Monday, October 28, 2013

An Incredible Time Spent with the Needle Arts Guild of Wichita!

Last week I had the great pleasure of teaching two classes, An Needleworker's Sampler Huswif and A Lady's Worke Box, for the Needle Arts Guild of Wichita.  I was very impressed with this EGA guild, which was founded in 1980.  There are 32 members, which is a relatively small guild, but they are far from small in their enthusiasm and work.  Many attend weekly meetings--that is how much they enjoy being with each other. They act like a close-knit family.  Once a month they do outreach projects, and the other weeks they stitch on whatever they please.

The guild currently has four outreach projects.  The first project is Habitat for Humanity samplers that they stitch using a design supplied by Lizzie Kate, a Kansas design company.  The guild members stitch a sampler for each house built by Habitat for Humanity, which is usually about 10 per year.  Another project is Kissing Soldier pillows.  The guild members cross stitch the pillow tops and then send them to a Texas guild for finishing and mailing to soldiers.  A third project is the making of Port-A-Cath pillows. These are pillows put on a car seat belt to cushion the position of a catheter port. The guild members make about 10 of these pillows a month.  Their fourth outreach project consists of making Hospital dolls for a local hospital.  The dolls are made out of muslin and dressed in colorful hospital gowns, often out of cute little prints. The hospital uses these dolls to explain upcoming surgery to children.  After surgery, the child can take the doll home.  The guild members make 20 of these dolls a month.  Wow!!  I bet you are as impressed as I was!!  Keep up the wonderful work, ladies!!

Every couple of years, the guild likes to bring in a national teacher, and I was the lucky one they chose for 2013.  We had two great days of classes.

Here are photos from Friday's class, A Needleworker's Sampler Huswif.

I tried to get photos of everyone in class, but missed some.  Please forgive me if I didn't get a photo of you.

Here are Babs, Maryanne, Karen, Nita L., Judy, Deb, Nita S., and Connie.

Here are the two Pams.

And here are Karen, the Guild President, and Nita L.
Nita L's 91-year-old mother is also an active member of the guild but was unable to attend the 
workshops due to recent back surgery.  I would have loved to meet her.

Here is Marietta, the Guild Treasurer.
I first met Marietta a few years ago when she was in the first class for the Fruit of the Vine Sampler Huswif.
 And here are a few more photos of our day.

In class, everyone worked on the needlebook, and look at the progress they made!  (These photos are unfortunately not very clear.)  In the photos below, Nita and Pam were working on the 12th dividing band when I took the photos.

Nita S.'s progress on her needlebook

Pam C.'s progress

Saturday's class was A Lady's Worke Box.

Below are some photos taken during the day.  Again, I didn't get a photo of everyone.  Sorry!  I'll try to do better next time.

It was so much fun to see Debbie D. with her Quaker Turtles.  Debbie is the owner of Heart's Desire, and I had met her at the Nashville Needlework shows.  I'm disappointed that there wasn't enough time during my short stay in Wichita to visit her shop.

In class, the attendees worked on the back cover of their needlebooks.  Before leaving, everyone had the opportunity to make a paper mock-up of the needlebook, which is fashioned like a Jacob's Ladder toy. They really seemed to enjoy that.  The wool needlepage appears to "jump" from side to side depending on which side the needlebook is opened.

Here are some class progress photos.

This is Nita S.'s work.  She has had this wooden embroidery hoop since she was 6 years old!!

And this is what Amberle had stitched when I started taking photos.  This was Amberle's first class. She was by far the youngest there.  We need to figure out how to get more young people stitching.

And this is Janice's progress.

Before leaving on Saturday, the guild decided they wanted to take a class photo for their newsletter.  I think the photo has everyone except one lady who had to leave early because of illness.

Thank you everyone for such a memorable few days.  You all are amazing!  I hope that we'll see each other again in the not too distant future.  I would like to especially thank Deb, who is the Guild's Program Chairperson and my main contact.  She and her helpers put on two wonderful days of classes.

Also, thank you for my lovely gifts and the wonderful notes.  Here is a photo of the beautiful wood ort box the guild gave me!  It's made from lilac root.  Doesn't it look wonderful on top of my spool cabinet?  (In the background are a pincushion that Cathy B. made for me and a needlebook Annette made for me when I taught for their guilds earlier this year.  I showed you Cathy's pincushion earlier, but I don't think I ever showed you Annette's needlebook.  She also made me a coordinating project bag.  Thanks, ladies.)

And then, just as I was packing up my things, Janice gave me this incredible beaded piece!!  I love it!  I need to figure out a good place to display it properly.  For now it is on the top of my spool cabinet.

My trip to Wichita was very short due to other commitments that made it necessary to come home the day after the classes.  I only had a couple of hours to explore the area--certainly not enough time. (There are 36 museums in Wichita plus lots of other sites.  I heard the botanical gardens are wonderful.)

On Sunday before catching my flight home, I had just enough time to go to the Wichita's Riverwalk.  The focal point is the Keeper of the Plains monument, which is positioned at the confluence of the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers.  The 44-foot Indian Chief sculpture was designed by Native American artist Blackbear Bosin, and it was constructed in 1974 by a metal works company. The sculpture is on a large rock between two pedestrian suspension bridges. The artist chose this location because, according to the signs at the monument, the place where the two rivers meet symbolizes the coming together of the Indian culture, first within itself and then with the non-Indian.

The next photos are of displays on the walls near the sculpture.

And now a final photo of the Keeper of the Plains before I headed to the airport.

Fare thee well, Wichita!  I hope to be back some day soon!


Chris said...

Looks like a couple of fabulous classes. I love the travel pics too!

Faye said...

Wow!! I love those special pieces and the smiles on the faces, tell it all~~

Joyce Clark Frank said...

All the ladies that took part look so involved in learning and stitching. Looking forward to your classes in Austin, TX in May 2014.

Margaret said...

Looks like a fabulous class! And seeing the sights brings back memories -- my father still lives in Kansas! Not close to Wichita though.

Debbie said...

Thanks for the great pictures! Your photographer did a great job! And yes, we did have loads of fun and I hope to see Ellen again.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

I love seeing the retreat photos, you all look like you have so much fun!

Your comment about younger stitchers was interesting. Partly because you all look quite young to me, about my age, then I remember I'm heading to the end of my 40s!!

I know quite a few stitchers in their 20s and 30s via Facebook and blogs. Is it likely that younger people can't afford the classes and retreats? Or maybe choose to spend their little holiday time travelling? My priorities and idea of a good holiday have definitely changed as I've gotten older!!

Annette-California said...

Always a pleasure so see your students needlework and progress. Lovely trip to Wichita! Glad you liked the needlebook:)
love Annette