This summer, the EGA Education Department is rolling out its newest initiative, Technical Excellence Certification (TEC). TEC consists of programs that are designed to promote excellence in stitching and provide advanced needleworkers with the opportunity to demonstrate technical excellence in their areas of expertise.
Each TEC program consists of four steps with specific stitching requirements. The TEC program provides the design, the list of thread colors, and the type of ground fabric to use to complete each step. After completing a step, you submit that needlework for judging. You can find the judging schedule on the EGA website in the Education area under Technical Excellence. Judging occurs twice each year (approximately every six months) for each program.
When you sign up for your selected TEC program, you will receive the needlework instructions and judging sheets for Step 1. You also will receive detailed instructions about how to submit your needlework for judging. Read all material carefully and follow all of the instructions. When the judges have completed the review for the step you submitted, your needlework will be returned to you with the judging sheets and one of these results:
- Pass. This means the needlework you submitted passes this step, and you may start work on the next step. If you submitted Step Four, this means you have earned your Technical Excellence Certification. If you submitted Step One, Step Two, or Step Three, you will be emailed the instructions for the next step.
- Provisional Pass. This means the needlework you submitted has some things that you need to correct. You may make those corrections and start work on the next step. You may submit your corrected Provisional Pass and your next step for judging at the same time.
- Not Pass. This means the needlework you submitted did not meet the criteria for this step.
- Not Judged. This means your needlework was unacceptable for judging. You will find the reason(s) for this result on the first page of the judging sheets. Among the most common reasons for this result are the needlework was not clean and pressed; the needlework did not arrive on time; or the stitcher did not follow the directions.
Lay the groundwork
If you are interested in a TEC program, you should prepare by taking classes in the technique you have selected. To assist you in selecting classes, consider the list of suggested GCCs below. You should also ask your teachers to evaluate your work. If you take a Group Correspondence Course (GCC) or Lightning Round, submit your completed project to the teacher for evaluation; this is one way to get feedback on areas in which your skills may need improvement. Also consider taking a region or national seminar class in your selected technique and ask the teacher for ways you could improve your stitching.
If you prefer a more individualized experience, consider enrolling in an Individual Correspondence Course in your selected technique. Taking a stitching class that includes teacher feedback may help you gain the experience you need to be successful.
There are some needlework exhibits that also include judging by certified needlework judges. Entering your work in these events also can be a learning experience.
This program is designed for the candidate who accurately follows directions. These directions are not only about what the candidate is to stitch, but also include instructions on presenting your clean and pressed submission for judging. Candidates must follow all the instructions carefully.
The TEC program is open to all members of EGA. If you have questions, ask the current chair of the TEC program in which you are interested before you register. The initial registration cost for each program is $50. Each step sent for evaluation must be accompanied by a check for $20; for each re-submission, $15. Fees will be adjusted to cover extra postage for foreign candidates.
Counted Thread Technical Excellence Certification Program
The first EGA TEC program to debut is Counted Thread. This program includes four steps, worked in this order. Keep in mind the projects listed here are merely suggested classes for background in the technique of each step, and are not requirements.
Step 1: Cross Stitch The recommended GCCs include Perfectly Counted Crosses with Carolyn Standing Webb, Love and Laughter with Denise Harrington Pratt, Hearts for You with Denise Harrington Pratt, and Star-Spangled Puzzle Ball with Denise Harrington Pratt.
Step 4: Hardanger The recommended GCC is Beginner’s Hardanger with Marion Scoular.
This article was written by EGA’s Director of Education Val Reece and it first appeared in the June 2023 issue of Needle Arts magazine.