HINSDALE – Draped around Peg Pelch’s neck is the same name tag she made in 1989 and still proudly wears today.
“In the past, we were fined if we didn’t wear our name tag, and we had all these rules that have gotten looser since then,” said the Lisle resident and former president of the Hinsdale Embroiderers’ Guild.
That 25-cent fine is just one of the rules that has since vanished in the 50-year history of the Hinsdale Embroiderers’ Guild, which first started when a few local women recruited national needlework instructors to help the group learn new stitching and crafting techniques.
Pelch, a member of the organization for the past 46 years, said during the guild’s formative years, newcomers were judged by members council after submitting two original needlework pieces.
The entry process, however, did not deter her and fellow member Nora Kampe of La Grange, who knew they wanted to join the instant they attended a Hinsdale Embroiderer’s Guild stitching show.
“We were two of the youngest people in the guild at that point and probably not as knowledgeable as most of them, but we’ve learned a lot in 46 years,” Pelch said. “It’s been wonderful.”
The Hinsdale Embroiderers’ Guild has come a long way, according to 38-year member Anne Zick, who said the group hasn’t juried a potential member in about 20 years. Instead, the guild now welcomes anyone who has an interest in all forms of needlework.
Zick, a Hinsdale resident, said the group met at The Community House up until the late 1980s, then relocated to the Zion Lutheran Church before meeting at their current spot on the third Monday of every month at the Western Springs Baptist Church. They also meet on the first Monday of the month at various members’ homes.
This year is extra special for the guild as it not only marks the 50th anniversary but the first time in 23 years the group will host a stitching show with 300 items to be on display.
“The last show was 1991,” Zick said. “It used to be every two years, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary, which dates back to 1964. So every two years starting in 1966 they would have it.”
After the 1991 show, no one took on the task of organizing, and the event fell by the wayside until show chair and Wheaton resident Barbara Morris suggested in 2013 the group have another needlework show.
“They were very enthusiastic,” Morris said. “I think anybody who does stitching of any sort, they’re always proud of what they have and more than willing to share.”
Morris said every member created pieces for the show, and each member will show display an average of seven items.
“We have probably 40-plus members, and I would say the vast majority of them have helped with the show in one way or another,” she said. “We not only need to order the poles and the racks for display, but we have people that have to organize the display items in visually pleasing ways.”
While the group will continue to change and grow, some things last forever.
“They were equally as friendly,” she said. “That has always been the spirit – the camaraderie and the sharing of their knowledge is what interested us because they were always willing to show us what they were doing and how we could learn how to do it. That’s what kept us coming back.”