Those of you who listen to the FiberTalk podcast will probably know that Gary and Beth have this thing going whereby they are not adding to their stash until June next year. Some (most?) of their listeners are predicting that their resolve will crumble very soon. I am of a different opinion. I think that they will last. They will just add another exception to their already very long list of exceptions:). And as always, they have no problem coming up with ways in which we, their loyal listeners, can spend our money. In my case, on a membership of the EGA. I was a Member at Large many years ago, but this wasn't really what I was looking for. I was missing out on connecting with a local chapter. Thanks to the pandemic and some promotion on FiberTalk, I am now a happy virtual member of the Day Lilies chapter in Medina, Ohio. I think this might be a solution for others too, so let me explain how it works.
For years, I have tried to set up stitching groups both in my native Netherlands and, once I moved, here in Germany. To no avail. Some ran for a while and then faltered as the commitment to travel, make time or spent a little bit of money was just not there. At other times, people just did not get along with each other and I had to dissolve the group. However, I very much like to stitch and chat! So, when Beth mentioned that some EGA chapters now offer Zoom meetings, I wondered if that could be the solution for me. After all, the EGA has been going for a while and has a strong structure in place. No inventing the wheel here. I contacted EGA and they were very helpful in helping me find a chapter with hybrid meetings at a time that's compatible with my time zone. I also preferred a small town/rural chapter as that would match better with where I live (a small village with 725 inhabitants).
Last Thursday, I attended my very first 'local' chapter meeting. About 18 members live in the Medina library, two members Zooming in from Georgia and me Zooming in from Germany. Chapter President Angelia moderated us through the meeting and carried us through the room so that it really felt like we were there too. I did a quick screenshot to show you what that looked like. I made sure that Marie from Georgia ducked, and all others are only recognisable when you know them. It is just me staring into the camera like a deer into the headlights :). It turns out that another relatively new member has better cameras which we can use next time to make the experience even better. We are going to try that out on Thursday 13th of July during our Stitch in Public Day at the Medina Library. I will be there too; on a screen.
Apart from meeting so many other stitchers, I also got to participate in a blackwork project. Bonnie, a Master Craftsman and member of my chapter, taught her blackwork daffodil design. This was the perfect opportunity for me to try my hand at something new. Yes, I had done blackwork before for my RSN Certificate and I have taught it many times for the RSN, but that's different. This time, I could play.
First of all, I changed the colours. I had never tried blackwork in colour and was wondering what that would look like. Furthermore, the way blackwork is taught at the RSN is very specific and not historically correct. Bonnie's approach is much more in line with historical blackwork. At first, this new approach was very hard for me to get my head around! In the instructions, Bonnie provides a sequence of diagrams that would make up a single blackwork filling pattern. You work layers of darning patterns on top of each other and that makes the pattern. At the RSN, you get a diagram of the complete pattern, and you are told to stitch that as economically as you can with as few 'wandering' threads on the back as you can. Not having a 'complete' diagram to work off was very hard for me at first. But it provided me with an alternative way of how to teach somebody how to 'read' these patterns. Not all students see the best stitching paths when confronted with a traditional diagram. And this is exactly why I still take classes and work kits. There is always something new to discover!
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