THREADWINDER.INFO     Karen C.K. Ballard's Website

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Karen Ballard in WWII Knitting Hat Welcome to my website "splash page". This website is dedicated to my love of textile history; its tools and lore; as well as textile item design (especially crochet & beadwork); and to my dreams of creating the ideal studio/museum/library to house collections, store supplies, and support textile and beadwork creation. Inside you will find numerous lists and pictures of textile tools and publications, as well as some history, images, and stories related to textile history, with a smattering of beading and rockhounding. I frequently use this website to provide supplimentary information/pictures for articles I have written for various magazines. NC Necklace

I have had a lifelong interest in textile art, having learned the basics of crochet from my Great Aunt Laurene when I was just seven years old. But with exception to a handfull of classes and making things for friends and relatives, I wasn't very active in textile art until I retired from a professional computing career in 2006. That year I joined the Crochet Guild of America (CGOA). Later I gained professional status in the CGOA based on my having taught my own original designs at a local yarn store. I attained CGOA's certification as a Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques. With Randy Cavalier's mentoring. I realized I was uniquely qualified as a needlework historian/writer. Randy also encouraged me to focus on my designing talents, specially threadwork and beadwork.

Since then, I have had some success in writing. I write a regular column for the CGOA's Chain Link Newsletter and have written magazine articles (for the Paper Advertising Collectors' Marketplace periodical, PieceWork magazine, and Crochet Traditions), and online articles (including one about bone/ivory figural crochet hooks for, another about collecting crochet hooks for the Cyber Stitch online magazine, a couple about WWI and WWII attitudes on crochet for Gwen Blakeley Kinsler's Royal Ramblings Blog, and a couple about WWI and WWII knitting propoganda for the Center for Knit and Crochet). Additionally, I provided historic consultation for Melanie Gall for her Knitting All the Day CD of WWI knitting songs and her Sweeter in a Sweater CD of WWII knitting songs.

And I have had some success at designing. These include my "NC Necklace," above right, Down Under Textiles V.21 Heritage Heart inspired by Prudence Mapstone's freeform crochet jewelry class (taken in 2011 at the Greensboro, NC CGOA Chain Link Conference). This necklace was the winner of a first prize in CGOA's 2012 Design Contest. My "Heritage Heart", with flowers that are symbolic of my ancestry, toured Australia and New Zealand with Prudence's "Hearts & Flowers Freeform Art Show" during the latter half of 2013.   Additionally, I have published designs in PieceWork, Crochet Traditions and Michele Maks' In 2015 I contributed my "Peter Max Tribute" to Prudence Mapstone's "50 Years of Flower Power" freeform collaboration project. Later that year it (as part of Prudence's whole collaborative art piece) was featured on the cover of Down Under Textiles.

I haven't sold any of my beadwork designs yet, but continue taking beading classes, including many from published beadwork designers.

For the past five years I have participated in Crochetville's National Crochet Month (NatCroMo) Blog/Website tour. This year I offered six lots of vintage crochet books as giveaways through Crochetville's FaceBook page.