Still Stitching For Literacy

Karen with some bookmarks

Karen, Co-President of Arctic Needleworkers, avid reader, and tireless supporter of Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy.

Meet Karen

While I no longer formally organize shop and guild participation in the Needle and ThREAD: Stitching For Literacy program, the Arctic Needleworkers EGA chapter here in Alaska has been stitching merrily along since the program inception in 2007. Thanks mostly to Karen Bente, co-president of our guild chapter and owner of the Arctic Needle shop, our group has donated hundreds of hand-stitched bookmarks to Anchorage public libraries and Mountain View Elementary School. We’re currently stitching bookmarks for Mountain View fifth graders who will graduate in 2014.

As the current Program Chair of the guild, I’ve implemented a new monthly bookmark program, and I want to invite you all to participate. It’s a heap of fun, and I love the resulting cross stitch and embroidered bookmarks! You can donate your bookmarks locally or send them to us. Our membership is tiny and the graduating class is large—we could use the help!

Send completed bookmarks to Arctic Needleworkers EGA, P.O. Box 240124, Anchorage, AK 99524-0124


Book Thong Stitchalong

Book thongs in various stages of completion.

Stitching for Literacy Book Thong project for 2013-14. A flexible pattern for exploring new designs, stitches, fabrics, and fibers.

We’re making these book thongs. Through the monthly program we will accomplish the following things:

  • We’ll explore a variety of new stitches and materials.
  • We’ll exercise our individual creativity in how we combine stitches and materials.
  • We’ll learn and/or practice finishing techniques.
  • We’ll create interesting and beautiful bookmarks for our Stitching for Literacy outreach project.


  • Stitching For Literacy Book Thong Base

    Stitch the Bookmark Base

    This is the bookmark base. No, you don’t have to try to stitch from that itty-bitty image; you can download a pdf pattern.

    You can use any fabric whatsoever and any fiber of any color.

    Stitch the X in the center and the zigzag lines that radiate from it, dividing the square into four areas. Cross stitch and backstitch may be the obvious choices for these elements, but you can do something else. How about French knots for the X and couched Memory Wire for the zigzags? Oh, yeah…you’ve got options!

    The solid line around the outer edge will become the outer edge of the piece when it is finished. Stitch around this edge using a backstitch, stem stitch, Portuguese knotted stem stitch, or border stitch of your choice using a #5 or #8 pearl fiber or something similar.

    Do not stitch the yellow 10 x 10 squares. Yet.

  • 10x10 Eyelet and Partial Scotch Stitch Pattern.

    The 10 x 10 Squares

    The 10 x 10 squares indicated by yellow boxes will contain a variety of stitches and patterns. This is where we will do our monthly exploring, testing, and playing. We’ll try new stitches, make up our own patterns, and experiment with new fibers, beads, and whatever else strikes our stitchy fancies.

    Make use of stitch guides and published patterns to get ideas and learn new stitches. In addition to your own exploring, I’ll post some 10 x 10 patterns and challenges here on the blog. Stay tuned!

    As you’re stitching, feel free to send your thoughts, ideas, and pictures to me at mail AT funkandweber DOT com. I’d love to share them here.

  • Book Thong bobble

    The Thong Bobble

    For every bookmark base you complete—and you can stitch as many as your heart desires—stitch a single 10 x 10 square on a scrap of fabric for the “thong bobble.” You can stitch an edge around it or not.

  • Finished Stitching For Literacy book thong.


    We’ll get to this later, so for the time being, just save your bases and bobbles.

  • Stitching for Literacy book thong stitchalong pattern cover

    Let’s Get Started!

    Download the Stitching For Literacy Bookmark Base pdf for the base pattern and some 10 x 10 squares to get you started.

    This is a wonderfully portable project. Put a scrap of fabric into a bag with some fiber scraps or a couple of skeins, a needle, the base pattern, and your scissors. My fabric scraps are small, so I tend to skip the hoop and just stitch in hand. Put the bag in your purse or car so you can make use of short bits of time while you’re waiting, attending meetings, or doing anything that allows multi-tasking. If you forget to take a pattern, make something up!


Students examining and choosing cross stitch bookmarks.

Students at Mountain View Elementary School select a hand-stitched bookmark to go with their brand new books. I see two of my bookmarks in there!


Still Donating Profits

We’re also still donating a portion of profits from our cross stitch bookmark patterns to literacy charities. Even better, you can grab the lot of them for 40% off and free shipping!


Pattern covers for Stitching for Literacy cross stitch bookmark patterns.

Stitching for Literacy cross-stitch bookmark patterns by Funk & Weber Designs.

3 Responses to “Still Stitching For Literacy”

  1. Annette Briggs

    Found this site by accident, OH my I am doing a happy dance, love it sew much. thanks

    February 23, 2015 @ 3:23 am
  2. Jen

    Yay! I’m thrilled you’re here, Annette!

    February 26, 2015 @ 10:37 pm
  3. Kathy in Kenai

    I will be sending some bookmarks to you next week. Maybe put this out on some of the needlepoint or crafters FB pages?

    March 21, 2015 @ 12:48 pm

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