Member Projects

International Tactile Book Competition 2017

The Three Billy Goats GruffCould your stitching bring a story to life for a blind child? Tactile books are ones in which all the illustrations are specially designed to be explored by touch. They ae a wonderful way for children with little or no sight to enjoy reading. Many of the best are handmade fabric books with stiffened pages and images created from different textured objects and materials. The words can be added in braille so that children who are blind can use a tactile book just as their sighted friends use a regular picture book.

The ClearVision library provides a postal lending library of books in print and braille to children across the UK and Ireland. We are very proud to have a collection of around 1000 tactile books, many of which were created by Embroiderers' Guild members. Every two years the Typhlo and Tactus International Tactile Book competition is held to encourage the design of these brilliant books which make such a difference to the lives of the children who use them. The 2017 competition will see experts from across Europe gather in Dijon to examine tactile books from all over the world and award a prize of 1000 euros to the best. The UK selection will be organised by the ClearVision Project in September with five shortlisted entries going on to international judging.

The image above shows a page from a UK shortlisted entry for the last competition: The Three Billy Goats Gruff.

Everyone is welcome to enter. The winning book will need to be very appealing to blind children under the age of 12. It should have lots of tactile interest and be robust enough to withstand enthusiastic exploration. All entries will be retuned to the owners after the competition unless they wish to donate them to the ClearVision Library.

Full competition information, entry form and a guide on making tactile books are available from the ClearVision website at Call 0208 789 or email

Send completed entries to: ClearVision, Linden Lodge School, 61 Princes Way, London SW19 6JB by 1st September 2017

The 70273 Project - Embroiderers' Guild Members are invited to take part in this huge quilting project

Project 70273Between January 1940 and August 1941, 70,273 physically and mentally disabled people - men, women, teens, boys and girls - were murdered by the Nazis. Though they never even laid eyes on the disabled person they were evaluating, the Nazi doctors read the medical files and, if from the words on the page, the person was deemed "unfit" or an "economic burden on society", the doctor placed a red X at the bottom of the form. Three doctors were to read each medical file and when two of them made a red X on the page the disabled person's fate was sealed. most were murdered within 1 - 2 hours.

Jeanne Hewell-Chambers wants to commemorate these 70,273 voiceless, powerless people by gething 70,723 blocks of white fabric (representing innocence and the paper the doctors used) each bearing two red Xs (representing one person) and stitch them together into quilts.

It is a huge project and several thousand blocks have already been made in 77 countries around the world.

The Project Co-ordinator for the UK is Lucy Horner who is gathering the blocks for the UK participants. The first UK venue for display of the quilts has already been lined up - Rochester Cathedral would like to display them as part of their Holocaust Commemorations.

It is an ambitious project but with so many contributors from around the world, the blocks are all gloriously different although the same and the visual power of seeing them all together is huge. You can read more about the project via this link which is the latest post in the blog:

Individual members and Branches of the Embroiderers' Guild are invited to take part by making individual blocks or by grouping together blocks and making a quilt.

Here are the instructions from Lucy for making a block:

What kind of fabric to use?

70273 blocksPretty much any kind of fabric is ok - 100% cotton, cotton/poly blend, wool, felt - all are ok to use as long as it is white. Please steer clear of upholstery fabric as it is harder to stitch and double knit which stretches badly.

Block Size

The blocks of white fabric can be any of the following sizes: 3.5" x 6.5", 6.5" x 9.5", or 9.5" x 12.5". When adding the Xs please allow a ¼" border all round to give Lucy room to stitch the blocks together. The red crosses can be stitched or appliqued fabric, ribbon or painted fabric. It's ok to let your knots show.

If you or your Branch (especially if your branch would like to make its own quilt of blocks) would like to take part please contact Lucy Horner by email or you can telephone her on 07946 5404709

We Sewed A Rainbow

File0063.jpgThe finished project would be a rainbow of colour showing as many techniques as members would like to stitch. The colours were based on the rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet – but, to allow a different colour to be allocated to each branch, gold, silver and shades of colours had to be added; the colours were allocated to Guild branches by drawing lots.

Instructions and a colour sample were despatched to every Branch. The challenge was for each branch member to create a 10 cm square using any embroidery technique; the rainbow-squares-multiples005.jpgbackground could be black, white, or the allocated colour, but the stitching had to be predominately the allocated colour. The squares were to be laced over a 10 cm card and labelled with the participant’s name and branch. Later, the rules were changed slightly. Members were encouraged to use their allocated colour as the background and given more freedom so that, felt, paper, patchwork, fabric manipulation, etc. could be used. The rainbow grew… and grew…

rainbow-squares-scanned013.jpgBranches tackled the project in different ways, with some branches providing fabric and threads for their members while others left the choice up to the members. Both systems worked very well.

Every year, each Guild Region holds a Regional Day, which brings together Members from all of the Branches within the Region. Members were able to see their work on display. The Rainbow Squares went on tour and were seen at many venues throughout the country. Although the project was finished some years ago the squares remain ever popular, a firm favourite at shows and exhibitions.



Postcard-1.jpgInspired by the London 2012 Olympics, members of the Embroiderers’ Guild have produced a spectacular tribute in stitch to the nations of the world by creating nearly 3000 embroidered postcard-sized images depicting the life and times of over two hundred countries recognised by the United Nations.

The project started in April 2010. As some of the sporting nations were rather unfamiliar, the fairest way of allocating the countries to the branches was by drawing Postcard-2.jpgthem at random. Working individually and in teams, members went on to create a series of hand or machine-stitched, postcard-sized images that featured the culture, environment and people of the country.

Each country is represented by a series of postcards opening out like a concertina book. From the national flag at the top there is a cascade of embroidered images of national costume, customs, currency, flora, fauna, food, and landmarks. The Kon Tiki postcard, for example is one of a strip of "Norway" and depicts Norwegian explorer and writer Thor Heyerdahl's balsa wood craft, Kon-Tiki, which sailed 4,300 miles across the Pacific in 101 days, which meant that hypothetically ancient people could have reached the Pacific Islands from South America.

Postcard-3.jpgThe skills and creativity of the Embroiderers’ Guild members shine through with the wide variety of materials and techniques used to develop their design ideas. Cards were stitched by members with various levels of stitching experience. Others were created by our Young Embroiderers.


A set of 3 DVDs is now available. All of the 3000+ postcards have been photographed and are presented by country in this unique tribute. Most of the Guild’s 195 branches took part and many have contributed a brief outline of how they approached this inspirational challenge. The money raised from the sales of the DVDs will be used to support the Guild in the achievement of its charitable aims.

Postcard-5.jpgThe DVD set costs just £14.95. The Guild Shop is not yet open so to order your copy please send a cheque made out to EG Enterprises Ltd for £15.95 (including £1.00 post and packing) to Nations of the World Postcards, Embroiderers’ Guild House, 1 Kings Road, Walton-on-Thames KT12 2RA. Thank you.


A feature on the postcards from Needle Arts, USA

athletes-of-the-world.jpgTo welcome the athletes from around the world to London, members of the Embroiderers’ Guild, United Kingdom, produced a spectacular tribute in stitch by creating nearly three thousand embroidered, postcard-sized images. The exhibition depicted the life and times of more than two hundred nations that participated in the summer Olympic Games in 2012. The works for Athletes of the World first went on display in 2012 in Southport, England, at Golden Horizons, the Embroiderers’ Guild Conference. From there, the exhibits travelled Scotland and England, including stops in Edinburgh, London, Plymouth, and Worcestershire.

The event attracted tourists from the United States, Canada, Australia, and Europe as well as the United Kingdom, through advertising in travel brochures. Visitors commented that the exhibit showed “fabulous craftsmanship,” and was “a visual feast” and “an inspired tribute to theOlympics, the athletes and the embroiderers involved.”

The project started in April 2010 when members of the Embroiderers’ Guild were invited to take part. Many of the sporting nations were unfamiliar, so the countries were allocated to the guild branches by drawing country names at random. Working individually and in teams, members created a series of hand- or machine-stitched, postcard-sized images that featured the culture, environment, and people of the country. Also working on the project were members who do not belong to a branch and members of the guild’s Young Embroiderers’ Group. Click here to read more of the article

With kind permission from Needle Arts Magazine© and Embroiderers’ Guild of America, Lois Threlkeld, Tennessee Valley Region Director.

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