South Holland Lacemakers has been a lot of things to many people during its 30 years.
More than anything it’s been a way for like-minded people who enjoy making lace to get together and chat as they work.
At the same time, they have seen each other through the ups and downs of family life, been a support in bereavement and shared the joy of grandchildren.
For its leader and founder, Thora Fleming, of Spalding, the monthly meetings, as well as other embroidery groups she attends, have also been a springboard to take her work to another level.
When Thora retired as business manager at Spalding High School three years ago she decided the time was right to take her love of sewing and embroidery even further.
She enrolled at the Royal School of Needlework, which has apartments at Hampton Court Palace, and has completed a certificate in technical hand embroidery.
That involved creating her own designs and practising canvas embroidery, silk shading and gold work.
Thora says: “They are all things the Royal School is well known for and we are learning the technical side, how to apply threads and work the stitches.
“Classes are actually in apartments in the palace and it is just the atmosphere. You walk in there when no one is about and you think, ‘Perhaps Henry VIII walked here’. It’s a really interesting place.”
She is now working towards a diploma, and says: “I am 68 now and jokingly said I am hoping to complete it all by the time I am 70.”
Understandably, Thora doesn’t make a lot of lace these days, but says people can take all kinds of projects to the meetings held at Moulton Community Centre on the second Saturday of each month (1.30-4.30pm).
There is always someone there who can offer suggestions or advice among the 26 or so people who attend.
Thora says people don’t just do bobbin lace, but do tatting, crochet and needle lace.
She adds: “And if we haven’t got lace we take something else because nearly all of us are doing embroidery or something.”
Newcomers are welcome at meetings – ring 01775 767701.