The Embroidery Guild of America. Immediately your mind is filled with old women sewing the same fabric for the last two decades, sitting with their backs to the door not interested in getting out or letting anyone (or anything) new in. Not so.
The Camellia chapter of the EGA meets at my local power utility offices and quite honestly could probably be mistaken for a woman's 12-step meeting except for the lack of coffee. Naturally, I was a little nervous. I am male, young(er, 30,) then anyone else I saw walking in and there is the fact that these ladies know their stuff...more then I do for sure.
So I was completely taken back when it was all "hello's" and handshakes. Everyone was very welcoming. Charlie is in charge of new memberships and a perfect welcoming committee. She explained the groups policy on visitors and how the meetings kind of go.
I was sat next to Marge and Carol and I didn't catch to much of what happened in the meeting after that. We talked about stitching, little known floss makers they like to use, and they even taught me the quick-cheat version of railroading (this is where you put your needle back through the two threads of floss, or between the tracks, so they generally lay side by side). This has been worth the trip already as I did not have, nor did I have any interest in buying, a laying tool.
One thing I noticed was that everyone had something out that they were working on. I was so surprised and thought they would get in trouble...but that is sort of the purpose of the whole thing isn't it. I really was upset that I didn't bring anything to work on.
There was a group project that you had to have signed up for. They supplied the cloth and project, you were to bring floss and everything else. It was very cool. A finished one made it's way around the room and my camera stayed at home (sorry folks). It blew my mind the way stitching was being done here. So many techniques. So many new ways to play.
At the end I stayed and talked. I am going back and I am going to take part in the next project (I am a sucker for group things), and I think I am really going to like the whole experience. If there are any naysayers, try looking up your local chapter at www.egausa.org and give it a go. If you are in the Sacramento area, give me a shout in the comments or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if anyone else has been to a meeting of the EGA or you are a member, leave your experience in the comments too.