Category Archives: Needlearts

No Calorie Chocolate Bunny

One of the most popular little patterns I offer is the origami Knitted Bunny (a.k.a. Bunny from a Square or Bunny from a Swatch). Of course, part of its popularity might be that it is available for personal use at no cost to you (although a donation is appreciated if you are able and feel inclined). But I think that more so (even if I were charging for the pattern), it would be popular because this folded origami style makes up into such dang cute bunnies!

I’ve made SO many little bunnies from this pattern and have enjoyed every one of them. Most are given away, but here is one I still have on hand to keep me company this Easter. I call him my No Calorie Chocolate Bunny.

Chocolate Knitted Bunny

This is a sample I  made in a class I taught at an alpaca farm in Mississippi. Appropriately, the yarn is alpaca. I love the chocolaty color. This version of Knitted Bunny is done entirely in garter stitch, so is even better suited to the absolute beginning knitter level.

You’ll notice that one ear flops forward and one flops backwards. I love the personality of this little bunny — those ears give him a jaunty, carefree look. I think he is enjoying nibbling in my herb garden!

The tail is a little felted ball of yarn with the ends securely sewn into the body. So this little guy can also be considered a ‘kid safe’ version.

I’ll be back again in a day or two with instructions and photos for other Knitted Bunny ear and tail variations contributed by one of the many Friends of HeartStrings who are so kind in sharing what they are knitting with HeartStrings patterns. Can’t wait to show you — so cute.

Stitching for Literacy

The Stitching for Literacy program celebrates reading and needlework. Here is your advance notice to make a hand-stitched bookmark now to donate for Children’s Book Week which runs May 2 – 8 this year.

Stitching for Literacy Bookmark Challenge

Jen Funk Weber of Needle and ThREAD is again sponsoring an annual drive for hand-stitched bookmarks that will be donated to libraries and schools during Children’s Book Week. The Stitching for Literacy Bookmark Challenge runs March 17 – April 28, 2011.

During this annual Bookmark Challenge, independent needlework shops, guilds, and other groups collect hand-stitched bookmarks and donate them to libraries and schools during Children’s Book Week. The bookmarks are distributed to kids as rewards for reading accomplishments.

This a wonderful opportunity to take a little time out with the needlework you love — make a bookmark that encourages a child to read. Check with your local stitchery shop or library for collection programs they are hosting, or take action yourself to host a program on behalf of a library or school. If you want to participate but are not sure where to donate, Jen at Needle and ThREAD is the point of contact to help you.

For knitters, here’s inspiration and general instructions for a pleated-end bookmark that has a lot of possibilities of embellishment and personalization. The write-up is available for free at the HeartStrings FiberArts site.

Elegantly Simple Pleated End Bookmark

There are also more ideas for bookmarks made in cross stitch, etc. at the Stitching for Literacy site.

I hope you will be able to join stitchers all over in making bookmarks for this year’s Children’s Book Week. Feel free to post your comments and ideas here.

p.s. A shout-out to my fellow bloggers in this month’s challenge.

V7N Blog Challenge with a Twist

UNWIND in the beautiful mountains of NC

Unwind, a new Fiber Arts Retreat

Nancy’s Knit Knacks is holding their first annual retreat in Blowing Rock, NC. It is being held April 29 – May 2, 2011 in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. The retreat will accommodate a cozy group of 60 attendees coming to relax, knit and learn. There will be workshops, evening programs and lots of time to socialize and to explore the area. I just love the name that Nancy picked out for this retreat: We all deserve to Unwind now and then, and this looks like a perfect event to do just that. Registration closes March 25th or as soon as all spots are filled.

Details and Registration are at

I’ve spent much time in the past enjoying the mountains of NC, and Blowing Rock holds fond memories. Alas, I myself will not be able to attend. But I have sent a book of 12 patterns for each retreat attendee. So I will be there with you in spirit and sponsorship!

You can see a list of all Unwind Sponsors here. It looks like a lot of great stuff has already come for door prizes and to fill the goody bags. Even if you can’t go to this year’s retreat, it’s ok to dream and drool, right?

p.s. A shout-out to my fellow bloggers in this month’s challenge.

V7N Blog Challenge with a Twist

Sheepy Hearts for Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine's Day
Happy Valentine’s Day

Happy Valentine’s Day! We love you, our faithful blog readers and friends.

Today also kicks off Random Acts of Kindness Week. What a wonderful overlap with Valentine’s Day.

During this week, we are encouraged to make kindness a priority. We probably don’t need a special week for this (hopefully it is something we can keep in mind all 52 weeks of the year). Nevertheless, even though everyone wants to help others, it’s easy to get caught up in our own activities and responsibilities (I know it is for me).

So, this week, I am going to take this special opportunity to reinforce my commitment to perform a not so random act of kindness each day. Need ideas? Check out this site:

p.s. The little heart pillows are sachets I needlepointed in Persian wool. My Sheepy friend is a Dora Designs doorstop I purchased at the Charles M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT last summer. And that is why this is called “Sheepy Hearts”. 🙂 Actually, I’ve never used Sheepy as a doorstop. She is just too cuddly to be relegated to a mundane job like that.

“Roxie” Boston Terrier tote bag by Nancy Bolten

I barely remember Nancy Miller, one of the children of next door neighbors when I was going to high school in Winston-Salem. Then about 15 months ago I happened to (finally) look at my Facebook account which I had opened several months prior but had never actively used. There was a message from Nancy Miller Bolten, coming out of the blue so to speak, 45 years after I had graduated and left Winston-Salem.

She said “You have to be the sister of Happy Erickson. You look just like the Jackie as I remember. We used to live next door to you on Pennington Ln in Winston-Salem. I have been wondering where and how Happy has been all these years since we moved to Charlotte…” Happy and Nancy had been close playmates, so of course I was glad to help them get in touch with each other again.

And then Nancy and I realized we had the needle arts in common and have since become steady cyber friends. And so it is a delight to have Nancy Bolten as our blog guest today. I know you will enjoy this peek into her creative talents.

Roxie tote bag by Nancy Bolten
Roxie tote bag by Nancy Miller Bolten

From Nancy —

I love what you are doing with the item of the week. Can I submit the Boston Terrier tote I made for my sister Emily to take with her to Germany over Christmas? It was her Christmas present for my baby sister so she could have a nice tote to put all of her goodies. Her husband is over there for a year. The Boston Terrier is actually her dog and I designed the bag with all the glitz to go around it (with a few of her specifications of course!)

I have forwarded the picture of Emily with her tote in Paris/Germany and have attached some  of my own. The dog’s name is “Roxie”. She has a crystal earring too!

The “Roxie” tote has several colors of  silk, decorative interior with green silk header, swarovski crystals, and other embellishments.

I love your blogs and posts…keep them coming!

Emily in Europe with her tote
Emily in Europe with her tote

Nancy also reminded me, “You may not remember babysitting for us when Emily was just a baby. Mom said you sat a couple of times then you were off to college for most of the time we lived next door.” Now that really brings me down memory lane.

Decorative interior with green silk header
Decorative interior with green silk header
Roxie has a crystal earring
Roxie has a crystal earring

You can visit Nancy at her Sew Cute Decor & Finishing business website (be sure to see other examples of her needlepoint and home decor here) or on Facebook. Thank you Nancy!

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Designer/Creator Nancy Bolten of SewCute Decor & Finishing has been sharing her expertise for 24+ years from her studio in Charlotte, NC. Her work has been featured in designer homes, including the ABC October 2008 Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Charlotte, as well as represented in both Charlotte Observer and Charlotte Weekly.