The local chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America has beginner stitchers and experienced stitchers, but don't expect to encounter anyone with mastery of the craft.
“There are no experts,” Susan Mol, Fort Wayne area chapter president, said Sunday as the guild celebrated World Embroidery Day downtown at the Allen County Public Library.
It marked the first such event for the chapter; World Embroidery Day began in Sweden in 2011.
“This is beyond our expectations,” Mol said of the attendance.
In addition to displaying their needlework – which included surface embroidery, blackwork, whitework, stumpwork, beading and cross stitch – the guild gave away free kits, embroidery floss and back issues of Just CrossStitch magazine to encourage people to start the hobby.
Lilly Anderson, a guild member and Just CrossStitch editor, described embroidery as a fun activity that people can try without the fear of making mistakes because those can always be removed.
Mol, who learned on samplers, said needlework also is relaxing and “frees your mind of all stress.”
Embroidery has experienced a resurgence, particularly in England, since Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding, Mol said, explaining the Royal School of Needlework embroidered the Duchess of Cambridge's gown.
The costumes for HBO's popular series “Game of Thrones” is another possible influence, she said.
“It doesn't have to be an expensive hobby,” Mol said, “but it can grow into an expensive hobby.”
She, for example, has traveled to such places as Williamsburg, Virginia; London; and the French Alps for classes.
But novices don't have to go far for help. Mol and Anderson said Fort Wayne is fortunate to have Stitch 'N Frame, a shop on Bluffton Road that helps beginners.
Guild members are another good resource, they said.
“We help each other along the way,” Mol said.
The embroiderers offered advice Sunday to siblings Connor and Caroline Bussick, ages 19 and 17, respectively.
Caroline Bussick showed a couple of members a flower pot she had stitched on a pocket of a pair of denim shorts.
“I don't know where else to go with this,” she told them and soon received suggestions to frame the design and add an interior lining to prevent snagging the threads.
Her brother said the personal assistance helped because he can only learn so much online. Guild members taught him how to bury thread, strip thread and, among other tricks, wet thread to prevent tangles, he said.
Mol, who helped him with some basics, said people are welcome to learn more at chapter meetings, which take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. the third Monday of most months in Room C at the downtown library.
The group is about more than stitching, Mol said.
“We've established strong friendships because of the passion we share for embroidery,” she said.