Let’s face it, finding a “tribe” to stitch with makes it more fun! But a lot of us are isolated, remote, and how do we find our people?
Recently a stitcher contacted me asking if I knew of any groups in her area, and I sent her a lot of information. Then it occurred to me that it might be useful to others as well, hence this blog post!
First of all, there are national organizations for stitchers! I’m a member of two, and I’m sure there are others. Embroiderer’s Guild of America and American Needlepoint Guild are national organizations with local chapters, even strictly online chapters! In addition you can be a member-at-large of both organizations, and have access to their websites, projects, online projects, projects in their magazines, and other opportunities.
Both organizations have websites where you can find a chapter near you:
Embroiderer’s Guild of America
On the websites you’ll be able to find a chapter near you, how to join the online chapters (both very active, all meetings and programs available online), access resources for members, etc.
In addition to being a member of the online chapters, I’m also a member of several local chapters even though they aren’t local to me. You can join chapters to have access to their projects/programs/workshops, participate in their Zoom meetings when they have them. Distance members are welcomed in most chapters. My own chapter, OK ANG, has two physical meetings a year, but the rest of the year we have Zoom meetings. It’s a good thing because I live about 2 hours one way from my “local” chapter! We would welcome distance members who want to join us! I know of a couple of other chapters, both extremely active, San Bernardino ANG and Fox Chapter (in the Chicago area), with loads of programs and workshops. I’m sure there are others, these are just two of the chapters where I’m also a member (plus at least 2 others, could be more – who keeps track?)
The point is, even though I can’t sit beside people and stitch, I can still interact with other stitchers even though I haven’t found anyone to stitch with where I live.
If you’re interested in taking classes, I suggest subscribing to shop newsletters as well. Many shops offer classes, online stitching sessions, and other ways to connect with stitchers. Most are pretty good about getting the info out in their newsletters, along with “stash enhancing” opportunities! And many shops allow “ghost” stitchers (same with the local chapters) to participate when they have a class. A ghost receives all the class materials, just isn’t physically present.
Shining Needle Society offers loads of on-line classes every year, and I teach 2 or 3 times a year that way. Usually in my classes we have a weekly Zoom component, that allows us to interact with other stitchers from every where, and we have quite a community! Other teachers do things a bit differently, but most allow connections with other stitchers in various ways.
And, many designers/teachers, me included, offer classes on our website. I set mine up to include weekly Zoom sessions, so we can get to know other stitchers and enjoy some camaraderie together.
All this is just to point isolated stitchers to resources where they can connect with other people who love what we do. I’m an isolated stitcher as well, and cherish the times I spend with other stitchers in person when it works out, and online when it doesn’t.
Be sure to let me know if you think of other opportunities to find your people!