The speaker at our June meeting was a local lady with distant roots. Lysia Anderton was born in Halifax because her family had relocated here following WWII.
Her mother had been taken from her home in the Ukraine to an enforced labour camp in Germany. She was given an embroidered cloth by her own mother to take with her, and that was the last time that she saw her mother, finally tracing her in the 1990s only to find out that she had died two years before.
This poignant tale set the scene for Lysia's story about the importance that embroidery has played in the history of the Ukrainian people. First recorded in the 5th Century, the culture of embroidery grew until by the 19th century, a woman would be judged on her embroidery skills by any prospective husband.
With their enforced move to Britain in the 1940s and 50s, Ukranians were keen to ensure that traditional crafts were not forgotten.
Long pieces of embroidery called "towels" would be draped over the frames of religious images. Other pieces of embroidery would take pride of place around the house, on chairs, tables and the mantelpiece.
Worn on special occasions, men's shirts are embroidered around the collar and cuffs, and women's blouses are adorned with flowers and other traditional emblems.
As in other European countries, the designs on garments vary by region.
As well as actual embroidery, many household items also bear "embroidered" designs, either painted or printed onto their surfaces.
We examined pieces that Lysia had brought to show us and could see that the designs were predominantly executed in cross stitch, on varying sizes of weave.
Lysia told us that by the time the Ukraine gained independence, the roots of many Ukranian refugees, who had gained employment locally in textile and woollen mills, were stronger in the UK and they decided to stay here to give their children stability. Their status then changed from "refugee" to that of British Settler.
We are a group of women (but men are welcome!) who have an interest in textile art and embroidery. We are of mixed abilities and there is no need for you to be able to sew to come and join us - there are no tests!New members are always welcome - why not call in and join us as a guest for a few months?
Meeting fee for visitors is only £5.
Our meetings vary - we have talks and workshops, show and tell - we also have lots of weekend workshops and playdays. For details of what's coming up (and what's been and gone!) check out our programme below...