Scarborough Needlearts Guild

scarb_flag_280_LOGOMondays (September to May, except December)
9:30 am to 3:00 pm

Cedarbrook Community Centre,
51 Eastpark Boulevard

Contact Scarborough Needlearts Guild

Report – July 2021

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

At the end of its Annual General Meeting on  May 31,  2021 the Scarborough Needlearts Guild  wrapped up its weekly meetings for another year.  Since September, the Guild met every Monday morning from 10 to 11 am via Zoom.  In spite of the limitations of virtual meetings,  weekly get togethers were well attended with between 15 to 20 members present.  Here is a brief overview of our year:

Leading up to the Holiday Season, a Christmas ornament was stitched as a group project with many variations of the pattern being created and all beautiful when finished.     Programming in the new year began with a celebration of the Japanese Festival of Broken Needles on February 8th and the Guild’s 45th birthday. This was followed by a presentation of the history and production of needles. In early spring, a three-part illustrated talk on Threads was presented by Sylvia Wilkins. Soon after we were mesmerized  by Lisa Carlin describing and showing us her adventure with beads from when she first became interested in beading to the highly complex and stunning work she is doing now. All programs were very informative, interesting and enjoyable.

Over the months, our members kept busy stitching their many unfinished projects which we were able to see during our show and share time.  We have included photos from several members as examples.  We also shared book titles to read and many needlework sites online for tutorials and new projects.

In spite of Covid, we had a good year and look forward to September and what awaits us. Until then, informal gatherings in local parks will be held as weather permits.

On a sad note, recently we lost one of our founding members of Scarborough Needlearts Guild. Dale Edwards passed away in June. Dale was instrumental in the setting up of our guild in 1976. She was a very accomplished stitcher in numerous areas of the craft and the designer and creator of many wonderful works. In 2003 she was awarded the Leonida Leatherdale Award for “Innovation in Embroidery” from the Embroiderers Association of Canada for her work Frost Fire, and the Constance Howard Award for a Christening gown in 1994. She delighted in passing on her skills and knowledge. In this regard, during the last year, she was tutoring a young student when her health allowed. Dale contributed much to Scarborough Needlearts Guild.  Her love of embroidery and gift of teaching is a legacy she leaves with our guild.  She will be greatly missed by many.  We have included a sampling of Dale’s work for you to enjoy.

multi-piece work box

Work Box designed by Tricia Wilson Nguyen and stitched by Siobhain D

alternate view of work box items

alternate view of work box

Siobhain says: “This work box is by Tricia Wilson Nguyen. I picked it up years ago at U.S seminar. It’s all cross stitch and all material was supplied in the in the package. I changed the container slightly and I must say I used glue to apply the stitch pieces to the covered cardboard.”

Barbara L says:

‘Here are some finished projects during covid.

The first picture is a Hazel Blomkamp design with many techniques, long and short, needle weaving, needle Lace. Lots of challenges, but I enjoyed doing it.

The second picture is a Quaker ball. It is all done in cross stitch with a variegated thread.

The third one is “the tassel” which for me was my biggest challenge. Another design by Hazel Blomkamp which involves needle Lace on the head of the tassel, with beads. The middle section is a combination of blossoms and leaves worked in stumpwork, along with covered beads , twigs and many more beads to fill in the gaps. The skirt consists of two levels, a full hanging skirt made of chainette thread and a beaded overskirt. A pretty effect overall.’

muted colour Jacobean embroidery

Hazel Blomkamp design stitched by Barbara L

cross-stitched ball with classic designs

Quaker Ball stitched by Barbara L

elaborate tassel with beads and stumpwork flowers

Hazel Blomkamp design executed by Barbara L

Two photos of the work of Sheila W.

Quaker Work Tray with scissors fob

3 sampler-style cross-stitch pieces

Dale Edwards Retrospective

Dale Edwards 1 - IMG_4824quilts and garmentswhiteworkhardanger, goldwork, embroiderybright, modern embroideries

Report – March 2021

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Greetings from the SNG! We trust that ONN members are keeping well and safe as we the launch into the Spring season with optimism and hope. Since the beginning of the year, Scarborough Needlearts has continued with its schedule of hour-long Zoom meetings every Monday morning. During these enjoyable, morale- boosting periods together, the Guild has held monthly business meetings, had regular show and share sessions, explored new project ideas and organized in-house seminars such as two recent ones on “Threads” led by member Sylvia Wilkins. Topics covered to date include different methods of storage as well as handling and working with various types of threads. Sylvia used video clips and slides to illustrate her interesting talks which were geared to both novice and experienced stitchers. “ I didn’t know that,” or “what a good idea” were often heard during her presentations. Another seminar in this series is planned for the near future.

Until the pandemic struck, a number of Guild members were travelling to Barrie to join other stitchers wishing to learn the techniques of Ukrainian whitework.  Marion Brumwell is part of this group and a photo of one of her pieces is included here along with her comments:
This Ukrainian whitework runner was designed by Jan Eaton and illustrates the style of this embroidery. Eyelets are a major feature. Stitching this piece was an enjoyable way to pass time during COVID.

Sophia Table Runner in Whitework

Ukrainian Whitework stitched by Marion Brumwell

In this issue of the ONN newsletter, we also fondly remember and honour Helen Hinde who had been a member of Scarborough Needlearts for many years. Our tribute to Helen, which follows, was prepared by friend and ‘table-mate’, Odette Birrell. Helen’s daughter provided the photos of Helen’s embroidery that was displayed at an ONN convention.
On February 22, 2021, the Scarborough Needlearts Guild lost a long-time member, Helen Hinde. She was 97 and still active in the Guild till the COVID shutdown of 2020. For years, Helen acted as our Programme Director and planned many of our trips as well. In 1999, we showcased one of her beautiful tablecloths in a special presentation at the ONN convention. An amazing moment for her. She was working on a Hardanger, one that was nearly finished, when we had to leave Cedarbrook Community Centre last spring. She loved stitching and was also a very talented seamstress who made most of her clothes and always looked fashionable. Helen was also an avid gardener and loved to show us her patio garden when, for many years, she entertained us during our summer garden parties. She will be missed.

white, Hardanger tablecloth

Helen Hinde

2 closeups of Hardanger tablecloth

Helen Hinde

Report – December 2020

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Since our last posting in July, the Scarborough Needlearts Guild has continued to provide opportunities for Guild members to meet and stitch together both in person and virtually. Throughout the summer months and into the fall, informal Friday morning Zoom get togethers were set up which allowed members to drop in, keep in touch, enjoy each others company and share information about what projects they were working on.

Some members also organized in-person, socially distant meet and share sessions in a local park while others maintained telephone contact with members unable to take part in the Zoom or park meetings. The range of work undertaken and completed over the past few months is indeed impressive. Descriptions and photos of some of these ‘pandemic’ projects are included with this report.

In September the Guild began meeting again on Mondays, its regular meeting day. However, since the community centre where the Guild normally meets is closed until further notice, the Monday sessions are held on Zoom for those with access to the internet and last for about an hour. Attendance has been good. Preparation of our monthly newsletter has resumed and business meetings are being convened. As well, the Guild’s annual Christmas ornament project was launched in early November and a number of members have already completed their ornament.

The pandemic has disrupted the Guild’s educational programs and the special social interactions that occur at the meetings. Furthermore, the Guild’s excellent library, housed at the community centre, is unavailable to us at the present time. Nevertheless, we look forward optimistically to 2021 to having a safe environment in which we can see each other again and stitch and learn together in person. In the interim, we would like to share with ONN pictures featuring some of the activities and projects that Guild members have undertaken within, and in spite of, the isolating environment of COVID-19 and send our best wishes for a happy and healthy holiday season.

A small group of stitchers from the Scarborough Needlearts Guild met weekly under a tree in a park near our homes.  We each brought a chair, our lunch and any stitching we wanted to show.  It was an excellent way to keep in touch and to share any embroidery news we had. As the weather changed, we added more layers of clothing so that we could meet as long as possible.  If regular guild meetings do not resume by early spring, we will be in back in the park under our adopted tree even if we have to wear mitts and toques.        Marion


Two years ago, having moved from our home of many years and distant from my home guild and of a certain age, I decided that my teaching days were over.

Thanks to our daughter, I was able to attend guild meetings about once a month and continued to stitch on my own.

I had acquired a lot of supplies in the many years of stitching and did not think I would ever be able to use them all.  During this time, my sister-in-law sent me a photo of a piece of embroidery previously done at school by her 14-year-old grand-daughter, Madalyn.  She received 100% for it, loved it and did more.

Some time after I saw her piece, I was thinking that maybe she could use some supplies.  I also offered to help her with learning more stitches and she was delighted.

We got together for a preliminary meeting but since the lockdown came, we could not be together so tried a Zoom meeting which was better than nothing.  We have now had two or three Zoom meetings and three in person (as of September).

She has learned many new stitches very quickly and wanted to learn a technique.  I had an old piece of Brazilian embroidery which I had taught several times that she would like to try.  We recently had a short lesson to get her started and I am delighted that, at the age of 16, she is really proficient, especially since she has not done a lot of stitching or had much teaching.

I am enjoying the experience as much as she, have started her off with a supply of fabric, threads, needles, etc and made a sewing book for her with some tools.  It is good to never give up what is enjoyable to you and helps another.                                         Dale L. Edwards


Pandemic Mask Challenge

The Toronto Bead Society (of which I am a member) challenged its members to create a beaded mask.  I was very frustrated with the topic as I don’t enjoy wearing a mask and I feel that the pandemic situation that we find ourselves in is fearful, isolating and deadly.  When complaining about the challenge to a friend she said that dedicating expensive beads to this cause would be a waste of beads.  I got to thinking, I don’t waste beads.  If I am taking a class or experimenting with colours and I don’t like the results I put these odd ball pieces in a box.  I call them my bibbillybops.  I decided that I would use these odd ball bibbillybops to create a pandemic art mask. The pandemic made it impossible to purchase beads so I recycled the beads I had into something new.                            Lisa Carlin


Two Pandemic Projects

The first is a design by Laura Perin on canvas from her collection of blossoms called Lily of the Valley . It is a great exercise in counting and fun to do because of the variety of stitches and shapes. The second is a design by Tanya Berlin on canvas with delightful snowflakes that we know are coming in the next few months.                             Barbara Leech


French knot butterfly – and flower.  I have been doing small French knot pieces for quite some time now.  I love doing them.  The flower is worked with leftovers from various projects.  I had intended, when I started the butterfly, to fill it completely as well but decided it would look too heavy with the dark thread so did the lines and liked the look of it.

The piece, Taking My Time was offered through Virtual Threads by Natalie Dupuis and I decided to be courageous and try it.  I enjoyed doing it very much and, having leftover materials from it, thought I would try designing a companion piece which I called Tempus Fugit.

The Hardanger piece was to be a journal cover designed for Virtual Threads by Carol Storie but I turned it into a sewing book for a young friend.

The silk ribbon was a small piece for an in-house workshop given by Meagan Mather.  We each had a page of suggested designs but could put our own ideas into it.                 Dale Edwards


Two happy and lighthearted projects completed by Angela Moreau, a birth announcement and a colourful sampler — perfect to offset the pandemic blues.


Guild members are now well into making Christmas ornaments.  Attached is a sampling of ornaments completed by our members.

Report – July 2020

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep            17 July 2020

The regular Monday meetings of the Scarborough Needlearts Guild were suspended in March because of COVID-19.  Also cancelled was the Guild’s annual weekend retreat at Elim Lodge.

However, members have had the opportunity to keep in touch and see each other every Friday via hour-long  Zoom get-togethers.  Usually 15 to 18 members participate, enjoy each other’s company and share news on a variety of topics including  projects started and/or completed.  The idea of a picnic in a local park sometime during the summer has been proposed but plans have not yet been confirmed.

The Guild’s program for 2019 -20  has included a series of 6 mini workshops presented by Guild members, each featuring a different embroidery technique to create a decorative button.  To date buttons demonstrating black work, cross stitch, Christmas themes and silk ribbon embroidery have been completed.  Hardanger and needle painting are the topics of the next 2 workshops once regular meetings resume.   When that will be is still to be determined.  No date is under consideration at this time.

Keep safe everyone.   We look forward to seeing you in Cobourg next year.

Report – March 2020

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep          15 March 2020

2020 is off to a busy start for Scarborough Needlearts.  In early February we celebrated the Guild’s 44th birthday with a beautiful cake and the sharing of fond memories.

Anniversary Cake

Also in February, the year-long series of 6 mini workshops, begun last fall, resumed. Various members have taken the lead in presenting the workshops. Before the holiday break, workshop participants, worked on decorative buttons featuring 3 different embroidery techniques including black stitch, cross stitch and Christmas-themed designs.   The focus of the 4th workshop presented in February was embroidering with silk ribbon. Many beautiful results have been appearing on our weekly display table.   Hardanger is the theme for the 5th button.  That workshop is scheduled for April.  The program concludes in May with a  workshop on needle painting.

2 Embroidered buttons

embroidered button

In late April, the Guild will hold its annual retreat at Elim Lodge. This fun -filled, annual weekend-away is a highlight of the Guild’s year.

Guild members  are looking forward to participating in the May ONN conference in Cobourg. We hope to see many of you there.

Report – December 2019

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Members of the Scarborough Needlearts Guild are well into their year-long program of creating decorative buttons, each being two and a half inches in diameter and each featuring a different stitch.   The focus of the first button is the black stitch.  Participating members received a small kit containing a button, threads, fabric and a suggested design.  As completed buttons appear at our weekly display table, it has been interesting and very enjoyable to see how some members have embellished the basic design with beads and cording or added magnets and clips turning them into broaches, pendants, fridge magnets and hanging ornaments.  The second button features the cross stitch.  The suggested design is semi-circular with room in the centre for additional stitching.  By adding a name in the centre, some members have created a new name tag for themselves or a personalized gift for someone else.  The Christmas ornament button project is now underway.  Members have received 4 themed designs on fabric, that includes an embroidery key for 9 different stitches, and 3 spools of variegated threads.   We’ll soon be seeing some beautifully completed decorations on our display table.

To complement its button program, the Guild invited internationally known button collector Carolyn Webb to an October meeting to share her knowledge.  During her fascinating presentation, Carolyn drew on her display of a representative sample of buttons from her extensive collection. She described the history of buttons, their importance and significance in society and how buttons have been decorated over the centuries.   Three specific examples that she showed us included a metal button imitating fabric that included sequins, a button made entirely of fabric and decorated with beads, and a button made of black glass imitating fabric with long and short stitches on a fabric background.

Until the 20th century and before the wide use of washing machines, most clothes were hand-washed on an occasional basis.  To protect them, buttons were removed first. Looking at Carolyn’s collection of imaginative and unique buttons, it is easy to conclude that most modern buttons, while functional, are not too exciting by comparison.  One of the impacts of technology has been a change in button appearance.

The Scarborough Needlearts Guild will be closing 2019 with its annual Christmas potluck lunch and sale.  We wish all ONN members a very happy holiday season and good health and many completed projects in 2020!

metal buttons

stitched button

members' buttons

Report – October 2019

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

After a long summer break that included several very enjoyable stitching garden parties, the Scarborough Needlearts Guild has reconvened and launched its 2019-2020 program.  It promises to inspire both experienced and new stitchers.

For example, besides working on their own individual projects, in the coming weeks members will have the opportunity to participate in decorating and assembling buttons that feature a different stitch on each one.  Various Guild members will lead the button workshops and demonstrate and provide coaching on specific stitches beginning with cross stitch and blackwork.

The Guild is also exploring the possibility of arranging a tour for members to a location of interest that would complement the weekly gatherings.  As well, we will be continuing to feature the stitching stories of Guild members. This is a popular and highly appreciated program item at Guild meetings.

The annual Christmas ornament project will begin in early November to be finished in time for the holiday season.

On a sad note, we conclude here with a tribute by past president Dale Edwards to Ella Reid who passed away this summer. “Ella was a valuable, long-time member of Scarborough Needlearts.  She was always cheerful, with a smile for everyone.  Beginning with patterns from members and designers, she went on to create her own special designs.  She was a faithful attender and will be greatly missed by all who knew her.”

Report – August 2017

Submitted by Meagan Mather, ONN Representative

I hope that everyone is having a great summer and would like to thank everyone for making this year a great one. As we continue to meet at the fabulous garden parties hosted be many of our members, we would like to thank all the members to who have hosted and attended theses events.

Our members ran program this year; each month different volunteers facilitated a group workshop, project, or talk. We had great response from all members, and a wonderful variety of lesson and talks were done. Thank you to everyone for making this past year a success.

This year in addition to program, individual members have been asked to share a stitching story. This story can be about anything they would like to present on, members are encouraged to share about their personal history in stitching, or provide the history of a stitch.

Have a wonder summer, and looking forward to seeing everyone come the fall.