Nelly's Needlers, established in 1975, is a group of women who have an interest in the preservation of Woodlawn and the pursuit of fine needlework. The combination of these interests has led to a unique group that has raised nearly $650,000 to benefit Woodlawn, including $200,000 donated to the Woodlawn Endowment Fund.

The name "Nelly's Needlers" comes from Eleanor "Nelly" Parke Custis Lewis, the granddaughter of Martha Washington, who was raised at Mount Vernon. Woodlawn was presented as a wedding gift by George Washington when Eleanor married his nephew, Major Lawrence Lewis. This grand home was an important social center in Federal America, a place in which visitors could come and be entertained in high style by the family of the First President. The collections include many important textiles with association to America's first First Family.

Since no dues are collected, membership in Nelly's Needlers means a commitment to work at least 50 volunteer hours each year. Hours are accumulated by working in support of "Nelly's Tea Room," children's workshops, needlework seminars, raffle projects, and by making needlework items to be sold in the Woodlawn Museum Shop.

During the Needlework Exhibit held in March at Woodlawn, Nelly's Needlers organize and operate a tea room, preparing and serving lunch to more than 100 people daily. Many customers return year after year to enjoy both the needlework and our specialty lunches and desserts.

Each summer since 1980, we have sponsored needlework seminars for children aged 9-15. Members of our group design and teach projects in four categories of needlework: hand sewing and quilting, needlepoint, crewel embroidery, and counted thread. Students work in small groups and receive much individual attention and encouragement from their teachers.

Nelly's Needlers also sponsors needlework seminars for adults. Outside experts are brought in to teach and inspire needle workers on all skills lecvels from beginner to expert.
Nelly's Needlers uses its funds to support Woodlawn through the conservation of collections, enhancement of visitor amenities, contributions to special capital improvements projects, and continued growth of the Woodlawn endowment.

Nelly's Needlers meet on the second Monday of each month (except March and August), at 10am, in the Underwood Room of Woodlawn.

Our purpose is to help preserve Woodlawn as a historical museum and to support its role as a community resource. We invite you to join us by attending one of our general meetings, or you may call the office at Woodlawn for further information (703-780-4000).

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