Nurturing needlework in today’s high-tech era
When I was 5 and 6 years old, my summer days filled up quickly as I galloped my stick horse across my grandparents’ lush lawn of Kentucky bluegrass, stirred mud pies in cast-off pots and pans in their backyard and even “painted” their sidewalk with a pail of pumped water and a droopy old paintbrush.
Simpler times, for sure, and wholesome fun.
Grandma also made sure I had indoor time for my first experience with needle and thread. Soon I was familiar with stem stitches, lazy daisies and French knots.
A set of days-of-the-week flour sack tea towels, ornamented with a little girl doing everyday chores, was my first finished project.
One day she cooked, one day she swept, one day she hung laundry on the clothesline, another day she ironed, etc.
Nowadays, you can find these old-fashioned items in antique and secondhand stores.
I still have some of Grandma’s embroidery work on dresser scarves, pillowcases, even tablecloths and matching napkins.
In her day, it was essential that young ladies developed needlework skills, and I’m grateful she passed them on to me.
Lately, I’ve seen a resurgence in this type of needlework, as a younger generation of women discovers the joys of embroidery. Many quilt and craft-related blogs refer to embroidery and offer tutorials on all types of stitches.
Here in Grand Junction, members of the Rocky Mountain Region of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America are sponsoring a teaching seminar Friday at the DoubleTree Hotel, 743 Horizon Drive.
The guild’s goal is to nurture and keep the art of needlework relevant in today’s high-tech society.
Jeanne Chazen of Grand Junction, event chairwoman, invites the public to a 5–7 p.m. free showing of “America the Beautiful,” a national tapestry that represents the song, the land and the stitch.
It consists of five panels, each measuring 24 inches by 48 inches, stitched by Embroiderers’ Guild of America members.
Panel No. 4 represents our Rocky Mountain region, and much of it was hand-stitched by embroiderers on the Western Slope who are members of the Desert West chapter.
Barbara Ing of Cedaredge stitched the bobcat and the eagle, “which is truly a highlight of the piece,” Chazen says.
Stitching with her were Jane Wheeler, Sheila Schweikhardt, Joan Chaffin, Barbara Gale, Barbara Blazer, Doris Mengel, Anita Cavin, Stevie Anderson, Linda Scheve, Nathana Haynes and Donna Cooper, all of Grand Junction, Patsy Bruton of Delta, Gerry Meeder of Fruita and the late Eleanor Steinle of Fruita.
Chazen describes the entire piece as an impressionistic work with nature’s flora and fauna stitched against the American landscape.
It was designed by national member Judy Jeroy of Virginia Beach, Va., who wanted to see it rendered in needlework by the guild.
Also from 5–7 p.m., shopping will be available at the Ewe Count Boutique from Cheyenne, Wyo. At 7, the guild will open a merchandise mall, also at the DoubleTree, to the public. Seventeen vendors will offer beads, jewelry, embellished handbags, books, fine wooden needlework tools and specialty threads.
I encourage art enthusiasts and anyone with an interest in needlework — whether or not you learned at your grandmother’s knee — to go and see this tapestry and perhaps browse among the vendors’ wares.
Email Sherida.Warner @GJSentinel.com.