us how to do it for ourselves.

Sue was tireless going round to all of us with help and advice - she says she is just learning to take workshops but she looked pretty proficient to us - more time would have been wonderful though.

We spent the morning making decorative covers in fabric and embroidery before tackling the complicated process of book-binding.  I think I understand and started off fairly confidently, so I hope I can finish.
Advice from Sue.
Wendy & Louise hard at work.

Here are a few pictures of us working and below some covers that were completed - the insides are yet to be done!

A lovely way to spend a cold, wet February day - in a warm room, sewing with friends!  J.
Some more covers.

I loved this beautiful red cover - wish I could say it is mine!