Tuesday, June 7, 2016

EAC Seminar 2016 - Inspiring Threads

EAC holds a seminar every year and it's hosted by a guild somewhere in Canada. It is a great way of seeing a different part of the country every year :). This year, it was held in Toronto and organized by five different guilds: Embroiderers' Guild of Peterborough, Quinte Needlearts Guild, Simcoe County Embroidery Guild, Tulip Tree Needlearts, and York Chatelaines.

The organizers usually rent space at a college or university, this year it was Humber College's north campus. The advantage of holding a seminar in an educational institution: classrooms and dorms. And let's not forget cafeterias and coffee shops.

Humber College had two bedroom suites with private bathroom that we could rent at a very affordable price. The suite had a kitchenette and private bathroom, and each bedroom came with a closet, bed and desk. As well as a door in case you wanted to shut out your roommate :p

I lucked out, my roommate Fran was great. We not only both signed up for the same class, we also had the same sleep schedule: we both like to wake up early and eat breakfast so we'd have plenty of time to get to class, and we both go to sleep at about the same time. I think she was worried at the beginning (for some reason they were all worried I would play loud music, because all young people do that :P), but was quickly set at ease. In fact we're planning on rooming together for the next Seminar :)

Our classes were held in the main building where they had this huge living wall. It was gorgeous and our classes were to the right of it, and there were plenty of chairs near it to sit and rest.

Fran and I decided to come in on Monday the day before registration so we can relax. On Tuesday, all participants registered and received their Seminar bag. It was filled with the information pamphlet as well as different threads (great for trying out new brands) and seminar pins.

Classes didn't start till Wednesday, but they had a lecture by Barbara Kershaw on how to use the Easy Grapher program. While that was happening, I was helping Patricia from l'Atelier de Penelope set up her booth at the boutique hall. Despite missing the lecture, I learned a lot from being around Patricia. She has so many different stitching products that I'd never seen (and some super cute products), and she also had products I'd only seen online never mind in person. So if you're ever in Quebec city, her shop is a must visit :) If it's too far for you, she has a video (in french) showing her shop.

Bright and early on Wednesday, we showed up for our class. We picked up the rest of our kits and even received a favor from Seminar. It's a little ORT basket (still don't know what they're called), very similar to the one I bought from Gingerbread Girl. A very smart idea on the organizers part: it's cute and it keeps the space clean :)

For our first class, we started stitching four sided stitches. I've already stitched this technique before, but Barbara does it with a little twist. She actually stitches it from the back of the work! This is actually how the Italian embroiders do it. I'll try to find a link to instructions, but I haven't found any online yet and I promised Barbara I wouldn't use her class to "teach" on my blog. So unless someone has a tutorial online, you'll just have to take a class with her ;)

Afterwards we practiced stitching the hemstitch border. Since I've decided I want to finish mine into a table clothe instead of a pillow, I did this one on the doodle clothe that was provided in the class kit.

Later on that night we had meeting with all the member of Virtual Threads that were attending seminar. We had a nice big group and it was great to meet everyone in person. We also had a silent auction and although I kept telling myself I wouldn't spend money, I caved. But for a good cause! The money will go towards a charity for the Ft McMurray Fire.

Inspirations Magazine issue #55 and 66
Teresa Wentzler kit and beaded Tassel kit 
More stitching on Thursday, starting off with bullions. Not my favorite stitch, so I will admit I halfheartedly stitch two and was ready to move on :P

The fun part is when we started working on one of the smaller squares to embroidery the filling stitch which are these cute little fans.

The rest of class I used to start working on the cutting for the bigger square. I spoke with Barbara and on her timetable, the class would be working on the filling for the large square on Sunday which I would miss. So it was decided I should start working on the cutting (which takes a HUGE amount of time) so that on Saturday I can start learning the filling stitch.

That night Seminar hosted a Merchant night which was open to the public. I was very excited for this part and had set aside money specifically for it. Unfortunately, it was kind of a let down for me. For an embroidery seminar, there wasn't a lot of choices :( Barbara hadn't had the chance to set up a booth (I really wanted to get patterns from her) and not all the teachers actually had booths either. Kathryn Drummond and designers who usually participate at the Creative Festival were the only ones that had kits and designs ready to sell. Some Toronto merchants that I've seen at the Creative Festival were there, but I wasn't really interested in them. So in the end I came out under budget (very proud of myself =D).

I ended up with two beaded butterfly kits from Brenda Franklin Designs.

I had already spoken to Kathryn Drummond about getting the full kit for the class she taught at last year's seminar. It's called Hearts and Flowers and I decided to change up my usual color choice and get the blue kit. I also ordered the third punto antico book by Bruna Gubbini, but after seeing what was being offered at merchant hall I decided to get the fourth book as well (Louise had fun looking through these while I was on vacation).

I also bought some stash from l'Atelier de Penelope. I got a copy of Nordic Needle's Award Winning Designs 2013. This was the pamphlet where Mamen Carpacar made her debut outside her website and it's been on my wishlist. I also got these cute fabric counters that will look nice with the pattern I bought from Kathryn Drummond once it's been stitched.

Friday we had the day off and Louise and I decided to go into the city to visit some museums. We went around the AGO and the Textile Museum of Canada. We had loads of fun together :)

It might be of interest to stitchers, the textile museum actually has a library that you can go visit and consult their books :) When we went to visit them, there were preparing for a sidewalk sale and I was able to buy an anchor book on crewel embroidery for 2$. In the end we came back to our rooms tired but very satisfied and I was ready to start packing.

Saturday we showed up for class to find another cute favor from Seminar. Two cute little fabric counters. I decided on the irregular shaped stones, they actually offer a more natural grip.

They showed up right on time as we spent the entire day working on the center square withdrawing threads. Since the class was doing so well, Barbara decided to start on the center square a day early. This part takes a long time. We weren't just withdrawing threads and tacking them aside, we also had to weave in some of threads to keep all the fabric thread level. 

And for the first time ever, I made a counting mistake when cutting fabric thread. Which is okay, because now I've had the experience of fixing it. This mistake meant losing two hours, so I wasn't able to start on the weaving at the end of the day. But my square is all ready to go.

All in all I had loads of fun at Seminar. I met so many interesting people and I hope I get the chance to meet them again in Newfoundland, which I guarantee I will be going to. I've even already picked out the classes I will be taking. Now I just have to make sure I get in :P

A picture of the entire group, from left to right starting at the top: Pauline, Michelle, Clare, Louise, Fran, Me, Barbara and Aline

Barbara and I. She was an amazing teacher and I would love to take another class with her.


  1. It does sound like fun - and you must have learnt so much!

  2. That sounds absolutely wonderful and I'm so pleased you had such a great time. Excellent stash enhancement as well.

  3. Sounds like you had an amazing time Dima! I loved seeing all your snaps on IG, but lovely to have a full report. Your new stash looks inviting, especially those beaded butterflies. Having made a counting error myself that resulted in a couple of hours of reweaving I feel your pain, but you are right - now at least we know if it happens again it can be fixed!

  4. So glad you wrote about the seminar. The place sounds wonderful and the project looks beautiful. I would go to Newfoundland in a heartbeat if it were possible.

  5. What a fantastic trip. It really does sound like the perfect way to spend a few days, great company and lots of stitching too.
    You seem to have had some great teachers too.

  6. It looks like you had a wonderful time :)