The Aiken chapter of the American Needlepoint Guild and the Aiken Stitchin’ Belles chapter of the Embroiderer’s Guild of America (EGA) will jointly sponsor a display of handmade needlework items at the Aiken County Historical Museum. The needlework will be on display Aug. 20 through Sept. 15.

A variety of methods and materials will be on display, including needlepoint, canvas work, counted cross stitch and beading, to name a few. Many pieces employ specialty stitches and fibers (threads) which give the stitching a unique look. Many pieces are framed but others have been turned into more practical formats such as small boxes, pillows, ornaments jewelry and pin cushions. Taken as a whole, this exhibit presents a wide array of skills, techniques and fibers from the world of needlework.

The ANG defines needlepoint as “any counted or free stitchery worked by hand with a threaded needle on a readily countable ground." ANG is an educational, nonprofit organization developed to teach needlework skills and encourage an interest in the art. In addition to classes and projects presented at the local level, ANG members have access to national seminars and classes, correspondence courses and other educational opportunities such as access to free patterns.

In the past few years, the Aiken ANG has offered a variety of programs to its members, including a series of lessons on special needlepoint techniques, Hilton stitches and ornament finishing techniques. One of the most important benefits of membership is being able to share one’s passion for needlework with others.

“The mission of The Embroiderers’ Guild of America is to inspire passion for the needle arts through education and the celebration of its heritage.” The EGA focuses on stitching with a needle and thread but has a wider scope which can include beading and other crafts that use a needle with an eye.

The EGA offers classes at the local, regional and national levels as well as seminars, correspondence courses, online classes and access to free patterns. The local chapter, the Aiken Stitchin’ Belles, has worked on a variety of projects including Hardanger, huckweaving, cross stitch, woven yarn baskets and canvas projects. 

Membership in the ANG and the EGA is open to stitchers of all skill levels and all ages, and new members are always welcomed to both groups.

The Aiken ANG chapter currently meets on the second Thursday of each month. From September through May, the meetings are held from 1 to 3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church on Barnwell Avenue in Aiken. In June, July and August, the chapter meets at members’ homes. For more information, call Chapter President Becky Buie at 803-865-2121.

A reception for the needlework exhibit will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 433 Newberry St. S.W. Visitors will be able to meet the artists and talk with the stitchers who have items on display.

The Aiken Stitchin’ Belles hold a stitch-in on the first Monday of each month and a regular meeting on the third Monday of each month. All meetings are held at the Aiken County Historical Museum from 10 a.m. to noon unless otherwise noted. For more information, call Chapter President Eileen Chisari at 347-573-3612.