An heirloom stitching generations together

Tauranga Embroiderers’ Guild member Cathleen Meichtry works on her embroidery, originally started by her grandmother. Photo/John Borren.

A family heirloom is a treasured item that can be passed down through generations.

Tauranga Embroiderers’ Guild member Cathleen Meichtry is blessed enough to not have only received a family heirloom from her grandmother, but one that she can make a mark on herself.

An embroidery project by Cathleen’s grandmother from a 1936 pattern of a wreath of sweat peas on a 2m2 piece of cloth began many years ago.

Cathleen’s mother then took the project on before passing it down to her daughter, who is currently working on the piece at the Tauranga Embroiderers Guild.

“My Grandma worked on it, my mum worked on it and soon I’m going to give it to my niece for her to complete some as well,” says Cathleen.

“It will be four generations who would have worked on this embroidery.”

Cathleen, who first learnt to embroider as a young girl, says the women in her life were the ones to get her into the craft.

“Both my mum and grandma were very handy; mum had a profession in soft furnishings where she made curtains and cushions and the like, and my grandma took sewing lessons and was a tailoress.”

Still using the original threads from when her grandma started, Cathleen confirms that this certainly is a vintage piece.

“It’s a wonderful heirloom actually, and it is special to be able to put your own time into creating what already is a treasure.”

Stories such as Cathleen’s are abundant at the Tauranga Embroiderers’ Guild.

Cathleen, who has been a part of the guild on and off since the early-1990s, says it’s a lovely way to focus on her stitching and spend a little time away from the rest of life.

“I love sitting with the ladies; they’re so lovely and they have a lot of skills to share and a lot of stories to tell.”

Tauranga Embroiderers’ Guild president Pat Macdonald says the guild is a welcoming group and a nice place to belong to.  “We enjoy stitching just as much as enjoying each other’s company.

“We do a great variety of needlework and cater for any age, and we’d love to have some younger people join. If you ask for help, you’ll get six people offering,” says Pat.

“So many do come and join who haven’t done any stitching and find the joy in learning and making things – it’s very satisfying hobby to have.”

The Guild, which is celebrating their 40th anniversary this year, meet every Wednesday at the Elizabeth Park Rowing Club from 10am-2.30pm or 7pm-9.30pm.

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