The home of embroidery and stitched textiles in

Durham City

2020 Challenge

While our Branch meetings and events are on hold, we want to encourage you to keep stitching and sharing your work with other members.

At the bottom of this page there is a short list of links to other textile artists who are providing online ideas to inspire our stitchings and sketchbook development. If you have tried any of these resources do share your progress with us. We have included information about the textile artists that we had to cancel, some have etsy shops, please consider making a small purchase to help support our local artists during these difficult times.

The Branch Committee are setting small stitching challenges that will help us all keep in contact with each other. These are of course optional, you can pick and choose which ones you do, and when you start and finish them! See below for the details of some challenges we have thought up for you. If you have ideas of more to add, do let us know. We'll update this page with your photos every few days.

We also want to set a more personal special task. You've all heard of 'Secret Santa', we would like to introduce 'Secret Stitcher'. We thought it would be a nice idea to make a small gift (embroidery or stitching related) to give to someone else anonymously when we finally do get to meet up again. There are loads of ideas on the internet and in our magazines, but it might be a needle case, scissors keeper, embroidered pincushion, small book cover, a small bag, anything you choose but not something that would usually go in a travelling book. Sarah is co-ordinating the project and will let you know who you are stitching for. Please contact Sarah ( for further information.

2020 Stitching Challenge:

Our gallery below includes pieces of work that we have completed during this period of social-distancing and self-isolation.

If you have taken part in any of our challenges, please email Penny, our web page editor ( with a couple of high resolution photos of your work with a short description of what inspired you and the techniques you used. We won't publish your full name, just initials to ensure you are attributed to the work.

If your piece of work is the result of kit or a professional design or from a workshop/course please ensure you tell us the details to comply with current EG guidelines on copyright. For Example:

"the 'Owl & Pussycat' raised embroidery techniques, started at Durham Spring School 2019, from a kit designed and provided by the tutor Jenny Adin-Christie".

Challenge No 1: Finish a piece of work from your unfinished projects box.

Challenge No 2: Stitch an illuminated letter.

Challenge No 3: Stitch a small circular sampler to show 5 or more rows of different types of couching.

Challenge No 4: A mixed media card to send to a friend on the theme of Spring.

Challenge No 5: three choices to keep you going... stitch a small piece of work that incorporates a repeating pattern; or just three stitches; or is inspired by a memory.

Challenge No 6: A Bird. We missed our Celebration Day of Stitch this year, so our challenge to you is to use your imagination and creativity in any form of stitched textiles to create a bird that will fit a 15cm hoop or a 15cm square mount.

Challenge No 7: Anything goes! Surprise us with a little something you have been working on during the last few months. A selection of different works that members have been enjoying during the last few months.

Challenge No 8: Texture! What's your favoutite way of bringing texture into your stitched work? (you can have more than one!)

Challenge No 9: Colours of Autumn. Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness... (thank you Mr Keats for those lovely words). Lets celebrate the wonderful colours of autumn, be cheerful, and embrace nature's bounty.

Challenge No 10: A postcard to a friend. We're all very weary with the restrictions endured during the last few months, reach out to a friend with a stitched postcard, rebuild those connections. Share the image of your postcard with us.

Challenge No 11: St Cuthbert's Pectoral Cross. Tracy A Franklin's design for our anniversry gift. Enjoy working on the design in your own choice of stitches over the next few months. Mount as a 20cm square ready for our belated anniversary exhibition in 2021. Share the image of your finished work with us.

Challenge No 12: Something festive. We know this is going to be very difficult this year as travel and meeting restrictions persist, but we hope you can manage to find something to celebrate. Try to create something different with materials/media you don't usually use. Maximum size 25cm square, or a 3D piece no bigger than a 25cm cube. Share an image of your finished piece with us.  

All images on our gallery are reproduced with permission of the owner/maker and are copyright. We have tried to inlcude sources of named artists who insprire these works, if we have missed a citation, please let us know and help attribute work to artists correctly.

Please do not copy without permission.

Challenge No 4 - A card for Spring

Challenge No 5 - A repeating pattern

Challenge No 6 - A bird

Challenge No 7 - Anything goes!

Challenge No 8 - Texture

Challenge No 9 - Colours of Autumn

Challenge No 10 - Postcard to a friend

Challenge No 11 - St Cuthbert's Pectoral Cross

Challenge No 12 - Something festive


Reasons to be thankful: Anthea Godfrey, Artistic Director of the Embroiderers' Guild co-ordinated the project to celebrate the work of the NHS during the current virus epidemic.

Three pieces of work created by members, we hope they encouraged you to stitch something to submit from this project.

by Sarah McG
by Norma G
by Joanna C


Links of Resources for inspirational ideas: Each link will open in a new page, don't forget to close it when you have finished browsing. Please consider supporting our local artists by purchasing a card or something from their etsy / folksy shops.

Embroiderers' Guild UK Facebook page with ideas from other Branches and Regions.

Isobel (Izzy) Moore's Instagram page with loads of inspriation for machine stitching and her excellent online course 'Swirls of Colour'.

Jessica Kinnersley on Instagram, local textile artist. Check out her sketchbook prompts and other interesting things.

Kates Kloth on Facebook, Kate Slaughter, gorgeous work from one of our local textile artists with lovely cards and kits available.

Donna Cheshire Blog, Donna is based in Newcastle, and has a Folksy shop with beautiful little items for sale (

Deb Cooper's website, One of our very talented local textile artists with lovely cards and kits available.

Laura Edgar on Facebook, another of our local textile artists with cards and kits available.

Anne Brooke Textile Artist (from Harrogate), her YouTube channel with lots of inspirational videos, based on her sewing4the soul series. Lovely work for those who like applique with textures, fabrics and threads.

InStitches Creative Textiles, a blog from Hazel and Terry with activities and inspiration.

Susan Weeks' Stitchery Stories, podcast interviews with textiles artists (check the archive list for more interviews), load one up and relax with a cup of tea....

Trish Burr's blog, scroll down to find the online resource with 12 weeks of small free projects to make into a fabric embroidery journal...

Zara Day (Lemington Spa Emb Guild) on-line embroidery courses. Read the course information for details of all six courses on offer. Contact Zara directly for information on how to join the classes for November:

  1. Course 1 – Experimental Textures – Wednesday 4th November – 2.00pm
  2. Course 2 – Embellished Textiles – Tuesday 3rd November – 4.30pm
  3. Course 3 – Mending Matters – Tuesday 3rd November – 2.00pm
  4. Course 4 – Landscapes Redefined – Thursday 5th November - 4.30pm
  5. Course 5 - Letters from the Heart - Wednesday 4th November – 4.30pm
  6. Course 6 – Christmas Delight – Wednesday 4th November – 10.30am Facebook page with interesting articles and ideas from Joe & Sam.


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