Newsletters 2011-2013

April 2011

Welcome to our first newsletter as an official new branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild.  Our grateful thanks go to Val Coleshaw and Kathryn Thompson for all their hard work in getting us going.  We hope to welcome Val to meetings from time to time, and special thanks go to Kathryn for volunteering to continue to act as our Treasurer for the time being.

There were only14 of us at the Inaugural General Meeting on 4th April, but we were able to form an interim Committee to take us into the AGM in September:
                   Mona Fishwick                   -        Chair            
                   Joan Welch                       -        Secretary     
                   Kathryn Thomspon              -        Treasurer
                   Veronica Brown                  -        Programme Secretary
                   Brenda Farnhill                   -        Raffles
                   Hilary Crabtree                                               
                   Dianne Derbyshire

Val’s blog on has photographs from Padiham Branch as well as Bolton’s meetings.  There are also some links with inspiring embroidery to look at.

A Show & Tell section had been planned and there was a wonderful display of members’ work on Show at the meeting, but unfortunately we ran out of time for the Tell part – Veronica will try to reschedule this at another time.

Kathryn rescued two “orphan” countries for the Sporting Nations postcard challenge – Vanuatu and Kiribati.  The meeting chose Kiribati (formerly the Gilbert and Ellice Islands), so do start looking for suitable images, flora, fauna, culture etc.  We hope to dedicate a meeting to working on them at some time in the future, but if you are inspired you don’t have to wait!

To avoid the Bank Holiday our next meeting is on 9th May (the 2nd Monday) when Kathryn will show us her Dolls with Attitude.  The June meeting will be back on schedule for the 1st Monday  (6th June) when we welcome Barbara Ryall – Mix to Match.

Please do your best to come along to the meetings, and bring your friends – at the moment we are rather too small to be viable in the long-term.  We do have a small credit balance, which has been boosted by a £100 grant from the Guild (which we don’t have to pay back!), but your support is vital.  To help raise funds we will be holding a raffle at each meeting.  It was agreed at the IGM that we should ask each member to contribute a small item – beads, fabric, ribbon, thread etc. – in a chosen colour for that month; winner takes all.  May’s colour is YELLOW.  As well as raising money we hope this may result in some interesting work on the Show & Tell table in the future.  Please support the raffle by contributing and buying a ticket.

We have begun with small steps, but lots of enthusiasm and generous goodwill from speakers and members of other Branches.  I feel sure we can grow to become a lively and interesting Branch.  Placed as we are in Padiham, with our nearest Guild neighbours some miles away, we should be able to attract membership from a wide local area.

May 2011

We welcomed two guests and two new members, Susan Towers and Patricia Barrett to our meeting on 9th May.  Our membership is growing bit by bit and I hope you will bring along your friends and encourage them to join too.

Kathryn Thompson said the Regional Committee has been working hard to expand the Guild membership and congratulated Padiham & District as the 26th and newest Branch, although work at Kendal is progressing and they are set to take over that status soon.

Kathryn was our speaker this month and introduced us to her Dolls With Attitude, including a mermaid, a medieval lady, a rather glamorous pantomime dame and a Beryl Cooke-type lady out on the town, complete with bra showing and a thong under her very short skirt!  It hadn’t occurred to me to consider matching my earrings to my undies………..a different look!

Kathryn loves all kinds of embroidery and patchwork and the dolls’ costumes give her the ideal opportunity to experiment with all sorts of glitz and new techniques.  The dolls have no armature and are simply stuffed to give them shape – the secret is apparently to stuff until you think it can take no more, and then stuff some more!  She has been influenced by her friend, American doll-maker Patti Culea who teaches all over the world, and Ray Slater, a teacher from London with a background in theatre costume who has held courses at Alston Hall.   We all enjoyed getting a close look at the dolls and looking at the books she had brought with her, including some by Patti and Ray.

Our speaker at the meeting on Monday, 6th June will be Barbara Ryall.  Barbara is a member of Bolton Branch and friend of Val Coleshaw and she is going to describe her journey through embroidery in a talk entitled Mix to Match.

Don’t forget to hunt for images of Kiribati for our Sporting Nations Postcard project. 

Our May Raffle for Yellow items raised £12 for Branch funds, so thank you everyone who contributed and who bought tickets………that really was everyone!  Kathryn Thompson won the goodies and chose PINK as our June raffle colour.  So start looking around for Pink stuff to bring next Monday.

June 2011

An almost complete membership and seven guests attended the May meeting to hear Barbara Ryall’s talk, Mix to Match.  We were overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the lovely work she brought with her to illustrate her sewing journey through life.  Her art work is beautiful and everyone admired her design skills and use of colour – which she claimed was very easy and could be achieved by anyone!  It was a real pleasure and privilege to be able to examine all her research notebooks and design sheets and well as see her finished work up close.

We had a donation of sewing materials from Mrs Dorothy Casford of Cliviger.  She said she wanted it all to go to a good home and we were grateful to receive it.  The frames, silks and other items were added to the Sales Table, where Brenda was kept busy by eager shoppers and was able to report she had taken almost £14 to swell the funds. 

The donations for the June Raffle for Pink items were so generous that Brenda was able to prepare three prizes.  First choice went to Lesley Best, who also chose GREEN for the July Raffle; second was Hilary Crabtree and last but not least, Tracy Gill.  The Raffle raised £18 – so thank you again for contributing and taking part.  And a special thank you to Brenda who worked so hard organizing the Sales Table and the Raffle.

We urgently need people to help make tea and coffee and wash up at our meetings each month, and will be asking for your help – please think about volunteering.   It doesn’t have to be the same people each time so it needn’t become a chore.  Remember “many hands make light work” - it is not a huge task but a vital one as we are all spitting feathers by tea-time!

Our next meeting, on 4th July, will take the form of a Show and Tell.  So much lovely work was brought to the Inaugural Meeting and we hardly had time to look at it, so we hope we can make another really nice display.  It would also be nice to have the Tell part this time, so please come forward if you are willing to say a few words about one of your pieces – did you use an unusual technique; did you have great fun on the workshop; are you stuck and don’t know where to go next; or are you just very proud of a particular piece?  You know we are all sewing junkies and will love to share your achievements so don’t be shy.

The Committee will be providing a strawberry tea as a treat as this is our last meeting until the AGM in September.

July/August 2011

The Show and Tell at our July meeting, the last before we begin our new year at the AGM in September, was a great success.  There was a colourful and interesting display of work to enjoy and everyone spoke entertainingly.  Strawberries and vanilla terrine to follow put us in a suitably summery mood.

As usual there were generous contributions to the Green Raffle, which was won by Marjorie Shea and Patricia Barrett.  Marjorie asked for Multi-coloured/Variegated to be our next Raffle, so look out for some gorgeous stuff for September.  The Raffle raised £11 for Branch funds.

Hilary, standing in for Brenda, was also busy on the Sales Table, which raised £6.20. 

It was suggested at the Committee meeting that we have a competition at the December Social for a small embroidered item (card, pin cushion etc.) using your choice of the Raffle colours during the year.  This time the choices would be predominantly either yellow, pink or green (multi-coloured is too easy!).   This is early warning so you can get thinking – those who actually won the prizes will have a head start on materials at least!

Kathryn has also said she would like to present a trophy to be competed for annually at the AGM from September 2012.  This would be for any item inspired by a talk or workshop at any Guild event during the year.  This sounds a lovely idea and should result in an interesting variety of work.

Our next meeting is, of course, the AGM.  As well as the essential business of the meeting Tracy Gill is going to talk to us about the new Inspired 2012 project based on the Rachel B Kay-Shuttleworth Collection.  The theme this year is Lace and she will be bringing a small selection of items with her and inviting us to take part.  The categories are Fashion, Mixed Media, Lace Making and Embroidery, and the aim is to build the Collection to include 21st Century work.  This sounds a very exciting project and an opportunity to see your own work in this wonderful Collection.

September 2011

Our first AGM was held on 5th September.  Unfortunately there were no volunteers or nominations from the membership and so the interim committee was re-elected en bloc.  Mona Fishwick remains our Chair, I am Secretary, Kathryn Thompson is Treasurer, Veronica Brown is Programme Secretary and Hilary Crabtree, Dianne Derbyshire and Brenda Farnhill are the other members.  Fifteen ladies joined the Branch at the AGM and we also had five visitors.  If you were unable to attend the AGM and have not yet joined, please remember to complete the Membership Form sent to you and bring it in October with your subs.

I can’t help feeling that Tracy Gill and the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection were more of an attraction for the visitors than the business of our AGM, and I am sure they weren’t disappointed.  Tracy brought three exquisite examples from the Lace collection to tempt us to take part in Inspired 2012.  She had selected a beautiful fan which had belonged to Lady Baden-Powell, an intriguing piece of metal lace and a pretty needlelace “garden”.  Individuals wishing to take part in Inspired 2012 will be able to attend the Open Days to be arranged at Gawthorpe in the New Year, but the Committee hopes that there will be enough commitment from Branch members to take part so that Veronica can arrange for our own private Study Visit.  We are very fortunate to have this wonderful Collection right on our doorstep, so it would be particularly appropriate to have Padiham & District Branch represented.  There will be a display of your pieces at the Hall during 2013 and then they will be retained in the Collection for posterity.  Remember the lace is just the inspiration and your piece can fit into any one of the categories, Fashion, Lace, Embroidery or Mixed Media.

Veronica is also keen to hear from you if you have any special interests or ideas to help her compile the programme - so do please let her know.  

Lucky Patricia Barrett won the “Variegated” raffle, which looked gorgeous; one of our guests took second prize.  For the October meeting Patricia chose PURPLE.  The raffle raised £17, so thank you everyone for your generosity.  The sales table was busy as usual and raised £6.55. 

We now have a lockable cupboard for our stuff and so hope to have a library in action before too long.   

Mona is our speaker in October.  She will be demonstrating marbling with shaving foam.  If you want to have a go bring some pieces of washed cotton fabric, around A4 size.

October 2011

We had a busy meeting in September and were delighted to welcome three of the visitors to our AGM, Kath BevissFrances Britnell and Pat Hoare, as new members.  Patricia Barrett also brought a French guest from the Burnley Twinning Association and a good time was had by all colouring fabric with the aid of shaving foam, which was demonstrated by Mona.  

Our speaker in November is Marie Wilson who will be talking about Boutis and showing us some of her work.  There will be no time for any practical work and as there has been a lot of interest in having a workshop on Boutis, Veronica is arranging this for early next year.  We have also had a promising response to participating in Inspired 2012.  Veronica is still keen to hear from you if you have any special interests or ideas to help her compile the programme. 

A delighted Kath Beviss won the “Purple” raffle, with Kathryn Thompson taking second prize.  Kath chose GOLD for November.  The raffle raised £16 and the sales table £31.40 thanks to a special purchase.  Brenda has asked me to put out an urgent request for more items for the sales table.  She is running out – so please do have a look through your “stuff” and see if you can do some recycling.


Lots to tell you about the Christmas Social, so this is to give you plenty of time.  We will be holding our Raffle Colour Competition of course – a small item of embroidery to be made in predominantly GREEN, YELLOW OR PINK.  There will be a prize, with the winner voted for by means of a coin placed beside the item.  The most coins, not the highest value, will be the winner.  The Branch is going to put the money into funds, so please be kind!

We would also like everyone to bring a Christmas card (preferably hand made) which should be dedicated “from all your friends at Padiham Branch”.  The cards will be put into a lucky dip and everyone who brought one will take one home.

Kathryn will be doing a little practical workshop and there will be a quiz, so bring your thinking caps.  In addition there will be a spot prize and we will be holding our usual Raffle and Sales Table.  Seasonal refreshments will be provided by the Committee.

Now I must fly – I have yet to start my “Raffle” entry!

 November 2011

It was another excellent meeting in November with 18 members and 7 visitors present.  Marie Lewis showed us her beautiful Boutis work and ten of us signed up for her workshop on 18th February.  There are still a few places left, so if you are interested let me know as soon as possible.  As there will be no meeting in January, we shall be collecting the balance of the money at the December meeting so bring your cheque books with you please.  If you have already booked and think you will not be able to come to the December meeting, please contact me (Joan) as soon as possible to make arrangements to pay the balance.

There will be a Study Day for the Inspired 2012 project at Gawthorpe on 21st February.  Please could you let Veronica know before Christmas if you are interested in going along.  If we can get a group together Tracy Gill will allocate us a time of our own.  You can of course go along independently, but it would be nice to go together.   Veronica is also still seeking your views on talks and practical workshops to help her put together an interesting and relevant programme, so please do contact her.

At the November meeting we appealed for volunteers to join the committee and I am making another heartfelt plea now.  At the moment we are functioning with the absolute minimum number of committee members and we desperately need more hands to the pump.  In particular it is urgent that we get someone to shadow Veronica as Programme Secretary.  If you were at the last meeting you will know that Veronica has a job starting 5th December until the end of April and will no longer be free on Mondays.   She is in any case actively seeking permanent employment and we wish her every success with her search, although we would miss her terribly.   Please, please consider volunteering as the success of the Branch depends on an active and willing committee.  Nothing will be too onerous or time consuming - it is really about many hands making light work. 

We now have the beginnings of a library and books can be borrowed for a month for a small fee (20p).  A volunteer is needed to administer the library – no need to lug the books to and fro, they will live in our cupboard – but we do need someone to sign books out, take the money and keep a check on returns.

The Branch has been asked to provide a “goodie” bag to be raffled at the Guild AGM in Southport on 30th March next year.  We have been allocated BLACK AND WHITE as our colour and Kathryn has volunteered to make the bag.  I will be reminding you to bring black and/or white items to fill it in the New Year.  We also need to have our 6” x 4” Kiribati Sporting Nations Postcards ready for the AGM.  The February meeting will be a practical get together to finish them.
There was a magnificent response to Brenda’s plea last month for more stuff for the sales table and she raised £18.20.  After a long search through purses and pockets, Mona was revealed as the lucky winner of the “Gold” raffle! Pat Hoare took second prize.  The raffle raised £22.  December’s raffle colour will be WHITE

Looking forward now to our Christmas Social – Kathryn is doing a mini-workshop so bring your sewing kits with you, she will provide everything else. 

It was suggested that it would be nice if everyone brings a Christmas card (preferably a handmade one).  They will all go into a “hat” and everyone who brought one will take one home at the end of the afternoon.  The suggested greeting is “from all your friends at Padiham Branch”.

Hopefully you all have your Raffle-Colour Competition pieces ready (predominantly Green, Yellow OR Pink).  It would be nice to have a completely “blind” vote so don’t put your name on.  We will be asking you to place a coin beside your favourite piece (you can choose more than one if you like!).  The piece with the most coins (votes) will be the winner.   There is a prize for the winner and the Branch will benefit from the votes!

There will also be a quiz, a spot prize and seasonal eats, so it should be a fun afternoon.

January 2012
HAPPY NEW YEAR  - I hope you all enjoyed the festive season and are now keen to start a new year of embroidery.  We ended 2011 on a high with our Social in December and a good time was had by all.  Seventeen members attended, there were three visitors, and we welcomed three more new members, Gill Myat, Wendy Pike and Ann Christy.  Wendy immediately volunteered to come on the Committee, as did Jennifer Isherwood.  So together with Sue Towers, who will look after the Library in due course, we are now looking in a much healthier position – thank you all.

Many thanks again to Kathryn and Ann for the fun workshop.  Congratulations to Jean Nicholls who won the “Raffle Colour” competition prize.  The voting raised £2.78 – thanks everyone. 

The Sales Table was busy as usual and raised £19.75.  Since September the Sales Table has raised £75.90 for our funds and thanks must go to Brenda for all her hard work and to you all for shopping so enthusiastically!

Lots to tell you for the new season. 

Dates for your diary:  Please add the following dates to your programme diary:

3rd September 2012:    AGM.  Christine Driver, Empress Mills - Evolution of Thread
3rd October 2012:         Shirley Williams - Needlefelt Pictures
5th November 2012:     Joan Welch – Silk Paper Embedding
3rd December 2012:     Christmas Social

Those of you who are interested in the Study Day for the Inspired 2012 project, please be at the RKBS Building in the Stable Yard at Gawthorpe at 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 21st February.  The session will be held in the upstairs room.

Kiribati Sporting Nations Postcard Project.  Our meeting on 6th February is dedicated to finishing our postcards and I have had some additional information to give you.

*  Each postcard must be backed with calico.

*  The name of the embroiderer, Branch, Region and the date of completion is to be    written in waterproof pen on the back of each postcard.

*  The name of the country worked must be written on the back of the card depicting the flag, which should be at the top of the strip.

 North West Regional Day – Saturday, 28th April 2012:  This day is being hosted by Parbold Branch will be held at the Crossroads Centre, Fulwood Methodist ChurchPreston PR2 8EA.  In the morning there will be a business meeting and guest speaker, Dr Caroline Alexander on “Horrockses Dresses”.  In the afternoon the guest speaker, Sue Rangeley, will give the Madeira Lecture “Fashioned with Stitch”.  In
addition there will be trade stalls, exhibition and the Rosebowl competition with the theme “2Ps in a Pod”.  Doors and stalls open at 9.30 a.m. with the meeting commencing at 10.30 a.m.  Tickets, including lunch and refreshments, are £25.00.  If you are interested in going please let me have your name, cheque for £25 made out to me – Joan Welch - together with your choice for lunch from: 
Hot Pot and red cabbage; Chicken and spring vegetable casserole; or Vegetarian lasagne.  If you would like to go but are unable to come to the 6th February meeting, please contact me by email or by telephone as I need to send bookings by the beginning of March.

Guild AGM “Goodie Bag”:  Could I remind you please to bring your BLACK AND/OR WHITE items to fill our Branch “goodie” bag to be raffled at the Guild AGM in Southport on 30th March.

Judging by the lovely card I drew out at the December meeting, we have some keen and talented card makers among us.  Veronica has asked if anyone would be willing to make some Thank You cards for us to hand to our speakers.  Could you please contact Veronica if you can help.

December’s raffle raised £20.  Florence Armstrong won and chose BLUE to start the New Year.  The raffle is another valuable source of income for the Branch and since September has raised £75, so thank you all for your generous support each month.

February 2012
It was good to see so many of you at the February meeting.  Despite the wintry weather there were fifteen members and two visitors present.  Our plan was to finish and assemble our Kiribati postcards, but unfortunately only four were ready, but I am glad to say I have since received three more.  Could I remind you to please bring your postcard to the next meeting.  We need to get them to London, or at very least to the NW Region Chairman, Monica Selway, as soon as we possibly can.

Some more black/white items were collected at the meeting – thank you to everyone who has brought something.  If you have any more contributions, please bring them to the March meeting.  This the last opportunity as they are to be placed in the bag Kathryn is making for raffling at the National AGM at Southport at the end of March.

Once again Brenda was busy on the Sales Table and raised £23.  The Blue raffle raised £13 and was won by one of our visitors, Kate Spencer with Sue Wilkinson taking second prize.  Kate chose RED for the March meeting.  Thank you all for supporting our fundraising efforts so generously.

We held a very successful full-day workshop with Marie Lewis on 18th February, where we enjoyed getting to grips with Boutis.  It is amazing what lovely pattern effects can be achieved with what is essentially just one simple stitch.  We all enjoyed ourselves and went away inspired by Marie’s beautiful work.

Twelve members also attended the Inspired 2012 Lace Study Day at Gawthorpe on 21st February.  We had been given the impression the slot was just for us, but in the event it was rather hectic, with two other quite large groups there at the same time, but hopefully everyone came away full of ideas.  It is always possible to request private study visits by contacting or 01282 773963 (leave a message).

It is 100 years since Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth had her vision for Gawthorpe as a centre for craft and there will be a number of Vision Open Days during the year to celebrate.  There are two Family Fun sessions in April and monthly Open Days featuring various parts of the collection.  The first is on 4th April and is dedicated to Rachel herself. 
Our next meeting is on 5th March and Nan Clough will be starting a Hardanger Project with us.  You will need:  Even-weave linen or Hardanger fabric; Perle cotton 5’s & 8’s – or stranded cotton; Tapestry Needles 20’s & 22’s; sharp embroidery scissors; magnifier (if needed).  If you don’t have any Hardanger fabric, Nan says she will have some available.

MARCH 2012

 It is hard to believe we are about to turn the clocks forward again and that Spring is well and truly here.  Is it just me or do the years speed by faster and faster?  Nineteen members and a visitor came along to the meeting in March and our membership now stands at 25.  Almost every meeting since the AGM last September has attracted visitors, many of whom have gone on to join, which I am sure is attributable to the friendly welcome they received. 

Our March meeting was most enjoyable.  It was such a pleasure to see Nan’s beautiful Hardanger work and I am sure it has inspired many of us to learn more.  Perhaps we will be able to persuade her to do a day workshop for us some time!

Sue Towers has the Library up and running and attracted her first borrowers at the last meeting.  The Sales Table made £12.25 but stocks are getting low and Brenda is appealing once again for more items to sell, so please have a look round among your “stuff” and see if there is anything you can donate. 

Kathryn showed us the beautiful bag she had made to hold all our black and white goodies.  It will be raffled, together with bags from all the other Branches, at the AGM at the end of March.

The Red raffle made £18 was won by Lesley Best with Val Coleshaw taking second prize.  Lesley chose SILVER for the coming meeting.  As ever, a big thank you to you all for supporting the raffle so generously each month.

The Kiribati postcards were finished at last and Val and I sewed them together for Kathryn to post to London.  It was pleasing to be able to present ten cards in the end and thank you to everyone who took part.  The Guild is considering publishing a book or catalogue of all the cards which would be very interesting; in the meantime they are going on exhibition in various parts of the country this year.

This seems a good time to remind you that last year Kathryn promised to donate a trophy to be presented annually for a piece of work inspired by any Guild talk, event or workshop during the year.  Our Summer Social in July seems a good opportunity to hold this little exhibition and competition.  With no speaker, the extra time we have would mean we can also learn a little about what inspired each piece..…..a kind of super Show and Tell!  Do get stitching and take part.

Don’t forget we have two meetings in April to accommodate the clash with the Bank Holidays.  First is 2nd April, when Ann Christy will talk to us about the Textiles of China, and then Val Anderson, Silk Painting on 30th April.

APRIL 2012

Welcome to new member Margaret Roberts.  There were 22 members and a visitor at our meeting on 2nd April.  Ann Christy needed no introduction and entertained us with wonderful pictures of her Chinese travels, as well as some beautiful fabrics and souvenirs.  Shopping is very different in China and her search for silk threads in the home of silk turned into a surprisingly difficult quest – but with a beautiful outcome.  The embroidery skills of the women are phenomenal, but, surprisingly, the work is all done from photographs and pictures and there is no creative input from them.

Congratulations to Kathryn – she was awarded the Executive Prize at the National AGM at Southport.  Her enthusiasm in promoting the Guild, supporting and encouraging Branches and her hard work in setting up the AGM with her committee were all praised in the citation, and I for one don’t think any praise for her is too much.

The Sporting Nations postcards were on display and were an amazing sight; I only wish I had had the time and energy to look at every one of the 2OOO plus of them.  Needless to say I made a bee-line for Kiribati and was rather nonplussed to find our name over a strip of very much NOT Kiribati cards!  Fortunately our cards were also there, correctly labelled.  The “wrong” cards belonged to Kendal and were of Vanuatu.  I have alerted the organizer so that the mistake can be rectified before the cards go on display to the wider world – we don’t want a diplomatic incident!

The donated bags, including our Black/White one, for the Raffle at the AGM proved very popular – the idea looks like being repeated at Regional Days all over the country!  They certainly looked enticing and were full of all sorts of goodies.

Thanks to Elizabeth Johnston who has given us a large number of books and boxes of fabric donated by a lady who no longer has space for them.  As a result there are more acquisitions for our Library, and the Sales Table got a huge boost and raised a magnificent £56.  Thank you as always for being such enthusiastic shoppers and remember, Brenda is always prepared to haggle if you don’t like the price!

Veronica was very happy to receive a lovely selection of “thank you” cards that Dianne had made and one was immediately pressed into use for Ann.  Dianne had used small pieces of embroidery and lace to make a variety of designs – if you have any similar “scraps” that would look pretty mounted on card blanks they will be very welcome – we can never have too many.

Are you starting to think about the Summer Competition?  July seems a long way off, especially as the weather makes it feels as though we are back to winter, but time flies and we are keen to make the competition for Kathryn’s trophy into a big annual event.  Don’t forget the brief is for a piece of work inspired by any Guild talk, event or workshop during the year.   

Kathryn has expressed a wish to stand down as Treasurer and Wendy Pike has offered to shadow her and take over at the AGM in September.  This is great news, but in turn it leaves us without someone to organize the refreshments – a vital job I am sure you will agree!  It involves keeping the supplies topped up, bringing the milk and recruiting two helpers at the start of each meeting.  You don’t need to be a member of the committee to do this job, so if you feel you can help please do let me or Wendy know – we can’t do without our cuppa!

Each month we plan to include in the Newsletter a short review of a book that a member has borrowed from our Library.  Hopefully something will catch your imagination and you will want to take the book out on loan for your next project.  Any member can send their review to me by email or hand a note to Sue or me at the meeting.  To 'start the ball rolling' our library 'monitor' Sue  has put together this review on Jan Messent’s book 'Celtic, Viking and Anglo-Saxon Embroidery', which has been kindly donated to the Library by Frances Britnell.

”Well, what a book! I took it home to cover and decided to have a flick through. The illustrations are stunning. You can really see the detail and some of the surprising touches that make the end products so special.  There is a wealth of intricate designs, each one giving you inspiration for your own work. I didn't read all the notes but I looked at a design and when I was interested in its development I dipped into the written page. There aren't step by step instructions on how to produce the items shown in the pictures but there is enough information for even a beginner to start to build up their own project. For the more experienced embroiderer there are still moments when you might say " ah... so that's how it was done" and add that technique to your repertoire.

I was fascinated to see how Jan had built up the depth and intricacy of her designs through layers of colour, fabric, threads and other everyday materials. I even recognised the same melted plastic that I had added to one of my designs - not as effectively as that I'm sure!  I would recommend this book to anyone looking for inspiration in use of colour, unusual mixes of textiles and other media or traditional/medieval designs. Well worth the library fee!”

Thank you Sue, I am very pleased to hear another “voice” and not just my own in the Newsletter.  As well as book reviews I should be delighted if anyone would like to contribute a piece.  Perhaps you have been to an interesting exhibition or a particularly good workshop and could share your experience with us.  I will be happy to receive any contributions.

You may be interested in the exhibition “The Four Seasons” by Diversity Creative Stitchers being held at Brabins Gallery, Chipping until 29th April.  The Gallery is open 9 – 1 and 2 – 5 Monday - Friday, and 9 - 5 Saturday and Sunday.  In addition there will be spinning demonstrations on Sunday 15th, 22nd and 29th.  Jennifer Isherwood has been and thinks it is their best yet.

The Silver raffle, won by Margaret Roberts (beginners luck perhaps!), raised £17.  Elizabeth Johnston took second prize.  Natural colours (CREAM/BEIGE) were chosen as our next Raffle Colour.

At our forthcoming meeting, on 30th April, more luscious silk will be on show when Val Anderson talks about Silk Painting, so I hope to see lots of you there.

MAY 2012

More lovely silk to look at at our last meeting, on 30th April.  Val Anderson gave us an entertaining talk on the history of silk production and all the intrigues that spread it from its roots in China to Europe.  She also gave us a brief overview of some of the techniques she uses to produce her own beautiful textiles.  Now we have Braids with Marge Quinn to look forward to on 28th May. 

The Cream/Beige raffle was won by Jean Nicholls with Elizabeth Johnston taking second prize.  Jean chose LILAC for the raffle on 28th May.  Thanks as always for supporting the raffle, which took £18.  The Sales Table made £22.25.

In March I went to Alston Hall in Longridge near Preston to spend a day with Nicola Hulme learning how to make 'flower tassels'.  I've always wanted to make tassels and although these weren't quite the ones I had in mind.  I really wanted to make the big chunky ones, nevertheless, I came home with a gorgeous double sided pink flower tassel which I managed to complete during the workshop time.  That in itself is a miracle as all those with 'UFO's' will be aware!  The tutor was well prepared and took all the participants through the stages at a comfortable but firm pace (a bit like herding cats!).  I did learn how to make a tassel but I also learnt a new skill which I thought would be very useful, how to make flowers from ribbon - and they looked brill!

Nicola also does other workshops and is a keen 'stump worker' - some of you might know her and have been already on her workshops.  She had a display of her work on the day and it was lovely - very detailed.

I would recommend this workshop, especially if you have never done anything like this before.  My tassel is now proudly hanging in my hallway.  Alston Hall is a great place to go to a workshop - but be prepared to diet for a week afterwards!

2012 is the centenary of the vision that The Hon. Rachel B Kay-Shuttleworth had for her collection at Gawthorpe Hall.  Every month throughout the season an open day event will be held to share some of the exquisite pieces of work that make up the collection. These open days take place in the Estate Buildings (opposite the Tea Room) at Gawthorpe from 11am to 4pm – entrance is free to these events, but donations are gratefully accepted.
The first event in April focussed on Rachel’s life and showed some of the items she had made and some of the rarer treasures she had collected, and in May on the quilts and some of the different quilted items in the collection.
On Wednesday 6th June, Lace will be featured.   Some of the many articles written by Rachel will be shown together with the lace she described. There will be a selection of needle laces as well as bobbin lace, tatting, crochet, knitting and others on display. There will be demonstrations of lace making and tatting.

Wednesday 4th July will feature Costume and Accessories from the collection.  Rarely seen pieces will be featured and there will be a costume reconstruction demonstration.  Toys and Samplers will be on display on Wednesday 8th August. There will be a stitch demonstration and in the Hall there will be various activities for children.

“The Embroiderer’s Workbook” Jan Messent
 If we could all draw like Jan Messent, how simple life would be!  However, in this book she sets out to exercise the creativity of us lesser mortals by a series of experiments and projects with pattern, colour and stitch.  Particularly inspiring are the sections that show the development of a theme and its interpretation in different ways.  Her aim was to give those who do not have access to a teacher a structure to build on and the courage to experiment.  We all tend to get a bit “precious” about a piece of work from time to time and after all it is only a bit of fabric.  For those of us who have gone through the City & Guilds process, this book serves as a useful nudge to get back to basics when inspiration fails.           

Thanks to Sue and Dianne for their contributions.  If you would like to share your experience at a workshop or talk, or review a book from the Library I would be very happy to hear from you.

JUNE 2012

I am not sure how we got to June so quickly, but here we are and the Summer Social on
2nd July is our last meeting of the Branch year.  This year, as well as strawberries and vanilla cream to get us in the mood for Summer, we are hoping for lots of entries to our competition for the Bell Trophy.  This trophy has been donated by Kathryn in memory of her mother, who was a keen needlewoman, and is intended to be an annual event.  Voting will be by secret ballot, each entry being given a number on the day.  Once the voting has been completed we hope to have time for all the competitors to “Show” their piece and “Tell” us what inspired them.  If you haven’t done anything yet, there is still (just) time, so do take part.

At the July meeting I will be taking a bit of time to explain the Guild’s new Register of Members, which is an important step towards strengthening the Guild, both as an educational charity and membership organization.  This is a big task, with the same exercise taking place in Branches nationwide and which Head Office aim to have complete ahead of membership renewals in September.  After registration everyone will have a unique number which will appear on their Membership Card and will also act as a password to access the Members Only area of the Guild website.  Contact will also be delivered direct to you from next year, either by email or by post – your choice.  It will also help the Guild to plan for the future, not least in trying to reverse the worrying trend of an ageing and dwindling membership common to many organizations.  This database is separate from our own record keeping and, at least for the foreseeable future, there will be no change in the way you pay your subs or how we keep in contact as a Branch.  IF YOU DEFINITELY KNOW THAT YOU WILL NOT BE AT THE MEETING, IT WOULD BE MOST HELPFUL IF YOU COULD LET ME KNOW.

LIBRARY CORNER:  Flowers for embroidery - Richard Box.
Sue Towers says - I couldn't resist picking this book up when I saw the beautiful cover.  There are lovely colourful illustrations which will provide you with a source for inspiration for your work.  The author guides you through the development of the design to the finished product.  It would be a good discipline to follow one of the projects through but even if you didn't want to do that you could just enjoy the lovely illustrations and 'cherry pick' some of the ideas for your work.  Personally I thought that the art work was better than the finished embroidery and I found that the way the author had written the book was a bit 'stilted' for my taste but each to their own, I guess.  Overall this is a lovely book to use as a source for inspiration.                                                                                                              

Sue has decided to make some changes to the Library.  Instead of putting all the books out at every meeting she plans to arrange a small display each month.  However, there will be a list of titles prominently on show and you will still be able to choose any book you want to take home.  Please do support the Library and if you feel moved to review one of the books, Sue would be very happy to hear from you.

Once again thanks to everyone who supported our Branch fundraising last month by buying a raffle ticket or shopping at the Sales Table.  The Lilac raffle at our last meeting raised £13 and was won by Hilary Crabtree with Pat Hoare taking second prize.  Hilary chose SAGE GREEN for the July raffle – there’s a challenge for you!  We raised £8 from the Sales Table and the Library raised 60p.


Nearly time to start our new Branch year.  I hope you all had a good summer, although the weather has not been very kind in this area.  Our Summer Social in July seems a long time ago but was a nice occasion and we welcomed 20 members as well as three guests.  The Bell Trophy competition attracted a good number of entries and was won by Nan Clough.  It was interesting to hear what had inspired the pieces and the different techniques used in the show and tell afterwards.  The raffle prizes were won by Florence Armstrong and Lesley Best.  The September raffle colour is Turquoise.

The AGM is on 3rd September, our next meeting.  As well as the business part of the meeting we will be welcoming Christine Driver from Empress Mills to talk to us.  She will have lots of goodies to show us too and there will be plenty of opportunity for shopping so we will not be having our usual Sales Table.  However, as you know, this is an important source of income for the Branch and helps to give us the resources to pay for good speakers, so do please continue to support the Sales Table.  If you have any stock to refresh the Table, Brenda will be pleased to accept it at the October meeting.

We will be collecting subscriptions at the AGM, so I am including another form in case you have mislaid your previous one.  We will also be taking names for the Hardanger workshop with Nan in November.

"With just a needle and thread – 140 Years of the Royal School of Needlework:  This was a title of the illustrated talk given by Dr Susan Kay-Williams, chief executive of the RSN, on Friday 3rd August in the Estate Building at Gawthorpe Hall. It was organised by the Friends of Gawthorpe.   What an enthralling talk – I wanted to go to Hampton Court Palace as soon as the talk was ended.
The RSN began as the School of Art Needlework in 1872 founded by Lady Victoria Welby. The first President was Princess Christian of Schleswig-Holstein, Queen Victoria's third daughter, known to the RSN as Princess Helena.   The founding principles of the RSN were two-fold: to revive a beautiful art which had fallen into disuse and, through its revival, to provide employment for educated women who, without a suitable livelihood, would otherwise find themselves compelled to live in poverty.
The RSN began operating in a small room above a bonnet shop in Sloane StreetLondon, initially employing 20 ladies. By 1903, after much fundraising by Princess Helena and others, George, Prince of Wales (later King George V) was able to open a new purpose-built centre on Exhibition Road, close to the V&A Museum where, at its peak, the RSN employed around 150 workers.
We were shown many items from their collection and heard a little about them; then saw some of their royal connections with a picture of Edward VII wearing his coronation robe, George VI with Queen Elizabeth and the two princesses – all with their coronation robes; Queen Elizabeth’s coronation train with a close up of the goldwork; and a picture of Katherine Middleton’s wedding dress and her visit to thank them for all their work.
The RSN still has degree students doing the identical stitches that they have always taught, and with the same focus on excellence. Although the stitches are the same the students can use their own contemporary designs in their work."
Dianne Derbyshire

Finally, thank you for all the good wishes and the card I received after my operation which were much appreciated.  “Hopping” to see you all on 3rd September!

    SEPTEMBER 2012

It was good to see so many of you at the AGM and a particular pleasure to welcome two new members, Shelagh Graham and Margaret Hunt.  Unfortunately Frances Britnell has decided not to rejoin this year due to pressure of her commitments.  We will miss her, but hope we can entice her back at some time in the future. 

I can’t help feeling Christine Driver and all her goodies from Empress Mills was a bigger draw than the AGM itself!  What a wonderful display and an entertaining talk.  I noticed quite a lot of retail therapy going on!   You may be interested to know Empress Mills have two Open Days planned on 27th October and 23rd November, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when there will be demonstrations of various techniques and materials.  They are free and everyone is welcome.

It’s back to our own version of retail therapy in October.  Brenda is hoping to refresh the Sales Table and asks for your donations, and of course, your continued support, which is vital to our Branch finances.  Clever Brenda even made £10 of sales between the July and September meetings, without benefit of the Table itself! 

The first raffle of the new season (Turquoise) raised £20 and was won by Dianne Derbyshire and Kathryn Thompson.  The October Raffle colour is GREY.  We also took the opportunity to draw colours for the Christmas Colour Competition based on raffle colours from the preceding year.  The colours drawn were Blue, Lilac and White.  So the competition, to take place at the Christmas Social, is for a small item of embroidery PREDOMINANTLY in Blue, Lilac OR White.  We had a lovely display last Christmas and hope to better it this year, so do get stitching and join in.

Veronica has devised a varied and interesting programme for us, but asks for your ideas and suggestions for themes and speakers to help her make sure that our programme interests as many of you as possible.  We start the season with a Needle Felt Dabble with Shirley Williams.  You will need to bring a close textured sponge (a car sponge is ideal – Poundland do a good one) and a folded towel to protect the table.  Shirley will bring everything else for a small charge (£2).

If you have booked for Nan’s Hardanger Workshop on 10th November, we will be collecting your money (£12.50) at the October meeting.  There are still some places left if you would like to take part.

A reminder that the NW Region AGM takes place at the Best Western Hotel and Golf Club, Garstang on Saturday 20th October at 10.45 a.m.  Coffee and tea will be available before that and lunch can be ordered for 12.30 p.m., the meeting itself is of course, free.  If you would like to go please let me know so I can given the NW Committee an idea of numbers.

Finally, several people have asked me about the Inspired submission details.  Tracy Gill has contacted everyone who filled in a form to express interest, but in case you have been overlooked or lost your details, I am attaching a copy to this Newsletter.


 There was an excellent attendance for the October meeting and we welcomed another new member, Maureen Whitaker, as well as three visitors.  Shirley Williams from Ribble Creative Stitchers led us in an absorbing dry felting workshop and everyone was kept very busy stabbing away!  There were some interesting pieces under construction and I’m sure everyone would be interested to see the final results – so do bring any along with you.

I have some information leaflets about the 2013 NW Region Summer School at Alston Hall which I will put on the notice board.  The courses look very interesting and include one by our very own Patricia Barrett!  The Summer School is always very popular so booking early is a good plan, but unfortunately at the time the leaflets were printed there was no information available about the fees.  Sue Towers and Lesley Best attended the Summer School this year and Sue has written the following account of the weekend:

Surface Texture in Stitch – with Felt
I haven't attended a summer school before so wondered what it would be like. I didn't really know who else was going but was pleased to see familiar faces. I have been to Alston Hall many times over the years for different events and not just craft so I dieted the week before!!  No one can really resist all the food, especially when it is all prepared for you. The weekend weather was lovely and provided a stunning background to a busy event.  I learnt a lot about felting and Sheila Smith proved to be a patient teacher who generously shared her expertise and her stash of materials.  As a novice felt maker I couldn't always keep up but the other members of the group were very kind and helped me out many times. There were opportunities go and look at the other classes and their work.  Particularly impressive was the work produced by the people doing the 'personal journeys', fabulous visual maps of places they knew and loved.  Sadly the bedroom I was allocated wasn't suitable but as I don't live too far away I travelled each day.  This did make it tiring but I wasn't the only one to travel.  I would recommend that if you have any special requirements you should make sure you put these on your form so you won't be disappointed. The summer school is certainly a way to learn a new skill or to spend time perfecting your skills. You will meet a lot of interesting and informative people...... and eat a lot of food!

Sue and Lesley are bringing their work to show us at the next meeting.  If anyone else attended one of the Summer School courses, do bring your work along as well. 

We still have a few places available on the Hardanger Christmas Angel Workshop with Nan on Saturday, 10th November.  Please let me or Veronica know if you would like to come along and bring your payment (£12.50 for members; £15 guests) to the 5th November meeting.  Kathryn will also be telling us a bit about Macclesfield Buttons, the subject of our next workshop in February, and we will be opening a booking list.

The Grey raffle in October raised £18 and was won by Pat Hoare and Veronica Brown.  The colour for November is PINK.  The Sales Table this month raised £28.50.  I can’t stress enough how important these two fundraising sources are to the Branch and want to thank all of you for supporting them – and it goes without saying that we would be lost without all Brenda’s hard work.  Another way to support the Branch is by using the Library – only 20p per book per month.

At our next meeting I shall be demonstrating the simple technique of Silk Paper Embedding.   I will have examples to look at and there will be a chance to have a go yourself.  Nothing to bring as I will supply everything.

Looking forward to the December meeting - a reminder about the “Raffle Colour” competition for a small item of embroidery in predominantly BLUE, LILAC OR WHITE.  I must get started on mine!  The Committee will be bringing some festive eats and Kathryn’s seasonal workshop is Christmas Inchies.  Last year we did a Christmas card swap where everyone who brings a card takes another one home.  It would be nice to repeat this, so if you would like to take part please bring a card – preferably hand-made.  The suggested greeting is “Happy Christmas from all your friends at Padiham Branch”.


With several hats to wear at the November meeting, I hope I didn’t appear as distracted as I felt.  By the way, the Hall Manager apologises for the Hall being so cold, with the Caretaker away it got overlooked.  It was a pleasure to welcome another new member, Barbara Jones, to the meeting as well as twenty members and two visitors – one of whom, I confess, was press-ganged in order to be my assistant.  With the business part of the meeting behind me I could concentrate on talking about Silk Paper Embedding and demonstrating that simple technique.  A good number took a turn at trying it out and I suspect there may be a few of the resulting Christmas cards in the ‘swap’ next month.    Thank you for the many kind comments I have had since.  Thanks also to Sue and Lesley for bringing in their felt pieces for us to look at.   

I dropped in to Nan’s Hardanger workshop on the Saturday following our meeting and found everyone cosy and warm (thank goodness) and concentrating hard on counting up to 4!  Hopefully we will see a number of finished angels in due course, although there did seem to be a lot of unpicking going on!  Now we have the Macclesfield Buttons workshop to look forward to in February.  The list was opened at the last meeting and if you have booked but not yet paid, could you please bring your cheques (£12.50) with you in December.  Don’t worry, there is still time to join if you weren’t at the last meeting.

The raffle this month was for PINK items and was won by Florence Armstrong and Margaret Hunt.  It raised £22 – thank you everyone and especially Ann Christy who organized it for me.  Would anyone be willing to take over organizing the Raffle on a permanent basis?  It is such an important part of our income and Brenda, who has done this job from the beginning, is always occupied with working on the Sales Table and would welcome some relief.  If you feel you could take on this job, please let Nan, Brenda or me know.  It only involves distributing the raffle donations into, usually, two prizes, selling the tickets and preparing them for the draw.  Please consider volunteering.

The NW Regional Committee has set us an intriguing challenge, the Neck-Tie Challenge, which will be introduced at the December meeting – watch this space.

It doesn’t seem quite possible that the forthcoming meeting is our last of the year, but yes, Christmas is racing towards us. Kathryn will be leading another seasonal workshop, this time on Christmas Inchies.  Nothing needed she says, except that a pair of scissors may come in useful.  There will be seasonal eats and our Raffle colour is WHITE.  If you haven’t finished your Raffle Colour competition entry you had better get stitching – to my own surprise I have finished mine.  Remember, your piece must be predominantly  BLUE, LILAC OR WHITE.  Please do not label your entry so that we get a ‘blind’ vote.  The entries will be numbered at the meeting and voting is by ballot.  There will be a prize!  Also, if you would like to take part in the Christmas Card Swap, bring one (preferably hand-made) with you and take one home at the end of the meeting.  It’s a good idea to write Happy Christmas or something on the envelope so you don’t pick your own by accident.  The suggested greeting inside is Happy Christmas from all your friends at Padiham Branch.

We have no meeting in January, but in the meantime we have December’s exciting meeting to look forward to so……………………
See you on 3rd December                                                      


Another busy and interesting meeting last week attended by 21 members and a guest.  We had a very good response to the Christmas Card Swap and it was lovely to take home a hand-made card with everyone’s good wishes. Thanks to Kathryn for introducing us to her Christmas Inchies – everyone was kept very busy.  Don’t forget, if you become addicted to making them, Veronica would welcome any surplus for the collection of ‘thank you’ cards she keeps to present to our speakers.  Thanks also to the Committee for providing the Christmas nibbles.  It was a lovely way to finish the year.

There was a good entry to the Raffle Colour competition with some lovely things on show - choosing a favourite was difficult.  In fact we ended up with a dead-heat and Nan was asked to make the casting vote and a Lilac necklace and earrings, made by me, won.  However, as I had organized the prize and made the congratulations card (as well voting for the other winner myself!) I was more than happy to share with Sue Towers who had made a very pretty White clutch bag.  It was fun to do and I hope we can get even more entries next Christmas.

Brenda held a sort of Winter Sale and raised £22.76 from the Sales Table.  She has put out a request for new stock in February.  Kathryn has volunteered to take over running the Raffle next year – this month’s White Raffle raised £16 and thanks to your generosity there was enough for three prizes, which went to Jennifer Isherwood, Veronica Brown and Jean Nicholls.  Many thanks to Brenda for doing the raffle all this time.  She really has worked hard for us right from the beginning and it was with great pleasure that Nan presented her with a cyclamen plant as a thank you from all of us. 

Nan also thanked Jill Myat for taking over the organization of our refreshments.  It is a vital job as we are all ‘spitting feathers’ by the time tea-time comes around.  We are only a small group, so I know it seems as though your “turn” comes round rather often, but Jill tries very hard to circulate fairly  – so if she asks you to help out please say yes. 

Christmas Tree Festival: 
The Unitarian Church is holding its annual Christmas Tree Festival from 8th – 20th December inclusive.  There will also be a Candlelight Carol Service at 6p.m. on Sunday, 16th December with mince pies and mulled wine afterwards.  The chapel will be open from 4p.m. that day to view the trees beforehand.  We got the information too late to join in with the Festival this year, but next year we hope to take part as it is a great way to publicise our Branch.  We hope to have a meeting next Autumn devoted to making decorations for our tree – possibly the Chinese Lanterns that were so popular at last year’s Christmas meeting.

Buttons Workshop – 9th February 2013
If you have put your name down for this workshop don’t forget to save any champagne corks (or cava corks depending on disposable income!) that you might get over Christmas and New Year.  Other than that there are very few ‘requirements’ as Margaret Waring will be bringing kits (£5), so just your usual needlework tools.  A tea towel might be useful to put on the table to stop stuff rolling around – and most important YOUR LUNCH!

Neck-Tie Challenge: 
This challenge has been set by the NW Region Committee.  Each Branch was given a bag of school ties and hatbands and asked to make at least one piece of embroidery.  Any other fabrics and threads can of course be added to the ties, and the work is to be complete in time for the 2013 Regional Day in April 2013.  The embroideries will form part of the exhibition the NW Committee is planning for 2014.  The ties were donated to the LV=SOS Kit Aid charity that exists to supply sports kit to disadvantaged children in this country and overseas, but are of no use to them, so this is a lovely way to recycle them.  In return, if you have any clean sports kit, especially rugby or cricket, we are asked to send this along.  All our ties were borne away from the meeting and I look forward to seeing the resulting work, but if you took some ties and are now staring at them in despair, there are lots of ideas on

Bell Trophy Summer Competition: 
The Committee has decided to make a change to the format of the Summer Competition next year in order to encourage as many members as possible to enter.  We have decided to work to a theme, and the chosen one for 2013 is SUMMER.  The work can be in any form and in any technique but must have been completed in 2012/13.  We look forward to a really good entry and a lovely show.  I know July seems a long way off on a cold winter’s day, but it will come round all too soon so, all you talented ladies, start thinking/stitching as soon as the Christmas pudding has settled.

It only remains for me to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and peaceful and healthy New Year.

We have no meeting in January, but I will be in touch again in the New Year.

Happy New Year  to you all, I hope your Christmas was happy and peaceful.  Now the decorations have been stowed away for another year it is time to look forward to a busy embroidery year ahead.

Sue Tyldesley is going to talk to us about the Wonders of Encaustic Wax at our first meeting on 4th February.  Sue is a member of the One Step On group, teaches at Alston Hall and is a member of the Parbold Branch.  You can see some of her interesting work with encaustic wax on fabric on the One Step On website,, go to Members’ CVs, choose Sue and then click on link to Sue Tyldesley at the bottom left.

On Saturday 9th February we have the Macclesfield Buttons Workshop with Margaret Waring.  The workshop is full, so we are looking forward to an interesting and sociable day.

Our first Raffle Colour of the New Year is BLUE and if you have any items for the Sales Table Brenda will be glad to have them.

Neck Tie Challenge:  Lots of you took the ties we were given at the last meeting and it will be interesting to see what can be made of them.  I have had confirmation that the finished embroidery should be ready for the Regional AGM in October and NOT the Regional Day in April.  Phew!  That gives us more time to concentrate on the “Summer” themed Bell Trophy competition in July.  However, if you have any children’s sports kit to donate, that does have to be ready for April.

Regional Day:  A reminder that the Regional Day is on Saturday, 27th April at the Queen Elizabeth School in Kirby Lonsdale (LA6 2HJ).  There will be traders, exhibitions, a bookshop and demonstrations. The Madeira Lecture is by Jacqui Carey who will be talking about Elizabethan Stitches.  The Rose Bowl competition subject is “King Cotton”.  Tickets cost £25 including lunch and refreshments.  The menu choices are: Chicken & Leek Pie OR Vegetarian Pie (both served with seasonal vegetables) OR Cold Meats & Salads, followed by Gateau or Cheesecake.   Please also say if you need a disabled parking space. If you want a ticket, please let me know and bring your cheque for £25 (made out to Padiham & District EG) to the February meeting, together with your choice of menu.  The Branch will send all the applications together.  There is a poster on the noticeboard.

NW Region Summer School:  There were no prices available for the Summer School before Christmas, but I have now got more information from the organizer Sue Widden.  She has also sent me a supply of leaflets which I will bring to the February meeting.  The choices are “Hard Backed Books with Open Embroidery” with Isobel Hall – Thursday 11th – Sunday 14th July; “That Darn Stitch” with Pat Barrett – Friday 12th – Sunday 14th July and “Embroidery Experiments” with Amy Senogles – Friday 12th – Sunday 14th July.  The    3-night course will be £295 per person full board in an en suite room (they do not envisage having any standard rooms by the time of the summer school); shared en suites will be £286 per person and non-residents will be £205.  2-night courses will be £200 per person full board in an en suite room.  Shared en suites will be £194 per person while non residents on the  2-day course pay £140.  If anyone on a 2-night course requires dinner, bed and breakfast on the Thursday night this will be charged at £47.50 per night.  If you have any queries or to find what places are available, please contact Sue Widden.

Finally, Empress Mills are planning a Stitch Show to be held at their old premises in Empress Street, Colne on 6th and 7th April 2013.  I believe they are waiting to get confirmation from a visiting artist before they put together their flyers, but all being well we should have more information by the date of our meeting when Veronica may be able to tell us more.  They are planning stands covering threads, fabrics, paints, dyes, books, haberdashery and more, together with demonstrators and exhibitions of quilts and embroidery.  It sounds very exciting and something to look forward to close to home.
Keep warm -see you on 4th February.

           FEBRUARY 2013

It was good to see so many of you at February’s meeting and we were mercifully free of snow, so no travel problems to make life difficult.  It is good to see snowdrops everywhere again – perhaps Spring really is on the way. 

There were 22 members present and we welcomed two visitors, who we hope will join us in March.  We enjoyed looking at Sue Tyldesley’s work with encaustic wax and seeing all the interesting effects she achieves on paper and fabric.  There was also time to have a go ourselves. Sue had brought wax and some of her cards for sale, so there was a chance for a little light retail therapy as well. 

The Macclesfield Buttons workshop was a sell-out and we had a great day.  There was a lot of concentration needed, and a bit of swearing, but mostly a lot of fun!  Margaret Waring was a good teacher and had a lovely collection of historic buttons for us to look at.  The poor children who used to make these buttons could turn out 100 a day - all of us would have gone to bed hungry if our living depended on it.  We also had a go at Dorset knobs and Yorkshire buttons – a fun day.  A list was started for the next Workshop, Braids with Marge Quinn, which has been changed to Saturday 18th May – please make a note on your programme.

The Blue raffle raised £22 and was won by me and Margaret Hunt.  It was the first time I had won the raffle so I was delighted and had a lot of fun looking through my haul that evening, so thank you.  The March colour is YELLOW .  As ever, Brenda was busy on the Sales Table and raised £29.50 – so well done everyone.  With the profit from the workshop and these kinds of monthly sums we are building up a much healthier bank balance to pay for speakers.  Brenda will be on holiday in March, so unfortunately there will not be a Sales Table; please keep any items you might be planning to donate until April.

There is another change to the programme to announce.  We had expected to hear Alison Rose on Rag Rugging in April, but she has cancelled.  Fortunately we have been able to get Penny Godfrey to come and talk to us.  We are very grateful to her for helping us out at such short notice.  Penny is the Chair of the West Riding Ruggers so a very appropriate substitute and I am sure we will hardly notice the join!  Her talk is mainly about the history of the craft, but she will be bringing her rugs and accessories and will demonstrate basic hooking and prodding.  She will also have hooks and prodders for sale.

As mentioned last month, Empress Mills are holding a show at their old premises in Empress Street, Colne, but have changed the dates to 11th and 12th May 2013 by popular demand.    They are planning stands covering threads, fabrics, paints, dyes, books, haberdashery and more, together with demonstrators and exhibitions of quilts and embroidery.  Hopefully Veronica will have some leaflets to show us by the next meeting.
Now to our next meeting – we are looking forward to our own Dianne Derbyshire’s talk on The History of Needlelace.   As well as producing her own exquisite work, Dianne is an expert on the lace collection at Gawthorpe.
See you on 4th March.

                        MARCH 2013

Happy Easter to you all.  When is everlasting Winter going to end – this time last year we were warm and happy!   Another good meeting this month with 19 members and two guests.  As we had hoped, we also welcomed new members Glen Purchase and Jackie Hammond who joined the Branch.  It is great how we are continuing to grow and we hope that the publicity we get at the Empress Mills event will bring us even more members.

We had a lovely talk on the History of Needlelace from Dianne Derbyshire, who brought many beautiful and varied examples with her from the Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth Collection.  We were also fascinated to see Dianne’s own modern work.  Sue Towers, in giving the vote of thanks, reminded us how lucky we are to have the Collection so near at hand, and in particular to have such an expert as one of our members.

When we chose yellow for our February raffle colour we thought it would be suitable to herald Spring – it was won by Dianne Derbyshire and Val Coleshaw and raised a healthy £18 for our funds.  This month’s colour, BROWN, now seems very appropriate for the current weather conditions! 

Brenda was absent from the meeting so we had not expected to make any money from the Sales Table, but in the event a large number of magazines arrived via Nan and sold for the magnificent sum of £38.50.  Thank you everyone and don’t forget, if you have any items to donate, Brenda will be glad to have them.  We are also pleased to say that Barbara Jones has volunteered to assist Brenda on the Sales Table which will be a great help.

I have already contacted you all about the Empress Mills event on 11th & 12 May, and Val Coleshaw’s appeal for volunteers to help steward and for items to be exhibited.    If you are donating any exhibits, please bring them to the April meeting clearly labelled on the back and contained, ideally, in a calico bag (also labelled).  Nan will be taking them to the Regional Day with her in order to liaise with Val.  Can I also remind you that if you have any children’s sports kit to donate, please also bring that to the April meeting.

Lesley Best is looking for a pattern for an elephant embroidery which appeared in Inspirations magazine, Issue 42 and wonders if anyone has a copy either for her to buy or just to obtain a photocopy of the article. 

There are still some places left on the Braids Workshop on Saturday, 18th May.  The list will be available at the next meeting.  If you have signed up but not yet paid, please bring your money with you; £12.50 for members, £15 for guests.

We have Penny Godfrey from West Riding Ruggers to look forward to in April and as well as her talk to listen to and her lovely rugs to look at, she will have hooks and prodders for sale, and, I’m sure, plenty of advice.

Last, but not least, Wendy  our Treasurer will not be at the April meeting for the happy reason that she is going to a wedding that day – her own!  Very many congratulations from all of us.

                                                                          APRIL/MAY 2013

Another Bank Holiday – so don’t forget our meeting will be on Monday, 13th May.  Hope it is a sunny weekend; we certainly deserve it.

We welcomed a new member, Louise Wheeler, last month as well as a guest all the way from Canada.  I hope you enjoyed looking at all the many different types of rugs Penny Godfrey brought with her.  It is quite amazing how ingenious people were to devise so many different techniques to produce such useful and decorative items out of almost nothing.  Lots of people added to Penny’s “rug memories” book – our house was of the cut wool hooking school.  I remember a boring (but fashionable at the time) beige, pale blue and pale pink rug my sister and I worked on with our mother; the darned thing lasted for ever and a day and could still be out there!!! 

May’s meeting will be with our own Barbara Blundell, who will be showing us how to make Exciting Textiles with Simple Stitches.  This is a talk and mini workshop intending to give us a taster rather than complete a project.  You will need:

Double knitting wool bits minimum 20 inches
Thick embroidery threads
Coarse fabric - hessian (for dense solid covering) no bigger than 1 foot sq
Darning needle
Long large eyed sharp tapestry type needle
Any embellishments - beads etc
Embroidery hoop
BUT Barbara says DO NOT BUY ANYTHING – she will bring supplies.

Ribble Creative Stitchers are planning a trip to Knitting & Stitching in Harrogate on Saturday 23rd November and are inviting guests to join them.  They are booking their own members first, but any spaces on the coach will be open to guests from June.  The cost will be £21 to include the coach and entrance tickets.  The coach will leave Accrington at 9 a.m. and Harrogate, for the return journey, at 4.30 p.m.  If you would like to put your name on the waiting list, please contact Shirley Williams. 

Our next raffle colour is LIME GREEN.  The Brown raffle was won by Patricia Barrett and Pat Hoare and raised £16 for funds.  Brenda and Barbara were busy as usual on the Sales Table and raised £32.  Thanks, as always, to everyone who supported these valuable fundraisers.

Don’t forget the Empress Mills event on 11th and 12th May – it should be very interesting.  Val Coleshaw is working hard to get the exhibition ready and I am sure would still welcome any offers of help.  

There are still a couple of places left on the Braids Workshop on Saturday, 18th May.  The list will be available again at the next meeting.  If you have signed up but not yet paid, please bring your money with you; £12.50 for members, £15 for guests.

                                                                             MAY 2013

It was good to see so many members at the meeting (23) and also to welcome two visitors.  They had both come along as a result of seeing our flyers at the Empress Mills event.  Val thanked everyone who had come along to help her man the embroidery exhibition.  The show had been a great success and created a lot of interest.  Sadly however, the event had been marred by the theft of a large number of quilts during a break-in over the Bank Holiday weekend.  The police and a private investigator are working on the case and we can only hope they are recovered.  The Lime Green raffle raised £22 and the lucky winners were Pat Hoare and one of our visitors, Kath Spencer.  The next colour is ORANGE.   The sales table was very busy and Brenda and Barbara raised £39.

Barbara Blundell did a good job of trying to persuade us that, like her, we can all achieve wonderful effects with simple stitches and ordinary materials. Unfortunately that isn’t the end of the story though as you need Barbara’s artistic eye for design and colour as well!  We very much enjoyed seeing her work and some of us even tried out some stitches – got to start somewhere!  At our next meeting on 3rd June we will be welcoming Jackie Cardy who is Obsessed by Stitch.  I have just had a look at some of her lovely work on  and can’t wait.

On Saturday 18th some of us were back again for the Braids workshop run by Marge Quinn.  This was a most enjoyable day and we learnt three different braids using a Kumihimo disk as well as getting a start on the square plate, which produces a flat tape.  Marge had brought an amazing selection of her braids to show us, as well as books and beautiful braids she had bought in Japan.  We welcomed some visitors as well as some old friends; it was particularly nice to see Frances Britnell again.

Dianne Derbyshire recently attended a Friends of Gawthorpe event with a group of WI Craft members.  This was a return visit by the CEO of the RSN, Susan Kay-Williams, who introduced them to Garden of Delights – Treasures of the Royal School of Needlework Collection.  Dianne says “There were so many beautiful pictures of items from their collection it is hard to choose just a few.  One of the first pieces was Berlin wool work made by Lady Victoria Welby who founded the RSN as the School of Art Needlework in 1872; some stunning whitework by a past student that was given 3 stars for its excellence; a folded whitework purse exhibited in the Paris Exhibition; regimental badge designs; an old embroidered map of England and Wales; an embroidered letter folder made from porcupine quills; a second-best bed panel – what would the best bed panel have been like!   More modern work included images from their latest exhibition For Worship and Glory - an exhibition of Ecclesiastical Embroidery which runs from May to December this year.  There were 12 Litany of Loreto pieces included which date from the early 20th century and show just what can be achieved with a limited colour palette and good design, as well as lots of other ecclesiastical embroideries.  The 21st  century was represented by
‘@ = A, barcode = B’ a sampler embroidered with all the latest images – it would have been fun to work out what they all were – a good subject for a quiz!” 

The RSN website includes their Shop and there are some greeting cards depicting the Litany of Loreto pieces – they are stunning, do have a look if you can

It seems a long time ago that we announced the theme of SUMMER for the Bell Trophy, our members’ competition, but the time has flown past and this is a reminder that your entries have to be completed for display at the Summer Social on Monday 1st July.  The brief is ANY ITEM IN ANY TECHNIQUE which has been made or finished in 2012/13 and reflects the Summer theme.  There is still time to get stitching if you haven’t already – we hope for a good entry, so don’t be shy.

                                                                                                  JUNE 2013

A record number of members (24) and seven visitors gathered on Monday last to hear Jackie Cardy tell us about her obsession with stitch and show us her beautiful work.  The lovely silks and velvets she uses looked good enough to eat and in her hands even humble, old-fashioned plasterers’ scrim took on an exotic guise; all in all a delightful and inspiring afternoon.

In Brenda’s absence, Barbara and her daughter Louise Wheeler manned the Sales Table and did a grand job, taking £30.40.  The Orange raffle raised £26 and was won by Val Coleshaw and one of our guests, Janet Delgado.  Look out for items in COPPER OR BRONZE for the raffle in July – that will be a nice one to win!

Prior to the meeting the Committee met to discuss the new season’s subscription fee.  This year the Guild has increased its fee by £2 to £27.  With the Padiham fee of £23 (which includes the NW Region fee), this makes £50 in total.  Nan asked the meeting whether they would prefer to pay the subs by the usual one up-front payment, or change to a smaller Padiham subscription of £11 and have a £2 door fee at each meeting.  After a short discussion the meeting voted overwhelmingly in favour of continuing with the up-front fee.  The subscription letters and forms will be ready for you to pick up at the July meeting.  Subscriptions are due in September. 

Veronica has set up another interesting new programme for 2013/14 and copies of this will also be available.

So, our next meeting is on 1st July and is our Summer Social and strawberry tea.  Bring your entries for the Bell Trophy Members’ Competition on the theme of  ‘SUMMER’, ready for display.  All the pieces will be allocated a number on the day to ensure that voting is ‘blind’, so please make sure you have not put any visible identification on the front of your work.  We hope for a good entry – so don’t be shy.  If time allows after voting, it would be interesting to hear a little about the pieces – what techniques were used and the inspiration behind them.

We will also be holding a BOOK SALE.  There will be a slip inside each book with a guide price.  Just add your name and what you would like to bid.  Our aim is to sell as many books as possible, so although we want to realize maximum income, don’t be put off from bidding lower than the guide price.  Conversely, if you have been outbid on a popular book, it is quite in order to bid again.  At the end of the sale the books will go to the highest bidders.

As many of you know I am going into hospital on 11th June to have another operation on my hip.  At the moment I don’t know whether I will be at the next meeting or when I shall be fit to work at the computer again, and so I have been working hard to get as much possible done in advance, hence this very early Newsletter.  If I don’t see you in July – good luck with the competition and have a great time.

                                                      JULY/AUGUST 2013

I hope you are all enjoying your summer break – a proper summer at last too

The Summer Social was a big success and an enjoyable afternoon was spent by 22 members and two guests.  Thanks to Kathryn for the delicious strawberries and vanilla terrine – I know it was good because I was sent a lovely portion of left-overs, which kept us in puddings for a couple of days!

There was a pleasing number of entries for the Bell Trophy competition “Summer”.  Many congratulations to Carole Bownass on her winning entry – an idyllic beach scene.  Nan will be announcing the theme for 2014 at the AGM, giving us lots of time to put our thinking caps on.  She will also be announcing the theme for the Christmas Competition.

The Copper/Bronze raffle was won by one of our visitors, Suzanne Kendall – fingers crossed that this will persuade her to become a permanent member!  Nan Clough took the second prize.  The raffle raised £17.  The September Raffle Colour is RED.  Income from sales were also excellent with the Sales Table taking £37.10 and the Book Sale a magnificent £66.  Thanks to everyone who took part.

Susan Towers organized fabric and instructions for our Padiham & District bunting in July.  If you took a letter or letters, please bring them along in September.  It will be fun to see them all assembled and flying the flag for Padiham.

Now we have the new season to look forward to, starting with the AGM on 2nd September. As requested in your Subscription Letter, if you have an nominations for the Committee or are willing to volunteer in any capacity, please let me know.  An Agenda and the 2012 AGM Minutes are attached to this Newsletter.   Please also bring your subscription and completed forms to the meeting if possible. 

After the formal meeting we will be welcoming Chris Mitchell who will tell us about the work of the African charity Kisiizi Krafts.  She will also have some of their colourful bags for sale.  We will also be opening the booking for our next Saturday Workshop on American Smocking which Monica Selway is leading for us. 

Finally I would like to thank everyone for the many kind wishes and cards I have received and for the beautiful plant.  Progress is frustratingly slow, with a number of setbacks thrown in to hold me back, but I got into the car for the first time last week which was a big step forward.  I have not been able to master crutches yet so am still dependent on a zimmer frame and wheelchair, but I am hoping very much to be able to be at the next meeting.

                                                          SEPTEMBER 2013

It was good to see so many of you at the AGM.  Everyone arrived with their subscriptions and we are pleased to have Hilary Crabtree back with us.  We can also welcome two new members, Suzanne Kendall and Kate Spencer.  Sadly, there are also some goodbyes.  Louise Wheeler and Elizabeth Johnston have decided not to rejoin this year, and an even bigger loss is Veronica.  She has been an invaluable member right from the early days at Gawthorpe, both as our Programme Secretary and also as our resident ‘strong woman’.  Putting out tables will not be as easy in the future!  We very much hope to see her from time to time when work permits.

One of the apologies for not attending the AGM was from Jackie Hammond – her very valid excuse is a broken ankle so sympathies and good wishes for a speedy recovery go to her.

The stories our speaker, Chris Mitchell, told us about Kisiizi were really humbling, but also inspiring.  It was a fascinating glimpse into a completely different world.  Chris sent thanks to all our members for giving her and her husband such a warm welcome and said we had made “Bags of Difference” by adding £200 to the project with our purchases.

In her report Nan reminded us of all the many techniques we had dabbled in over the past year; it amounted to quite a stunning list when put all together.  This year’s programme looks equally varied and interesting.  Please do your best to help Shelagh Graham compile her first programme by giving her ideas and letting her know your interests.  At the October meeting Kathryn will be running another mini-workshop on Chinese Lanterns – nothing to bring except yourself and a pair of scissors.  Our intention is to use them to decorate an entry in to the Christmas Tree Festival at the Church in December.  This will have the joint purpose of supporting the Church and raising awareness of our own Branch to recruit new members.

As usual Brenda and Barbara were busy on the Sales Table and raised £32.60.  The Red raffle raised £22.  Sue Towers says she was delighted to have her first win in three years!  Val Coleshaw took second prize.  Thanks to everyone who shopped and bought tickets.  Next month’s colour is MAUVE.

The booking list opened for our October Workshop (on Saturday, 26th October), American Smocking with Monica Selway.  Monica will demonstrate a number of different techniques and there will be a chance to make a unique brooch.  There are still places left so let me know, or sign up at the next meeting if you want to go.

Nan announced the theme for next year’s summer competition, the Bell Trophy, which will be “THREE” to celebrate the Branch’s third year – so get your thinking caps on.  There will be a difference to the Christmas competition this year which will be based on “12 Days of Christmas”.

If you have made an entry for the Neck-Tie Challenge, please be sure to bring it with you to the October meeting so that it can be taken to the North West AGM.  The AGM takes place on Saturday, 19th October at the in the Bleasdale Suite at the  Garstang Country Hotel, Bowgreave Drive, Bowgreave, PrestonLancashire PR3 1YE.  The meeting starts at 10.45 a.m. and you can order lunch.  Everyone is welcome, so if you want to go, please let me know so I can give the Secretary some idea of numbers.  It is a good way to find out what is going on in the Region and to meet other Branch members.  There will be exhibitions by Young Embroiderers, City & Guilds students, Summer School and the Tie Challenge.

                                                             OCTOBER 2013

There was a slightly lower than average turn-out for the 7th October meeting, just sixteen members and one visitor, but we had a very jolly afternoon working on Chinese Lanterns.  Thanks for Kathryn for organizing this for us.  After the meeting I remembered Ann had sent through a pattern some time ago and was able to redistribute it (with an amendment from Dianne) for anyone who wanted to make more.  The more the merrier if we are to use them for the Christmas Tree Festival in December - so don’t stop winding.  Anyone not on email who would like a copy, please let me know.

More contributions to the Neck-Tie challenge were brought in, which Kathryn will take to the NW Regional AGM for us.  There was an amazing variety including a bag, pictures and a rather exotic necklace.

We have had a very poor response to the American Smocking workshop due to take place on 26th October.  Although we did get three more names at the meeting there just were not enough takers to cover our expenses and we were forced to cancel.  The Hall charge alone is £80 for a Saturday workshop and we were nowhere near covering that plus Monica’s fee and travelling expenses.  It is very disappointing but we hope to do much better with the March workshop with Patricia Barrett; the list will be opening at the November meeting.  Patricia taught her That Darn Stitch! course at Alston Summer School this year and it was much enjoyed by her pupils.  She brought some of her colourful pictures along to the meeting to whet our appetites and I for one can’t wait to learn how she achieves these fun textiles with such a utilitarian stitch.
We received a card from Veronica acknowledging the thank-you gift we presented her with at the AGM.  She says she hopes to join us from time to time when her working schedule allows and will support Shelagh as much as she can as well.  Shelagh requests that you give her any suggestions or tell her about any special interests to help her with planning the programme.  As Nan’s AGM report showed, we have enjoyed so many varied and interesting meetings this past year and we are all keen to keep up the standard.

Sue collected more bunting at the meeting and hopes to have it up and fluttering before too long.  It will be really nice to see the result of our first joint enterprise. 

Barbara was kept busy on the Sales Table and made £15.73.  It looks as though Dianne managed to persuade everyone to buy a raffle ticket for the Mauve raffle as she took £17!  It was won by our visitor, Margaret Lambert, with Barbara taking second prize.  The raffle colour for November is GOLD which should give the winners a boost for their Christmas competition entries.  As you know, this is on the theme of 12 Days of Christmas. 

Our speaker in November is Rubina Porter who is going to tell us about Teaching Embroidery in Bangladesh, so I am sure we are going to be in for a colourful afternoon.

                                              NOVEMBER 2013

There were 24 members at the November meeting, including a new member, Margaret Lambert.  We also had two visitors from Bolton who were keen to hear Rubina Porter speak, having missed their own meeting.  Rubina’s talk about Teaching Embroidery in Bangladesh was very inspiring.  The Sreepur Village is home to about 100 destitute and abandoned women and 500 children whose life stories are almost unbelievable to us.  How privileged we are!  The wealth of talent that has been uncovered by the help and shelter offered to these unfortunate women is awe-inspiring and the proof was in the beautiful woven scarves, embroidery and cards Ruby had with her for sale.  Everyone who attended the meeting was obviously touched and impressed and generously bought goods worth £463 for the Village funds (this included Ruby’s fee which she donated).  It brought home to us all, as women, just how fortunate we are to have been born here in the West.

Wendy distributed membership cards for the new year; if you have not yet had yours, she will have them at the next meeting.   Please note that the number on the card should be prefixed by PAD/.  You will need to know this if you want to get into the Guild website.

Booking for Patricia Barrett’s workshop in March, “That Darn Stitch!” opened and several people have already signed up.  The form will be at the December meeting as well, so do get your name down – after the disappointment of the last workshop we are anxious to make this one a success.  Val brought two of the pictures she made on the course last summer to show us – they were so attractive and really showed what lovely effects can be achieved with Patricia’s technique – even if you are not Patricia!

I was lucky enough to win the GOLD raffle jointly with Barbara Jones.  I hope I will soon be able to make use of my lovely loot.  The raffle raised £22 – December’s colour is GREY.  The Sales Table raised £23.16.  Thanks to everyone for their generosity.  Brenda made an appeal for more donations for the Sales Table as stock is getting low, so please have a look around and see what you can spare from your ‘stash’!

Christmas Tree Festival:  Shelagh is in contact with the organizer of the festival at the Church in December and we hope to have a tree.  Some lovely Chinese Lanterns were collected at the meeting and if you have any more please bring them in December.  I am sure she will be appealing for help in December as well.  We have one lead for a spare Christmas tree, but I am sure she would be very glad to hear from you if you have one you could lend. 

Shelagh will also be picking your brains on idea and requests for the next programme she is compiling.  She is also prospecting possible new workshop venues which may be cheaper and give us more flexibility than the current Hall, so will be reporting back.  A large part of our workshop expense is the Hall fee; the lack of power plugs also limits us in our choice of subjects,.

It is unbelievable that the last meeting of 2013 is almost upon us.  As well as the Twelve Days of Christmas competition we will be holding our usual Christmas Card swap.  For any new members, and as a reminder to old hands, anyone who brings a card (preferably hand-made) will take one home with them.  The message inside could be something like “Happy Christmas from all your friends at Padiham Branch”.  There will be festive food and a light-hearted quiz, as well as the usual raffle and Sales Table.

I am signing off for a month or so as I have my, hopefully final, operation on 26th November, so I will wish you all a very Happy Christmas and Peaceful New Year.  

Enjoy yourselves on 2nd December

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