Hands Across the Water

Cumberland Branch has been linked for many years with the Molly Pitcher Stitchers, a chapter of the Embroiderers’ Guild of America based in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.  The link was established around 30 years ago via a visit by a choir from America to Carlisle Cathedral.  We have kept in touch since then – sometimes infrequently and other times more often.

Twice members of the Mollies have arranged tours of Britain to include a stopover in Carlisle and we have offered overnight accommodation or a traditional Cumbrian supper.  Unfortunately we have been unable to arrange a return visit!  Over the years we have exchanged newsletters, magazines and gifts.

We are the proud hosts of Clara – a guardian of stitchers and her husband Clifford and every Christmas their members take it in turns to display a Christmas Temari made by Margaret Davie from our branch on their tree.

When Covid hit it was interesting and not surprising when reading their chapter newsletter to realise how similar their experiences though they did manage to meet more often initially.  Like us they suffered through cancellation of local, regional and national events.

As a branch we didn’t go down the virtual meeting route initially, as we weren’t sure how tech literate most of our members were, relying on bulletin and emails to keep in touch.  We dipped our toes into Zoom with a committee meeting in November and a Christmas Social in December with 11 members taking part so when the Mollies suggested a joint ‘Show and Tell’ meeting in the New Year we decided to go for it.  After a trial run, the date was set for Sunday 17 January.

Sherri who organised their end suggested that all those taking part send her images of a finished piece or two and a work in progress which she arranged into a slide show.  In the end there were 26 of us from both sides of the Atlantic – it was lovely to see them all and we chattered briefly before the slide show.  This enabled us to talk about our own work alongside a good quality image.  It was lovely to see the range of work from both groups.

EGA chapters tend to follow more traditional techniques than we do in the EG.  The work they showed was mainly two dimensional stitching with lots of canvas work, samplers and counted threads to a very high standard.  It was interesting that one of our members was working on the same ‘Stitchalong’ project as some of their members and shared favourite designers.  The Mollies were intrigued by some of the techniques shown by our members and the equipment we use.  I discovered it is quite difficult to describe an embellishing machine online!

At the end of the two hours, which flew by, it was decided that the meeting had been a great success and we would make it an annual event – if not more frequent.

Gill Goodfellow

Cumberland Secretary

Clara & Clifford