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 making textile items (especially crochet & beadwork); rock-hounding; and to my dreams of creating the ideal studio/museum/library to house collections, house supplies, and support creation of textile and beadwork items. 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 retired from a computer professional 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 then attained CGOA's certification as a Master of Advanced Crochet Stitches and Techniques. Randy Cavalier mentored me, helping me to realize my unique qualifications as a needlework historian and my ability to write about that history. She also encouraged me to focus on my designing talents, specializing in 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, and two about WWI and WWII attitudes on crochet for Gwen Blakeley Kinsler's Royal Ramblings Blog). 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" On Golden Sands necklace Peter Max Heritage Heart inspired by Prudence Mapstone's freeform crochet jewelry class (taken in 2011 at the Greensboro, NC CGOA 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 and participated in the annual International Free Form Fiberarts Guild Challenge with my "On Golden Sands" necklace.

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

For the past few years I have participated in Crochetville's National Crochet Month (NatCroMo) Blog/Website tour. I plan to offer another giveaway of vintage/antique crochet publications, again this year on my day, 31 March.