Toronto Guild of Stitchery

toronto_gs_200_LOGO1st and 3rd Thursdays (September to June)
We have two meeting options:
Day Group: 10:00 am to 4 pm; Evening Group: 7 to 9:30 pm
Blythwood Baptist Church
80 Blythwood Road, Toronto, ON  M4N 1A4
See the location on Google Maps

Report – March 2021

Submitted by Heather James, ONN Rep

Well you just can’t keep a good Guild down! We have not stopped since last April when we went to virtual meetings, including our AGM, and then carried on with FIFI during the Summer. We returned to Regular Format – but Virtually done – in September and we have hardly looked back. Like the rest of you we have had our moments of reflection, remembrance and sadness shared without hugs, but women have been amazing through the pandemic so far. We look forward to the fall with hopefully enough 2nd vaccines to make us feel safe to be together again!

Besides the regular business of running a Guild, we have had a speaker presentation at every meeting – and that often means 10am and 7pm so both non-working and working can attend. A few have been from within, but mostly new speakers to the Guild: Here are some of the presentations we have seen:

Crazy Quilting by Judy Ekhardt
Kantha – Pat Bowley
My Stitching Journey – Rosemary Oliver
Postcards – Pat Armour
Needles – Kim Mather
Introduction to Sashiko – Alma Laidlaw
Why did we pick this place? Seminar 2022 presented the Board Report to the Guild in preparing us all for next May.

Every Regular Meeting has a Surprise (often a presentation), a Challenge to be stitched (usually tied into the Presentation), and some Legacy Project reminders. Check out some of our many challenges:

Julia made a RIP container for her broken needles and pins. So did Pia (below)

pill bottle with embroidered sleeve

pill bottle with embroidered sleeve and buttons decorating cap

RIP broken needle bin by Julia

fabric covered pill bottle

RIP broken needle bin by Pia

fabric covered pill bottle decorated with charms and buttons

RIP broken needle bin by Pia

Brenda stitched “outside of the box” – FLYSWATTER!

flyswatter encrusted with threads and beads

Flyswatters by Brenda

I think this is a great POSTCARD CHALLENGE! (Pia)

embroidered postcard with woodland scene featuring evergreen tree


embroidered postcard with woodland scene featuring needlelace

Catherine really got into CRAZY QUILTING!

crazy quilt block with large pink flower

Laura did a CRAZY QUILT idea on this pillow!

canvas work pillow with crazy quilt theme

Jenny is trying out some Kantha!

2 samples of kantha stitching

Lisa covered her face mask with an abundance of BEADS!

bead encrusted face mask and maker

We have also found the will to run an on-line stash sale, and had fun doing it! We have had several members take vignette videos of our local supply shops and share those with the Guild in our BUY LOCAL push.

On FIFI weeks (1 Thursday a month) we virtually hug each other, share the work we are doing or seek help for the hard bits, and talk, and talk. And often the FIFI becomes our “Show & Share” as the output of projects and UFO’s finished is impressive.

Every member received a Christmas Gift in the mail with fabric, a tea bag, a chocolate and a pattern to stitch a teapot. Jenny went further and stitched her favourite cookies to be a fob set!

3 cookie themed fobs

Cathy finished Alison Cole’s design of the Welsh Dragon!

embroidered red dragon in circular frame

Cathy finished a sampler!

whitework sampler done in pastels

Pia did a Hygge Horse. Julia finished her Long Dog Sampler.

stylized horse and bird done in blue embroidery

Hygge Horse stitched by Pia

embroidery in blue and red

Long Dog sampler stitched by Julia

Lucky Peggy’s grandkids get a doll & blanket and Spiderman!

2 dolls with blanket & pillow

2022 May is coming and with it our Toronto Guild of Stitchery and EAC-ACB Seminar! We are working very hard to make sure it is a fun, safe, and educational! Can’t wait to see you all again!

EAC-ACB Seminar logo

Heather James,
Toronto Guild of Stitchery
March 2021

Report – December 2020

Submitted by Heather James

6th December 2020

I think the entire Guild went home on the 16th of March and closed the doors and windows. We know what’s good for us! The VP called all of our members at the beginning of April and again in mid-April as some had not joined the Zoom meetings but were ok. At that point many of our members had begun stitching what would amount to THOUSANDS of masks for charity!

All of our meetings, including our AGM in June have been conducted via Zoom. From the 93 members we had in March we have lost a few – some because life is very busy in other areas (like parent-caring) and others have passed away- and now we are at 85. And two are new since covid!

We have a number of teckkies in the group who pulled up their own Zoom accounts to share until September when we bought our own- after all, we do love to chat and an hour just isn’t enough sometimes.

Unusually, we continued our twice monthly meetings throughout the summer adopting a FIFI format – we would do “show and share” and then general chit chat about the world, our feelings, freebies from the stitching world, best tv shows for yoga, exercise, humour etc. After these meetings a short email was sent covering some of the chat and adding the links recommended (not just for stitching 😉

A very few met socially distanced in local parks but our members stretch across a large area (160+ km east to west x 24 km north to south!).

Once fall arrived we got down to business and ran a regular business meeting on the first Thursdays of the month – at 10am and 7pm so that the members working during the day could meet with everyone who wanted to. We have about 10 members who do not have a computer, so they call in sometimes and other times our phone tree reads them the (new) Notes & Links that the President provides after each meeting. We have tried to continue normally – so having a presentation of a new technique, new artist, etc. before the business brings fresh air into the group.

We have set out to have 3 program items for each meeting:

1. Legacy – we asked each stitcher to put themselves in their stitching so we “know them” by looking at a piece no bigger than half a page. We will stitch these together so we can say “I remember her” or “she does that technique”!

2. Surprise – this has run from a Roving Guilder who (wears a mask) and visits a local store to other things planned (but I can’t tell you yet). It’s a way of reminding people what is in the store and how to order – buy local is our mantra. We have interviews planned with our SAGE stitchers (Senior AGE stitchers who know so much) as a way to check in what excites them. “A small snippet of something relevant” is the goal.

3. Challenge – Usually related to the presentation asking members things like “stitch outside of the box” where we saw tennis rackets, colanders, safari hats decorated. We had an awesome presentation by Judy Eckhardt on Crazy Quilting and if anyone needed stash our Program person put a few things in an envelope and sent it off! We just had Pat Bowley excite our group with mindful stitching so I know of a number of projects coming to show and share from that.

The first 5 completed on a challenge are eligible for a small prize – usually a wee kit that is mailed to them. Who doesn’t love more stash?

And now for something entirely different – we are holding our very first STASH SALE on-line auction. It will run for two weeks. We are not even using everybody’s stash right now but we were the beneficiaries of some bundles and books. We found free software and will let you know how it goes!

For Christmas our members are getting a wee surprise in their mailbox they can make for themselves and the tree. Can’t tell you more yet ~

We are also planning to hold the EAC-ACB Seminar in 2022 so lots of work ahead!

Gotta run!

Safe stitching!

Heather James
President, TGS and
2022 EAC Seminar Co-Chair
With Pia Kallas-Harvey

Upcoming Courses – January 2020

The Toronto Guild of Stitchery has got two workshops starting in the new year and both have space left.
The first is a one day beginners stumpwork class taught by Carol Arsenault on 18 Jan 2020 at the Latvian Centre (Don Valley Parkway and Eglinton). The cost is $75 plus $40 kit fees. Here is a photo of the work (which appeared in Inspirations Magazine a few months back).

Stumpwork information sheet

The second workshop will be led by Pat Armour and will focus on surface embroidery. The cost is $80 plus $35 kit fees plus bring your own threads (a list of colours will be supplied). Here is a photo of that project (and it too appeared in Inspirations Magazine).

Embroidered Owl scissor keep

closeup of embroidered owl face

closeup of embroidered owl body

The workshop will be held over three Thursdays (20 Feb 2020, 19 Mar 2020, and 16 Apr 2020) from 1 to 3 pm at the Blythwood Baptist Church (Yonge and Lawrence).  Surface embroidery information sheet

If there are any questions or to register, please contact Barb Crowther at


Helen O’Malley also sent us this photo of Ann Condie’s finished piece of last year’s canvas challenge from Toronto Guild of Stitchery:

canvaswork sampler

Report – October 2019

Submitted by Susan Knight

The Toronto Guild of Stitchery is having a workshop with Mike Parr on October 5th & 6th.  It is called Jacobean Crewel.  It will be held at the Latvian Canadian Cultural Centre in North York and there are still some spaces available.  For more information contact Barb Crowther at

Report – January 2019

Submitted by Alice Fiander

We are continuing with learning new stitches to put on our Tablet/Ebook Reader Covers. In January, we received instructions for several stitches – Jessica, Crescent, Amadeus, Chilly Hollow, and Walneto. In February we will learn more string art stitches.

Midori Sakurai will be doing a felt workshop of a panda at the January 17 meeting, both in the afternoon and evening.

Barbara Kershaw will be teaching a pulled thread workshop “Symphony” for both day and evening groups on the February, March and April Fi-Fi/Alternate meetings.

On February 9th, we will have a Stitch and Stash Sale.

Our President, Diane Scott has put out a challenge to make 2019 a year of completing UFOs.

Report – April 2018

Alice Fiander, ONN Representative

The program for January to May of this year has been designing and stitching a three-dimensional house. A book by Meg Evershed, 3-D Cross Stitch: More Than 25 Original Designs.

In April, the day program will be creating windows using basic hardanger designs and embellishing with cross stitch. Several design patterns will be provided. The evening program is origami ort boxes.

In May, we will learn how to finish our houses. A Stitch and Stash day has been organized for Saturday, May 26.

In May, Tanya Berlin will be teaching two two-day classes in blackwork and needle painting. Several designs are available in each technique and are at different skill levels. Both classes are full.

In June, we will have our Annual General Meeting.

Report – December 2017

In December there will be a gift exchange at both day and evening meetings. Lunch and/or dinner will be provided to those who signed up.

In January, Lorene Salt, a Canadian canvaswork designer, will be talking about choosing colours that coordinate when planning the stitching for our houses in March.

In February, we will be colouring fabric with crayons that we will then iron to create a pattern for stitching.

In March, we will choose our own house patterns and start stitching them.

In April, the day program is creating windows using a basic hardanger design and embellishing with cross stitch foliage. The evening program is origami ORT boxes.

A Saturday Stitch day has been organized for February.

In May, Tanya Berlin will be teaching classes in blackwork and needle-painting. Several designs are available in each technique and are at different skill levels.