October 2017 – AGM

October means it is time for the AGM, and this year saw a big change over in the membership of the committee.
Our new committee lined up for a photo call:
Left to right: Jan Gallaway – Committee Member, Suzanne Madden – Treasurer, Angela Easton – Secretary, Chris Grant – Committee Member, Rona Doyle – Committee Member, Tessa Most – Committee Member, Kay Ashby Chairman.
new cmte
There was a warm welcome to them all.
We heard that Christine Tebbitt (our outgoing Treasurer), had won the Aurifil “Stitch One Colour” individual challenge held at the Regional AGM last month. Here she is with her winning entry, together with our out going Secretary Jan Brooks-Kibble who is holding an exquisite embroidered folder also made by Christine. Together they have contributed years of service to the Guild which is greatly appreciated.


Some of the other entries to the “Stitch One Colour” individual challenge held at the Regional AGM last month are shown below – as ever our branch demonstrates a wonderful array of talent, and it is heartening to see so many members taking an active part in proceedings, long may it continue (everyone is good enough – no excuses!)
Thanks are also due to Susan Fletcher, our retiring chairman, for her stewardship and hard work, she has given a lot to the branch over the last few years and we look forward to welcoming her back into the body of the hall (rather than watching her up at the front) for a well deserved rest! Thank you also to everyone who contributes in so many different ways to the branch – it wouldn’t be such a vibrant welcoming branch without each and every one of you.

Kay Ashby took over as Chairman and then moved straight into “speaker mode”.

She showed what can be achieved with a series of simple techniques through a number of delightful samples in Kay’s signature colour palette!
Definitely an occasion when there was something for everyone, no matter how much or how little experience they have.
The new programme for 2017/2018 is now available on the Calendar tab of this website – I hope you agree that yet again we are in for a wonderful year, you definitely need to take care when booking holidays so as not to miss anything!
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September Workshop with Flo Collingwood

Following September meeting’s talk about the Overlord Embroidery (an appliqué masterpiece) a workshop with RSN trained Flo Collingwood on appliqué seemed very apt.

Flo (second from the left below) brought delightful kits which allowed us to explore appliqué over different padded surfaces with different types of edging.


There was a lovely atmosphere and everyone had a very enjoyable day. It was particularly nice to welcome some new faces to the workshop. Our workshops are open to ALL members regardless of ability and it is a great way to get involved and get to know other members of the guild  (*end of plug!!*)

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September 2017 – Overlord Embroidery

The September Meeting started with a members’ own stitch session in the morning, and was full of happy chatter!


One member brought in a beautiful piece of work that she had produced as a result of our group outing to the Weald & Downland Living Museum in the summer. (It’s stunning and inspirational to those of us who went on the trip but haven’t quite got round to producing anything yet!!)




The afternoon session was a talk by Tracy Teasdale, the Learning Officer from Portsmouth City Museum service.


Susan (Chairman) welcomes Tracy Teasdale

Tracy is a very interesting and entertaining speaker who really knows her subject and gave us an incredible talk all about the Overlord Embroidery:  its origins (the brainchild of Lord Dulverton, who commissioned it in 1968);  its design (by young British artist, Sandra Lawrence);  its construction (at the Royal School of Needlework under the firm stewardship of Miss Bartlett!) and the arrangements for the refurbished DD museum in Portsmouth that it will be displayed in from Spring 2018. After such a fascinating afternoon I am sure that many of us will be in the queue as the Museum reopens next year!

For those members unlucky enough to miss the meeting, here are a couple of links to some videos on youtube, which will give you a flavour of what you missed!  (I think you may have a couple of seconds of extraneous material on one of the clips before the main event – bear with it!)

Tracy Teasdale talking about the Overlord Embroidery

British Movietone short film about the Overlord Embroidery

NB Tracy is  interested in engaging volunteers either to demonstrate stitching and appliqué at the museum, or to deliver talks about the Overlord Embroidery to small groups. There will also be many textile related events as the Museum re-opens, including a “Textiles relating to Conflict” conference – so do keep your eyes on the website http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/d-day-events


STOP PRESS: Next month is our AGM – we need members to volunteer for many key positions, for years, one could argue, it has been many of the same old faces – it’s time for some new blood, so please do consider helping out and putting the branch on a secure footing for the future. We look forward to hearing from you.

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July 15th 2017 – South East Regional Day

For those of you who didn’t make the South East Regional Day at Ardingly here are some photographs of our branch showcase. It all went very well and we had lots of lovely comments as well as lots of people reminiscing about Clothkits dungarees!



With thanks to the SE Regional Committee for a great day!

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July 2017 – Alison Hulme, My Life in Stitch

The July meeting’s morning session was a good natured affair with members old and new, stitching and chatting together, catching up on things and clearly having a good time!

The afternoon speaker, Alison Hulme began with the words “My name is Alison and I’m an alcoholic …………………” a tremendous opener to what proved to be a very moving and highly entertaining account of how Alison turned her life around through stitch (and with a little help from her brave husband who became  a life model for her final degree piece!)

If you weren’t at the meeting then you missed a treat – find out where she is speaking next and make sure you’re there. See Alison’s blog 

There is a workshop being run by Alison today (Tuesday 11th July – I will bring you photographs as soon as I can)


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The afternoon concluded with the announcement of the President’s Competition results. There were 8 entries – all were of such a high standard (both in terms of design and workmanship) that it was a very difficult voting decision for many of us. The pool of talent in our branch never ceases to amaze and humble me. The winner was Christine Tebbitt, Congratulations! All of the entires are going on to the competition at the Regional AGM – so I will save the photographs until after that has been judged, watch this space!

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June 2017 Alice Steer – spinning a yarn weaving a story

The June meeting started with a morning stitching session where members worked on their own projects and chatted happily.

The lucky people who had attended the workshop with Jean Littlejohn last month brought in their work for us to look at  – what a wonderful set of results!


The speaker at 2pm was Janet Steer, with a talk entitled “spinning a yarn weaving a story”.


Janet came to textiles relatively late in life after a career in medicine and anatomy. She acquired the “bug” and completed parts 1 & 2 of her City & Guilds followed by a degree in Stitched Textiles at Eastleigh College.

She described how she arrived at her final degree piece and beyond, showing us the influences which ranged from her microscope slides and the fibonacci series, to the art of the Dada-ists, Alighiero Boetti, the theory of chance,  the sculpture of Peter Randall Page and her love of landscape and long mountain walks.

Making fabric by spinning paper (in particular maps) and then making meaningful (or by chance) linear embroidered lines has produced a spectacular body of unique and interesting work. For us, it was a pleasure to listen to Janet’s “journey” and understand the thought processes and see the development of her work.


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May 2017 Jean Littlejohn

The May meeting was particularly popular (attributed mainly to the lure of being able to listen to half of the Embroiderers’ Guild President )

The early birds were not disappointed – the morning session was given over to a superb talk by our member, Susie Luke, and Lesley Parker from the Weald & Downland Living Museum. At the museum there has been a (mainly volunteer staffed) sewing team creating authentic costumes for the stewards to wear. “Authentic” is the key word here, as we listened to the level of detail  that goes into creating the costumes it soon became clear that this was a project that was meticulous in its approach and therefore incredibly successful in its results. Lesley passed round examples mainly from the Tudor and Victorian clothing collections and we were all just full of admiration; the inkle loom woven braids, the cartridge pleating, the beauty and simplicity of the linen shifts, the cut of the School Mistress’ jacket… and the list goes on. It was a fascinating talk, much enjoyed by us all. For those of you who missed it, Lesley is booked to come to a meeting next year and talk to us about Georgian clothing, & I for one can’t wait!

ALL SEWN UP: The afternoon session started with a presentation of a cheque to the hospice team in charge of the Dream Building project (the appeal to raise funds for the new hospice building). Avid readers of this web-site will know that we were set a challenge in January by our speaker, Kay Mawer from Clothkits, to buy a bag of scrap materials and turn it into something saleable. The challenge became a reality and many of our members, with a great deal of ingenuity and talent, created a plethora of items to sell. The final total raised by us was a staggering £1325 – A BIG THANK YOU to EVERYONE involved (especially Sue Clarke and Kay Mawer without whom this project would not have got off the ground)


At the cheque presentation: from left to right, Sue Clarke (Chichester Embroiderers’ Guild), Kay Mawer (Clothkits), Chloe Neilson-Hopkins and Sarah Tuhey (both from the Dreambuilding Project)

We then settled down for the star attraction – Jean Littlejohn – who needs little introduction, a very renowned embroiderer, half of the Double Trouble team, and co- President of the Embroiderers’ Guild. (Between Jan Beaney and herself they account for over 85 years of joint membership of the Guild!)


Jean being welcomed by Susan, our Chairman – not sure why they didn’t smile, perhaps it was something I said!!

Jean gave a fascinating talk about her work and her approach to design. Her advice to us included:  don’t ever start a piece of work without deciding what you are going to do, and what you want to achieve. How to do it ? Well that follows naturally from knowing what you want to do! Also don’t make the mistake of not sampling – you can’t expect to produce a masterpiece first time, there  will need to be a lot of trial and effort. Jean likes to have a noticeboard in her studio where she just pins photographs of all the things she likes and looks at them, becomes familiar with them and then there’s drawing and sketchbooks to explore recurring themes.

It was a very illuminating afternoon, not least because we were bedazzled by Jean’s beautiful work, she had many sketchbooks and pieces of work with her which we all happily examined and discussed at the end of the afternoon.

Some lucky members were picked in the ballot for her (over-subscribed) workshop the following day. Below are the initial photos of the lucky ones at work – they have reported that they had an hilarious and productive day. I hope to bring you more evidence of that next month………… as ever, watch this space!



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