Barb Ruzic is passionate about teaching machine embroidery. That’s a good thing because she is in charge of Rip ’N’ Sew’s Machine Embroidery Group in Sun City West.
“I have this passion to help others learn how to do it and not be stuck alone,” Ruzic said. She speaks from experience.
She spent six frustrating years teaching herself how to use the embroidery machine she purchased when she lived elsewhere. The store where she bought the machine had no one to help her. No one Ruzic knew could help her. And there was no sewing club let alone a machine embroidery club available.
And that’s when Ruzic vowed not to let anyone else suffer alone.
Rip ’N’ Sew recently sold its older embroidery machines to purchase a new Baby Lock Meridian.
Jean Hackbert, one of the first MEG members to learn how to use the Meridian, said of Ruzic, “She deserves so much credit for finding this machine for the club and negotiating a price that was affordable.”
Ruzic trained Hackbert and Connie Province at the same time. Province had never used an embroidery machine before, but Hackbert had.
“When we moved here from Illinois five years ago,” Hackbert said, “I set a goal for myself to learn to embroider by machine. So I was excited to take on this new challenge in a new place.
“While we rented in Sun City, I belonged to the Sew & Sew Club and was initiated to this skill on a Brother machine almost exactly like the Rip ’N’ Sew’s former Laura Ashley machine.
“Once we bought a home in [Sun City West], I quickly joined Rip ’N’ Sew and June Boyer certified me on that machine, too.”
“During the past two years the COVID pandemic kept me from doing much embroidery work, but now I am looking forward to doing much more,” Hackbert said.
She called the Meridian “amazing. It has so many wonderful features that I look forward to learning. I am especially excited about its digitization feature that will enable us to change artwork into a file that we can use to embroider the design.”
Ruzic is as excited about MEG as she is about the new machine.
Three or four new members have joined the machine embroidery group since Ruzic took over MEG in November, 2021. Most of them don’t have an embroidery machine at home, she said.
Any Rip ’N’ Sew member can join MEG’s monthly meetings. There is no additional fee to belong to MEG. Meetings include a brief business session, news about planned activities, projects and classes, and tips and tricks to improve members’ skills. Meetings end with a member show-and-tell about recently-completed projects. This provides additional information and inspiration.
“We do a project every other month,” Ruzic said. MEG co-chairmen with Ruzic are Barbara Brady and Diana Oliver.
MEG members recently began focusing on group projects that would benefit memory care facilities in the area. Sometimes various members work together to make machine-embroidered squares that are made into quilts or wall hangings.
Diana Oliver made a floral bouquet that featured a recent MEG project, embroidered lace butterflies. She fastened the butterflies to sticks and placed them in a vase. The bouquet was given to Agape, a Scottsdale memory care facility for seniors. Oliver’s grandson Dakota Perry is Agape’s manager and caretaker.
MEG members are encouraged to suggest other similar centers that would benefit from the group’s donations.
Ruzic said the group tries to keep its projects in Sun City West, but it’s not required.