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A Stitch In Time

January 29, 2012
by KIM LOCCISANO - Staff Writer ( , Times Leader

Local stitchers, newcomers and veterans alike, are invited to participate in a public stitch-in event being hosted at the Martins Ferry Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 11a.m. until 4 p.m., when members of the National Trail Stitchers chapter of the Embroiderer's Guild of America will be on hand to share a little of their individual passion for these timeless creative skills.

Finished pieces will be displayed, and numerous works in progress will be there as well in order to allow the public to get a first-hand look at a variety of expertise levels and projects that comprise many of the wide variety of stitching techniques employed by artisans worldwide.

The local chapter pulls its members from throughout the local region, currently including five Ohioans in its membership roster: Molly Ruminski of St. Clairsville, Marty Hildebrand also of St. Clairsville, Katherine Haselberger of Woodsfield, Jenneth Shriver of Beallsville, and Lori Abraham of Rayland.

Article Photos

A public stitch-in event will be held at the Martins Ferry Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. Molly Ruminski of St. Clairsville, a member of the National Trail Stitchers chapter of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America, models a huck
weaving shawl. The handstitched quilt hanging over the second floor railing of the library was made by Glen Dale resident Christina Harris. Chances to win the quilt will be sold at $5 each. Those interested in purchasing raffle tickets for the
drawing in June should contact Harris at 304-845-0974.

These stitchers are expecting to participate in the stitch-in on Feb. 4 at the Martins Ferry Public Library.

They bring an array of skills and areas of interest to the event, as members of the local chapter share a common interest in expanding their respective knowledge of stitching and needlearts, while maintaining individual interests in techniques and media choices, explained Molly Ruminski, a longtime member of the National Trail Stitchers.

"We want to invite the public to plan to spend a little time at the Martins Ferry Public Library on Saturday, Feb. 4 if they are at all interested in getting a little better acquainted with the limitless variety of stitching arts and techniques available through our local stitching organization, the libraries and the national organization as well," shared Ruminski.

"The National Embroiderer's Guild of America encourages its local chapters to hold what they call stitch-in events in our local communities to help acquaint the general public with information about our efforts, and also to let them know they are welcome to join us," said Ruminski. "Membership in our organization is open to the public, with anyone considering joining us being permitted to attend two meetings before needing to register their membership. Annual cost of membership per person is $48.

"Membership in the National Trail Stitchers brings with it opportunities to attend and participate in workshops, seminars, and other learning opportunities throughout the year," said Ruminski.

Members of the organization gather monthly from September through May each year, meeting on the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church at 1414 Chapline Street in Wheeling.

"As we are going about our public stitch-in at the library in Martins Ferry, numerous other chapters across the country will be holding similar events in the hope of drawing attention and support for these stitching arts traditions - many of them being centuries old," offered Ruminski. "Anyone interested in needlepoint, embroidery or any type of needlework is welcome to attend."

Previous stitch-in events have been organized by the local organization and held in such locations as the Howard Long Wellness Center and the gazebo and central hub of the St. Clairsville and National Road Bikeway.

Yvonne Myers, director of the Martins Ferry Public Library, said she is only too pleased to have the opportunity to showcase the works of these skilled artisans from across the area.

"We are delighted to be able to host this unique event at our library. It is the kind of thing we enjoy doing for the residents of the communities we are here to serve. This event adds to the variety of ventures from non-profit and community service organizations and projects which we have welcomed into the various branches of our library," offered Myers.

Organizations and special project organizers are invited to contact their local library branch to request access for just this kind of event, or something similar, that they are wanting to bring about, said Myers. The library system's main facility is located in Martins Ferry.

Though the event does not happen until Feb. 4, a handstitched quilt made by Glen Dale resident Christina Harris is currently being displayed in the center of the library's second floor area, as it hangs just over the railing from the upper section of stacks. Chances will be sold at $5 each, with the drawing for the quilt winner being held at the organization's meeting in May at Sandscrest. Those interested in purchasing raffle tickets for the drawing in June should contact Harris at 304-845-0974.

The full-sized quilt Harris created is being donated to the raffle as a fund-raising tool with proceeds to benefit maintenance and restoration funding efforts at Sandscrest, where the local chapter holds an annual luncheon in June.

"Anyone who wants to bring their stitching project to the event is welcome to sit down and join us," offered Ruminski. "But the same invitation is there for anyone who is even just a little bit curious about how these things are made but who had absolutely no experience with stitching or similar arts. We always enjoy the opportunity to show the public what we love about this art form. It has something to offer to so many, and the creative possibilities available through stitching projects are virtually limitless, while including something rewarding for anyone willing to pick up a needle and thread and give it a try."

While stitching activities are readily available and interesting to adults, do they hold any appeal to youngsters accompanying adults to such events?

"Not long ago we held a stitch-in at a local wellness center, and at the end of the day there were several youngsters who made it clear they did not want it to end. They were really enjoying watching what we were each working on. Though we had nothing specific to offer youngsters in the way of stitching experiences, they had a great time just watching the colors, patterns and the pictures that would emerge as we stitched. It was a day of fun for everyone, as we hope it will be when we hold the upcoming stitch-in at the Martins Ferry Public Library."



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