The Thread Begins

Welcome to the duClay Chapter of The Embroiderers Guild of America blog.  Our Chapter is part of the Sun Region and we're located in Orange Park, Florida.  Thank you for your visit!

Our Chapter meets at the Orange Park Library in Orange Park on Plainfield Ave on the first Saturday of each month from 1-5pm to stitch.  Our monthly business meeting is held at the same location on the 1st Saturday of each month at 12 noon.   Our Chapter also hosts and participates in many other activities.  We would love to have you join us!

For more information on our Chapter, please email duclayega@gmail.com.  Again, we appreciate your visit!


Taste of Crewel with Linda Dean

On February 5th, duClay was pleased to have Linda Dean facilitate a "Taste of" workshop on Crewel.  Linda is an EGA Master Craftsman in Crewel and we were so fortunate to have her teach a workshop for us!  She is also the organizing President of the Canapy Oaks Chapter in Tallahassee.
 Linda started off my answering the question "What is crewel"? It's not a time period or embroidery but a thread. It's traced back to Exodus in the bible. Crewel thread is a loosely twisted double ply thread. Crewel was popular in 17th century England as crewel threads were beginning to be mass produced then.  She also gave an overview of the differences in crewelwork from the 17th(highly stylized) and 18th century(more realistic).  Very interesting lecture!
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Linda taught the group the basics of crewel with this eyeglass case project above.  Loads of fun!

Linda also graciously brought some of her crewel projects that she designed and worked on for her Master Craftsman Certification.  Stunning work!
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This is one of Linda's WIPs that she brought to share with us.  This is based on the first scene of the Bayou Tapestry which is from about 1050.  It's not sure who stitched the original tapestry but it was preserved in the basement of the Bayou Cathedral.  It tells the story of the Normand Invasion when France went to England and took over the throne.  
Thank you Linda for your generosity and wonderful presentation/lecture!



Melody has been working on the kits today for our spring class with Janeann Sleeman!  We will be stitching this cute blue bunny from Melissa Prince Designs and of course Janeann has developed a custom stitch guide.    Lunch will be catered by Brenda!  Stay up to date at what the duClay Chapter is offering our members by visiting the Programs and Workshops tab right here on our blog!


Annual Christmas Luncheon

In December, we hosted our Annual Christmas Luncheon which is always one of the favorite member gatherings of the year.  This year we had a member come down from Atlanta to attend!  We met at a local tea shop for tea and then retired to the library for the balance of the festivities.
It's always so much fun to see what our members have stitched for our annual exchange.  It does not have to be an ornament.
We also have the annual drawing for our WIP Challenge Winner!  This year is was Carol who was the lucky winner!  This is Carole with her exchange gift.  

We passed the pieces around so everyone could look closely.
The exchange gifts!
We also had a HUGE show and tell of the projects our members worked on during 2016.  Too many to post so you can view them here in our Flickr album or on our Facebook page.

Taste of Victorian Cross Stitch

In October, Suzy and Melody presented a Taste Of workshop on Victorian Cross Stitch.  These Taste of Workshops are instructional workshops with a small project for little cost.  It gives our members a taste of a new technique, etc without having to make a large investment.  In terms of techniques learned, it gives the member a small project to master the skill before going on to a larger project.

This months workshop was inspired by an article in Early American Life shown below.   This time, though, the workshop included an absolutely delightful skit presented by Suzy and Melody where Suzy portrayed Martha Washington and Melody was her handmaiden Mellie.  The scene was set in the time period of March 1774, between the time of the Boston Tea Party and the First Continental Congress, at Mount Vernon.  
Martha and Mellie were dressed in period appropriate attire which even included ladies pockets.  There were historical events mentioned during the skit and an emphasis was placed on the cushion design and colors that are believed to be actually designed by Martha Washington and are found on chairs found at Mount Vernon.  Following the skit there was a discussion with the group and further information was presented that tied the Washingtons to the Ball family here in Jacksonville and to the Wakulla Lodge in Crawfordville, Florida.
Suzy made the basket next to "Mellie".  Amazing workmanship!
Cushion with chair on display at Mount Vernon.  Photo courtesy of Early American Life publication.
The program included a replica pattern of the shell found in the cushion above.  The kit had all necessary items needed to complete to include the beautiful Appleton Crewel wool in colors that recreate the colors Martha Washington used!
Our project!
 Some background and info connecting the Washingtons to Jacksonville:
Martha Dandridge (later Washington) was first married to Daniel Custis who died after seven years of marriage. They had four children. Two died before the age of five. One died at seventeen and the oldest served under George Washington and died at the age of twenty two. Since her husband had no will, Martha was the executor of his estate and was in charge of managing the plantation where they lived, called White House. It was rare for a woman in that time period to be in control of such affairs and to own property.  Evidently she did a great job and was well respected by merchants in London. She and George courted for about a year and were then married.  Research indicated that she was happy in both her marriages. Apparently she and George fell in "love at first sight "! She remained involved in managing household affairs and became quite accomplished at fine needlework and knitting.  She also loved being involved in daily meal planning and developing recipes. During the Revolution, Martha joined George at many encampments for months at a time. She was a strong support for him as well as for the soldiers when morale was low. Martha and George had no children of their own, but were very involved with raising grandchildren and provided financial support in the Dandridge, Custis, and Washington families. 

Evidently, Martha's reputation through the years even influenced a hotel here in Jacksonville! The Martha Washington Hotel opened in 1938. It was originally a mansion in Riverside constructed in 1911, located at 1636 King Street, about two blocks in front of St. Vincent's Hospital. It was built for lumberman Bryan W. Blount. When the hotel opened, it was unusual because it was for women only. It is believed the name of Martha Washington is in part because of Martha and part because of the Hotel George Washington in downtown Jacksonville. The female-only concept didn't last long. During WW II the hotel housed various borders including the families of servicemen. The hotel closed in 1977, was to be demolished, but was fortunately saved by the Riverside Avondale Preservation (RAP) society. 
Apparently Mary Ball Washington was a relative of Jessie Ball DuPont which has a strong connection to Jacksonville.
Jessie Dew Ball was born in 1884 at Cressfield on Ball’s Creek, Northumberland County, Virginia. Her family was one of Virginia’s finest: George Washington’s mother, Mary, was a relative. Educated in county schools and with one year at Farmville State College, she began to teach as soon as she graduated. She received a Life Certificate to teach any grade in Virginia, a certificate which was later accepted by the state of California when she moved there with her family at the age of twenty-four. 
More interesting history connected to Jacksonville regarding Epping Forest:

Epping Forest (also known as the Alfred I. duPont Estate) was a historic, 58-acre estate in Jacksonville where a luxurious riverfront mansion was built in the mid-1920s by industrialist Alfred duPont and his third wife, Jessie Ball duPont. It was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and has been restored to its original grandeur as the home of the Epping Forest Yacht Club. 

Local architects Marsh & Saxelbye designed the 15,000-square-foot 25-room Epping Forest Mansion, but Harold Saxelbye contributed the most influence. It is primarily Mediterranean Revival, combining influences from GothicSpanish Renaissance and Baroque architectural. Jessie selected the furnishings; Alfred designed the formal English gardens and lion's head fountain. The estate was named in honor of Mary Ball WashingtonGeorge Washington's mother and Jessie's ancestor, whose Virginia plantation bore the same name. The duPonts estate hosted U.S. presidents, powerful men (Vanderbilt, Carnegie, etc.) and kings.
After Jessie Ball duPont died in 1970, Edward Ball, who was Jessie's brother, sold the property to his close friend and local businessman Raymond K. Mason, CEO of the Charter Company, who used the property as his family residence until 1984.

http://maryballwash.umwblogs.org/her-early-life/ and wikipedia as sources.


Kathy Rees Ornament Class

In November, our Chapter had the pleasure of hosting Kathy Rees of Needle Delights Originals.  This is Kathy's second visit to our Chapter and we consider her a good friend.  This time, she we were all stitching one of her ornaments.
Kathy brought a variety of thread and metallic threads for us to choose from. The photo below is what was left over after everyone had made their selections.  Lots of variety!
This is Kathy's sample of what we were stitching.
Here is a larger grouping of some of her ornaments.  They're a great project for learning a new stitch and how to compensate that stitch.  Plus they stitch up so fast it's almost instant gratification!
Our members got right to work.  Of course, there was plenty of socializing going on too!
Some of our members progress!
This may be the project for a future class with Kathy in 2017.
Of course, Kathy brought a trunk show with her and there was a fair bit of shopping going on!  
Kathy thank you so much for your generosity and friendship to our Chapter.  We appreciate you and of course, love your projects!



Sizzlin' Summer Retreat

Two weeks ago, duClay hosted it's first ever retreat.  We celebrated the sizzlin' days of summer because July in Florida is always sizzlin. We set up at the Inn on the Lakes which is nestled between two lakes (Lake Jackson and Little Lake Jackson) in Sebring.  
The views were tropical and lush even though outside temps were around 100 degrees during the day.
The Inn has a world class restaurant located on property, Chicanes, that was available for all three meals.  In other words, members could check into the hotel and never leave until the retreat was over if that is what they chose!  The food was absolutely delicious and beautifully presented.
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The weekend activities included a Pirates Booty game that was only possible due the following sponsors.   We cannot thank these businesses enough for their generosity.  Please do show our appreciation by shopping with them for your needlework needs.

Victorian Motto Sampler - best known for affordable hand dyed finishing supplies & hand-dyed floss
Avery Claire Needleworks - finishing service
Needlecraft Corner - full service shop
The Black Sheep - full service needlepoint and yarn shop
The Silver Needle- full service shop
The Attic Needlework- full service shop
Traditional Stitches - full service shop
The Inspired Needle - full service shop

Since our sponsors were so generous, we played Pirates Booty instead of drawing for door prizes.  Pirates Booty is similar to the game often played at Christmas parties where everyone is given a number, selects a gift (in this case a treasure) or steals a treasure that someone else has already opened.  After 3 steals, the treasure was retired and no longer up for grabs.  Which is a good thing since there was a LOT of stealing going on!
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We also had a mid-year drawing for a gift card to Inspired Needle for the WIP Challenge.  Anyone who had finished a project this year that was on their Challenge list were entered.   Theresa R was the lucky winner!
This less than stellar photo shows the beautiful sunsets we were treated to from our stitching room.
Another activity was a beaded scissor fob taught by our very own Melody.
And of course, every duClay get together includes an amazing array of projects for show and tell!
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Some activities need to be documented but not discussed - what happens at retreat stays at retreat!
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A huge thank you to Melody for planning and executing the retreat!  Everyone had a great time and are looking forward to more to come.