Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Stitchy Guilt: Enough is Enough!

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

Stitchy guilt: noun, a feeling of responsibility, remorse, or shame for the crime of embroidering something beautiful then relegating it to a closet or drawer where it cannot shine its light or sing its song, and where no one ever sees it.

Tsk, tsk, tsk.

Would you plant a seed and then put it in a sunless closet and not water it?

Well, would you?


Denim-covered Mat for Embroidery, D-I-Y Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Denim-covered mat for framing embroidery.


You’re Not Alone

Okay. Relax. You’re not alone. Believe me, this boat you’re in is ginormous but still in danger of sinking from too many passengers. And did I mention that I’m the captain?

Stitchy guilt can strike anytime, like when the baby turns six and still doesn’t have the sampler we started six-and-a-half years ago. Perhaps the guilt hits hardest when we want to buy materials for a new project. How can we justify more stash when the project, if it gets stitched, is not likely to get finished into the end product we have in mind? Holy-hemstitch, what if we have no end product in mind?!

Enough is enough! We know that the act of stitching is a joyful, healthy thing. It’s crazy to ruin that with shame because we are afraid to take the last step. It’s time to put an end to stitchy guilt. It’s time to finish our embroideries!


Lacing embroidery to backing board, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

DIY Framing: Lacing embroidery to backing material.


Ending the Guilt

Sounds great, no?

“But how?” you ask. “Professional framing is expensive. My local shop doesn’t offer professional finishing, and I don’t know where to send it. Isn’t that expensive, too?”

What do you say we finish our embroideries ourselves?

“I don’t know how,” you say.

I will show you.

You’re speechless, but I sense hesitation, maybe doubt.


Hemstitching, D-I-Y Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Hemstitching and mitered corners, two of my favorite things!


D-I-Y Embroidery Finishing Classes

Whether you want to frame your embroidery; piece it with other fabrics for a quilt, tote, or something else; make it up into a pillow; or hem the edges so it stands alone, I can show you how. I’ve done them all, numerous times. I love finishing! Really!

With your embroidery skills, basic sewing skills, and a little ingenuity, you can finish your embroidery yourself and get beautiful results. You can purchase special materials for a custom look, score finds at the thrift store, or upcycle gems from the basement: Any way you choose to go, you’ll infuse the entire project with your unique style. You’ll feel great sharing your embroidery when it’s beautifully finished and the stitchy guilt melts away.

“The hardest part was just deciding to do it.” ~ Ruth H.

If you want to do it, I assure you, you can. And I can show you how.


Diamond Tuckable Pillow, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

PillowPalooza: Diamond tuckable pillow in want of embroidery.


Goodbye, Stitchy Guilt

Last year, I decided to kick stitchy guilt to the curb. I dug out embroideries I’d stitched in the 1980s and 90s. I framed one, made a couple of pillows and a wall hanging. It was so much fun, that I’ve decided I should re-finish some of the early Funk & Weber models.

It’s not easy being a super stitchy model. Ours have traveled thousands of miles in planes and cars, been packed and unpacked countless times. They’ve had glass put in the frame and taken out, over and over. They’ve been shipped through the mail, displayed in shops and shows, and packed away in a trunk. Some of the frames are looking tired. What if . . . !

It’s true: I had so much fun finishing ancient embroideries that I’m looking for more things to finish, re-finishing already finished pieces.

What do you say? Are you ready to kick your stitchy guilt to the curb?


Piecing multiple embroideries, DIY Embroidery Finishing, Funk & Weber Designs

Piecing multiple embroideries. No angles were measured in making this.


Join Me For a Finishing Adventure

Four finishing classes are now self-serve. Work through them whenever you want at any pace you want. Choose between the following:

  • D-I-Y Framing
  • Piecing
  • Hemstitching
  • PillowPalooza

Or snag all four! Check out the Classes page for further info, and end stitchy guilt for good.

Recap: Stitch In Alaska, 2015

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

The first Stitch In Alaska Tour is on the books and under our belts, a less-than-two-month-old memory. Looking back, I have but one thing to say about it: Can we do it again?!


Dressed to raft, Kenai River, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Because rafting is all about fashion and looking good . . .


After meeting in Anchorage and getting acquainted at Kenai Riverside Lodge in Cooper Landing, Day 2 began with a fashion show*. And rafting.


Rafting the Kenai River, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Bon voyage! Rafting the Kenai River.


It’s about fifteen miles down the glacier-green Kenai River and another five miles across Skilak Lake to Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Harriet’s keen eye (That’s how you pronounce “Kenai.” See what I did there?) spotted lots of bald eagles.


Stitch In Alaska, Kenai Backcountry Lodge, Funk & Weber Designs

The Feral Stitchers on the porch of Kenai Backcountry Lodge. Stitch In Alaska, 2015. Becky, Cathy, Ruth, Harriet, Paula, Torstein, Jen


Kenai Backcountry Lodge is the smallest and most rustic and remote of the three lodges. A tiny stream provides hydroelectric power.


Skilak Lake Sunset, Kenai Backcountry Lodge, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Skilak sunset. Sigh.


After a long day on the water and a good meal, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset—and a bear with two cubs on the beach. The bear pics aren’t great: It was getting dark.


Skilak Lake Beach Lunch, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Beach lunch at Skilak Lake.


On Day 3, we toured Skilak Lake, enjoying short walks, stitching on the boat, treasure hunting, and a picnic lunch on the beach.


Skilak Glacier View, Russian River Trail, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Make jazz hands, everyone! But . . . wait . . . you didn’t make jazz hands. Skilak Glacier in the distance.


Day 4: We returned to Kenai Riverside Lodge where half of us relaxed and stitched (the top halves, you know, the parts with hands) while the other half hiked to Russian River Falls (the bottom halves, the parts with feet). (You know I’m joking, right? This is not a zombie tour.)


Red salmon jumping, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Go-go-go, little red salmon! Russian River Falls.


Red salmon congregate below the falls, rest, and then leap and swim up the falls to the lakes beyond where they spawn before dying. It’s like watching athletes: You really are pulling for them and cheering them on.


Humpback Whale Breaching, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Humpback whale breaching


Day 5: We toured Kenai Fjords National Park as we cruised to Glacier Lodge. What a humpback whale show!


Walking at Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Strolling to the beach after a morning of stitching.


Day 6: Some of us enjoyed stitching by the lagoon and a walk to the outer beach.


Fat black bear, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Now, that’s a fat black bear!


Some of us canoed in a nearby lake where black bears feasted on spawning salmon.


Becky and Pedersen Glacier, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Becky, after her kayak trip. Nice skirt!


And some of us went kayaking in Aialik Bay.


Sea otters, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

Mom and pup sea otter.


Sea otters can be spied in both the bay and the lagoon.


Hiking the ridge, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Stitch In Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

What a day, eh? Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge.


Day 7: It was such a gorgeous day, we decided to climb the ridge behind the lodge for a 360-degree view of the surrounding area: Aialik Bay, Aialik Glacier, Pedersen Lagoon, Pedersen Glacier, Addison Lake.


Cathy Hiking, Kenai Fjords Glacier Lodge, Stitch In Alaska

Honestly, it’s just a hike, folks. Right, Cathy?


The trail isn’t long and it doesn’t gain a ton of elevation, but it is a little tricky in spots. That’s what ropes and friends are for!

Now, what about the stitching? Isn’t this Stitch In Alaska? Why, yes, yes it is! Stay tuned. Because, really, isn’t this post long enough already?

Would you like to come on the next Stitch In Alaska tour? Drop me a line, and I’ll put you on the special mailing list. If that link doesn’t work for you, send a note to mail [AT] funkandweber [DOT] com.

*not really

Creative Christmas In July

Thursday, July 9th, 2015

P.S. (That stands for prescript instead of postscript in this case): There’s a contest with a prize at the end of this post.

Christmas In July Blog Hop

If you Hopped here, welcome! If you’re a regular, or if you got here by any other means, welcome to you, too!

Is your Inbox brimming with Christmas In July sales and events? Mine is.

Christmas In July Bundle SaleIf yours isn’t, maybe I can help: Creative Christmas Bundle is on sale again—ever so briefly—this weekend. You might remember it from last November.

As much as I prefer to shun trends and bandwagons like Christmas In July (“everybody’s doing it” is, for me, a strong reason to not do it), I can’t deny that now might be a good time to give a thought to the holiday that looms just five months away, especially if you hope to have a handmade holiday.

To help you get started, if you haven’t already, you should check out the July–December “Get It All Done” Holiday Checklist. I think it’s billiant—and I am in no way responsible for its existence. It includes a month-by-month checklist of things we can do to knock out the fun, crafty things we always want to do but rarely find the time to do once November and December roll around.

In addition to being a great reminder tool, the checklist has some great ideas, like picking up stocking stuffers during school-supply sales in August and September and making gifts from garden and farmer’s market goodies that are available now.

And then it’s time to get started stitching and crafting. Stitching, especially, because stitching is slow work.

Silent Night and The Night Before Christmas pattern cover


If you’re new to stitching on dark fabrics, or if you’re new to stitching on linen or other evenweave fabrics, or if you’re a scrapper who’s new to embroidery altogether, don’t sweat it! I’ve put together some resources to get you going on the two cross stitch pieces included in the Bundle.

Christmas In July Stitching Resources

Brand new to cross stitching?
A great place to start is our How to Cross Stitch video.
If you aren’t sure how to read the pattern chart, check out How to Read a Cross Stitch Pattern.

Never stitched on linen or another evenweave?
Well, for starters, you can stitch these patterns on Aida or needlepoint canvas.
Or check out our tutorial on Stitching Over Two Threads.
If I lost you at “Aida,” or “canvas,” or “evenweave,” take a peek at Embroidery Fabrics 101 and Embroidery Fabrics 102.

Never stitched on dark fabric?
There are definitely some ways to make it easier. Take a look at How to Stitch on Dark Fabrics.

Never made a French Knot?

I happen to love them. Here’s how I make French knots.

Not sure how to handle isolated stitches?
Yeah, those can be tricky, but I can help; I’ve experimented with different solutions, including a fairly nutty one. Check out our Isolated Stitches tutorial, which is just after the French knot tutorial.

Now what?
Now you frame the things or sew them into a tote or on a jacket. Very soon, we’ll have a DIY Framing class available.

And then you take a photo and scrap that photo of your gorgeous embroidery into your holiday card!

Psst, experienced stitchers! That is the part for you. Up there. That link. Click it. This bundle is full of paper crafting, digital scrapbooking, and non-needleworky things, but they can work well with embroidery, and it might be a fun way to expand your crafty horizons.

If you have any questions about the patterns or stitching them, I’m here to help. Give me a shout at mail AT funkandweber DOT com.

Digi-scrapped embroidery


The Contest

As before, Lisa, the ringmaster of this Christmas In July Bundle circus, is giving away a Bundle to a random Blog Hop commenter. Check out what’s in this Bundle, and then leave a comment here about what class or project you’re eager to dive into first.

Visit the other posts on the Hop and leave comments on them for more chances to win.

SB Bundles Blog – Blog Hop Time!

Melissa Shanhun – Your December Solution

Cara Vincens – Send those Christmas cards this year

Alison Day – Pocket Page December Daily

Lisa Harris – The Christmas in July Bundle Blog Hop

Beth Soler – Get those photos scrapped quickly and easily from your iPhone

Happy Hopping!


Category Deals & Steals, News | Tags:

Bookmark Donations*Huzzah!

Sunday, May 31st, 2015

I put out a call in the Nutsletter for help with bookmark donations, and generous stitchers across the globe got busy.

Stitching for Literacy, hand-stitched bookmarks donated to Mountain View Elementary School

Hand-stitched bookmarks delivered to Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage, Alaska.

Arctic Needle Karen got the first batch of 70 bookmarks out the door to Mountain View Elementary before I even got to see them! Bummer for me, but hooray for Karen and all you quick stitchers who came through so we could continue this beloved tradition for the sixth year . . . I think. I believe the kids who were kindergarteners when we first started donating bookmarks to Mountain View were this year’s graduating fifth graders. How flipping cool is that?!

Cross Stitch Bookmarks, Stitching For Literacy

Cross stitch bookmarks

Got Questions? pattern

Tilt the embroidery to read the answer to the question.

I promised a free digital bookmark pattern to everyone who donated a bookmark or two or twelve. I selected the Got Questions? puzzle bookmark, but if you’d like a different one from our arsenal of digital bookmark patterns, say the word.

I sent those patterns out a week or so ago, so if you haven’t gotten yours, check your SPAM folder or let me know.

Ca’Trena, if you haven’t gotten yours, Karen has it.

Pamela in Japan, I need your email addy! Send it to mail AT funkandweber DOT com.

Cross Stitch Bookmarks, Stitching For Literacy

More cross stitch bookmarks

Yes-yes-yes, we are still collecting bookmarks! And yes-yes-yes, you will still get a free digital bookmark pattern if you donate a bookmark or two or twenty.

Hardanger Bookmarks, Stitching for Literacy

Hardanger bookmarks

If you are a librarian an you would like to receive bookmarks for event prizes, give me a shout. We have awesome stitchers willing to stitch, and I’m more than happy to collect and distribute.

Handmade Fabric Bookmarks, Stitching for Literacy

Handmade fabric bookmarks

We got some cleverly finished bookmarks that I will share separately. Remember, if you want finishing ideas and/or instruction, we have several resources.

Thanks heaps for coming through with bookmarks in our time of need, and please keep ’em coming. It’s exciting to share the joy, beauty, and wonder of both embroidery and reading.


Category News | Tags:

Practically Perfect Planner Class

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

Behind the Scenes at Funk & Weber Designs

This isn’t about embroidery; it’s about the Funk & Weber biz, which has been growing and changing. I think it’s a useful subject for many of us, so I thought I’d share this experience.

Are you a good planner or a poor planner? A list maker? A chronically harried and late person? How do you keep yourself organized?

The Problem

I have admitted to being a terrible planner. For the most part, it’s not a problem. I have a good memory, and I’m a list maker. Things get done and get done on time. I claim I don’t like last-minute scrambles, and, for the most part, I rarely have to do them.

In life, that is. In work, the story’s a bit different.

Contract work—that is, work for others—is no problem. I never miss a deadline. My work—Funk & Weber work—however, is the exception to the rule. Any creative or self-employed person will get it: There’s always more to do than one can possibly do; choosing what to do when can be hard; I frequently spread myself too thin because I underestimate how long it takes to do things. And so on and so on.

I find myself scrambling to get things done. I find myself being busy all day but not accomplishing the three most important things on my to-do list. I find myself wasting time spinning my wheels in indecision, searching for lost notes, and switching gears as I attempt and fail at multi-tasking.

Four pieces of paper crammed with lists and notes. A total mess.

My current planner system: lists and notes on scrap paper.

For years, my planner system has been long lists and notes scrawled on scrap paper. Sometimes it can take a while to find the number or note or list I want, but overall, the system works for me. I don’t throw the papers out until everything on them is done, transferred to where it needs to be, or otherwise attended to. I don’t hate this system because it works to some degree, but I’m pretty sure there’s a better system to be had.

Looking For a Solution

I’m looking for a better system. In 2013 and 2014, I downloaded several digital planners to put myself on track. I listened to organization and planning gurus tell me how I should be setting up a promotions calendar, an editorial calendar for my blog, etc. All sorts of things I still don’t do.

I did learn this: Digital doesn’t work for me. I need something printed. One of the reasons my current system works is because it’s written down on paper. I know what’s on those papers. Ask Mike.

I found a planner I kinda liked last year, printed it out, punched holes in the pages, put them in a notebook, and tried to use it. I made a construction-paper holder for the month-view pages so I could see the current month at a glance from my desk. That planner was not a huge success, but it was a start.

Practically Perfect Planner Class

A printable daily planner page that isn't quite right for me.

Nope, this isn’t for me. I want two of the elements on this page but not the other three. Good to know!

This year, I’m trying again. I offered myself up as a beta-tester for the Practically Perfect Planner class. Cara Vincens, creative biz owner at The Hooting Pirate, accepted the challenge of trying to help me replace my current chaotic list and note system with something more organized, helpful, and pretty.

Cara won me over immediately by telling me that my planner failures in the past weren’t my fault; rather, they were the fault of the one-size-fits-all planners. What I needed, she said, was a planner customized for my particular needs. Du-uh, right? That seems so obvious, but I confess it wasn’t something I had considered much.

So where does one get a customized planner, and—the Big Question—how do I know what I need?

Herein lies the magic of Cara’s class for me. Cara’s planner class did something none of the other how-to-use-this-planner instructions has done: It asked probing questions about my needs and habits so that I can identify what might be useful to me. It didn’t tell me how to use a given planner, but how to create a planner that’s useful for me. It’s the opposite of what the other planners and gurus do. My messy, wall-to-wall-chicken-scratch papers do something for me that a customized, Funk & Weber planner could do better. My own unique needs and habits—these papers!—are the key to the kind of planner that will best serve me, which, really, is the purpose of a planner.

No one has pointed that out to me before. No one has ever suggested that I evaluate my current practices and use those to create a planner system that works for me.

To Find, Alter, or Create

Printable monthly calendar page.

Yep. I use this. I love that I can use this page of boxes forever.

Cara provides advice about what to look for in a planner you can buy off the shelf; she offers papercrafting tips for altering one you have that needs some tweaks to be more useful; and she provides printable templates for the likes of me, someone who wants and needs to build from scratch. I don’t want a lot of frou-frou, and I don’t need a planner for my personal, family, or social life; I just want to my to-do lists to be more organized and tidier. I want a minimalist’s planner. I want my desk free of clutter. I want to stop scrambling and feeling overwhelmed.

It’s too soon to know if this will take hold for me, but I’m optimistic. I will have Cara’s help as I continue to shape my Practically Perfect Planner.

Win a Spot in the Practically Perfect Planner Class

Because I was a beta-tester, and because I was pleased with the class and found it useful, Cara has offered free class enrollment to one of our readers here.

This class is for you if you are interested in either of the following:

  • papercrafting and making/altering a planner for yourself, your family, a vacation, whatever
  • getting and staying organized

Cara also uses planners as memory keepers, which may be interesting and useful for some of you. It could be a way to keep track of WIPs, finishes, gifts to make, guild meetings and events . . . you get the idea.

We’re going to make the contest super simple: To enter, leave a comment telling me how you stay organized and on track. Have you ever used a planner for embroidery? Can you think of a way that might be useful? How about for keeping track of supplies? I’d never do that, but I can imagine it being helpful! The winner will be randomly selected from commenters on Thursday, January 29th.

The Class

February 9 to March 22, 2015

Registration is open right now for the Practically Perfect Planners class. Check out the sales page for more detailed info about class content. I glommed on to what I needed and gave short shrift to other parts, I’m afraid.

Note: There’s an Early Bird discount until January 29th, which is the day we announce the winner.

See? If I had had a PLAN, I would have been on top of this and had the drawing earlier, but I didn’t. However, Cara does have a plan, which is to give a refund if the winner happens to be someone who booked early to take advantage of the discount. Thank you, Cara!

The regular price for the class is $47. If you take advantage of the Early Bird discount, it’s $35.

Mark. Set. Go!


Category News | Tags: