Do you ever feel as if you’re the only person in your personal world who is interested in embroidery and the needle arts?
Before Needle ‘n Thread, I used to feel like the odd guy out. I live in a small rural town in Kansas, and there aren’t a lot of social options for stitchers out here. I don’t know anyone close by who is as freaky-weirdly-interested in embroidery as I am. And traveling a long distance to participate in guild meetings is not possible for me.
If you’re in a similar situation, it can be kind of lonely, can’t it?
There are online groups, though, that can help you overcome the isolation of the lonely stitcher, and today, I want to tell you about three of them.
Stitchin’ Fingers, a Social Network for Needlework & Textile Enthusiasts
Update 2017:Stitchin’ Fingers had a good run, but the social network closed at the beginning of 2017, due to the increased cost of operating it.
The first online social opportunity for embroiderers that I’d like to point out is Stitchin’ Fingers, a no-cost member website dedicated to stitching, fiber arts, and textiles.
The site is a combination of a massive and amazing photo gallery, where members share their work; a forum, where members can discuss the needle arts and related topics, find helpful solutions, share ideas, and so forth; and a collection of special interest groups, which members join if they have an interest in a particular area of the needle arts.
Members can set up their own personal page with some customization, where they can blog, keep track of projects, post their project photos, and so forth.
The community is family-friendly and operates peacefully under community guidelines.
Stitchin’ Fingers was originally established by Sharon Boggan, who writes the blogs Pintangle, dedicated to stitchery, and Tones and Tints, dedicated to drawing.
Several years ago, Sharon wanted to free up her time a bit, and handed Stitchin’ Fingers off to me.
So, in a nutshell, Stitchin’ Fingers is a 8,300+ member social network owned and operated by Needle ‘n Thread. I’m not always super-involved on it, but the community is lively and helpful, and when I have time, I join in. I also do a lot of background work on it, to keep it functioning.
Advertising on Stitchin’ Fingers
Last year, because I was doing some work on Stitchin’ Fingers and I didn’t know what the ultimate result of that work would be, I didn’t take advertisers for the site, but normally, Stitchin’ Fingers offers dedicated ad space to businesses that are needlework or textile-related.
You can read about advertising on Stitchin’ Fingers here, if you have an interest in an ad space. It’s an extremely affordable option for advertising online, if you have a small needlework or textile-related business.
There are four spaces normally available, but two of those are already taken for 2015, so if you have a business and you want a spot, jump on it today. Feel free to contact me for further information.
Embroiderers Guild of America CyberStitchers
If you’re a Member-At-Large in the Embroiderers Guild of America and you don’t have a chapter to attend, but you’d like the social and informational advantage of being in a chapter, you might check out CyberStitchers, which is an online EGA chapter. They operate meetings via Yahoo Groups, and it looks like they have an outreach program that keeps them pretty busy!
CyberStitchers has about 250 members, from all over the globe. You do have to be a member of the EGA first (you can be a Member at Large or a regular chapter member), and you also have to pay dues to belong to the cyber chapter.
Embroiderers’ Association of Canada Virtual Threads Group
The Embroiderers’ Association of Canada also has an online “chapter” or group – an active, vivacious one, with all kinds of educational and fun opportunities, including online classes, stitch-alongs, special projects, workshops, and even a monthly “retreat day” online.
The EAC group is called Virtual Threads, and it, too, is operates as a Yahoo Group.
EAC Virtual Threads is open to anyone around the globe, and it has a membership of 140+ people (I happen to be one of them, but I’m just a lurker so far…I’m just so shy, you know!).
You have to be a member of the EAC to participate, but they offer a trial membership at Virtual Threads, if you want to take a look at the group first and see what it’s all about before joining officially.
For the latter two groups – CyberStitchers and Virtual Threads – it does help if you’re familiar with Yahoo Groups when you join. If you’re not and you end up feeling lost, just reach out to someone to help you! That’s what these types of groups are all about – mutual support. I always find Yahoo Groups confusing at first (and sometimes, they remain perpetually confusing), but if you reach out to someone, they’ll help you get acquainted with the group and how it works.
So, there you have three options to help banish feelings of isolation from the rest of the stitching world! The first is a free social network; CyberStitchers and Virtual Threads require member dues, but they are attached to larger organizations that have multiple benefits for members.
All three are worth checking out, if you want to de-isolate yourself!
And now, I’m going into isolation for the weekend, to finish up some projects. I hope you can spend some time this weekend with your needle and thread – whether isolated or not!
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