Archive for the ‘Tips Tricks & Brilliant Ideas’ Category

Gadget Guru: Fabric Preparation

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

Becky G., the Gadget Guru, Funk & Weber Designs

Becky G. is the Gadget Guru.

Anyone who’s been around here for long probably knows I am a minimalist when it comes to embroidery tools. For instance, I own just one pair of embroidery scissors. It’s possible I am the only first-world stitcher with a single pair of small, pointy scissors.

Becky and I are the Odd Couple of stitching: While I have few tools, she has many.

This is the column where Becky introduces me (and you) to her extensive collection of stitchy gadgets and explains how she uses them. It’s the Gadget Guru series!

The jury is still out on whether I will abandon my minimalist ways and adopt assorted gadgets for improved needlework results, ease of stitching, or convenience.

This week, Becky shares some of her fabric-preparation gadgets.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. Affiliate income helps support this site.

 

Fabric-Preparation Gadgets

Fray Check / Fray Stop / Fray Block (We’ll talk about sergers another time.) You need something to keep your fabric’s cut edges from fraying. I’ve heard that some needlework shops will serge the edges of your fabrics for you; although, I’ve not actually seen that happen. I like Fray Check best of the three liquids listed; it’s a little thicker and stays where I put it.

Just be really careful using any of them; if it drips in the wrong spot on your fabric, it’ll show. And it’s permanent. Ask me how I know.

Jen: I have Fray Check, but I never use it. For small projects, I may just let the fabric fray. For large projects, I’ll serge or zigzag the edges myself. But Becky says we’ll talk about sergers later.

 

Gridding Thread Easy-Count Guideline has saved my life. If you grid your fabric, this stuff is great. It’s a solid polyester thread, so you can’t split it with your needle. Ever try to pull out a guideline that you’ve stitched through? Oy! I’ve also used Coats Transparent Black thread, it’s a lot thinner, and I think it’s harder to stitch with. And if you use a lot of guideline, go to a sporting goods store and buy 8# red fishing line; it’s a whole heck of a lot cheaper than the Easy-Count.

Jen: I’ve never gridded my fabric. I’ve never felt it was necessary, but I can easily imagine many stitchers finding it useful. Maybe I’m just lazy.

 

Fabric Gauges, Gadget Guru, Funk & Weber Designs

Fabric Gauges

 

Fabric gauge A necessary thing for figuring out the thread count of your fabric. Many varieties and styles.

Jen: I just use my regular old ruler.

 

Stitch Starter

Stitch Starter

 

Stitch Starter I got mine in a class by Belinda of Blue Ribbon Designs. It’s a 3” square of clear plastic, marked on three sides in ¼” increments and on the fourth side in 1/16” increments. There are also markings for a 1” square and a 2” square. It’s great when you know you purchased enough fabric for a 3” margin, you can just whip this out to measure where to start stitching. It’s also small enough to carry in your stitching kit as a small ruler.

 

Frames / Q-snaps / scroll rods / Evertites / Hoops Many different types of fabric holders that do the same job in the same way. Mostly. I don’t use hoops anymore, they just didn’t keep the fabric snug enough for me and I just didn’t like them. Scroll rods are okay, but I don’t like the ones with Velcro or that I have to stitch my fabric to. I like q-snaps because they’re easy to put together and take apart for travel. I have some hand-made covers for them to help contain excess fabric.

I’ve heard that slate frames are great, especially for needlepoint. I’ve never used one so can’t comment on that. But my all-time current favorite is the Millennium Frame, from Needle Needs in the UK. I have two sizes, they keep my fabric nice and tight, yet they come apart easily to transport. I bought a poster tube (for transporting rolled up paper posters) large enough to hold my biggest set of Millennium Frames including the fabric; I just take off the side adjusters, roll the frame and fabric up, and tuck them into the poster tube along with the side pieces, chart and threads. It’s unfortunately not cheap, especially the shipping since they’re in the UK and I’m in the States.

For one thing, [on a stitching frame] the project is permanently set up and accessible. For another, it makes parking threads on this type of project much easier. A frame goes a long way to ensure even tension. A frame gives you room for your chart, so that it’s right in front of your eyes. A frame allows two-handed stitching, which means you make progress a little faster.

But there are disadvantages to a frame, too. They take up room. They require a specific posture, to reach the stitching area. (You can’t always cozy down on the couch with a project on a large frame!) And it’s more difficult to pack the whole project up and away, tidily, in a small space.

Jen: Tools to keep stitchy fabric taut are things I have and use. I’m a hoop gal because I was stitching before Q-snaps existed, and I’ve never felt the need to try something new. I find the (newish) plastic Susan Bates Hoopla hoops with the little lip on the inner ring keep the fabric nice and tight. That lip really helps. However, I much prefer my homemade floor frame because it keeps the fabric nicely taut, and there are no hoop creases to deal with.

Jen again: Well, all of these things are, indeed, useful. Do you have these things—and do you have multiples like Becky? Do you use them? Do you have different favorites?

Becky and I want to know!

Gadget Guru: Marking Tools

Sunday, February 21st, 2016

Becky G., the Gadget Guru, Funk & Weber Designs

Becky G. is the Gadget Guru.

Anyone who’s been around here for long probably knows I am a minimalist when it comes to embroidery tools. For instance, I own just one pair of embroidery scissors. It’s possible I am the only first-world stitcher with a single pair of small, pointy scissors.

This minimalism is the result of frequent moving and traveling when I first started stitching as an adult—I travel light—and it continues now that I have a house because my house is itty-bitty. There simply isn’t room for a second pair of tiny scissors. Plus, if I have just one pair, I have to keep track of them. So far, so good.

I like my minimalist ways, but most stitchers like their tools: They like using them and even collecting them. Some, I imagine, are appalled that I don’t consider certain tools essential.

Last summer during Stitch in Alaska, I discovered that long-time online stitchy friend, Becky G., is a Gadget Guru. She’s got stitching tools coming out of her ears—she travels with more tools than I own!

I love combining opposites or things that don’t seem to go together, so I thought it would be fun to compare and contrast our stitchy gadget styles. Who knows, I might discover a tool I can’t stitch without. Thanks to Becky, I have my first ever magnetic needle minder. So far, I haven’t used it to mind needles—it’s currently holding a message at my desk—but it sure is pretty, and it reminds me of Becky.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission. Affiliate income helps support this site.

 

The Gadget Guru Series

Join us as Becky introduces me (and you) to her extensive collection of stitchy gadgets and explains how she uses them. It’s the Gadget Guru series! This week, she covers marking tools.

 

Marking and Containing Tools

for Cross Stitch and Other Embroidery

 

Gadget Guru: pens and pencils, Funk & Weber Designs

The Gadget Guru’s stitching pens and pencils.

 

Chalk Pencils

Becky: I like chalk pencils (General’s Pastel Chalk, 3 pack, white, gray, and light blue) because I can use them on fabric, then brush the chalk off, and it’s gone. Great for very short-term use, but no good if you want the marks to hang around for a while. I will not use any sort of marker on my stitching fabric, no matter what it says about the ink disappearing. My feeling is that if there is ink on my fabric, even if it disappears there’s still a residue that will show up sometime. I’m not willing to take that chance.

Jen: Agreed. I also am not convinced disappearing ink won’t return at a later date. I have some regular chalkboard chalk in my sewing box that I’ve used when sewing or quilting, but I’ve never used it for embroidery. If I’m going to mark my fabric, I just use straight pins—or, more likely, spare embroidery needles because they’ll probably be closer, and I’m lazy—or a bit of thread, probably something from the ort pile.

Becky: As far as marking charts as I stitch, when I mark them, I prefer to use colored pencils rather than a highlighter. Why, you ask? If you’ve ever had a highlighter roll off your table onto your fabric, you’d know why. Highlighter does not come out. Colored pencil, on the other hand, is highly unlikely to make a mark, unless you drag the pencil over the fabric. And yes, if I mark on the chart, I mark on a working copy, not on the original. See also Post-it sticky notes.

Jen: I rarely mark up a chart to keep track of what I’ve stitched and what remains. The problem is that I don’t keep up with marking sections off, so I wind up having to study and re-figure anyway. It’s not useful if I can’t stick with the system. If I am marking on the chart, I use whatever pen or pencil is handy—and that’s never going to be a highlighter. I do have lovely Prismacolor colored pencils, though! I could do this.

You know what would be cool? Using a different color for each different day’s progress. I always wonder just how much stitching I get done in a day.

 

“Post-it” Sticky Notes and Flags

Becky: I live with these notes, both at work and at home. I use small ones to mark on the chart where I’m stitching; I can color code them if I need to.

Jen: I have Post-Its, too, but I’ve never used them to mark a pattern.

 

Bound Presentation Book

 


Gadget Guru: Bound Presentation Book, Funk & Weber Designs

The Gadget Guru’s chart keeper, used with Post-Its to mark her progress.

 

Becky: I use binders like these Avery Flexi-View Presentation Books when I have a lot of pages to a chart, and I don’t want to misplace them. I can use my sticky note markers on the plastic sheet to mark my spot.

Jen: Ooooooooh. Now I get it. This is smart.

I kinda, sorta, almost do something similar. I have clear plastic page protectors that I use mostly for class instructions and stitching samples. The pages live in three-ring binders. I’ve never managed to keep a pattern that tidy while stitching, though I admire you for doing it.

These days, I stitch my own designs almost exclusively, so I just print out what I need. I mark it up with notes and corrections as I work. It’s a mess by the time I’m done: wrinkled, scribbled on, and filled with holes from being pinned to my floor frame.

When I stitched patterns from magazines or other designers, I didn’t make a working copy—that was before we had home scanners and printers—nor did I protect the original pattern. I pretty much destroyed it during the stitching process. These weren’t things I was likely to stitch twice, so I didn’t care.

Becky, we’re like the Odd Couple of stitching!

So . . . are you a tidy stitching Felix like Becky or a sloppy stitching Oscar like me? Do you have and use these tools with your embroidery? In this case, I seem to have them; I just don’t use them!

Sketch vs. Edge-following Backstitches

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

I am a backstitch fan and believer. I know that stitchers complain about doing it, claiming it takes a long time, but I think most agree that backstitch can have a significant impact. Many who dislike the process appreciate the result.

As is true with most things, there’s more than one way to work backstitching. The stitch is the same, but the way it’s applied to a design is different.

I’m talking about sketch backstitches versus edge-following backstitches. I don’t know if “sketch backstitch” is an official name or not, but I think it’s a good and accurate one. I was originally calling the others—the edge-following ones—”regular” backstitch, but that seemed judgmental. These are the backstitches that I’ve always known, though, this sketch backstitch is “new” by comparison. It also seems a bit localized, more used and popular in Europe than here in the US.

 

Edge-Following Backstitches

As you can guess, edge-following backstitches follow pattern edges. Curves and angles are stair-stepped unless the underlying stitches are fractional stitches. An example is this wolf from the Funk & Weber Designs pattern, Portraits of the Wild Life.

 

Wolf, Portraits of the Wild Life, by Funk & Weber Designs

This wolf uses edge-following backstitches, stair steps for curves, and fractional stitches for angles.

 

Wolf, Portraits of the Wild Life, by Funk & Weber Designs

Fractional stitches produce clean, angled edges.

 

The “oval” frame is stair stepped, and the wolf’s eyes, ears, and face are full of fractional stitches, three-quarters of one color, one-quarter of another. All the backstitching follows the stair steps and the angles in the fractional stitches.

Aside: We have a tutorial on fractional stitches that shows how to choose which color should be chosen for the 3/4, etc.

 

Sketch Backstitches

Sketch backstitches, on the other hand, can go any which way, crossing whole stitches on an angle, cutting off corners of underlying stitches. This example is “Frosty Friends Christmas stocking,” by Margaret Sherry, from the 2009 issue of Enjoy Cross Stitch at Christmas. Many thanks to Arctic Needle Karen for providing it!

 

Sketch Backstitch, closeup

Sketch backstitch ignores the corners of underlying cross stitches.

 

Note, in particular, the three areas within the green circles. I put those circles there; they’re not part of the pattern . . . in case you were wondering. See how the backstitches cross over whole cross stitches below them, leaving part of the cross outside the outlined design?

Now, let’s back away and look at the overall effect.

 


Sketch Backstitch, from a distance

From a distance, do you notice the way sketch backstitches ignore underlying stitches? I don’t. I think this is adorable!


 

An Opinion

From a distance, the sketch backstitch appears similar to edge-following backstitches. Up close, however, it looks messy to me, like we’ve colored outside the lines.

Now, coloring outside the lines is a concept I support and promote, but not in this way. The feeling I get from sketch backstitch is that someone was in a hurry or being lazy and both literally and figuratively was cutting corners. The stray colors outside the backstitching draw my eye, calling attention to themselves, which I’m pretty sure is not the intent.

I also sense that the backstitches are disconnected from the underlying stitches: a separate layer on top, as opposed to being an integral part of the whole.

Overall, I’m not a fan.

 

An Exception (There’s Always One)

And then Arctic Needle Karen presented an idea I hadn’t considered: This is a kids’ cartoon pattern. What if we think of it as a coloring-book page? In that light, doesn’t coloring outside the lines make sense and add an interesting aspect to the piece?

I have to say it does. And that got me thinking about other ways and times sketch backstitches might be used to good effect. So far, I haven’t come up with anything I want to pursue, but this one example alone makes me think there could be situations where I’d like sketch backstitches. I welcome your suggestions and examples!

 

Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas

In the end, you can alter a pattern to use sketch backstitches or not, as you see fit. If you don’t like them, you don’t have to reject patterns that use them. Just use edge-following backstitches instead.

Likewise, if you hate backstitching, or if you hate fractional stitches, exchange them for sketch backstitches and whole stitches. It’s your embroidery. Your opinion matters most. Do your thing!

I’d love to see that wolf pattern in all whole stitches with sketch backstitches. I don’t think I’ll like it better, but I’d like to see it. Anyone game?

So what do you think? Do you like the look of sketch backstitches or don’t you?

 

Related posts

Fractional Stitches in Cross stitch
In Praise of the Humble Backstitch
What Color for Backstitches?
How to Read a Cross Stitch Pattern
Stitching Over Two Threads

Bookband Elastic for Stitched Bookmarks

Sunday, February 7th, 2016

 

Bookband, Funk & Weber Designs

My first bookbands recycled gold elastic cord.

When I first made bookbands years ago, finding elastic for the project was a hurdle. My search for appropriate and pretty elastic turned up nothing but some lingerie elastic in limited and uninspiring colors. I recycled elastic cord from a gift for my model, but who besides me has that on hand?

Then the only place I found to order that elastic cord was a packaging supplier, and you had to order it by the pound (or something), which wasn’t practical for a one-bookmark stitcher.

While strolling through a Big Box sewing store recently, I discovered decorative elastics that I dreamed of but couldn’t find back then. So, thanks to Dritz, the elastic hurdle has been removed, and it’s time to revisit bookbands.

 

The Problem with Embroidered Bookmarks

Funk & Weber Designs cross stitch pattern, Play Ball!, baseball bookmark

Oh, I have and have made my share of them. The Funk & Weber Designs cross stitch baseball bookmark pattern: Play Ball!

I love embroidered bookmarks. They are nicely rooted in stitchy history; they are beautiful; and they are useful. We still collect and give embroidered bookmarks away in Stitching for Literacy.

But I have a problem with them, too, something I really dislike. Most are designed to be clapped inside a book where the carefully, lovingly, skillfully crafted embroidery is . . . hidden! Not to mention smashed.

Bleh.

Don’t get me wrong: I have and have made my share of these (like the Funk & Weber Play Ball cross stitch bookmark pattern, which I love), but I much prefer an embroidered bookmark that allows the needlework to be visible, and bookbands do just that. Without dangling. I got on the whole bookband kick because a reader complained about book thongs, hookmarks, and other dangly kinds. Got a problem? I want to solve it!

 

Bookbands

I know, I know. There are a gazillion wonderful bookmark patterns and convenient bookmark blanks that are designed to be smashed inside a book, and you can even argue that they’re easier to use—though I will engage in that argument and point out that it’s far from hard to stretch the elastic over a group of pages when one is finished reading for a time. And, I’ll add, because the bookband can stay attached to the book at all times, it’s less likely to get lost. So there.

But that doesn’t mean all those flat bookmarks are useless. What happens if you stitch a loop of pretty elastic to one of those Crafter’s Pride or Janlynn bookmark blanks? Voila! It’s a bookband, and the pretty embroidery can live outside the book, enticing readers to come take a closer look.

 


Embroidered bookband, by Funk & Weber Designs

Bookbands keep the embroidery outside where it’s visible.


 

Fun Dritz Elastic

Dritz now has ruffled and ruched elastics, as well as glitter and fold-over (to encase a raw edge, like on stretchy knit fabric). The ruffled elastic I picked up has ruffles down the outer edges, but I see online that there’s a version with a single ruffle down the center. Also, in finding these links just now, I discovered that the fold-over elastic comes in patterns: polka dots, chevrons, hearts. Fold it in half and stitch it for a more narrow band, or just leave it flat. I can see wanting a narrower band for bracelets-turned-bookbands (keep reading).

Best of all, the colors are great: basic black and white, pastels, and screaming bright colors for me. I’ll take one of each, please.

 

Decorative Elastic from Dritz, Funk & Weber Designs

Decorative elastic from Dritz. Are these great colors or what?

 

Bracelets Turned Bookbands

I am partial to bracelets-turned-bookbands because I love the bracelet pattern. In particular, I like the firm, secure, durable edges and the pretty backside. I also like the grab-and-go nature of the project: It’s small; I stitch the last half of the project in hand; and the pattern is easily memorized. I generally have several of these in various stages of progress, packed in bags, ready to go.

The sample bracelet/bookmark here is narrow, but they can be made any width.

 

Composite cross stitches, by Funk & Weber Designs

The pattern is composite cross stitches with interesting, sparkly threads.

 

Tips, Tricks, & Brilliant Ideas

  • Convert bookmarks you’ve already made to bookbands by adding decorative elastic.
  • Recycle UFOs and orphan projects by cutting them into strips, securing the edges, and—oh, yeah—adding an elastic loop.
  • Use Tokens & Trifles Trinkets stitching cards for bookbands with cool shapes. These cards are no longer being produced, so get them while you can.
  • Put cool stitched doodles to work: Stitch several onto a circle of elastic for a bookband.
  • The Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes ebook is full of ideas and instructions for finishing the edges and backs of doodles and mini stitcheries, most of which can be used to make bookbands.
  • Got a Kindle or Nook or tablet or something else with a cover? Bookbands are great for keeping the cover closed and for identifying yours if there happens to be more than one.

 

Elastic bookband in use, by Funk & Weber Designs

I read with the bookband on. When I’m finished, I slide the completed pages under the elastic.

 

Buy Elastic

 

Ruffle elastic

Ruched elastic

Glitter elastic

Fold-over elastic

 

Head’s Up! Some links in this post are affiliate links. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a small commission.

 

What About You?

So . . . are you game to try bookbands? What other ideas do you have for these groovy elastics?

Stitching Resources for a Productive Year

Saturday, January 30th, 2016

Maybe you had time over the New Year to reflect on 2015 then plan and set goals for 2016.

Maybe you got a good jump on 2016 by starting new projects and embarking on your clear, thoughtful plan for the year.

Maybe you need a New Year do-over.

Whichever camp you call home—or if you live in the ‘burbs outside a camp— I, Queen of Fresh Starts, grant you a clean crafty slate and a nudge in a creative direction.

 

Stitching in the Bush, Jen Funk Weber, Funk & Weber Designs

Stitching while out and about increases productivity. Bring on the grab-and-go projects!

 

In my perpetual quest for maximum creative production, I’m making a concerted effort to produce this year. “Produce” is my word of the year. The multiple meanings of the word are relevant to my quest: Come July it will literally mean lettuce, kale, peas, etc. My Word of the Year is inscribed on a plaque (or scribbled on a Post-It) on the wall above my computer, a constant reminder to get off the computer! Well . . . unless I’m producing creative writing.

I’m pleased with my crafty accomplishments in January, but I’d still like to shift my produce vs. consume balance a bit further. (That’s produce more consume less, in case you need that clarified.) I was very conscious of how I spent time this past month; I set more realistic expectations about what I can accomplish in a day; and I scheduled daily creative time. Actually wrote it down on my to-do list. It seems bonkers that someone whose business depends on creative output must schedule time to create, but so it is for me. Time to own it.

I came up with five ways to consciously up my stitching game this year, and I thought I’d share because if you’re not already there, I’d love to see you in some of these places. So without further ado (too much ado, not enough a-doing), here are some stitching resources for upping your (my) creative output.

 

Connect with Other Crafters

In the past few months, I’ve joined a number of stitchy Facebook groups. There are bunches of them! These are great places to share progress updates, get creative suggestions and answers to questions, and to be cheered on by crafters who totally get you. Here are some of my favorites; maybe I’ll see you there:

Needlepoint Nation
The World of Cross Stitching
Cross Stitching, It’s My Thing
Embroidery, Cross-Stitch, & Needlepoint
Blackwork Needlework
All About Smalls

 

Funk and Weber Designs on Facebook

Funk and Weber designs is on Facebook.

 

Since I’m hanging out more on Facebook, I’m actually posting on the Funk & Weber Designs page. Come like the page and play with me there!

Another fantabulous group is the Stitchin’ Fingers forum. I would like to get more involved here.

It’s important to note that social media can quickly become a source of mass consumption rather than production. I limit my time here. The focus of the Groups gives me more of the pluses and fewer of the minuses of social media.

 

Get Daily/Weekly Inspiration

I subscribe to a number of crafty blogs and newsletters that inspire me and give me endless creative ideas. These are some of my favorites:

Needle ‘N Thread
Nordic Needle’s Newsletter
Pintangle
Tones and Tints
Mr. X Stitch (I have a monthly column here, remember?)

 

sharon b, Pintangle

One of sharon b’s doodle cloths where she played with different chain stitches. If you don’t know sharon b, you should!

 

Take a Class

If you’ve been here for any length of time, you know I love classes. I love to explore and learn new things, and I appreciate the discipline of classes. I’m a dedicated lifelong learner.

The Embroierers’ Guild of America (EGA) and the American Needlepoint Guild (ANG) offer classes at national seminars and regional events, as well as online and through the mail.

I still dream of attending the Royal School of Needlework in England; I just haven’t made it a priority yet. It’s in my future, though. They offer a degree program, but they also offer shorter programs and day classes. They even bring classes to the US—but I plan to go to England when I take my classes with them!

My favorite online craft class source is Craftsy. (Heads up! Remember, I’m a Craftsy affiliate. If you make a purchase through one of these links, I may earn a commission.) I am currently enrolled in five classes and will be working on them throughout the year. I’m still gathering supplies for some—a lengthy process from rural Alaska. I would love to have you join me in one of these classes:

Goldwork Embroidery
Embroidering Texture and Dimension by Hand
Zip It Up! Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags I envision stitching the fabrics for these bags.

 

Craftsy Hand-Embroidery Classes

 

Craftsy offers a handful of hand-embroidery classes and 900+ classes in other, sometimes related, crafts. If you’re a multi-crafter, sit down with a cuppa and enjoy a look around!

And don’t forget there are Funk & Weber classes, too. After you’ve taken an embroidery class, sign up for one of our four DIY Embroidery Finishing classes and learn to frame your work, hemstitch it, piece it with other fabrics for wall hangings and more, or sew it up into a cozy pillow.

 

DIY Embroidery Finishing by Funk & Weber Designs

 

Challenge Yourself

Take a Stitch Tuesday logo

TAST logo, designed and stitched by Annet from Fat Quarter.

If you’re looking to expand your stitchy creativity, the best way I know how is to play with stitches and patterns. Forget creating a final product. Just play. My favorite playground for this kind of play is Sharon B’s Take a Stitch Tuesday, aka TAST.

Every week, Sharon posts a stitch with a tutorial on how to work it. Then participants play with the stitch and, if they want, they share photos of the result.

Sharon repeatedly reminds folks in the TAST Facebook group that photos should be of the stitch and how you played with it, not of finished items. A lot of people don’t seem to get this, and Sharon is super patient and kind about it, but there’s a reason for discouraging photos of finished projects: It takes the focus off the real purpose, which is simply to play with the stitches. Lots of groups exist to share photos of finished pieces. That is usually the focus of needlework. Sharon’s trying to shift that focus because playing, with no vision or requirement for the outcome, is the source of creativity. Sharon’s doodle cloth pictured earlier in this post is the kind of thing you create in TAST. It’s lovely, no? And it can certainly be made up into something after the doodling.

I applaud Sharon’s efforts, and I encourage you to join me on the TAST playground.

ANG has a Stitch of the Month club with wonderful archives, and there are other stitchy challenges out there. Pick one! TAST is my choice right now.

 

Treat Yourself

For the ultimate creative inspiration, travel. There is nothing like a change of pace and a change of scenery to ignite creativity.

My first choice for your creative travel is (three guesses, and the first two don’t count) our own Stitch in Alaska tour, August 31–September 6, 2016.

 

Stitch in Alaska, Funk & Weber Designs

 

But there are other options, too. To browse a wonderful collection of embroidery-based excursions, request to join the Stitchers’ Escapes Facebook Group.

Stitchers are doers. The year is young. There’s lots of time to explore and create. What are you doing to make this a fun and productive year?