Gnarls & Gnarly

You’ve got a basket that you have been tossing your orts, scraps, and solitary buttons into. It holds all those little things that are just too delicious to throw away but couldn’t be used in the project you were working on at the time. It’s been sitting in your studio, or next to your comfy chair, just crying out to be used in some fashion. Well members, have we got something for you that just might fit the bill.

Meet Gnarls the little creature that’s been hiding your scissors on you, or misplacing your glasses, or stowed away the project you just had in your hands a moment ago. You know the one…the “I didn’t do it” one.

And here is his cousin, Gnarly. He’s just as mischievous. Our member Roberta McLaren will lead you through the process of creating your own little creature. Will he have blue eyes and orange hair, or green hair and orange eyes? Will he be sporting a patched vest or pink trousers? That will all be up to you.

Here’s your chance to put your creative design in play using that basket we referred to earlier, or gather up some ephemera that you think will work nicely to create your own Gnarls & Gnarly.

It’s all taking place at Roberta’s home on March 9, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided throughout the day. Register by sending an email to Bonnie at [email protected]. The cost is $75 and includes a supply kit.

You will need to bring your sewing machine, sewing basket complete with scissors, threads, needles , pins, etc. and of course an enthusiastic imagination. If you have any special buttons, yarn, trims, etc. that you would like to use for embellishing your little creature, please bring them along.

We’ll look forward to see what personality you give your Gnarls & Gnarly.

Pick A Pocket

In the late summer, North Shore Needle Arts Guild applied to the Silk Purse Gallery in West Vancouver for an exhibition in 2024 and we were accepted!!! Our exhibit will be called “Pick a Pocket” and here’s the details we have so far. There will be lots more information, posters and all sorts of visuals a little closer to the time of our exhibition.

The exhibition will be on display Oct. 16 – Nov. 9 , 2024, and with October being Women’s History Month in Canada, the gallery thought the subject of this exhibition would make a great fit for this time of year. And we agree!! We are super excited not just to get an exhibition in this lovely gallery but to have such a perfect spot on the calendar as well.

If you missed out making a pocket during the Virtual Wednesday sessions now is your chance. All North Shore Needle Art Guild members are welcome to create a pocket and have it shown at the exhibition. If you would like a digital copy of the pattern please contact any one of the ABC team and we will be happy to send it along.

Anni Hunt, Bonnie Adie and Catherine Nicholls. Please direct any questions to Catherine [email protected]

Boutis pronounced “bootee”

Here is an opportunity to learn about a traditional stitchery technique.

Boutis, also known as Provençal quilting, refers to a French stuffing technique from the 17th century onwards and traditionally made in the south of France. It is described as two layers of fabric, stitched together with stuffing of some kind between the two layers such that a design is created. The design is usually raised giving the work a dimensional and textural quality. Along with Boutis, the other forms of this type of needle work are matelassage,  and piqûre de Marseilles (also known as Marseilles work or piqué marseillais). So isn’t this the same as trapunto? There is considerable debate and confusion about the terms, and the nuanced differences, but they are nevertheless forms of stuffed quilting. (Source:

We have a unique opportunity to learn this technique which is infrequently taught (if ever in Canada) in a workshop led by our very own member Elizabeth J., who is quite an expert. This will be an enviable addition to your needlework repertoire!

Boutis has been declared the national embroidery technique of France and in this 2-day in person class, you will learn the history of Boutis, how to transfer your design onto a special background fabric, and the stitches and techniques used in traditional Boutis. There will be stitching time in class.

It will be held February 12 and 26, 2024 from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and there will be time to enjoy your brown bag lunch. Held at the home of one of our members, Gaye H., it’s an opportunity to expand your stitchery toolbox.

Cost: for the two days is $115 which includes all Boutis specific supplies, which are not readily available here in Canada. However you are asked to bring the following:

  • Sewing needle for basting
  • Basting thread
  • Embroidery hoops in two sizes; a small one (4½” – 5“) for stitching and a larger one for cording (7” – 8”)
  • Sharp embroidery scissors
  • Two thimbles: your favourite thimble to use on your right hand and another thimble with a little ridge around the top’s perimeter.
  • Optional:
    • Rubber thumb (i.e. tip of a rubber glove)
    • Thread wax
    • Needle threader (very useful)
    • Easy release Scotch tape of painter’s tape

Please note the Guild’s refund policy: Final payment is due two weeks before the commencement of the workshop. There are no refunds unless your place can be filled from a waitlist.

For more information, and to register contact [email protected].

Did Someone Say Tapestry?

Well our ABC Team has done it again! This quarter our Virtual Wednesday meet-ups will feature the study of tapestries. The recent presentation at our Guild meeting by guest presenter Sandra Sawatzky of her work The Black Gold Tapestry may have been the impetus for our ABC Team. This is going to make the fourth Wednesday of every month for the next 3 or 4 months very interesting.

Bonnie started us off by providing a tapestry definition. It is a pictoral narrative created with thread that can be woven or in the case of our interests, embroidered onto a background of canvas, linen or any other fabric that will support the stitching. Oxford dictionary defined it as “a piece of thick textile fabric with pictures or designs formed by weaving colored weft threads or by embroidering on canvas. It is most commonly used as a wall hanging and references an intricate or complex combination of things or sequence of events.”

We will be concentrating on stitched tapestries, but to enhance our study, Bonnie shared several examples of some famous woven tapestries which included:

  • The Apocalypse Tapestry, woven in the 14th century (1377 – 1382) and depicts the story of the apocalypse in the biblical book of Revelations.
  • The Unicorn Tapestries, woven in wool and silk, consists of severn hangings that depict the hunt for the elusive unicorn.
  • The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, a 15th century tapestry (The Boar and Bear Hunt; 1425-1430) depicting individuals in the fashion of the day hunting for various animals.

The presentation then went on to highlight various stitched tapestries which included:

Yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking…”well I’m not going to do a huge tapestry in this quarter”. That’s why Anni brought us all back down to earth. She understood that a much smaller scope was what was needed. Anni asked us to consider that we could just as easily tell a story of an event on a much smaller scale. A scale that could easily fit an a piece of fabric no bigger than a 6-inch square, or something slightly larger. She presented embroiderers that told stories of everyday life, daily events, and what some might consider mundane. Here are some of links to those examples.

Thank you to the ABC Team for the extensive research and for providing a vast storehouse of inspiration. Can’t wait to see what happens next month when we once again visit during our Virtual Wednesday. What better way to end this, than with the following quote:

When there are no words, art is the storyteller, each stitch a story. –Tina Bryson

What’s a WISP?

So did you check your various wish lists in 2023? Are you making a new wish list for 2024? Are there any WISPs listed? Okay, okay for those of you not in the know a WISP is a Work In Slow Progress.

Each year our Guild hosts a WISP challenge. A time to check any unfinished projects and challenge yourself to complete one or two or…… possibly more. The challenge asks our members to select a WISP or two or more (just saying LOL) and signing up at the in-person meeting usually at the start of our Guild year or by emailing or phoning Sharon Young, the coordinator. You include your name and a brief description of the piece(s) that you plan on finishing.

The criteria for entry is simple. Your piece must have been started before January 2024 and be completed by June 13, 2024. Just think of that languishing project from 2018 that has been sitting there waiting for a bit of attention. What about that gift you promised to complete for a cousin, but got but aside for something more urgent? Now’s the time! We make it a bit of fun and there’s a reward. For each piece that is finished your name will be entered into a draw for a gift certificate to our New To You Boutique Store.

Now where did I put my list? It’s a long one and I’m only picking one item. That list, like my WISPs seems to evade me. See you at a meeting.

Outreach at Lion’s Gate Hospital

One of the mandates of our Guild is to reach out to our community through displays of our members’ work. The intent of the outreach is to create community awareness of our presence and encourage the practice of stitchery. Part of this outreach includes a quarterly display of the work of a featured member of our Guild at at our local Lions Gate Hospital’s palliative care facility.

Leading off 2024 displays is the work of member, Anni Hunt.

Anni considers herself a Mixed Media Artist with a heavy bias to textiles and stitch. She began developing her unique style in 1994 and has been creating and expanding her technique in this medium ever since. Anni has been a member of the Guild since 2010.

Working with our Outreach Coordinator, Roberta, the pieces that Anni has selected for display were part of the #100 Day Challenge on Instagram in 2023. She challenged herself to complete a mini collage measuring 4″ x 3″ in fabric and stitch every day for the duration of 100 days.

Some of the collages were done as triptychs and some as a series of nine (is there a word for nines?). The materials Anni used were from recycled fabrics or hand dyed silks, eco printed silks, and linens. In some cases stitch was added, or paint, or beads. One of the pieces that will be on display from January to March 2024 is pictured above. The aged look was enhanced by burning the edges of the finished pieces.

If you are in the area of Lions Gate Hospital in North Vancouver, British Columbia, the display of Anni’s work is well worth the visit.

It’s Cherry Blossom Time

In the 1930’s the mayors of Kobe and Yokohama, Japan presented the Vancouver Park Board with 500 Japanese cherry trees for planting at the Japanese cenotaph in Stanley Park honouring Japanese Canadians who served in WW1.

Twenty-eight years later in 1958 the Japanese consul, Museo Tanabe, gifted an additional 300 cherry trees and it was reported he did this as “An eternal memory of good friendship between our two nations”.

Each year Vancouver honours the approximately 43,000 cherry trees lining the City’s streets, with a Cherry Blossom Festival. In conjunction with that festival, a local gallery, the Silk Purse, hosts an exhibit entitled Cherry Blossoms: A Textile Translation. These trees, with their clouds of Spring blossoms vividly inspire local talent to explore the cherry blossom aesthetic through arts and cultural expression.

Located along the beautiful waterfront in West Vancouver, BC, the Silk Purse looks forward to seeing and displaying the work of local textile and needlework artists inspired by those very trees and blossoms. It is one of the more popular exhibits of the gallery with visitors anxiously awaiting its opening each year.

In order for the exhibit to take place a Call for Submissions is issued. We encourage our members to participate by submitting recent work that fits with the theme of the exhibit. In order to do so, you will need to read the submission rules and complete a submission form, which can be found by clicking here.

Let’s help make this another exciting display of our talents.

Textile Translations – Demonstration

North Shore Needle Arts Guild would like to invite you to a Zoom demonstration with Catherine Nicholls.
Textile Illustration will be held on January 15, 2024 from 10 AM via Zoom for 2 hours of demonstration and an additional 1/2 hour discussion time. You are welcome to work along or sit with a cup of coffee and take notes. This promises to be 2 hours packed with information and all for the small fee of $15. There are a limited number of spaces available. So don’t hesitate!

Please contact Bonnie [email protected] for registration and very short supply list.

Welcome 2024

It’s time to welcome 2024 in with a bang. Isn’t that the expression most often used? How did yours start? With a bang? a whimper? or just an even paced relaxing day spent with needle and thread?

Yup it’s that time again to think of the various projects that can be accomplished this year. Wait a minute. What about some of those projects that are stashed away in the closet and haven’t seen the light of day for a number of months? What’s that you say? Some are years older? Well time to make a dent, don’t you think. Each year our group initiates a WISP challenge. What is a WISP you ask? Well the acronym stands for Works In Slow Progress. Yup, it’s a challenge to reach for those projects that seem to be languishing in the closet, on a shelf, or rolled up in a box under the bed. The challenge invites you to finish one or two. If you’re a member, we encourage you to contact Sharon and let her know you’ve accepted the challenge. If you’re not a member, how about joining us? Stay tuned. Next month we’ll tell you more about what’s coming up in some of our programs.

VGE – Take Time to Stitch

Saturday, March 18, 2023
Enjoy a day of embroidery workshops
hosted by the Vancouver Guild of Embroiderers, open to all.

A variety of embroidery techniques taught in workshops including Deerfield, Whitework, Crewel, Goldwork, Beading, and more. Choose an all day or two half-day workshops. Fee includes workshops, coffee/tea, snacks, and lunch. Additional kit fees noted in workshop descriptions.

  • Full day of workshops (1 all day or 2 half days) and lunch = $120
  • Half day (Session A or B) and lunch = $80.00 – Click to Register
  • Plus Kit fees as noted in each workshop.

Once registered, you will receive an invoice with instructions for payment and after payment, you will receive confirmation. No registrations at the door.
Lunch will be a selection of sandwiches. *If you have allergies of concern, please bring your own lunch. Bring a lidded cup for coffee/tea.

Location: 1825 West 16th Avenue, Vancouver
The Canadian Memorial Centre for Peace
Limited parking is available next to the Centre or nearby on street.

The Centre is wheelchair accessible.
Questions? [email protected]