Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Join us this month as we celebrate "Virginia is for Stitchers" and take you on a tour to the..

Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild

Gracing the "walls" of our on-line Gallery this month, is a select collection of needlework stitched by members of the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild. These include pieces designed as chapter projects as well as individual original works. Artistic styles range from representational to abstract, simple to complex, subtle to stark , serious to fanciful. Guild members meet on the second Monday of each month at The Hermitage in Alexandria, Va. These chapter gatherings usually consist of a short business meeting, followed by a program on canvas embroidery, which is frequently a hands-on workshop. Week after week, a similar scenario is replicated in 151 other ANG chapters all over the U.S. and Canada.The ANG is an educational, non-profit organization whose purpose is cultural and educational development through participation in and encouragement of interest in the art of needlepoint. The ANG had its genesis when a few enthusiasts of canvas embroidery were drawn together into a loosely knit group to share their passion for needlepoint by exchanging skills, techniques and design ideas. This initial core group has evolved since 1972 into an organization of over 9400 members nationally and internationally. Membership is open to all stitchers, amateur and professional, novice and experienced alike. The only requirement for participation is a love of needlepoint and a desire to learn more about this popular art.

Traditionally, needlepoint has been described as embroidery done on canvas, using wool to execute the tent stitch. However, todays needlepointer is much less restricted and has available a much broader range of stitches and techniques. The official ANG definition of needlepoint is "any counted or free stitchery worked by hand with a threaded needle on a readily countable woven ground". This more progressive and liberal interpretation of needlepoint is designed to foster creativity by encompassing both traditional and contemporary approaches. Toward this end, the ANG sponsors exhibits which serve as both showcases and sources of inspiration, by providing examples of how others have interpreted their ideas with needle and thread. The immense range of materials and techniques available to todays needleworker allows for maximum individual expression. Educational opportunities are offered through a series of correspondence courses, audio-visual programs, national seminars and teacher and judging certification programs. A national magazine "Needle Pointers", is the official publication of the Guild. It is issued six times a year and includes educational articles, projects with charted designs, book and video reviews, news of local chapters and national events. As a further educational service, the ANG researches possibilities for cooperative national projects in order to create significant forms of needlepoint to be displayed in places of worship, public buildings and historical landmarks of the U.S. By funding and sponsoring such projects, the ANG endeavors to provide a legacy for future generations. Past national projects have included the "State Flower and Bird Rug", located in the library of the Chicago Botanical Gardens, the "United Nations Peace Rug", in the archives of the UN building in New York and the "Agnese Map" which depicts the world as seen by Christopher Columbus to be placed in a US Embassy through the Art in Embassies Program.

On a more carefree and festive note is the "White House Christmas Stocking" Project: the theme of "'Twas the night before Christmas" was carried out in the 101 Stockings stitched by ANG members and hung on the 1995 Christmas Tree in the Blue Room of the White House. The theme for the 1996 stockings was "The Nutcracker". These 152 stockings, together with the 101 from 1995 were incorporated into the 1997 Christmas decor and will eventually become part of the Clinton Administration Memorabilia. Another project worth special mention is the "Princess Grace Altar Cloth", located in Monaco in the Grimaldi family chapel at the palace. This cloth was presented to His Serene Highness Prince Rainier in 1985. It was created and stitched by ANG members as a memorial tribute to Princess Grace and represents the esteem which the Guild held for her, and commemorates the extended relationship the Princess shared with the Guild. The symbols and inscriptions worked into the cloth relate to Princess Grace's life and her abiding Christian Faith. To further honor her memory, a Princess Grace Award has been established. This award is bestowed at the annual exhibit and is presented to the entry judged to incorporate the best use of the tent stitch. The work must be executed exclusively in tent stitch, which was the Princesses favorite stitch, and all entries meeting this criteria are eligible.

A recent National project consisting of 4 chair seats was completed for Blair House, the official guest house of the President. One of these seats was stitched by members of the Northern Virginia Chapter and was displayed last year at the Woodlawn Plantation during their annual needlework exhibit. It is now a permanent part of the decor at Blair House. The high point of the year for the American Needlepoint Guild takes place in the fall and is the National Seminar and Exhibit. The site for this celebratory event changes from year to year.

Members eagerly gather from throughout the U.S. and Canada to partake in the challenging educational opportunities and enjoy the fellowship and camaraderie of fellow stitchers as they view the needlework displayed or browse in the well stocked shop and bookstore. Other events include the annual meeting, the Myrl Good lecture (so designated in recognition of the accomplishments of past ANG President, Myrl Good), two scrumptious banquets, nightly stitch-ins and custom tours tailored to stitchers' particular interests. ANG's 1998 National Seminar will be in San Diego, Ca., 1999 in Atlanta, Ga., and 2000 in Kansas City, Mo. The Northern Virginia Chapter is thrilled to be hosting the ANG National Seminar and Exhibit in 2001 to be held at the Crystal City Hyatt in Arlington, Va. on September 1-7. No one can fault them for not giving plenty of notice! They extend a heartfelt welcome to all stitchers to join them at these festivities.


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