Oakville Stitchery Guild

Meets: 4th Monday – September to May  (excluding December; AGM – June)
7:00 – 10:00 pm  ::    Joshua Creek Heritage Centre, Oakville

Report – December 2022

submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild had three in person meetings so far since the last ONN report. The first meeting was mind mapping. The second meeting was making pumpkins. The last meeting was making holiday stockings. Some of our guild members have their artwork in a gallery. We have been focusing on doing recycling friendly projects using thread and fabric scraps in our workshops.

Mind Mapping

Mind Mapping

Mind mapping is similar to mind mapping on paper. You close your eyes put a pen on a piece of paper or fabric and think of a place you been to and walking around that place moving your pen to where you walk. You stitch on the lines and add pieces of fabric and beads for special effects. When Gemma drew her mind map she saw three growing sprouts and worked on that through stitchery and fabric scraps.

Making pumpkins:

Making pumpkins is very easy. It’s similar to making a tomato pin cushion. You cut a big circle of fabric, run stitch around the edge, add stuffing, gather in and viola. Add a stick or piece of felt for the stem.

Sew pieces of fabric scraps together to the shape of a stocking. Add beads, charms and buttons.

by Judith Veinot

by Judith Veinot

Judith’s piece is hanging in the Neilson Park Creative Centre at 56 Neilson Dr, Toronto, ON M9C 1V7. https://www.neilsonparkcreativecentre.com

by Nancy Hull

by Nancy Hull

Nancy’s piece is hanging in Joshua Creek Heritage Centre at 1086 Burnhamthorpe Rd E, Oakville, ON L6H 7B2. Nancy won Juror’s award for her picture. https://www.joshuacreekarts.com

Tina is a new member of the Stitchery guild

Report – September 2022

submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

Oakville Stitchery Guild had our first meeting on September 26, 2022. We had a mini workshop of drawing a mind map and adding fabric and decorative stitch on the mind map. Pictures are to come later. Oakville Stitchery Guild recently had a fibre art show at Joshua Creek Heritage Centre. You can see the full gallery here at https://www.joshuacreekarts.com/art-exhibitions/fibre-art-passion-at-joshua-creek-heritage-art-centre/

Here is the Oakville stitchery guild’s members’ art in the show.

Ecoptera Gigantica

Ecoptera Gigantica by Nancy Hull

Report – July 2022

Submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

This Summer at the Oakville Stitchery guild we stepped out of the box from our usual workshops such as tea and rust dyeing, making buttons and dolls. We had a mini workshop of heating wax crayons on fabric as well doing Boro with thread and fabric scraps. Our main workshop was working with twine to make a basket.


Wax crayon

Using a glass stove, turning the heat to low medium, wax paper to protect stove, fabric on top, grab a crayon and draw as the wax crayon is melting.

Pin fabric scraps to the main background fabric. Running stitch away.

Soak the twine first for a few hours. Twist the twine in a circular form. Pin or clasp were the twine connects. Leave in the sun to completely dry. Voila you have a twine basket or model.

We love tea and rust dying so much that we need a big container just to hold our tea and rust fabric scraps. Collect tea bags and rusty metal. Wrap it in fabric. Wrap the fabric tight with string or elastics. Cook the fabric in an old pot not used for food anymore with tea or soak it with vinegar and let it dry outside on a hot summer day. Wash the fabric. Running stitch.


Mary: Wet felting and beading

Report – March 2022

Submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

Our last meeting was on November 28, 2021. We had to close down the meetings in December due to new restrictions in Oakville of 5 people per meeting. We been keeping in contact over email and will be meeting in person soon on March 27, 2022. Here’s some art work that our Oakville Stitchery has been up to.

Barbara Hodkinson
Picture 1
Sashiko with some found fabrics.

Nancy Hull

Rusted and eco printed soft sculpture.

Wendy Nicholson

First picture experimenting with some images from England local Horticultural/Dog show and stitchery. Second picture fabric collage and embroidery soon to be added.

Judith Veinot
Picture 6
Judith is enjoying making quilts for her loved ones and for the community. She still loves to explore embroidery and other techniques that capture her fondness of nature.

Liz Thurston
A silk painting of a blue heron bird. Soon to be stitched.

Gemma Burke

First picture, sewing circular weaving projects together, a knitted fish and dollies to create a fantasy seascape. Second picture using felt and yarns to make a 3d clam shell.

Report – December 2021

Submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery guild had their first in person meeting on Monday, October 25, 2021. We keep our masks on during the meeting. We had a show and tell.

Judith made Christmas ornaments with fabric scraps.


Mary has been doing eco dying with Nancy.

Joan has been doing free motion embroidery with her sewing machine.


Our overseas stitchery members are keeping contact with us on email, showing us what they have been up to.

We also have mini workshops for every meeting. So far we have made mini dolls and broaches.


Report – September 2021

submitted by Gemma Burke, ONN Rep

A few Oakville stitchery guild members have their stitchery work displayed at Joshua Creek Heritage Centre for the 40th annual summer show. Which you can see at https://www.joshuacreekarts.com/exhibitions/current-exhibition/

Each picture will be labeled by artist name, name of artwork and a short description of how it was made.

We also have an overseas stitchery member name Wendy Nicolson from England who has been engaging with us online through email, facebook and zoom meetings.

leafless winter trees against snow

Joshua Creek in Winter (embroidery and water colour) by Barb Hodkinson

tri-lobed goldwork piece

Gold Work (embroidery and goldwork) by Barb Hodkinson

impressionist rock face in greys and greens

Rock Face (embroidery) by Barb Hodkinson

several turtles swimming underwater

Herd of Turtles (fabric painting and sewing) by Mary Clark

impressionist landscape

Symphony (silk painting) by Mary Clark

3 colourful images of embroidered geodes

Geodes (embroidery and beads) by Gemma Burke

3 embroidered images in circular frames

Frogs, Toads, Mushrooms and Fungus (embroidery and water colour) by Gemma Burke

wild cucumber framed in black

Please Write (wild cucumber and sewing) by Sybil Rampen

embroidered image of woman with applied silk flowers

Flower Lady (sewing, embroidery) by Wendy Nicolson

Report – July 2021

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild are still meeting virtually in an informal way (no structure to the sessions) and simply sharing what they’ve created. Here’s a run-down of just some of the magnificent works.

Our UK member Wendy has been exploring ways of portraying people, her response to the lack of physical human contact during the last year and an attempt to move forward. The attached shows two of the three daughters who run Lady Sew and Sew showing off some of their fabrics. Judy is showing off a roll of fabric – she always puts her specs on the top of her head!

2021-04-Wendy 01

Janet has been playing with free-motion stitching on her monoprints on fabric. One of the pictures is actually a print on paper, with Gordana taught circles on black felt superimposed on top.

2021-04-Janet 03

Barbara has been continuing her everlasting quilt for her daughter, attached just one of the blocks.

2021-04-Barb 02

Helen did her first goldwork. It’s a Cynthia Jackson Mariners Compass.

2021-05-Helen 01

Liz created a new phone bag after her old one started falling apart.

2021-06-Liz telephone bag

In order to achieve the colour gradations in her chicken, our ever prolific Gemma consulted the book Colour Confidence.

2021-06-Gemma chicken 2

Nancy created this funky pot work. The tree is coiled, and the nest is a real bird’s nest. For the bird, Nancy used carefully peeled off layers from a paper wasp’s nest, and real feathers for the tail.

2021-06-Nancy funky pot

Joan’s denim feathers – she would stitch down the middle, cut out and fray (white or black depending on which thread you pull.

2021-06-Joan denim feathers


Report – March 2020

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild is still going on, in spite of Covid and its restrictions, albeit still via Zoom. And people are still creating, which is just wonderful! Here are just a few of the beautiful creations of the members:

Our Gemma is still creating works faster than the rest of us can keep up with, the young woman just can keep going and going! It’s too many to show here, but feel free to look her up on Instagram under Gemma Burke. I’m including her one colour study in red, and her tree with fungus here, two of her hoop embroideries.

2021-01-Gemma 3

2021-02-Gemma 5

Joan has been doing stitching over lunch-time at work, and it certainly is nothing to be snuffed at.

2021-01-Joan 2

Liz just loves depicting birds, see her owl that she created here, a mixed media work playing with Inktense pencils and blocks on a coarsely woven fabric; but there’s also a black paper background, thin batting, some acrylic paint, stitching and ravelling.


Shirley has been sewing little bags with the most beautiful and intricate stitchwork and making bags from it. This specific fabric was coloured by our dear departed friend Pat Greening, Shirley added the stitching and created the bag, and gifted the beauty back to Pat’s daughter.

2021-01-Shirley 2

Also on the topic of wildlife, Mary has been sewing turtles swimming, absolutely beautiful.


During lockdown, Nancy has been working with the materials that she had in and around her studio, and these primitive animals are what transpired. Have a look.

2021-03-Nancy-Primative antelope running

Sybil created yet another beautiful piece for yet another exhibition, this time in Grimsby. She calls it Dancing among the Ashes, after applying her beloved burning coals to fabric and then working her wild cucumber dancer onto the fabric.

2021-03-Sybil Dancing among the Ashes 1

Our remote member Wendy has been doing some square stitching, experimenting with all and every kind of stitch. This is her WIP.


Janet enhanced her watercolour print with fabric.


Hermien retouched an older piece, by re-doing the moon.


Thanks!                                     Hermien

Report – December 2020

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

Much like the rest of the Guilds, the Oakville Stitchery Guild could only meet online, but continued to share their endeavours and stitching adventures with one another – albeit without hands-on sessions which proved to cumbersome to do.

Here are just a few examples:

Judith did some exquisite boro work as per her three examples.

Nancy created a giant moth.

Mary crafted magical bowls with fabric and paper.

Barb created her bowls from cotton wool paper.

Debbie has been making sample projects as per a Danish group that she is a part of. She says they’re easy to join on facebook at Dogmi Broderi.

Liz skeletonized a leaf (cooking it with washing soda and gently washing away the pulp), and incorporated that into an embroidery.

May you have a wonderful festive season!


Report – July 2020

Submitted by Hernien Venter, ONN Rep                23 July 2020

The Oakville Stitchery Guild has had one Zoom meeting in the last three months, and will have the second one on July 26th.
People are continuing with their bug book project, and currently in the Artus exhibition, the bug of Joan Lindo’s can be viewed in all its splendour on the piano.

Also in the Artus exhibition, is the following fibre art works by our Guild members are on show: 3 Works by Anne MacMillan, who sadly passed away on July 11th, making her work especially poignant at this time.

Also two pieces by Barbara Hodkinson, who works on water-colour prints on fabric, one piece by our remote British member Wendy Nicholson, one piece by Roberta Eustace, and three by Debbie Bianco.

We’re making quite the splash!

Report – March 2020

Submitted by Hernien Venter, ONN Rep                23 March 2020

Like everybody else, the Oakville Stitchery Guild sadly had to cancel their last meeting in light of the coronavirus crisis, however before that we still had really good fun.

We are jointly working on a bug book that we want to bring out – every member can submit their bugs in any way shape or form, and the photographs will be compiled in a book. Amira just sent us her one submission, she opened a can of worms, it seems! And Debbie expressed her love of bees in an embroidery piece.

Birds take worms from a can

Also, during the January hands-on-session, the group worked on pendants. We had some of Sybil’s spectacular pendants as inspiration and we are all currently working to complete our own.

hand made pendant

Nancy presented a cheesecloth workshop that produced wonderful results. You can see here a sample that Mary created as an outflow of the workshop.

Pear fashioned from cheesecloth

During the February meeting the hands-on session was about collage, and more bug items were brought in.

4 hand embroidered bugs

Report – January 2020

Submitted by Hernien Venter, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild kept their dizzy pace and there were so many
wonderful creations to celebrate!  Here are some of the highlights.

During the Indigo Dyeing Workshop, our own Barb Hodkinson showed us the
ropes on indigo dyeing.  We dyed as much as we possibly could and there are
so many wonderful examples, but here you see some of Janet’s results from
this day.

indigo dyed clothing
This was followed by a Wool Sweater Bag Workshop.  Participants got an old
wool cardigan and felted it beforehand, and again thanks to Barb, we were
taught how to turn this into a handy bag for everyday use.  Some people used
their indigo dyed sweaters for this, but attached you see Mary’s bag made
with a grey sweater that was felted.

handbag made of felted wool sweater
During our hands-on Dorset button session, we learnt how to create these
magical buttons the way they used to.

hand-made Dorset button

During one of our hands-on sessions, we also got shown by Sybil how to take
her home-made walnut juice for a spin, as per the picture here.

walnut ink prints on paper

We still have a smocking workshop as well as a sewing box workshop coming up
in the near future, should there be enough interest.

Report – October 2019

Submitted by Hernien Venter, ONN Rep

During the summer break our members have remained busy.

Apart from the in-meeting hands-on sessions reported the last time, we have also already scheduled the following four workshops:

October 5, 2019: Indigo Dyeing Workshop taught by Barb Hodkinson.
November 02, 2019: Wool sweater Bag Workshop taught by Barb Hodkinson – if you only find a white pure wool sweater for this workshop and you’re attending the Indigo Dyeing workshop, then you can bring the sweater to be Indigo dyed.
January 18, 2020: Smocking Workshop taught by Leanne and Barb Hodkinson.
February 08, 2020: Sewing Box taught by Barb Hodkinson.

Nancy attended a cheesecloth workshop with Mary Pal. She brought in the work that she started, with her final accomplishment being the most fantastic horse image.

Given the hands-on Dorset buttons of the first meeting of the year, Leeanne brought the Suffolk pokes that she made at a workshop some years ago.

Helen attended a workshop with Naomi Smith, who teaches beadwork the way it is done by First Nations groups, and Helen completed this beautiful bag.

Our Guild is planning a Bug Book, where every member will have the chance to submit one (or plenty) bug works that will be photographed and placed in the book along with a little write-up about the artist. Gemma has gotten a head start on bugs by making a vast quantity of fantastical bugs that can go into a book. They are double sided and there are already a dozen or so completed!

Debbie worked on two projects during the summer, both embroidery pieces. See her most beautiful embroidery on black fabric that was bleached during one of our hands-on exercises.

Report – August 2019

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

Our Guild’s own Barbara Hodkinson held a tri-dye workshop for the members where three methods of dyeing were demonstrated and experimented with, namely using procion dyes, silk screening and marbling.  And as usual Barbara’s workshop was a combination of learning, fun and some fantastic results.  And who can resist using ultra-cheap shaving cream as a base?  Not us!

During the hands-on sessions we created talismans with the help of rock-friends, and Wendy, one of our remote members, created the beautiful talisman complete with butterfly that you see here.  Another time we had a bleaching seminar, and Debbie our president has already started creating the most beautiful work from her bleached black fabric.

And then there is Gemma, who produces critters at a faster rate than most people can process – each one a masterpiece.  This time around it was a tortoise, who could come clean out of its shell, too divine!  And on the shell lives a tree and in the tree swim the fishes, what can I say!  I’m only including the photo of it safely in its house, but had a hard time doing that, as the buff tortoise is as sweet as the housed one.

We have laid out our plans for the hands-on sessions for the next year, and among the ideas are:

Fibre Art Jewelry – Necklaces, Bracelets, Earrings, Pendants
Sharpie Tie-Dye
Oven Fabric Rusting
Artistic Fabric Manipulation
Fabric Painting on Stitch Witchery
Tea / Wild walnut fabric staining
Arm Pin Cushions
Dorset Buttons
Rope Coil Basketry
Embroidery – Seed Stitching / Encrusted Embroidery (Bead & Heavy Application of Stitch) / Mandalas / Sashiko / Stitching Text (Words)
Story Telling on Fabric
Papercloth –   Layers of Paper and Cloth
Weaving with Nettles, Grasses, Twigs and Found Objects
Stitch meditation with Felt and Tyvek
Reverse Appliqué
Fabric Stenciling – making your own stencils and stamps

Report – April 2019

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild has been busy with workshops.
Barbara Hodkinson gave us a stumpwork workshop and instilled in us a huge respect for that skill set. We have several members who are really accomplished at stumpwork, so it was great for the rest of the group to learn a bit more about it.
Debbie Bianco and Hermien Venter gave a Critters and Monsters workshop inspired by the work of Amanda Louise Spayd after that, where we had loads of fun creating troll-like dolls.
Our hands-on sessions during our monthly meetings are still turning out fantastic work. We created scissor fobs at the February meeting that now keep our small scissors from getting lost.
Also, Sybil Rampen from our group is currently having a retrospective show of her work at Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre that also show-cases some of her fiber art from the last 7 or so decades of her work. It’s worth a look-see!

Report – January 2019

Submitted by Hermien Venter, ONN Rep

The Oakville Stitchery Guild had a second eco-dyeing workshop for its members, presented by two of our own members and, as the first time, it was a resounding success.

And because we love workshops so much, we will be having another workshop on stumpwork mid-January, again presented by one of our own.  Later in the year we will have a dyeing, silk screen & marbling workshop in the same manner.

During our monthly meetings we are continuing with our hand-on sessions.  The group made Christmas decorations, as you see below, during the November meeting.

For December, we followed the example of Constance Howard’s Colourama exercises and wrapped cards in different colour combinations for an exercise in colour, right after we celebrated the season with a potluck dinner.


Report – April 2018

Joan Lindo, ONN representative

The calendar says Spring and though still somewhat chilly it is wonderful to see the blue sky and the sunshine!
After our wonderful as always Christmas Dinner at Joshua Creek, the guild has once again settled in for some serious stitching and investigating some different embellishments.
January – Hands on Fabric Brooches from scraps of fabric, thread, metal etc.

February – Fun with buttons – fish buttons & couching and necklace
Other finished show & tell items from our members.
Felted bag (with just the right button!).
Dying with onion skins and avocado peel
In our March meeting we will be exploring Fabric Collage.
In the meantime … Happy Easter and spring everyone from us at the Oakville Stitchery Guild

Report – December 2017

Our guild has had a busy year so far … Our new president, Debbie Bianco, welcomed all to the first meeting in September after our summer break. She explained that the first half of our meetings will be about the business of the Guild; the second half will be about fun and learning something new.

For that September meeting we welcomed a guest speaker, Ann MacMillan, who presented a wonderful showcase of her felting work – a combination of wet and dry felting and needle felting.

Our members’ show and tell included Nancy’s eco-dying projects.


In October / November the ‘Joshua Creek Heritage Art Centre’ was the venue for ‘The Fibre Art Feast Exhibition’ featuring the ‘Connections Fibre Artists’ group. Several of our members submitted pieces for an accompanying Oakville Stitchery Guild exhibit which was very well received.

For our October meeting we worked on a series of ‘Twinchies’ – a fun project – to get us thinking quickly.

At the end of October we engaged Monika Schaefer for a 2-day workshop on felting. All who attended had a wonderful time and learned much from Monika – we learned techniques with wet felting – on its own and with silk, and needle felting.


For our November meeting project we made fabric beads.



Our last meeting for the year will be next week – our Christmas Potluck. Our project for that meeting will be Handmade Felt Appliqué Pincushions … I’ll tell you about that in the next report.