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 items; 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. Click on the Threadwinder.info banner, above, to enter the website.

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 succeeded in meeting CGOA's requirements for 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, particularly threadwork and beadwork. NC Necklace

I have had moderate success in writing. I write a regular column for the CGOA's Chain Link Newsletter as well as writing 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 Iantiqueonline.com, 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). I also 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 the right) 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" (on the left), 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' MainlyCrochet.com.

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