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Community Embroidery

Embroideries in Saint Michaelīs Church & Highgate
This is a great book about a community embroidery project and can be obtained by contacting Mike Ridley

One of the most fun things that you can do as an embroiderer is to take part in a community embroidery project.

This is different from a round-robin in that you will be doing something that will not belong to any one person, but will belong to a community organisation or group (eg: church, school, etc).

One of the most interesting I have seen is a group that has actually published a book about their experiences and the work they did. You can see the picture of it at the top of this article.

And what a little treasure this book is - itīs not very big, but has the most gorgeous colour pictures, and even diagrams of stitching for some parts, as well as details as to what materiels were used.

Even better, it has a great section on how to start up your own community embroidery group project.

Definately well worth having - just to see what your fellow enthusiasts are doing.

You see - with community embroidery, you donīt have to be particularly skilled, as each piece will contain parts that are very easy as well as those that are more difficult.

I must admit that I am having a great time with my current community embroidery project.

You see, the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism) group I am in (Lochac (Australia)) is going to become a kingdom in July 2002 and the Worshipful Companie of Broiderers (our Embroidery Guild) is making cloaks and a kneeling carpet.

I am stitching 2 medallions for the cloaks, and the carpet is just about done (or is it fully done!). One of our members has designed the cloaks and the patterns we are stitching, and all the members who wish to take part are stitching the different pieces. Then, all of them will be put together into their glorious whole.

Some designs are more intricate than others, and some are very easy, so there is something for every level of embroiderer.

Community Embroidery projects are a way to make a sense of community, and nobody is going to criticise the quality of your stitching, as a true community piece is a celebration of all the community and all their skills and abilities.

The important thing is to ensure that everybody enjoys taking part.

Now, Iīm not saying itīs easy. You do have to stitch using specified stitches, and materials, and you will have a deadline. That means that those of you who like to "individualise" your peices using your own embellishments and materials may not be able to do so. Remember - it is a community project which means that it is the overall look that is important, not the individual pieces.

So - what sort of things do you have to do to set up a community embroidery group.

Firstly - think of what you would like to do. That will decide what group to target to tell about what you are doing. Perhaps your church could use a nice wallhanging, or some cushions. Then, put a flier up saying what you want to do, and get people together. If there is an embroidery teacher available, ask them to be the group leader - they will have to be able to help with stitches, and help decide on the materials.

Decide on the design you want to use - and what materials will be used. Often, it is best to use needlepoint for this type of project due to the scale involved.

Get your local needlecraft shop involved, they may give you a discount for the purchase of what you need.

And above all, be ready to have to take on emergency stitching and finishing. People will pull out, or just not do what they have committed to. You may find yourself with a bit of extra to do!

But have fun - get to know your local enthusiasts. You will make a lot of new friends, and at the end, be able to stand and say to the community "look what I did".

Is there anything that you would particularly like to see an article on? If so, please e-mail me with your suggestions.

Happy Stitching

Happy Stitching from Megan

Đ 2001, 2002 Megan McConnell

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