Scarborough Needlearts Guild

scarb_flag_280_LOGOMondays (September to May, except December)
10 am to 2 pm
St. Marks’ United Church
115 Orton Park Rd.
Scarborough, ON

Report – Spring 2023

submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Greetings from Scarborough Needlearts.

After a break for the holidays, SNG resumed its weekly meetings on Monday, January 9th. As always, it was good to catch up with each other and see what members had been working on.

Several more completed Christmas ornaments were among the first items of the new year to appear on the show and share table. January also saw the launch of a cooperative venture with the Toronto Guild of Stitchery involving a reciprocal stash sale which allowed members of both guilds to add to their own personal stash. As well, additional embroidery supplies were donated by members for delivery to Parachute, the free store for Ukrainian refugees.

In February, SNG marked the Japanese Festival of Broken Needles with a reading about this interesting, historic tradition by past president Sheila Williams. The guild’s 47th anniversary was celebrated on February 13th. In attendance on this special occasion was founding member Myrna Pagan, shown in a photo with SNG president Karen Boniface cutting the festive cake.

Myrna Pagan and President Karen Boniface

Myrna had brought along a ‘round robin’ project she had initiated and invited other guild members to join in.. All had stitched their names on the back as seen in the photos.

During this month, a group stitch a-long project was launched and led by Barb Crowther. The project is a needle case called Cotton Quartet designed by Mary Corbet. Two members – Barbara Leach and Sylvia Wilkins have already completed their projects. Barbara’s is indeed a needle case while Sylvia’s decorates the lid of a small box. Both can be seen in the accompanying photo below along with other guild members holding their ‘work in progress.’ A close up of one shows the variety of stitches involved in the project.

Another initiative now underway is a review and gradual culling of the guild’s library collection by guild librarian, Bernice Bain, to make room for new books and resource materials. This is a big project and will take a number of weeks to complete. Surplus materials are being offered to guild members for a small donation.

Plans are in full swing now for the guild’s spring retreat at Elim Lodge in late April. Members of the Trillium Embroidery Guild will also be at Elim so we anticipate hearing much about this fun weekend of stitching at our May meetings.

Our final entry in this report is to advise that, at the close of 2022, our guild received the very sad news that long time member Elizabeth Mattson passed away on December 18th. She had been a member for more than 25 years and had brought joy and laughter to every meeting and get together. Her quick wit and sense of humour delivered in her Scottish burr were unmistakable. She was dearly loved by all who knew her as was clearly evident at her memorial service. An accomplished stitcher, 4 photos of some of Elizabeth’s work are included here. We miss her happy and caring presence and the warm friendship she extended to each of us. She remains close to our hearts as we fondly recall favourite stories of times spent together. May she rest in peace.

We wish ONN members a happy, productive and safe spring.

Report – December 2022

submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

The past 3 months have seen a number of highlights for Scarborough Needlearts. We are now
happily settled in our new meeting location at St Mark’s United Church. The church hall is easily
accessible, there is lots of space to work at safe distances and our excellent library is again
available to us. As well, our guild has been able to participate in community activities organized
by St Mark’s, providing us the opportunity to promote SNG and reach potential new members.

In October, SNG became involved in a unique outreach project. It arose from a conversation
between 2 of our members regarding a large bin of embroidery threads available for donation.
This resulted in us contacting a volunteer organization called Parachute that is helping
Ukrainian refugees, most of whom are women and children. Many are traumatized by what they
have seen and experienced and worry about loved ones left behind. Parachute was established
in May as a ‘free store’. It offers refugees donated clothing, bedding, towels, dishes, cutlery,
cooking supplies and more, focusing on things needed for their new life and temporary home.
We approached Parachute with the idea of our guild providing resources for women to be able
to turn to embroidery as mental therapy and as a positive, creative outlet to counter the extreme
stress and fear they and their families endured for months. Parachute volunteers have heard
first hand accounts of tragic losses of family members and the destruction of their homes and
treasured possessions. With the supplies we offered to provide, we hoped the newcomers could
use them to make something for themselves, their children or for their new living environment
that would be familiar and comforting and possibly be a reminder of their homes in Ukraine
before the war. The reply from Parachute was an enthusiastic Yes!

With that go-ahead, October 24 was set as the date to sort the cache of threads and assemble whatever other
embroidery supplies members might like to add. The result was a full carload that included the
initial bin of threads – now sorted and bagged by colour, a large bin and more of fabric, boxes of
project bags, patterns including traditional Ukrainian designs, frames, hoops, needles, pins,
scissors, beads, magnifiers, complete kits, small lamps as well as crochet cotton and hooks and
knitting yarns and needles. The delivery of the supplies on November 2nd was an emotional
experience for all. The Parachute people were overwhelmed and deeply moved by all that our
guild had put together for the refugees out of a concern for their mental well-being. It took
several volunteers to unload the car, each making more than one trip.

Since that big delivery, we have dropped off some additional supplies and have been informed that a new volunteer –
an embroiderer herself, is now working on arranging and displaying our donations to help the
‘shoppers’ with their selections. Also, through the efforts of another guild member, the owner of
a sewing machine store has offered to make available reconditioned sewing machines through
Parachute. We will be kept informed as the various supplies get picked up and look forward to
hearing that they are having the positive effect we hoped they would.

In late November our guild launched its annual Christmas ornament project. This year we
worked with several different designs on pre punched paper. It was possible to take on more
than one ornament. We have provided examples of completed ones by Jenny Cheung, Trudy
Michailoff, Sylvia Wilkins, Siobhain Doyle and Karen Boniface. Also shown are 3 Ukrainian
whitework ornaments created by Barbara Leach and a beaded ball by Marian Moorshead.
Marian is particularly proud of Rudolph’s red nose.

Ukranian Whitework by Barbara Leach

Ukranian Whitework by Barbara Leach

We celebrated the approaching holidays with a lunch of hot soup and treats amid decorated tables, (see the dancing elves set up by Karen Doak and Marian Moorshead), shopped at our own Christmas sale and said good-bye until January.

Karen Doak and Marian Moorshead dancing elves

Dancing Elves by Karen Doak and Marian Moorshead

While it is a joy to be meeting in person once again, in October we received the very sad news
that Elaine Dunk, a devoted member of Scarborough Needlearts, had passed away. Elaine was
an avid stitcher and rarely missed our weekly gatherings in spite of some health challenges.
Always ready to help, she served in various capacities on the board and on guild committees.
We dearly miss her positive presence at our work tables. May she rest in peace.

As the year draws to a close, we extend our best wishes to ONN members for a very happy
holiday season and look forward to 2023 with hope and optimism for peace everywhere.

Report – September 2022

submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

After a summer of informal get togethers in a local park, the Scarborough Needlearts Guild has launched its 2022-23 schedule of weekly meetings. The Guild will now be meeting in person which is so welcomed after 2 1/2 years on Zoom. Sincere thanks to Past President Sheila Williams and Zoom Master Kim Mather for getting us through the long and challenging period of isolation which saw some decrease in membership. Sadly, Scarborough Needlearts had to give up its long-time meeting location at Cedar Brook Community Centre because of changes in City requirements.
With enthusiasm and a committed new executive, SNG is embarking on a rebuilding program. We have a new home in the spacious and easily accessible hall at St Mark’ United Church and are mounting a campaign to increase awareness of Scarborough Needlearts and attract new members. We’re reconnecting with old friends and making new ones as we stitch, share, laugh and learn together at our Monday sessions and especially during the 3 day retreat at Elim Lodge. Members are working on their own projects while the program committee finalizes plans for the coming months.
In late August, as a lead in to our new season, SNG members had an outing to the newly opened Clark Centre for the Arts (901 Guildwood Parkway) located on the historic and scenic grounds of Guild Park above the Scarborough Bluffs. In the 1930’s, Rosa and Spencer Clark established an artists’ collective and centre for Canadian artists and artisans that came to be called the Guild of All Arts. In later years, during the building boom in downtown Toronto, Mr Clark saved from demolition architectural elements such as decorative facades and columns seen on older buildings and had them transported to the Guild and reassembled. The Clark Centre is the result of strong advocacy and planning input from the community and continues the long tradition of arts and cultural activity on this site. The City of Toronto operates and programs the Centre whose staff are open to program suggestions. One of the studios is dedicated to fibre arts so there is potential for stitching workshops and courses being offered there in the future.
Scarborough Needlearts was happy to participate in the September 17, 2022 ONN meeting focussed on the future of the ONN and we look forward to further discussions and planning sessions going forward. Included with this report is a photo of SNG members in front of our new community outreach sign. Also, for enjoyment and inspiration are photos of two beautiful pieces by Marion Brumwell: a Ukrainian whitework runner and surface embroidery in Jacobean style.

SNG  members

Jacobean Crewel

Surface embroidery in Jacobean style with large flowers and a bird; designed by Hazel Blomkamp, worked on linen ground fabric with one strand of floss and an array of colours.

Sofia runner

Ukrainian whitework runner named Sofia and designed by Jan Eaton; worked on even weave linen using pearl cotton with numerous eyelets and satin stitching characteristic of this style of embroidery.

We send our best wishes to ONN members for a healthy and successful autumn.

Report – July 2022

submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

At the conclusion of its Annual General Meeting on May 30, 2022, the Scarborough Needlearts
Guild wrapped up its 2021/22 schedule of weekly meetings for another year. As previously
reported, our meetings have been virtual and held on Zoom every Monday morning (except
holiday Mondays) from 10am to 11am. However, in recent months there have been several
opportunities for members to safely get together again in person to stitch, visit, exchange ideas
and generally enjoy each other’s company. In late April, a stitching retreat weekend was held at
Elim Lodge, bringing back a long established SNG tradition. Bernice Bain kindly put together a
small project to stitch as a memento of the weekend. Approximately 15 members were able to
attend. The Trillium Guild held its retreat at Elim at the same time which enhanced the
experience for both Guilds.The weekend was so successful that a repeat is planned for late
The Embroiderers’ Association of Canada (EAC) Seminar held in Toronto in May provided our
members with another chance to participate in excellent, in-person learning sessions and to
network and socialize with other passionate stitchers. An additional highlight for SNG at
Seminar was the announcement that in May our Guild officially became a member of EAC. We
are now looking forward to actively taking part in EAC activities and programs.
Although our weekly Zoom meetings have now ended, during the summer months Guild
members will be getting together informally every other Monday in a local park to keep in touch,
stitch and share. One Monday will also be devoted to a tour of the newly opened Clark Centre
for the Arts on the grounds of the former historic Guild of All Arts, the artist collective established
in 1932 by Spencer and Rosa Clark. One of the studios in the Centre is solely for fibre arts.
Our group project this year was “Stitches of the Alphabet Sampler” led by Kim Mather.
Beginning in January Kim taught a different stitch for each letter, completing the last letters in
mid June. Printed and taped instructions provided additional resources to assist participants
when working on their own. We anticipate seeing beautifully completed samplers, each unique
in its own way, when our weekly meetings resume in September, hopefully in our bright and
cheerful meeting room at Cedarbrook Community Centre.
Our July report closes with photos of Siobhain Doyle’s “Queen Seeing Purse” – a design by
Giuliano Mangredini; Angela Moreau’s “Manon’s Garden” – a copy of an old, unsigned design
with possible French and Welsh connections reflected in its title, Manon being the diminutive of
Marie; and Judy Chen’s “Ukrainian Whitework Sampler.”
Have a happy, restful and healthy summer.

Queen Seeing Purse by Siobhain Doyle design by Giuliano Mangredini

“Queen Seeing Purse” by Siobhain Doyle

Manon's Garden by Angela Moreau

“Manon’s Garden” by Angela Moreau

UkrainianWhiteworkSampler by Judy Chen

Ukranian Whitework Sampler by Judy Chen

Report – Spring 2022
submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Greetings and Happy Spring wishes from Scarborough Needlearts!

After a break for the holidays, on January 14th, SNG resumed its Monday Zoom meetings and launched a much anticipated group project “Stitches of the Alphabet Sampler”.  Leading the project is Kim Mather. Every week Kim presents and teaches a different stitch that participants work on during the following week. The lessons are recorded, thereby creating an ongoing resource for us. The group is now half way through the alphabet. It has been interesting and inspiring to watch the progress from week to week and see how the samplers are shaping up – each one different from the other and equally lovely. Members not stitching the sampler are enjoying the opportunity to learn new stitches and techniques.

In February, SNG marked the Japanese Festival of Broken Needles and celebrated the Guild’s 46th anniversary. Plans also got underway for a weekend retreat at Elim Lodge in April. This annual, fun-filled spring event of stitching and spending a happy time together was interrupted by Covid. Its return is enthusiastically welcomed.

Recently, the Guild learned of the latest exhibit at the Ukrainian Museum of Canada – Ontario Branch which opened on March 8th. Called the ‘Legends and Legacies of Borshchiv’, the exhibition features the unique, strikingly beautiful, black-thread embroidery seen on traditional clothing of the Borshchiv region of Ukraine. Using black sheep’s wool and accented with coloured threads, beads and sequins, the style of embroidery is unlike any other in Ukraine. It’s a ‘must-see.’ The Museum is located at 620 Spadina Avenue in Toronto. A guided tour can be arranged by calling 416 923 8691. A virtual tour of the exhibit has also been created and can be found on the Museum’s website

Three embroidered sorochkas (shirts) in the Legends and Legacies of Borshchiv exhibit.

Over the past weeks we have been treated to seeing numerous finished and in-progress works by members during our regular show and share sessions. Here are three Friesen Whitework Strawberries stitched by Sylvia Wilkins.

SNG is looking forward to participating in future discussions about ONN programming. We are also taking steps to return to meeting in person in our comfortable, well lighted meeting space at Cedarbrook Community Centre. This will likely be in September.

We wish ONN members a happy, productive and safe spring.

Report – December 2021

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Seasons Greetings from Scarborough Needlearts.  The 2021 candle is burning low as the year quickly draws to an end. It is a time of reflection and evaluation but also a time of anticipation, hope and optimism for the new year ahead. We extend our sincere best wishes to all for a very happy and safe Holiday and good health and much success in the New Year.

Since October 4th, Guild members have continued to meet virtually on Zoom every  Monday to enjoy each other’s company, show and share our stitching projects and learn from one other.  Attendance has been good. Unfortunately, our bright and spacious meeting space at Cedarbrook Community Centre remains unavailable to us as is the Guild’s extensive library stored there. With the omricon variant now upon us, our chances of returning any time soon seem dim.

A highlight of our fall session was an excellent presentation by Marion Brumwell on colour which she titled “ Colour Choice: Its Personal.”  Using her own projects as examples, Marion walked us though the colour resources she has drawn on.  These include: Joen Wolfrom’s Ultimate 3-in-1 Colour Tool; Trish Burr’s Colour Confidence in Embroidery;  The Colour Lab: Colour Cues for Rug Hooking by Wanda Kerr; The DMC Colour Card; Stitch and Colour Conversion charts.  For her whitework embroidery, she turns to Yvette Stanton’s information on white threads. Marion concluded her interesting and informative talk with the Rule-in-One, summed up in a quote by Marc Chagall:  “All colours are the friends of their neighbours and lovers of their opposites.”

The Guild’s annual Christmas ornament was launched by Sylvia Wilkins who provided the pattern and instructions. When finished and assembled, it becomes a cube.  Photos in this issue include: Sylvia’s and Barbara Leach’s  completed ornaments;  3 other ornaments created by Barbara this year;  Sylvia’s stunning tassel designed by Hazel Bloomkamp; Siobhain Doyle’s beautiful 2 birds in a tree, designed by Trish Burr and done in long- short and satin stitch; and the family heirloom doll hat pincushion of Siobhain’s grandmother (designed by Giuliano Punti) which she has had for over 50 years and finally finished.

Siobhain D – pincushion

On November 12th to 14th,  15 members happily travelled to Elim Lodge for our annual stitching retreat, usually held in the spring but delayed this year due to the pandemic.  Bernice Bain supplied the patterns and materials for a Christmas ornament on the theme of The Twelve Days of Christmas. Between the restorative ‘in-person’ visiting among members, the challenge of a new project and the overflowing treat table, a very enjoyable weekend was had by all.

Before adjourning for the holidays, we discussed our year-long project for 2022,  a beautiful Alphabet Sampler. This much anticipated project will be led by Kim Mather beginning in January and will introduce many new stitches and threads to our members.

We close this report with the sad news that long-time member Ellen Poborsa passed away on October 22 at the age of 92.  Ellen had a unique sense of adventure.  This trait was evident in her travels, in her love of art in all its forms and in the many techniques of stitching  she undertook.  Always stylish, her sense of colour and design were reflected in her beautiful embroideries.  Ellen had a wonderful sense of humour. Her sparkle and overall zest for life filled whatever room she happened to be in. A masterful and entertaining auctioneer, she delighted in urging members to keep bidding at Guild fund raising  events. Ellen always had a smile and a laugh for those she interacted with, be it family, friends or any others she met along the way.  With her passing, SNG has lost a bright light.  She will be greatly missed.

Report – September 2021

Submitted by Alexandra Semeniuk, ONN Rep

Greetings from Scarborough Needlearts.   We hope this finds everyone well and energized by the cooler weather,  ready  to tackle new projects or complete ones that  have been waiting patiently for attention.  The SNG is resuming its weekly meetings by Zoom  beginning on September 27th.  During the summer months there were opportunities to gather informally in local parks to keep in touch, enjoy each others company and share information about projects members are working on.  At this time, we don’t know when we’ll be able to return to the bright and comfortable meeting room we use every week at Cedarbrook Community Centre.  Our extensive library is also housed there and so currently is unavailable to us.  In the meantime, we will continue operating virtually.

Before the Covid lock down, Guild members participated in a series of in-house mini workshops featuring different embroidery techniques and stitches  to create small decorative buttons with a diameter of two and a half inches. Buttons demonstrating black work, cross stitch, Christmas themes and silk ribbon embroidery were completed.  Hardanger and needle painting are to be the topics of the remaining workshops.  Shown here are 2 buttons designed by Judy Chen along with her delicate drawn thread embroidery.



We wish everyone a safe and productive fall.

Alendra Semeniuk

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.”