Posts Tagged ‘Stitching for Literacy’


Wanted: Bookmarks!

Sunday, March 6th, 2016


Still Stitching for Literacy


Students examining and chooseing cross stitch bookmarks.

Students at Mountain View Elementary School select a hand-stitched bookmark to go with their brand new books.


It’s that time of year when we start thinking about the graduating fifth graders at Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage. Every year, we celebrate the reading accomplishments of these students with hand-stitched bookmarks.

Since the dissolution of Arctic Needleworkers, the Anchorage EGA chapter, readers here have stepped up to keep the tradition alive, stitching and mailing bookmarks for these students. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Stitchers, thread your needles . . . it’s time to stitch bookmarks again.


Where to Find Bookmark Patterns

There is no shortage of bookmark patterns. Your local Indie needlework shop is bound to have a bunch, and an Internet search will turn up countless free and paid options.

In fact, you may already have bookmark patterns in your pattern stash. But that’s not always the point, is it? Part of the stitching fun is finding and stitching something new.

Here are some things I’ve found.

Heads up! Some of these are affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, I may receive a small commission.

Leisure Arts offers a bunch of bookmark charts, usually containing multiple patterns.

Keeping in mind that the recipients are kids, this Stoney Creek Collection is a great choice. The 12 patterns include seasonal themes as well as book themes. I’d love to see a bunch of the skull-and-crossbones and space bookmarks. I especially like the Batty over Books and Book Lover ones, too.


Stoney Creek Collection Bookmarks


Do you like surprises? This Bookmarks Galore pattern collection is like a mystery stitch-a-long: the pattern image is so small you really can’t tell what you’re getting! This cracks me up. But there are 66 patterns in this collection—66!—so there’s bound to be something fun and useful. And for just $6.95, well, the fun of the mystery alone is worth that. I can make out cool-looking cat and bear bookmarks that are cat- and bear-shaped, and I see that there is at least one corner bookmark pattern included. If you’re an adventurer, this might be a fun option.


Cross Stitch Bookmarks Galore


The Hold That Thought bookmark collection contains 37 patterns along with alphabets so you can add your own sentiments. It’s actually two collections: Words of Wisdom and I Can Read. As you would guess, the I Can Read patterns are designed for kids. We’ve had some of these donated in the past, and I can tell you they’re popular with young readers. Also, if you’re in a hurry to get a pattern—or if you just appreciate instant gratification and/or want to save trees—this collection is downloadable.


Hold That Thought cross stitch bookmark patterns



Ornaments as Bookmarks

Now that we have cool elastic for bookbands, consider using ornament patterns for bookmarks. These colorful owlet kits would make great bookbands, don’t you think?


Owlet cross stitch ornaments



Funk & Weber Patterns

Oh, yeah! We have bookmark patterns, too! Even better, you can get them all in a collection for 40% off plus free shipping!


Funk & Weber Bookmark Collection

Funk & Weber Cross Stitch Bookmark Patterns



Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes

You can also make bookmarks from just about any tiny bit of embroidery: a doodle, a UFO, an isolated motif from a larger pattern. Learn all sorts of clever and creative ways to finish bookmarks with the Bookmarks 101: Simple, Smart, and Swanky Finishes ebook.


Bookmarks 101 E-book cover

Learn to finish bookmarks and other stitchy doo-dads.



Will You Stitch A Bookmark for Us?

Will you stitch a bookmark or five for us? It doesn’t have to be one of these patterns: Any hand-stitched bookmark will do. The goal of Stitching for Literacy is twofold: We want to encourage and reward reading, and we want to expose kids to needlework and help them develop an appreciation for it.

Leave a comment below or drop me a line at mail AT funkandweber DOT com, and I’ll tell you where to send your bookmark donations.

Thank you!

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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.


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!



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?

A Portion of Profits Go to First Book

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

Funk & Weber, Monkey Read, Monkey Do bookmark pattern

Funk & Weber, Monkey Read, Monkey Do bookmark pattern

Years ago when I launched Needle and ThREAD: Stitching for Literacy, I decided to donate a portion of profits from bookmark pattern sales to a literacy charity. After significant research, I chose First Book as my target charity.

I firmly believe that after basic human needs are met—and I consider these to be food, clothing, shelter, and health care—literacy is the top priority, the key to a happy and productive life, tolerance, and, ultimately, world peace, equality, justice, and all things good. Yes, I believe literacy can save the world.

First Book provides access to new books for children in need.

To date, First Book has distributed more than 135 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada. First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education by making new, high-quality books available on an ongoing basis.

While I don’t currently run the Stitching for Literacy Bookmark Challenge, we are still collecting and donating bookmarks to schools and libraries. Our most recent donation was to the Texas School for the Deaf, and every year we support Mountain View Elementary School in Anchorage.


Hardanger Bookmarks, Stitching for Literacy

Hardanger bookmarks from a recent donation.


I also continue to make an annual donation to First Book in the name of Funk & Weber Designs and Stitching for Literacy, and this is the time of year when I am reminded to do so. I love doing this. It makes me feel good. I hope it makes you feel good, too, knowing that when you purchase a Stitching for Literacy bookmark pattern, a portion of your money goes to First Book. Thank you for helping me feel good!

You can see all the patterns—and the class and e-book—that generate money for our First Book donation in the Funk & Weber shop. The e-book is on page two. I love that e-book and the alternative bookmark finishes in it!

Why not treat yourself to a new pattern (or e-book) for the new year and simultaneously treat a child in need to a new book? Stitch two bookmarks: Send one to us and keep the other for yourself or a friend.

Thanks for all you do. Happy New Year!

Do you have a favorite charity? Do you support other charities with your needlework? Tell us!

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