Northumberland Hills Stitchery Guild

Meets: 2nd and 4th Tuesdays
September to June
9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Lion’s Community Centre
157 Elgin Street East, Cobourg
Contact: 905-885-4029

Sheila McCoy, ONN representative


Report for July 2020

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, ONN representative                              10 July 2020

Well, our biggest decision after the March report came with the announcement of the Covid-19 closings. It seems everything shut down in Cobourg on March 11, and we are still in “cautious” mode.

We had to wait for the meeting hall to announce their future plans, but of course, they were locked down tight as was everyone else. We finally reached them and managed to re-book the ONN AGM for 2021 – sooooo we hope to see you all next May 29th !!

Our biggest concern was for one of our members (Anne S. and her husband Sel) – they were trapped in Portugal – their usual Spring vacation place – when Canada decided to give everyone a couple of weeks to get back to Canada. They had a nightmare time trying to arrange flights, isolated for 14 days BEFORE they got on the plane, which wasn’t exactly a luxury return flight – sandwiches and bottled water – but their son made up for it when they arrived in Toronto. He had their car at the airport, a bag of groceries and his rubber gloves and mask – no hugging !! They were not allowed out of their house, not even for a walk on the street, for another 14 days.

It seems Immy has become our “Cheerer Upper and Postman”. She sends pictures of flowers in her garden, funny videos, jokes, and general news items. She encouraged everyone to send photos of their projects which we are all sharing. Everyone seem to start on their UFOs, and some are being completed !!

One of our newer members, Anne Louise, confessed she was working on a quilt-type reindeer wall hanging, with a braided border made from Christmas fabrics. A good project during our sweltering summer days !!

preparing quilt blocks

Immy decided to finish off the Dorset Buttons that she started before we finished meeting as a Guild – and they are lovely.

Dorset buttons

Anne kept busy in Portugal and finished off a sweater


And set up the smocked panel for a dress, which she finished on return..

smocked panel  smocked panel in dress

completed dress

I dug out 2 projects started 3 years earlier…..a sweater and a sewing box, oh yes and I decided to sew more crests onto my Scout Vest (so they don’t get lost !! ), and finished the Elsa Williams Crewel Bell Pull I started January, 2019.


sewing box

sewing box interior

scout vest with badges

embroidered bell pull

Anne also decided to finish a box. . . .as well as make another Smocked dress !!! (Check out the Inspirations Newsletter #243 for July, 2020.)

selecting fabrics

box interior

box exterior

We have swapped some ideas, and suggestions for various sewing projects, so although we aren’t face-to-face, we are thinking about each other; Eva may now be using applique to preserve a piece of sewing she wanted to keep.

Next we circulated the latest Butterick/KwickSew/McCall’s/Vogue newsletter, which gave FREE downloadable patterns of Masks and Gowns to cope with Covid-19. To be made for self or for others.

In Cobourg, we have a local group of ladies (Helping Hands Northumberland CA) who gather all kinds of items for circulation to needy charities. They turned their hand to making masks (770 handed out in July) scrubbie bags, mask bags, ear protectors, etc., for all local charity groups, clinics, hospitals, retirement homes, and organizations, and some of our Guild members have given them a ‘helping hand’ as well… a BIG Thank You to them for helping out.

Anne then started on ANOTHER dress – and finished that in record time !!

smocked dress

Susan C. (our Facebook, archeology, history lady) has circulated a whole bunch of UK Guild pieces of sewing, and interesting items of sewing from the internet. We have all shared pictures of flowering gardens and flower bouquets, as well as videos, funny jokes, inspiring philosophies and other news updates.

Susan C has finished a project started when her son was about 15 – and he’s now about 38. These are her comments, and they reflect so much how many of us have felt.

I have been very slow to get any stitching done through the lockdown, but finally got my act together in May and was determined to finish my Samurai cross stitch.
I wanted to be able to actually say I accomplished something in 2020 !

This is a sure candidate for a PHD certificate when we finally resume meetings. I can’t remember the exact year I started this. It is from a Dimensions Gold Collection kit which uses blended colours.

I thought the actual cross stitching was a challenge, but, as Sheila warned me, the detail work was a lot harder than I thought. I figured once I got to that stage, it would be a breeze. Haa haa, Sheila was right!! But I persevered.

The back looks like a dog’s breakfast, and I hated working with that darned gold thread, but I’ve learned quite a lot since joining the Guild, and hopefully I can improve somewhat on the next cross stitch project.

Samurai cross-stitch

Susan – that was no SIMPLE project – so good job done !!

In the hot weather I have spent time lounging on my deck, doing my “mindless” sewing pieces – namely the fronts for Lavender sachets. “Mindless” because I don’t have a pattern – making up flowers and sewing them as I go seems more relaxing (I usually like my sewing projects “structured”).

11 small projects

Jillian R-M held a workshop just before we closed encouraging members, like me, to feel free to “create” – so this was some of our starts…. and I still have to finish mine.

In the meantime, we are Carrying On, Carrying On. . . . .

Everyone keep safe –                                                 10 July, 2020 : smc



Report for March 2020

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, ONN representative                              20 March 2020

We have had a very lively start to the new year, and welcomed another new member – Carol W. – to join in our busy group.. –

We started out with something simple – but challenging. Susan led us in making Dorset Buttons. As someone who has always wondered how these things are made, my fingers and thumbs effort distorted my design, which I covered over by making a design from it (an angel).
We went on to learn how to make more intricate designs and everyone had a very productive effort at the end.

2 Dorset Buttons

teacher and students create Dorset buttons

Following the Dorset buttons, Jillian organized an Applique project. This took place over a couple of meetings. She assembled several kits and everyone chose their favourite colours, opened the bag and got into it. This is such a new way of approaching Applique. Jillian is a fabric artist and so we were getting the chance to “try it out”.

woman holding fabric

students choosing fabric

selection of fabrics

selections of compatible fabrics

selection of compatible fabrics

selection of compatible fabrics

Whilst all these works of art were going on, several of our Guild members were off on the Annual “Tubbers” get-away down in Prince Edward County (Isaiah Tubbs Resort). This time they were gone for an extra day, so when we can meet again, we hope to see what they achieved. That is, in between all the meals, glasses of wine, good laughs and camaraderie.
(When we are able to meet again, as a Guild, we will find out what went on !!)

Immy has booked our Annual Meeting and Luncheon at our local Dalewood Golf Course, and we are hoping that this will take place in June.

Our ONN Committee met and put some final ideas together for the ONN Conference 2020, and we sent out the information to all the ONN Guilds.

Well, since then the whole picture has changed.

We heard from 3 Guilds who were not able to attend the May date (Sudbury, London, Brantford), but now it seems that no Guilds are going to be able to attend.

Our meeting Hall is closed, and we haven’t had chance to speak with the Administrator at the Meeting Hall; we were put on “hold” until April.

At this time we will try to negotiate a possible date for later in the year.

A number of other Guilds will be holding their participation cheques until we have more concrete information about a new date, which will be conveyed for consideration as we learn more details.

UFOs have become a “very popular” topic in the meantime…… what better time to get caught up.

We are going to keep smiling and keeping our fingers crossed, and will communicate in early April.

In the meantime, we are Carrying On, Carrying On. . . . .

Everyone keep safe                                                20 March, 2020 : smc


Report for December 2019 

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, ONN representative

Since our September Report, we are very pleased to welcome four new members to our fold.
They were in time to participate in another project of canvas work, featuring Bargello.   We hope this will be as successful as the Hardanger Sampler done earlier this year.

Cathie, our leader, (President’s job shared with Patricia N.) has been for a visit with us and is doing very well after her horrendous fall and broken leg.   Barb Kershaw is also on the mend.

In October, Immy and ladies made yet another trip to Gitta’s in Mississauga.  It was not a very good day for driving, but that didn’t seem to hinder the event, as the ladies went on their buying spree and luncheon outing.

Our ONN Conference 2020 Committee has been meeting to lay out some more plans and ideas, and we hope the guilds across southern Ontario will be reserving the date for this event.  Of course, more information will be forthcoming in the New Year, but in the meantime please make a note of the date :

Saturday, 30 May, 2020

Again we put Immy in charge of arranging our Christmas get-together luncheon, and this year we indulged at Gusto’s of The Waddell Hotel in Port Hope.  We all had a good time and enjoyed the fabulous luncheon and service.  Good job, Immy !

January will bring another project of Dorset Buttons…. and then in February, a project put on by Jillian….. I wonder if it could be “mittens”??

(Jillian’s daughter, in Australia, is involved with rescuing koala bears from the terrible fires…..we have sent a few “mittens” which are used on the bears’ paws.)

We hope that everyone enjoys the festive season and gets a chance to settle in for a quiet time of sewing over the holidays, and

We hope the ONN Guilds are planning to come and join us Saturday, 30 May, 2020.

We are Carrying  On, Carrying On. . . . .                          12 December, 2019 : smc



Report – October 2019

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, ONN Rep

My August report briefly covered our AGM meeting held at Dalewood Golf Course (I was away at this time), however below are a few photos from that event – a lovely backdrop for a sewing event and luncheon (as well as AGM for the Guild).

I also reported about visiting Lang Pioneer Village in the July and have one more photo to add from that event.

We are pleased to report that Cathie our leader, (President’s job shared with Patricia N.) is on the mend. Several of us visited her up in Peterborough where she had to attend physiotherapy for several weeks, and now she is back home (in her own little bed !!) getting along quite well. October is looking promising for her as it’s been a long haul since breaking her leg at the end of April.

I missed the day, but Immy entertained the Guild members at her home in summer…. Fortunately the flood waters from the Cobourg Brook had receded and it was a lovely day for the event.

Another day I missed was earlier in the year when there was a Show & Share and “My Other Hat” event held at the Guild…… pictures follow of the “Show” part of the meeting

(I don’t deliberately miss my Guild events, I was President of a local Art Club for 2 years; their new President resigned, so I was called back into duty and to run their 65th Annual Art Show).

The smocked Doll’s dress matches the full-scale dress for the little girl. This lovely work is done by Anne Shields and was recently featured in the Inspirations All Stitched Up Newsletter No. 201.

We had another good and busily attended display at the Port Hope & District Agricultural Fair, (13-14/Sept) where Anne recently won THREE First Prizes for her smocking pieces. Sue D. and Immy L. also cleaned up with Prizes – as usual!! It is a good way to connect with the public and help increase our membership… and we do have some new members !

Our Guild is back for the Fall-Winter Session and Canvas work, Bargello and Dorset Buttons are on the agenda for upcoming projects, as well as a road trip to Gitta’s (not to be missed !)

Our Committee for the 2020 ONN Conference and AGM is moving along with arrangements, and information will be coming along when more details are available.

We hope the ONN Guilds are planning to come and join us next May 30, 2020.

We are therefore, Carrying On, Carrying On. . . . .



Report – August 2019

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, ONN representative

My March report ended with “Looking forward to warmer weather”…. Well it’s here, but before it came, let’s see what we were doing….

May was a busy month.   Members were still working on their Samplers and doing a great job, but then tragedy struck (4th)…. Cathie, our leader, took a tumble backwards down her basement stairs.   Not good news.   The prognosis being that her right leg needs a lot of healing and walking will be sometime in September/October.   Patricia set up a rotation card/visit roster for us to keep Cathie in the picture on this long haul.

So on May 14, we had our regular meeting in Brighton, at Knowledge & Needles the Sewing/Stitchery outlet run from the home of Ann McDonald.   Ann and her husband are fabulous hosts and they encourage so many groups to visit;  the hospitality is fantastic.  (Knowledge and Needles, 190 Smith Street, Brighton.  Tel:  613-475-4838 –

Next up was the Annual General Meeting which coincided with a luncheon at Dalewood Golf Course.

(I missed this event, but hear it went very well and a new Executive group was elected).

Because I missed the AGM I’ve only just heard that one of our newer members, Heather, went to have a new knee – so I’ve enrolled her for a Fall Marathon !!    She seems to have done very well with the surgery and is currently hanging on to some piece of cooling equipment used to help the repair of the knee.   I’ve given her permission to do some embroidery whilst she’s sitting around.

Every year, we visit a member’s garden for a Stitch-in – and this time it was Immy’s place.   She lives right on the Cobourg Brook and Lake Ontario, and was quite fearful that her garden would resemble a swimming pool.   However, the water did reside and the ladies met on the patio and had a terrific Pot Luck luncheon…. which I also missed.  (Senior moment – put the wrong date on my calendar).

The next venture four of us participated in was a volunteer day at Lang Pioneer Village, which featured an Antique Car Show, so there were lots of people.  We join up with the Northumberland Rug Hookers for this event.   As required, we donned our gowns and bonnets and started out in the Loom Room – it’s air-conditioned!    However, after lunch we decided to sit out on the shaded porch and it was just lovely.   We had a lot of interested inquiries, so these jaunts help promote our Guild as well as give us a lovely day out.

With this in mind a group of us are taking our sewing projects over to Cobourg Museum for a day on their verandah;   the Museum recently celebrated 200 years of James Cockburn (First Speaker of Canadian House of Commons) he was from Cobourg.   This event is to help the museum celebrate, and it will also give our Guild exposure to the local public.

Along with all these happenings, the Committee for the 2020 ONN Conference and AGM has been meeting and plans are being made.   Once we are back in September, we will have to get to work on some of the finer points of running this event.   Lots of fun !    We hope the other ONN Guilds will participate and come and join us next May, 2020.

We are therefore, Carrying  On, Carrying On. . . . .                                                                                                     22 July, 2019 : smc


Northumberland Hills Stitchery Guild


Northumberland Rug Hookers



Report – April 2018

Submitted by Sheila McCoy, Onn Representative

We are all wondering where the first 3 months of the year have gone to.    We must all be working hard at our projects – “time passes quickly when you are having fun”.

Most members of the group have been hard at work learning all the new stitches that Cathie has put together to produce a Sampler of Hardanger.  The projects are going well.

Those members who did not take on the project are also progressing with their surface embroidery, Crewel, Brazilian, counted cross stitch, needlepoint projects.

In February a group took in Jillian’s (Roos-Markowitz) Showing of Fabric Art projects sponsored by the Edward Jones (Investments) office in Cobourg;  this company is a huge supporter of the arts in our town.

The crew of “Tubbers” took off for their jaunt with friends from Toronto Guild of Stitchery and Trillium (Whitby).  This year the weather for driving and being there was not too bad, so everyone had a good time – chatting, exchanging ideas, between the snacks, great meals and glasses of wine!!

We have now depleted our Library of books.   Very sad to see them go, but many were snapped up by members (and Tubbers).   The problem with a Library becomes storage of the volumes, and then if you have to move facility, it limits places to move to.

We are looking forward to warmer weather and finishing our projects.

As before, Carry On, Carrying On. . . . .


Report – April 2018

We are all wondering where the first 3 months of the year have gone to. We must all be working hard at our projects – “time passes quickly when you are having fun”.

Several of us still have to complete the sewing boxes we started, and they are all looking really good even in their various stages of completion.

On February 20, a group of Guild members had a conducted tour at the local Art Gallery of Northumberland to see the exhibit “Synergy” comprising art by Peter Haller and wall quilts by Dorothy Winter. Dorothy (a local lady) is famous for her wall quilts and her work is impeccable.

March is the retreat month and a good crew of “Tubbers” went off from 7 to 9 March, (before the school break) with friends from the Toronto Guild of Stitchery. The weather behaved itself, making the drive down to the Isaiah Tubbs Resort in Prince Edward County a pleasant one. Some of our members who have not attended this event before were very impressed with the skills and variety of needlework that everyone took to work on – that is, between the snacks, great meals and glasses of wine!!

As with many Guilds we have, over the years, built up a library of useful books. However, storing and keeping check of them has been deemed a bit of an issue, and the internet seems to becoming more of a source of reference. So, we have decided to give our members a chance to purchase the books, and every week a few are displayed and sold. Personally, I feel very sad about this action because many of the books are “classic” and irreplaceable … but times keep changing, and we all have to move on. As long as they are not destroyed, they will bring pleasure to the recipients.

We are looking forward to warmer weather and finishing our projects.

As before, Carry On, Carrying On …

Report – December 2017

We are all working on our books with Cath Orr taking the members through blanket stitch and its various uses in embroidery … makes some lovely flowers!

Our new members are working in well; we have been treated to some “different” pieces of needlework. Susan Calverley showed us some of her felted pieces from little “picture” pieces to the cutest little people …



Barbara Kershaw started several members on their way to making a sewing box. This is no simple task and we all had “homework”. We are all at different completion stages, so swapping notes is very helpful.

One of our members, Teresa Harvey, is taking a well-earned rest. She brought in her latest project, a stitched portrait, which was a huge undertaking. Incorporating about 113 colours on the finest of linen. Her project was presented as a retirement gift to Rev. Dr. Brent Hawkes, CM.

Several members did the “Big Day” in the city – at Gita’s store … stocking up on all kinds of goodies ready to carry them through the winter months!!

At our last meeting date in November we were treated to yet another surprise … our member Eva McCormack is not only good with a needle, but also a machine. Eva’s a “quilt-aholic” using embroidery to embellish!! This is her latest delightful quilt for a granddaughter.

We have made plans for our annual Christmas luncheon to be held at the well-known Woodlawn Inn in Cobourg.

Also in the planning for 2018 is the Tubbers Expedition to the Isaiah Tubbs resort in Prince Edward County.

We hope everyone has had a relaxing Christmas and managed to get in a little sewing over the holiday season.

Wishing everyone a Good New Year in 2018. As before, Carry On, Carrying On …

For more information about our guild please go to the Northumberland Hills Stitchery Guild website.