The Tri-State Needlearts Guild will hold its biannual Needle Art and Quilt Show at Platteville United Methodist Church, 1065 Lancaster St., July 12–14.
Tri-State Needlearts is a local chapter of Embroiders’ Guild of America, which promotes needlework and associated arts. The group has members from Platteville, Lancaster, Fennimore, Cuba City, Dickeyville, Prairie du Chien, Galena, Dubuque and the Quad Cities.
The group holds the Needle Arts and Quilt Show every other year, in part to show off their work, and in part to get rid of unwanted or slightly used craft supplies.
The Tri-State group started in August 1985 partly to be able to purchase threads and supplies, and partly as a group that liked to put needles and threads to work.
Three years earlier, four women opened up a store, Aunt Polly’s, on Broadway in Platteville to sell needle crafts and supplies and conduct classes. Several craft stores have come and gone since then, including Hidden Quilts, which sells fabric and needle art supplies on West Main Street in downtown Platteville.
“I was asked by several friends of mine that met once a month at Hidden Quilts for Girls Night Out to join the group … at least to come to a couple of meetings and check them out,” said Karen Forseth, the group’s president. “I'm not usually a ‘joiner,’ but decided to give it a try. After all, I loved to cross-stitch and getting more time to do that could only be a bonus, right?
“So I went the first month and had a blast. The second month proved to be even more fun, so I decided to join. I've only been a member of the group for about five, years, but these ladies are some of the most wonderfully talented people I've ever met. And we're all like a big family who share the love of the needle … whatever kind of needle that may be.”
“I actually joined Tri-State Needlearts by mistake thinking it was a quilt group,” said member Terry Hanson. “After enjoying the Needleart and Quilt Show I was so impressed by the women in this group and how friendly they were that I decided to join. Little did I know that they were needleworkers, not quilters.”
“A few of the Tri-State Needlearts were also members in Dubuque and they seemed so close and caring — just like sisters,” said member Anita Wild of Dubuque. “So I joined in Platteville too. I was thrilled to discover that their program was to explore some techniques from around the world — and as a bonus: food from each country! Yum.”
The group met in the former Platteville Senior Center, Creative Stitches on Main Street, and Pioneer Ridge Apartments before moving to First English Lutheran Church. The group meets the second Monday of the month except in August, for its summer picnic, and December, for its Christmas party. Both events are day-long pot lucks with open stitching.
The group also holds an open-stitch night at A&W in Platteville the fourth Monday of the month at 5 p.m.
“I've learned so much and made many beautiful things thanks to the talented members of Tri-State Needlearts,” said Hanson. “The spark of creativity I get every month at our meeting keeps me trying new things. My goal now is to take my stitching skills to the next level. Since this is a national organization, not only have I met local women that share my interests and have become my best friends, I’ve also come to know women from all over the Midwest.”
Monthly meetings include a project taught by one of its members — including Chicken Scratch, beading projects, stump work, tatting, crayon art with surface embroidery, card pricking, and seasonal projects — or open stitching. along with occasional guest speakers about their favorite needle work.
One of the Tri-State group’s most popular events is its annual weekend retreat to Sinsinawa Mound, which sometimes includes classes or speakers, but is more for the purpose of allowing members to work on projects uninterrupted by family, household chores or electronic entertainment. The group also participates in EGA’s annual national Stitch-in-Public the first Saturday in February, where members sit somewhere in public — including craft stores, libraries and restaurants — and stitch.
Members also attend the national seminar, which this year will be in St. Louis Oct. 30–Nov. 3, and the annual regional meeting, in which a chapter hosts a three-day seminar that includes classes and a banquet.
Outreach efforts in past years included youth classes at Rountree Gallery, Girl Scouts, 4-H and most recently the Creative Youth Expo in Lancaster. The group has participated in the Grant County Holiday Project and stitched samplers to families who have been involved in Family Promise of Grant County. The group decorates a Christmas tree at the Platteville Public Library with handmade embroidered ornaments.
The group also holds an all-day “stitch-in” twice a year. The next stitch-in will be at First English Lutheran Church Saturday, Aug. 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Membership is $35 per year. A prospective member can attend two meetings before membership.
The show at Platteville United Methodist Church will take place July 12–13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and July 14 from noon to 4 p.m.
“We welcome everyone who is interested in seeing what our group is about, wants to spend some time working on a stitching project of your own, or needs help with a stitching project that is giving you trouble,” said Forseth.
An introduction to embroidery, including projects similar to what the guild is working on, can be found with a free download at https://egausa.org/free-projects/.
For information about the group, call 348-5545.