Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Considering the EGA (Embroiderers’ Guild of America)


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Living in rural Kansas, I don’t have the advantage of being associated with a particular embroidery guild in my area. However, I’m still a member of the EGA – the Embroiderers’ Guild of America – and though I’ve never attended a guild meeting or been to an EGA event, I am glad I’m a member. If you take your needlework seriously and you think it’s a life-long passion that you’ll keep pursuing, you might consider becoming a member, too.

Because I’m not near a local chapter of the EGA, I’m what they call a “Member at Large” – just kind of floating out there, but still in tune with what’s going at with the EGA, and still able to participate in their extensive correspondence courses if I wanted to, attend their functions, take advantage of their online “members area” resources on the EGA website, and receive their publications. One day, I even came across an unexpected advantage to being a member – I was visiting a couple different needlework shops while on vacation a few years ago, and found out that both shops offered a 10% discount to EGA members. (Hey, it was a happy surprise!)

So membership has its advantages! But today, I wanted to show you another advantage, and that’s the EGA’s regular quarterly publication, NeedleArts Magazine.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

NeedleArts Magazine comes out four times a year. In past years, when it arrived in the mail, I’d flip through it lackadaisically and set it aside. It didn’t grab my interest much. But lately, I’ve noticed some changes in the magazine… or are they changes in me? Well, whatever the case, I’ve grown to look forward to each new issue, and I’ll show you why.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

The contents of NeedleArts Magazine has become, overall, more interesting to me. For example, in the latest issue, there is a very nice in-depth article on Tanja Berlin. I’ve always loved her work.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

The article’s interesting – and it’s packed with photos of her gorgeous embroidery.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

I’m a frequent visitor to Tanja’s website and many of these pieces are familiar to me, but seeing them in print is somehow different. It’s nice to meander through a magazine, reading an interesting article and enjoying gorgeous examples of needlework – away from the computer!

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

All the articles in NeedleArts have become a little more interesting, in my opinion. They stimulate interest on a more universal scale, by talking about general subjects in the history of embroidery, for example, …

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

… while still including articles that are more particular and personal.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

Another thing that I’ve noticed about the more recent issues of NeedleArts Magazine is that there are quite a few more projects in the magazine. The projects presented are small enough to work relatively quickly while getting a feel for a given technique. This is Great!! I’d like to see more magazines produce smaller projects on various techniques – it’s a great way to dabble to see if you’ll like a technique, before investing a lot of study, time, money, and effort into it.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

In this issue, for example, there’s a nice little project for making a pulled thread bookmark with a touch of whitework embroidery on it. The instructions include graphs, stitch diagrams, and step-by-step written text.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

The beautiful needle lace dove on the cover is one of the several projects in this issue.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

Step-by-step directions are given, with excellent, clear photos.

Embroiderers' Guild of American - NeedleArts Magazine

This issue also features an engaging article on reproducing historical needlework, and it comes along with a little project to work as well.

The back cover of the magazine features one of Tanja Berlin’s current teaching projects (a gorgeous, colorful Goldwork Or Nué peacock feather). Wow. It’s a nice big, clear photo of it, and it is Stunning. There’s just somethin’ about seeing it in print….

I’ve really enjoyed the recent issues of NeedleArts Magazine! When I received the newest issue the other day, I thought to myself, “You know, this is worth writing about!” I don’t know if they’ve changed, or if I’ve changed, but whatever the case is, it’s a change for the better.

EGA membership is much more than just personally beneficial, too. The EGA is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the needle arts and keeping them alive. As members, we help support their educational and promotional endeavors. This means that paying for membership is also supporting a worthwhile cause.

So if you’re not a member of the EGA, why not look into becoming one? You can find EGA membership information on the EGA website – the cost for a “Member at Large” is really reasonable. And the benefits are worth it! Think of it as a Christmas gift, not just to yourself, but to all those who benefit from the work of the EGA!

Are you a member of the EGA? Do you attend regular guild meetings? What’s your favorite part of being a member? If you’re not a member, have you ever considered becoming one? I’d like to hear what people think of belonging to this network of guilds… is it worthwhile and beneficial? Can you think of other reasons why it might be worthwhile, that I’ve missed? Any thoughts at all on the subject? If so, feel free to leave a comment and discuss them!

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting some “comparison” photos of two ecclesiastical embroidery pieces. See you then!


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(34) Comments

  1. I’m a member of a local EGA chapter, but I’ve only been to one meeting and hadn’t planned to renew my membership. Last week I cleaned out my crafting space and threw away the four issues of Needleart that I’d received during this year’s membership.

    Today I pulled the newest issue out of my mailbox, read it cover to cover, and promptly went and took the four issues I’d thrown away back out of the trash! Like you, I don’t know if I’ve changed or if the magazine has changed, but this particular issue really, REALLY caught my eye in a way none of the others had . . . and I’m thinking I may go ahead and renew my membership, even if I still don’t make any of the meetings.

    But if I don’t renew in 2011, then I definitely will several years down the road, when my personal commitments have shifted and being active in our local chapter is much more doable for me.

    One thing I wasn’t quite prepared for is how involved in community outreach projects the local chapters are. For smaller chapters like ours, that pretty much means the handful or two of folks who attend all the meetings and serve on the board are also spending a decent bit of time doing community outreach. Timewise, being a part of a local chapter is more than I anticipated going into it. So, for now, I’m an absentee member, but when I’m ready to be an involved member I know there will be plenty with which I can help!

    In the meantime, I’m looking forward to future issues of Needleart and hope they catch my attention as much as this newest issue has.

  2. I’m a long time stitcher, and joined the EGA about 8 years ago. The meeting location is about 45 minutes away, but I enjoy being part of a community of stitchers. NeedleArts may be changing. Did you participate in the survey earlier this year? I value the projects in the magazine. Take a look at the mail-aways for the Designers Across America projects – very reasonably priced. And the correspondence courses – can be done in a group. If you’re comfortable going solo, they are available through the magazine and the website. Just a tip on the dove on the magazine – the instructions for the cording are in the previous issue (Sept 2010). I’m itching for time to try a technique that’s new to me on such a gorgeous project. P.S. I became a Life Member a few years ago. Stitching is definitely a passion. And thanks for your informative columns, too. They’ve become a must-read for me.

  3. I’ve been a member of EGA sense 1990 right after I started to do cross stitch and have been a member ever sense. I belong to a small group in Northern Utah called the Ogden Needle Guild. At one time I also belong to the SLC ega guild too! But as time are getting harder I just couldn’t afford to drive to SLC and Ogden is a lot closer. We just had our Christmas party for this year and it’s the first time every one that belong to the guild show-up…. After seeing your article I will have to go back and look through my magazine more carefully. I usually get them and file them away with the others and do not read the magazine at all!
    Kris UT

  4. yes, I just received mine yesterday in the mail, having joined EGA a couple of months back. I love it, and you’re right, nothing can replace a magazine and the luxury of having something in your hands! It’s a very good magazine. Lyn

  5. I have been a member of EGA for many years. I am fortunate to live in the Amherst NY area. We have a chapter that meets the second Wed of the month at North Presbyterian Church. It meets from 10 am to 12 (but many stay all afternoon to stitch) And 7 to 9. All new members welcome. They are a great group of stitchers.

  6. The best thing I ever did was join the EGA. My only regret is that I did not join sooner as I have only been a member for the past 6 years or so. I thought it was a stuffy group who were going to be critical about my work. Boy, was I wrong! I have learned so much. The members of my local chapter are terrific. I have participated in Group Correspondant Cources taught by nationally accredited EGA teachers. All of the classes I have taken had teachers who not only were helpful, but they made me feel positive about what I was doing even when I had made an error. They taught me how to avoid errors and do things the correct way, which makes for a much nicer finished product. You are right about Needlearts, it has changed. It has more projects with instructions that you can complete on your own. FYI as an EGA member, you are also eligiable for a special JoAnne’s discount card which is renewalable annually. I, too, have found that a lot of local shops also give members a discount. All you need to do is ask and show your card when you pay. As you said it is a nice little perk of memebership.

  7. I joined EGA just over a year ago but have only attended one meeting. Like you, I did notice how nice the issues have become lately, especially this last one. I haven’t read it thoroughly yet, as I am saving it for a nice, long bath. The bookmark is really interesting and should be a fun little project, and the dove on the cover is simply beautiful. I will keep renewing, just to get the magazine. Someday I may make it to a meeting.

  8. I’m an EGA Member at Large as well ! After giving consideration to the different memberships being a Member at Large was what suited me the best at this time. Love receiving the NeedleArts magazine, can’t wait to get this new issue in the mail ! I took part of the survey they conducted not long ago and perhaps they are already implementing changes which shows in this new issue of the magazine. I’m very happy to know that I’m part of a non-profit organization that works hard to keep needle arts alive.

    In the future, If I were to join a chapter it will be the EGA CyberStitchers (they are part of the Tennessee Valley Region).
    Their meetings are conducted online through a Yahoo Group (which I think is a great convenience) and they also have a webpage: http://www.cyberstitchers.org/.

  9. Mary, I was an EGA member at large for several years. Due to working hours and other responsibilities joining the local chapter wasn’t an option for me. And then I took the step of joining the on-line cyber chapter of EGA. There are the benefits of belonging to a group of other stitchers who are always helpful with questions. There are opportunities to take group correspondance classes and participate in community outreach programs through the CyberStitchers chapter.

  10. I am a member of EGA. I really love the organization and I’m very active in it. I am currently serving as the treasurer for my region, Tennessee Valley Region, and as the national budget chairperson for EGA. I’m in the process of taking over as the Group Correspondence Course chairperson, which means I get to work with the teachers as they develop their courses, and that is a lot of fun!

    I belong to a small face to face chapter, Mississippi NeedleArts; we have 18 members. I also belong to CyberStitchers, which is the online chapter. I heartily recommend this chapter to everyone! It only costs a few more dollars than being a MAL. The best part of belonging to CyberStitchers is the number of Group Correspondence Courses we do every year. Each year the chapter pays the teaching fee for 10 courses, allowing each member to take a course for only the cost of the text. I usually end up taking 2-3 courses every year. :o) We also have member-designed projects available every other month, and these are really high quality projects! If anyone is interested in CyberStitchers, or has any questions, they are welcome to contact me at dragonmom0517@bellsouth.net.

    I have seen part of the collection that EGA owns, and it is so interesting. I have also used the lending library. I love EGA! I love the fact that we are all working together to promote the art of embroidery, and to preserve our history. :o)

  11. Mary, have you looked into CyberStitchers? We’re the worldwide chapter of EGA, and I’m a member from here in Uruguay – and will be when I move to Moldova next year, too! Because it’s completely online, it’s easy to do as much or as little as you want. It’s also not much more than a MAL membership, perhaps $5 more? And so worth it… here’s the link: http://www.cyberstitchers.org. Come to our meeting in January as a guest!

  12. I have been putting off joining because the contact info was murky when I last looked. I looked again today and it was clear and I have sent off an email. Thanks for the reminder. They are just a few minutes away.

  13. I have been a member of EGA since the mid-90s and often wonder why it took me so long to join. Although I have been stitching since I was 5 years old, I really enjoy being exposed to new techniques and better ways to do things. The greatest benefit to me has been the association with the wonderful people sharing a common interest and who understand and appreciate the time and dedication it takes to do this type of “work”.
    Thank you so much for your article — it is amazing to me how many stitchers are not aware of EGA and the opportunities presented by and through it.
    Marcia Spangler,
    President, Louisville (KY) Chapter Embroiderers’ Guild of America

  14. Hi, Mary! I’ll check the guild website to see if people outside the US can join… I don’t think there are any embroidery guilds below the US in the Americas, if you can please give us some tips on how to start one – or at least how to offer classes, like you said you did (even before the ones in the school you’ve been telling us about). Who knows? Maybe people start doing it everywhere! 🙂

  15. They’ve been working hard at improving the magazine and I agree that it shows. I really look forward to each issue now. I’ve been an EGA member for a long time, first as a MAL and then we began a local chapter. I’ve gained so much from membership, including a comfortable venue for improving my teaching skills. The EGA website has some interesting things, too, and you may also want to see what the Heartland Region offers to members. Here in the Great Lakes Region we have fun State Days and great regional seminars. I’ve taken classes with Janice Love, Tanja Berlin, and Jane Nicolas, all through the EGA. (I just signed up for the Crewel Independent Study and can’t wait to get going with it!)

  16. For those of us who do not live near an EGA meeting place, there is another option that no one has mentioned yet. We can become PLURAL members. For the slight additional fee of $13, we can be members at large as well as members of the Cyberstitchers chapter. Some of the benefits overlap, of course. However, the cyberstitchers are a community of stitchers with their own projects, just like face-to-face chapters. The cyberstitchers can be found online through the TVA region if anyone is interested in learning more about them. To locate them, type in http://www.cyberstitchers.org. Also, you can be a “guest” for two meetings for free to see how you like the group before joining, just as you can with other chapters.

  17. I joined Laurel Chapter of EGA last year after visiting a local event where members had a booth with their various needlework. I hadn’t done cross stitch for several years and was excited to find out about the local chapter and others with the same interests. I’m learning new things and loving it. It really got me back into stitching and I’ve completed several projects I had packed away.

  18. mil gracias por todo lo que me envias, todo muy valioso. que dios te bendiga siempre y te siga dando lo mejor de lo mejor. me facina el bordado y esto es espectacular. gracias. sorany

  19. I, too am a Cyberstitchers member after years as a Member at Large. Though there is a local chapter (the only one in Canada!) about an hour’s drive away, I know I’ll never get there so the convenience of Cyberstitchers suits me very well. I always hesitated to join a Chapter as I didn’t see the benefits over being a Member at Large but let me tell you, I like it much better and feel more involved without being overwhelmed. We have many members from outside the US (like me!) so it is a great way for those from other countries to join EGA. We learn many things about the embroidery of other countries this way!

  20. I have been a member of EGA since the mid 1980s, in two different regions/chapters. Aside from the pleasures of stitching and learning more about embroidery, the friendships I have made are incredibly sustaining. I love the people in my group; they are always ready to help at any time, with stitching tutoring, with personal crises and joys. I simply could not get along without my EGA chapter. I have gladly served the chapter in many capacities and gladly participate in the outreach programs the group provides to the community.

  21. Good afternoon. I see always your blog but my english is so bad that I don’t write always. This time I must thank you for all the beautiful articles, notices and lessons you give to me. THANKS a LOT!!!

  22. I tripped across EGA in 1978 in New Jersey where I was a newcomer. I joined the local chapter the first night I attended. Since then I have belonged to chapters whenever we have moved–Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. I feel as if I am part of a large noisy family with connections all over. Just today our chapter had one of its twice monthly stitch-ins. We laughed and talked, giggled and even stitched some. I feel as if I always belong. The best thing about it? I get to show off my work at every meeting and I get to see everyone’s work–a great way to learn and grow.

    Shirley Kay–Albuquerque

  23. Being able to attend annual region and national seminars is another good reason to belong to EGA. Many great workshops are available if you are fortunate enough to live near a local chapter.

  24. All –

    I have long done cross stitch, taught myself Hardanger and canvas work, and in 2007 taught myself Brazilian embroidery. In 2007, at the urging of a friend I joined our local Embroiderer’s Guild. (http://madisonareaega.org/). It’s one of the best things I have ever done. I now count among my friends folks that are as crazy as I am about hand embroidery. We have a great program each month and an annual show. For example the program in 2011 includes gold work, Brazilian embroidery, pulled thread, temari balls, etc. I love it and am now the newsletter editor. If you have a local guild, I suggest you join!

    I also joined the Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery International Guild a few years ago (after I taught myself). It is a fantastic organization. The quarterly (?) newsletter is fabulous. Their website also has great stitching directions, resources, and some free projects to get you started. Last year I attended their annual conference (June). It was a great time and very reasonably priced. Info on that as well as the forementioned resources can be found at http://www.brazilian-dimensional-embroidery.org/

    I am totally hooked on hand embroidery (all kinds). For our 32 wedding anniversary my husband created an album with some of my work photographed and also created this website of my work: http://personalpages.tds.net/~dougcaruso/judy/
    Some of these are my design but most are others’ designs. Also, some of these are recent and some are 30 years old. Enjoy

    Judy Borreson Caruso

  25. Yes Needlearts is greatly improved and EGA is soliciting articles, projects and ideas. I was a MAL until I realized 10yrs ago that there was a chapter in my area. I had never been a joiner so I approached it carefully. What a great bunch! I wish I had joined sooner. We do small projects, GCCs, have public and private stitch-ins, field trips,on and on, but the greatest is 3 1/2 day weekend in Sept at a member’s family farm on the South Branch of the Potomac. Stitch and eat!
    Everyone’s talent is respected and everyone is challenged to try something new. We are also dedicated readers of Needle and Thread.

  26. Jane Wheeler and I are on the same page as far as EGA goes. The meetings are fun, there are lots of new techniques to learn, and some fantastic teachers show up to put on a program. But it is the friendships that are priceless. I had gone for years without finding one person who even cared about what I enjoyed. And now I am surrounded by women who are talented and willing to share their knowledge and expertise. They are also GRAND enablers. My life has definitely been richer for being an EGA member.

  27. Yes, Mary, NeedleArts magazine has improved enormously over the last year! It has a new editor, Cheryl Christian, who is doing a terrific job IMO. I think that EGA in general has been working hard to make membership more appealing. I’ve been a member of the local chapter for years. Our group is big enough that we have satellite groups, one of which is dedicated to historical samplers. Being an antique needlework and history buff, it’s right up my alley. I think that’s a strength of EGA, that it caters to so many stitching interests. Oh, just as a disclaimer, Cheryl is a member of the local chapter and the sampler satellite! She is one talented and very savvy lady.

  28. I’m not currently a member, but have given it consideration. I could join the group in the town where I work, not sure I want to stay that late to attend meetings though. And wasn’t sure about the “at large” membership. After reading this and the comments, I may give the local group a try. Not only for the knowledge about stitching, but for the friendship.

  29. When I first joined my local EGA chapter, I knew only cross stitch and knitting. The wonderful and supportive stitchers in the Guild encourage the exploration of work that previously seemed far beyond my skill level. Goldwork is now my speciality and I’m even branching out into designing and teaching. Membership is worth every penney.

    I just discovered one additional benefit now that we are planning to move across the country. We don’t even close on the new house for another month and not only have I been invited to three different EGA meetings, but I’ve even been offered a ride to one! What lovely and generous people the stitching community attracts. So join, re-join – whatever. But definitely become actively involved with this great organization.

  30. I thought this quarter’s Needle Arts magazine was particularly interesting, also! I had never heard of the Agecroft Hall before, and now I want to visit when next I am across the country. Thanks for bringing it to people’s attention.

  31. At first, I joined EGA as a member-at-large. Then I happened to meet a member of one of the local chapters, who encouraged me to attend a meeting. It was an enlightening experience. The group was very welcoming . There was members’ work on display to share and discuss. Workshops on various subjects were available. Information about great sources of needlework supplies, instruction, exhibits, and a myriad of other subjects was shared. Local chapters are grouped into regions with periodic conferences that include workshops. Then there is a national conference and an amazing newsletter, in addition to all of the other benefits. A great source of collegiality and friendship.

  32. Years ago I joined the Embroiderers’ Association of Canada (EAC), EGA and the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG). After about 4 years of membership, I went through all their magazines and did not renew my EGA membership because there had been nothing in the magazine that I would ever want to make. So I’m glad to hear that it’s been improved. Maybe I should rejoin.

    You’d be amazed by what is being stitched on needlepoint canvas these days. Take a look at the ANG website:
    ANG http://www.needlepoint.org/index.php

    I am a member of a local guild of the EAC and we enjoy stitching together so much that we have weekly informal stitch-ins. There are only 20 of us but there is so much knowledge in the group. If I want to learn a new technique, there’s always someone in the guild who knows how to do it and who can help out. And then there are all the other benefits that have mentioned by previous commentators.

    I was interested to see the article about Tanja Berlin. She will be teaching her peacock feather design at the EAC’s annual seminar, which will be held from May 2 – 7, 2011 in Sackville, NB, a beautiful part of the country. (I’m prejudiced – I live a couple of hours away!)

  33. I joined EGA a little over a year ago as a MAL, after reading a comment about it in one of your posts, Mary.

    In July of this year I learned about Cyberstitchers and changed my membership status. I love this group! I am in France, but feel a real sense of community as the members are friendly and respond quickly with help and advice when a question is posted. Am also able to participate in GCC’s due to their online education offerings. It has been a great experience.

    Agree that EGA’s NeedleArts Magazine has greatly improved. I particularly like the fact that each Number is offering patterns in different techniques for its members to try.

  34. Our EGA chapter began in 1993 + we have enjoyed gathering for meetings every month. In addition to the monthly classes, we have workshops and other special events.

    The needlework is a common interest with all of us. I also value the friendship with other members!

    don’t hesitate, JOIN!

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