Saturday, August 15, 2009

Follow-up to PSA

If you have issues with the people in an EGA Chapter:

Start a dialogue. Begin with the President. Or is that person the problem? Maybe other people feel the same way. Maybe you just feel ignored or left out of the "cool" gang. Start your own "cool" gang. If you're like me and are an introvert, this may not be easy. But it could be worth it step out your comfort zone.

I've been vocal within my own Chapter about what worked for me when I joined - why I continued to come and didn't become one of those drop-outs. Other people have joined this conversation with their own version of what worked for them to keep them coming.

I've heard around the water cooler that my Chapter has/had a reputation as snobs. That's not how I found things to be at all and have done my best to counteract those opinions with my own experience.

A good chapter will contact you if you drop your membership to find out why you did. Maybe it's a change in your life and not something that occurred within the Chapter. But they should want to know if there's something that needs fixing.

If a real-life Chapter just isn't going to work, join as a Member-at-Large. Attend Regional Seminars or Smart Days. Or join the Cyberstitchers. They are a pretty happy group from what I hear.

This isn't just because of Anna's comments. I've had this conversation with others, recently and in the past.

But now to address her comments about the magazine, Needlearts. I agree this magazine needs work. But it has been improving. The news about the various people and groups now is in a separate publication delivered online to most of us and on paper for a few. That leaves the magazine to focus on projects, history, techniques, etc. A good move in my opinion.

Lastly, a question.

How old when you when you started stitching? I think a majority of us tell of some experience in our youth that made us familiar with it when we were older. Do we do a terrible job in the needlework industry attracting teens and twenty-somethings? Yup. But I don't think there's a magical answer for that.


Anna van Schurman said...

I started doing crewel and surface embroidery when I was a kid (under 10). But taught myself cross-stitch when I was in my early 20s.

Lisa said...

I started embroidery when I was about 10 - taught by my grandmother. I remember designing the pattern - a rainbow with a pot of gold at the end - and buying the floss at Ben Franklins. Later I taught myself how to cross stitch (about 12yrs) and it became a hobby when I went to college.
To attract a younger generation, I think there probably needs to be more patterns that "talk to the teenage Lizzie Kate (simple, quick to stitch, bright colors and trendy). That is a start, next just need to get it infront of them - like teen stitching groups or something.

Jill said...

I'm not sure how old I was. As long as I can remember. My doll dresses were embroidered with the doll's name and flowers. My mom sewed and did needlework, quilted, my grandmothers and all my aunts also are needleworkers.

LIZ said...

As a child I did some surface embroidery and cross stitch, then I learned to knit and sew. I tried a few other things. Then when I was about 30 I tried needlepoint and was hooked! Never looked back and have been a total needlepoint addict ever since!

Sara Leigh said...

I did a printed cross-stitch sampler as a child, tried the needlepoint for which all you did was the background and not the design (hated it), and did some embroidery in high school. Then I did nothing at all until I was in my 40s, after Jane, my daughter, went to the Nelly's Needlers summer camps and was interested briefly. Finishing up one of her projects got me started again.

Getting young people of any age interested is difficult. They have so many extracurricular activities already, and as they get older they're more interested in hanging out with their friends. If someone in the family starts them on needlework when they're young, they may return to it later on in their 20s or 30s. It's a dilemma.

The Subversive Cross-Stitch book appeals to a certain group of late teens and 20-somethings (and me). Likewise, there's a series of retro, funky transfers for embroidery (can't, of course, think of the name) that also appeals to that age group.

I tried a number of things at the shop, but it's hard to know how to get to them. Maybe something like Facebook is a way, or similar social networking sites. I was stymied.

Anna W. said...

My sister and I learned how to sew a (little bit of handsewing)as children. We would make doll clothes, stuffed animals etc. My sister grew out of it, I explored more and did my first little tiny piece when I was about 19, .self taught
I really started cross stitching when I moved to Germany as a new wife, army wife and mother.I dabbled in needlepoint, silk ribbon embroidery but cross stitch remains my passion some 20some years later...
Definitely more patterns geared towards the younger generations is one way. Finding younger celebrities (if there are any) could be helpful.

lewmew said...

Great question and conversation! I started when I was young, probably 10 or so, mostly self taught but I think I did learn basics in Girl Scouts and from my mother. I've done it on and off all my life - often long periods off, but seriously back into it for about 10 years now.

I tried to teach my GS troop when I had one. Was succesful with a very few of them. Kids these days aren't exposed to much sewing of any kind and get frustrated with it easily. Artsy kids are more likely to take to it than athletically inclined ones - and there is a lot of pressure to be more sports oriented these days.

Sara - I think the othr company you were looking for was Sublime Stitching.

How to reach young people? Fun, quick INEXPENSIVE small stuff. At Wal-Mart, Target (*THAT* would probably get attention), maybe some boutique-y places. (Urban Threads or Pimp Stitch should look into this.) It should include EVERYTHING - needle, fiber, hoop, instructions. Those crewel kits from the 70s were perfect examples (sans hoop).

BTW - I don't think Lizzie Kate talks to the younger crowd that much - too soccer mom and predictable. While I know a lot of people like her stuff, I think it's boring and predictable.

Sorry so long - but it's an interesting topic!