Monday, December 5, 2011

Texas Christmas Stocking Giveaway Held

The first phase of our Texas Fire Relief Effort took place on Saturday, December 3 in Bastrop, Texas. The members of the Lost Pines Quilters set up the distribution site and played Santa's Helpers during the giveaway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

SANTA'S HELPERS: Back Row from left to right: Judy Harvell, Stephanie Gaskill, Lyn Gaskill, Debbie Higgins and Renee Gray. In the front is Judy Harding. All are members of Lost Pines Quilters. Lyn, Debbie and Renee are also Stitchmap members. Stephanie and Debbie lost their homes to the fires. Debbie is currently rebuilding. Stephanie moved into a new home and was evacuated out of that in a matter of days. She is now resettled.

There were stockings of all sizes (over 100 were sent down), bags of ornaments for each stocking recipient and extra ornaments set out on the tables for those who didn't want a stocking. The ladies set all the kits and patterns and books out at the far end of the table and let everyone choose what they would like to work on during the pre-holiday season.

Lyn shared with me that there were 20 families who were represented that day, for a combined total of over 50 people given help. More than 100 stockings were donated. Several people opted not to take a stocking at all, taking only a few of the 282 donated ornaments or a couple of the 100+ Christmas kits and patterns. There seemed to be a sense of wanting to make sure there was enough left for everyone else who might come after them.

Mothers brought in their children to choose their own stockings and you could tell it was a MAJOR decision for each child. Very important stuff...had to make sure the stocking was just the right size, style, and color. Afterall, it had to be able to hold all the stuff Santa would bring. The first stocking chosen was a candy cotton pink cotton with a full lace overlay held down with strategically placed sequins tacked down with seed beads. The cuff was a quilted white fabric. The young lady who chose it.....Sugar was her name...was speechless because she couldn't believe someone had made something so perfect...just for her.

Stitchmap member, Debbie H., who lost her home to the fires of Bastrop, is helping a young mother and her children find something to brighten their day, too!

One lady, mother of a 3 yr. old, hugged a volunteer, broke down and cried, "I didn't know there were people like all of you in this world. Thank you so much!" She had watched as the first day of fires took the home of her neighbor, but spared hers. Then, her home was burned to the ground when the fire turned with the wind and roared through the same area again. She has been slowly trying to recover while living with family.

Even the grandmothers were there, choosing stockings and/or ornaments for their grandkids so that they would be able to give them "a little something" this year in spite of the expense it is going to take to rebuild. It was an emotional day for everyone.

Another lady confided that she was reluctant to remain in the room when she first got there. It all seemed too overwhelming to think that they could be getting the help from perfect strangers. But Lyn and the crew talked her into coming in and choosing something. She was immediately drawn to the large stockings made from an old patchwork quilt. She broke down and sobbed while telling the ladies that her grandmother had been a quilter and she had lost her grandmother's quilts in the fire. These stockings reminded her so much of those quilts. She had to leave the room due to the emotion. Lyn wrapped up the stockings, went out into the hall and tucked them under the lady's arm. They are going to a home where they will be very much loved and cherished.

Sugar and her mother perusing the stockings. Note the old patchwork quilt stockings on the right side of the table, bordered in a red binding mentioned above.

Since the distribution Lyn has received additional calls from ladies who were away from the area on the day of distribution or who had heard about it from friends. She is allowing them to come and pick out things at her house until the supply is gone. The final figures on the number of people who were helped might not be in until after Christmas. The Bastrop advertiser sent a reporter and a photographer to cover the event and the story appeared in the paper this past Wednesday. Hopefully, more people will get the news and contact Lyn for some of what is still available.

There were two special drawings held. Each person who attended got an opportunity ticket to put into the drawing box. At the end of the day two names were drawn for the special prizes. The blackwork wall hanging banner of the Three Wisemen was won by Annette H. and the beautiful hostess apron done in a cross stitched holiday design was won by Bobbie P. Both of these ladies were thrilled.

There was a lot of sharing going on in that room. Sharing of stories about the fire, the recovery process and the healing. Sharing of stash and stitching news. Many of the ladies asked about information on how to join Stitchmap and the Lost Pines Quilters. New friends were made and hope was renewed.

Everyone who attended will be invited back to the Phase 2 distribution of general stash in February. We have asked to tell their friends about the event. In talking with the attendees we discovered that many of the ladies who came to this event were not members of quilt groups, guilds or formal needlework groups. The majority were homemakers who loved to stitch for family and friends but had not had time to join with others for workshops, etc. They didn't shop at the local fabric or quilt shops, didn't attend the guilds. They were calling themselves "crafters" and bought most of their stitching supplies at hobby shops like Michael's and Hobby Lobby. Most of them were looking for kits that were complete so that they could stitch right away and get back to something that brought them relaxation and pleasure after a busy day. Many thought it would be a much longer time before they could have afforded kits and patterns like they had to choose from in that room that day.

The smiles on their faces as they left made it all worth the effort! Thanks to everyone who sent stockings, fabric, kits, books, patterns, ornaments and anything else that we sent down there for the Christmas Giveaway. May your holidays be as full of hope and cheer as that which you gave to these ladies and their families!!!

This is Michele Pittman, a member of Stitchmap and Lost Pines Quilters. She also lost her home in the fires. Here she is making a selection of a crazy quilt kit and ornaments for tree as she starts over again and begins stitching in her new apartment.

Many thanks to those families that allowed us to use their pictures in this post. They made it possible to put a face to the story. We wish you all a Blessed Holiday Season.

Hugs, Shari

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Texas Christmas Ornaments Shipped

The Christmas Stockings and Ornaments from the first phase of our Texas Fire Relief Effort have been shipped and are due to arrive in Texas on this coming Tuesday. Lyn and her committee from the Lone Pine Quilters in Bastrop have secured a distribution site for Saturday, December 3, 2011. The local newspaper ran a nice article about the distribution, flyers have been put around town and word of mouth is spreading the news that help is on the way. The list of those contacting Lyn for help in the way of stockings, ornaments, kits and Christmas decorations is beginning to grow.

Here is a breakdown of what was sent in the boxes for Phase I:

104 Christmas Stockings - small gift card size to full traditional size.

282 Tree Ornaments that were received from all over the world.

Some were from family collections of antique glass ornaments.

Some were done in ethnic techniques like huckweaving.

Many were sent in sets of multiiples like these smocked fans. Others were in silk ribbon and even iron on applique. Many were done in machine embroidery.

There were store bought ornaments of all types- ceramic, wood, and even feathers.

The majority of those received were handcrafted and/or hand stitched ornaments. There were a wide variety of techniques represented - feltwork, beading, cross stitch, needlepoint, quilting and plastic canvas, to name a few.

Many tatted, crocheted and knitted ornaments also were included in the donations.

Other Christmas related items were received and sent in the shipment to Bastrop. They include:

-- 7 Holiday Decor Items for around the house and even tinsel for some trees
-- 18 Christmas Pattern Sheets for cross stitch and candlewicking
-- 84 Complete Cross Stitch Ornament Kits
-- Crazy Quilt Ornament Kits: 7
-- 1 Needlepoint kit of a Jewish Menorrah Applique Kit
-- 1 T-shirt Iron On Kit
-- There were several cuts of red and green 14 ct. Aida cloth
-- Multiple packages of Plastic Beads for stringing garland
-- 2 Already Beaded Garlands
-- A wide variety of Christmas Cotton Fabric pieces - from scrap size to yardage.
-- 40+ Christmas Pattern Books & Magazines for cross stitch, candlewicking, crochet, knitting and needlepoint

There were also some one-of-a-kind specialty items that were donated. The committee has decided to use these for special drawings throughout the distribution day. They include:

A Beautiful Cross Stitched Hostess Apron

A Blackwork Wall Hanging of the Three Wisemen

And several of the Beaded Ornaments will be included in the drawings.

If I left an item off the list, it is not for want of trying to remember, lol. I have been told that there are more packages on their way and if they get here in time I will ship them overnight to Texas. If they arrive late, I will include them in what is taken down in February, for it is never too early to begin planning for next Christmas.

I want to thank everyone who sent items for Phase I. There really aren't words to tell you how special everything really was. Lyn has promised to take pictures on the day of distribution. I will post again right after the distribution to let you know how it went.


Friday, September 30, 2011

Fabric Yardage & Tools

We have really begun to receive some wonderful donations for the Texas Fire Relief Effort. I am going to post pictures over the next few days of some of the goodies that have been received and that will be taken to Bastrop for delivery in February.

Here are some of the very first books that came in. They are from MAP member Carolyn W. and her friend who donated the applique books.

Melissa H. of Japanesque Accents sent a very large package of wonderful stitching supplies, a part of which are shown in the pictures below:

A great book on sweatshirt embellishment ideas.

Needles and various other tools and sewing notions.

Flexible lights which will surely bring a smile to someone's face.

Wonderful fabrics for quilting, sewing and embroidery.

Thanks go out to these ladies for helping to get the ball rolling. My daughter, Moon and my DH have also just returned from Michigan. While they were there they stopped by Karol's - a StitchMap member - house and picked up some wonderful stash that I will share pictures of as soon as we get it unloaded from the trailer.

Hugs, Shari


Phase One of our fire Relief Effort is the donating of Christmas Ornaments and stockings. We have asked that the donations be received in Colorado no later than the weekend of November 19. Today I want to show you some of the first ornaments we received.

Various types of hand crafted ornaments made by Stitchmap member Annette A. of Virginia.

Marjorie H. made these darling appliqued wool mittens. She also sent some Christmas Kits. Marjorie shares that she actually intended to deoorate these mittens for Christmas last year but never got around to it. She says it is just proof that they were intended for the families in Texas. This is one of those times she is glad she procrastinated. I have to say, "So are we!" These are so cute in person!

Hugs, Shari

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

And So It Begins.....

Donations have begun to arrive for our Fire Relief Effort. The first donation that came was from a MAP member in Alabama. It contained some really great books

.......and a wonderful assortment of perle cotton threads.

Later in the week my husband graciously agreed to drive me to Denver to pick up a large donation from a member of the Rocky Mountain Crazy Quilter's Association. The lady helped to fill the backend of our Suburban with 7 large boxes and 15 very large black garbage bags. Let me tell you that there isn't any garbage in those bags!

I have just begun to sort out what is there and it will take me several more days to finish. So far I have discovered that she has donated quilting patterns, magazines, fabric, q-snaps, buttons, quilting templates, and some specialty yarns. There is stuff that I haven't even been able to get to yet.

In these pictures you can see my hubby and I are unloading the first bags once we got home. To tell the truth, I took that one bag in the house and then Moon helped him unload the remaining bags and boxes while I held the front door open! They are real troopers!

If you have extra stash items that you would like to donate to the ladies of Batrop and the surrounding communities, please email me at I will be keeping everyone updated through this blog from now until we deliver in early February. We are accepting donations of Christmas ornaments and stockings up until the weekend before Thanksgiving (Nov. 19-20). These will given to the ladies who lost their cherished holiday items when their house burned to the ground. Email me for details.

Hugs, Shari

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Texas Fire Victim's Relief Effort

Relief effort is underway. We have several members who have been directly involved in the most recent devastating fires that ravaged East Texas. Some have lost their homes and everything in them. Others have suffered smoke damage. The community there is full of women and men who were avid needleworkers. You can see photos and read a personal account of the fire experience on Lyn's blog at

The moderators of MAP have decided to launch a relief effort to try and help the people in this community with needlework stash replacement. This will be done as part of the outreach associated with our Stash Angel Program.

The following letter is being sent to several needlework sites and organizations. We are hoping we can get a response that will rock the socks off of the Bastrop community!

We are all aware of the devastating fires that recently shook eastern Texas. We know several ladies who have been affected by these fires. For instance, Michele P., and Debbie H. both of Bastrop have lost their homes comletely to the fires there this past week as have several other of our stitching friends. Even Lyn Gaskill, who is also from Bastrop, has her home still standing but she was totally without power/electricity for several days. Frannie S. and Kay F. of nearby Cedar Creek have their homes still standing but they had been evacuated. All three of these last ladies have suffered a great deal of smoke damage to everything in their homes, including their stash.

The members of Stitchmap are working on coordinating donations for helping to replace the stash of the ladies who lost everything and those who may have suffered smoke damage beyond repair. We are accepting donations of all types of stash from scissors, floss, fabric, mags/books, needles, etc. If you use it in CQ, embroidery, quilting or other types of needlework, they can definitely use it to replace what has been lost. We have also had a suggestion that a donation of gift cards for the local needlework supply stores - such as the local quilt shop, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, etc. - might be a good idea so that they can replace those items like cutting mats, etc. that are awkward to mail. Whatever we can do to help will be done.

It is our intention to collect the donations at one central location here in Colorado. Then we will personally transport a delivery as soon as we hear that they have had a chance to regroup, talk with their insurance agents and that they have decided whether to rebuild or move into some already built place. Some are living in 5th wheelers right now. We are coordinating with one of our Austin members (just 30 miles away) who will help oversee the distribution of the Christmas ornament donations. Without a place to store the needlework stash donations, and with the holidays soon approaching, it seems senseless to send that to them right now. I am sure they have more important things to worry about at the moment than where to put a new donation of stash. We have had a watertight, covered 8 'x 12' trailer offered for hauling the things down to Texas (can we say Road Trip!) and to deliver the stuff to these stitchers personally. Several of us from Colorado will be going down at the time so there will be a complete accounting for all donations.

Here is the plan: Once the fire victims who have lost everything have had an opportunity to take what they can use we will arrange for the members of their local quilting group (who were also affected but not to the degree of losing everything) to have an opportunity to take what they can use. If there is anything left at that point we will offer it to the local community to help replace what may have been lost by any stitchers in the area. We are working on establishing a site to set the donations out so that these needlwoman can come and see what is offered/donated. We are working on a method of advertising this opportunity to the community beforehand. It is our intention to come home with an empty trailer.

In the meantime, we have agreed to work on helping to replace precious handmade Christmas ornaments for these fire victims. We would be more than willing to include your ornaments among the donations if you are inclined to make some for them. Everyone will be credited on a list of donors that will be given to the recipients. We are targeting the week of Thanksgiving as the completion date for Christmas ornaments so that we can get them to Texas before Christmas. We will take stash donations between now and the end of the year, to be delivered in person right after the first of the year, hopefully. Exact delivery date will depend on their ability to receive something at the time.

If you would like to help in this effort please contact me privately (if you haven't already) at or call me at 719-392-6303. I will be in touch with you right away with more information and details.

We will post photos and information about the delivery in a future blog post. Please feel free to share our appeal letter with others who might be able to help.

Hugs, Shari

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Christmas In July & Mug Rugs

On StitchMap we have some wondeful swaps several times during the year. Connie, our Swap Coodinator, makes sure that they run smoothly. With all of the very talented and generous stitchers on StitchMap we are never disappointed with the items we receive in the swaps.

One of our most popular annual swaps, Christmas in July, is coming up soon and we hset up a poll this time to find out exactly what type of Christmas/Holiday item the members are interested in swapping this year. The Christmas in July swap is always fun. Last year we swapped Christmas ornaments done in our own favorite technique. There were ornaments done in Hardanger, cross stitch, needlepoint, blackwork, silk ribbon embroidery and crazy quilt. There were even some Chinese Dragon Boats swapped......very unusual and soooo beautiful. I still get excited remembering all the beautiful ornaments everyone made for each other!

This year our members got to choose between making Christmas ornaments again or Mug Rugs or swapping both items. Oh.... the agony of having choices! I have been dreaming about possibly making or receiving a Christmas Mug Rug. Perhaps a Mug Rug that could be used all year round would be best? Personally, I believe I would use my Christmas mug rug all year around! I just love the choices this year!

The poll results showed 58% in favor of swapping just Mug Rugs, 29% in favor of swapping both and just 19% in favor of doing a holiday ornament. So, Mug Rugs it will be. I suppose I can always stick in some Christmas cocoas or a special little hand stitched item. That is the fun of a the unexpected too.

The mentors of MAP recently had a Mug Rug Swap of their own. Each mentor could make and swap as many as 3 of these little beauties. Here are some pictures of a few that were done.

This quilted mug rug was made by Ruby R. for Susie J. Loving the Christmas colors here.

This reversible mug rug with the matching snack bowl and tea caddy case was made for List Mom Shari by Amber R. Isn't that a clever little bowl for Shari to put her jelly beans in?

This cozy mug rug was made using selvages and a simple coffee cup embroidery of redwork stitches done in brown. It was made by Shari for Mona D. She also included a variety of teas in the package.

See you on StitchMap.

Lyn G.
aka;Ms Mischief

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mischief On Map

Every once in a while we have an activity on MAP that does not seem to be really stitching related. These little Off Topic Events are much enjoyed by the membership as they are usually done at the expense of our List Mom's embarassment. They mostly occur when I, fondly called Ms. Mischief by the members, come up with something a bit sticky to get into. This past week I came up with the idea of having a contest for which I would offer a skein of floss as the prize for everyone with the right answer. The idea came to me while I was watching a late night movie starring several classic western heros.

One of the actors in the movie I was watching was someone I knew that our List Mom, Shari, had a big crush on when she was younger. So, I devised a way to let the ladies tease her while trying to win the floss. I am sure we have all had similar crushes on movie stars or musicians, etc. My own crush was a rock singer who gave my mother the fits....David Lee Roth. I remember I had a great poster of him that my mother really did not like! But, back to torturing Shari.......

The next day I posted an email to the members that contained a list of characters in the movie. They were to guess the name of the movie. Whoever guessed the name of the movie right would win a skein of DMC floss which would be sent in the mail. Can you guess the movie?? Here are the characters:

John Wayne
Dean Martin
Walter Brennen
Ward Bond
Angie Dickenson
Claude Akins
Ricky Nelson.

Of course, I had to ask them who they thought she had a crush on and why they chose that particular person. In the end everyone had so much fun teasing her about her crush that they lost sight of the movie title. Like Mischief sometimes does, it took on a life of its own and became more of a contest for guessing her crush guy than the movie. Shari, with great humor, regaled us with stories about this fellow. In the end I sent everyone who even responded a skein of floss (everyone became a winner!) because I so enjoyed the hilarious comments they made about the fellow and Shari. Could you have guessed the name of the movie? What about her crush guy?

Let this be a lesson to can all be brought back to needle and thread somehow. Don't miss a chance to play with Ms. Mischief on MAP from time to time.

H'mmmm.....Can anyone remember a David Lee Roth song? (Shhh.....don't get me started!)

Have a great day!

Lyn G.
aka; Ms Mischief

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pins - Get It Straight

PINS! Have you ever contemplated this seemingly simple little thing that you probably use every day when stitching or sewing? Where was it made? How was it made? What is its story? Am I the only one who does this? I don't think so. However, I like to peak the intrest of those who don't wonder about these things. I want to urge people think about this stuff.

Happily, I run the StitchMap Teaser which is run in the even numbered months. I get to exercise my desire to make the members think about the small stuff associated with needlework. Most of the time the subject is more currently relative, like a certain designer or quilt pattern names, etc. But, sometimes I do pick some off the wall/crazy subjects for the Teaser. You learn so much from researching them! This month, April , I chose the topic of Pins for the StitchMap Teaser. The ordinary little straight pin.

Everyone uses pins for sewing and other things. Pins are an everyday object used in sewing of all kinds and Quilting. Have you ever wondered how such a useful item came into use? What were the first pins made of? Did you know that in some early cultures they used thorns for pins? Here in Texas with all the mesquite trees we would have had an endless supply of those pins!

My own intrest in pins was sparked by a TV show on the History channel called The Worst Jobs In History. The particular episode was on The Tudor Times. In this episode they had a segment on manufacturing pins. Did you know that in Tudor Times pins were made in little dank rooms with no light? The hours were long for the pin makers and they only made pennies a day. Just enough to buy a loaf of bread, maybe. It got even worse when King Henry VIII put in effect this law: "No pin should be sold unless they be dauble-headed and have the headdes soundered faste to the shanke of the pynne."

Would you be surprised to learn that they needed pins in those times to literally stay dressed? Yes, all those ruffles were held onto the wearer by -- you guessed it -- pins!

That is where the saying "pin money" came into our language. People had to set aside an allowance to buy the little pins just so they could stay dressed! It also did not help that those pins were expensive.

We learned in this month's Teaser that at one time the USA was a major producer of straight pins. Now there are only a few US manufacturers. Most of the pins made today are made in Asia. One pin factory can produce 3 million or more pins a day. We also learned how the metal is made into a long wire, how it is cut and treated. There is more to that little pin than most of us ever thought about.

Have I caught your intrest yet? Did you learn something new? I hope so! I also hope that you will be able to participate in the next StitchMap Teaser. If you are not a member you need to join now......we have so much fun learning together!

Congratulations to MAP members Theresa E. and Angela W. They were our Teaser winners this month. Great research skills, ladies! Each of you will receive a stitching related prize for your efforts.

Lyn G.
aka: Ms Mischief.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Art of Repurposing

In these times of having to stretch the dollar everyone everywhere is probably stepping back and taking a long hard look at the objects that they are getting ready to throw away. They are most likely asking themselves, "Can I reuse this? Is it worth repurposing?"

If you spent any amount of time with your grandparents while you were growing up you might have seen lots of repurposing going on. I picked up the habit of keeping and finding new uses for butter tubs. Both of my grandmothers did this all the time. It drives my husband a bit crazy but it does save him money when compared to my buying lots of Tupperware or bead storage containers.

Keeping in step with the times, StitchMap recently had a repurposing contest. The ladies of StitchMap were asked to send from 1-3 pictures of items that they had repurposed. They were to tell the original function or use of the item and then share how they converted it to use for needle work. There were 20 ladies that answered this challenge. Between them they shared 39 great ideas for repurposing everything from tape rolls and ice cream cartons to rain gutter sections and furniture pieces. Many of the ideas were truly inspired!

All of the ideas were so great that we took the names of the ladies who so generously shared and put them into a drawing to win some great prizes. We had two winners:

Erica C. - who shared how she repurposed some silverware divider trays for storing sewing supplies in her drawers. They held everything from pins & needles to knitting needles, scissors to rotary cutters and so much more.

Ginny M. - who shared how she took a walk in closet and converted it to a place for her computer and sewing supplies. The shelf was lined in storage containers for beads and supplies and there were plenty of peg boards filled with spools of thread mounted on the walls. There was even room for her computer! This was less expensive than adding on a new addition!

Another idea shared was from Merle R. of Australia. She used a half gallon ice cream carton and repurposed it as a current project box. She simply cleaned it well and then added a decorative fabric covering. She carries her current project and supplies around without worry.

Theresa E. showed us how she uses peg style clothes pins as bobbins for her silk ribbon and her laces. Here is a picture of her silk ribbon wound on the newly repurposed "bobbins".

The final idea we would like to share with you is from Rhonda P. She loves to keep her spools of satin, wired & novelty ribbons stored in some repurposed rain gutters that her husband cut and capped the ends of for her. He then mounted them on the wall in her sewing room. This keeps everything fairly tidy and within easy reach.

If you would like to know all the other great ideas that were shared during this contest just join StitchMAP and check out the Photos in the Repurposing Album. We learn so much from each other it is amazing!

Lyn G.........Ms Mischief.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A New Year & No Knots

Welcome to the New Year! StitchMap is gearing up for a year of excitement and great stitching opportunities. We will have many new classes and other learning opportunites to offer in 2011. There will be GREAT new Challenges, Trivia Teasers and Courses that will be free to all members. Our first course of the year already began this week. We have 9 mentors working with 23 apprentices on Color Theory. The waiting list is filling up for the April Color Theory Class as you are reading this. March will see us beginning a new group of apprentices in the Basic Crazy Quilting Course. There will be some new to MAP courses beginning after that.

We asked our members to give us an idea of the types of things they would like to see shared on this blog. Tutorials was a popular answer. So, in keeping with the spirit of StitchMap and all the sharing that we do on our group, we are going to share one of our picture tutorials with the cyber world. We hope it helps everyone who has a problem with twisted threads .

We have a bunch of short picture tutorials on MAP that cover a myriad of useful things a good needlewoman should know how to do. This one is for those who are tired of dealing with twisted threads while they are stitching. If you will take the time to separate the floss into single plies and then set them back together side by side before threading your needle it will make a world of difference. Your floss will be less likely to twist around itself and snarl while you are stitching. Many stitchers are reluctant to separate their floss because they don't like the tangles and knots that are so frequently the result when they tackle the job. This is a simple and very effective method that will almost always avoid causing knots if done correctly.

© A StitchMap Tutorial

Cut a strand of 6 ply DMC floss into a length of 24 - 30”.

Using your left hand, hold the floss in a semitight pinch about 3/8” from the top so that all of the floss ends are exposed and the freshly cut ends are hanging down below your fingers. (Left handed people can just reverse the instructions)

Using your right index finger, tap the ends of the floss lightly until the plies begin to separate.

Grasp one of the separated plies of thread with your right index finger and thumb. Pinch it securely and pull it slowly upward and away from your left hand moving slightly to the right.

The excess floss in your left hand will bunch up somewhat behind your fingers as the single ply of floss is being pulled out.

When the single ply of floss is totally removed from the strand simply shake the floss in your left hand and the bunching should fall back down without making knots. If need be, you can lightly stroke it back into a straight strand in order to pull out your next ply.

NOTE: This method works well with many types of threads and fibers.

We hope this proves to be something that you will begin to do automatically each time you get out your needle and thread to embroider or quilt. If you would like to learn more about how to do traditional hand stitching techniques and join in the fun we have planned for this year....please click on the StitchMap button in the sidebar.

Everyday is a good day if you are learning needle play! Happy stitching in 2011!