In various podcast episodes I talk about my membership of the Embroiderers’ Guild. I have been a happy member of Hull & East Riding branch since October 2013, when I came back to live in East Yorkshire after 10 years living in Ireland & France. Prior to being an expat, I was also an active member of City Of York Embroiderers’ Guild too. I look forward to my embroidery group meetings, but this post shares my experience with running our first online embroidery group meeting.
It fell upon me to organise our first virtual meeting, since I am Branch Secretary, AND due to my extensive experience working online, I know what to do and how to set one up and manage it.
Cancelled ‘cos of covid-19
Our branch meets monthly, on the 4th Saturday of the month. Our March meeting had already fallen victim to the covid-19 lockdown, and we had cancelled our meetings until further notice. I’ll be honest and say that I had been so busy during the lockdown period that I hadn’t really given much thought to doing anything for our April meeting.
Thankfully Rosemary, one of our long-standing members was wondering about how we could have an April meeting and joined up the dots that I was the one with the technology and know-how at my fingertips to organise a ‘virtual’ one! Ah yes, as usual, the best solutions are the ones that are ‘under our nose’.
So a few messages in Facebook later and I had agreed to sort out a virtual branch meeting. I would host a meeting through Zoom videoconferencing, using a free account.
Planning our online embroidery group meeting using Zoom
I sent out invites and instructions via email and also posted on our branch Facebook page what we were doing, but of course DIDN’T share the zoom invitation link. That’s a recipe for disaster…. so please only share such links via email.
We decided to keep it simple, and keep within the 40 minutes free Zoom account constraint for a group of more than 2 participants. I would host and we would simply take it in turns to say how we were and what we had been stitching during lockdown and to show everyone too. Yes, a ‘show n tell’! And it worked out really well. Each of us had a few minutes, and it was lovely to see each other, say Hi, and show off our creations and WiP’s. To keep up with our tradition of tea and cake at our meetings, Izzy made a lovely cake…. and we all drooled over our laptops, but at least saved some calories LOL.
Spreading the word
As part of the planning and organising for our online embroidery group meeting, I shared what I was doing beforehand and afterwards, on the Stitchery Stories Facebook Page. It drew interest from quite a few other Guild members who had been wondering about doing something similar for their branch, but didn’t know where to start. I was asked several questions.
This was the image I shared beforehand.
I did a Facebook Live afterwards to share our experience
Following our successful virtual Embroiderers’ Guild branch meeting, I thought it would be handy to explain more about the background, our group, and the steps I took to organise and run the meeting.
Admittedly, we are a small embroidery group with 15 members, but 10 managed to join in the fun. Yes, there are different challenges with a larger group but I believe there are still things you can do to keep connected. We don’t know how long this lockdown and social distancing situation will last, but let’s say for several months.
In the video, I shared some ideas that might help you keep your group connected and social whilst real life meetings and activities are curtailed. Several members shared afterwards that they found it uplifting and enjoyed meeting up and are looking forward to the next one! Running a virtual group meeting enables your embroidery group to stay connected with their crafty friends.
Here is the video from that FB Live 🙂 Any questions please just ask.
Learn How To Use Zoom Video Conferencing
We used Zoom ‘cos that’s what I am expert at using. There are of course other ways of doing this – I just prefer Zoom.
I have created an online course, “Learn how to use zoom video conferencing so you can take your business online”. If you, too, would like to learn these skills, then please let me know and I can send you further details. And whilst I talk about running zoom sessions for business, then it’s exactly the same for hobby groups, sports instructors, art tutors etc.
You can find out more here: https://bookme.name/susanweeks/learn-how-to-use-zoom
I hope you have found this post useful, and feel brave enough to organise your own virtual online embroidery group meeting, or even just a group of friends for a natter. 🙂
Have fun, enjoy your zooming AND stitching,
Cheers, Sue xxx