Hey it’s me, Karen, I’m a textile artist, craft teacher, stitcher and sometimes a story teller & baker.  This blog is my scrapbook and learning tool.  I am very excited & happy to welcome you to my new website !

Why Yarn & Thistle?

yarn = American word for wool and a story

thistle = national flower of Scotland for the Scottish side of family and it’s spiky like stitching & needle-felting can be !

snowflake crazy last Christmas !
snowflake crazy last Christmas !

Why this picture?

I think we all went a bit Snowflake and snowball (pompom) crazy last year! Partly due to the film “Frozen” we all dug out our mother’s snowflake crochet patterns (or in my case my sister frantically and lovingly scanned in the pages of the book and emailed it to me-thanks sis!)


Why create?

…just have to..
if I’m not makin’, I’m bakin’, or readin’, writin’, talkin’, or thinkin’ about makin’ or bakin’…:)

Where crafting started for me…

I grew up in California, sewing and macrame were past times. My mother tells the story of how her mom made clothes for all her cousins every summer at her uncle’s place in the country in Oklahoma. As a child I remember learning how to crochet at Grandma’s house visiting her in Tulsa. Also, going through her button box (now an obsession) and her jewellery box – real gems I thought! Mom taught me how to sew using a treadle machine at Grandma’s one summer.   Dad cedar-lined a hump back trunk I bought for $85 (with money I’d saved) and that is when my obsession for stashing fabric began and where it was first stored. I worked at a fabric store during college in California and my stash was full of floral cottons, sparkly acetates and some goth fabrics (it was the eighties!) Of course with a specific dress pattern, what is needed is not always in the trunk, so I had to go buy more. My ever-changing, ever-growing, stash became hopes and aspirations, and a shame to cut into any of that or make a final decision, plus I might need it one day!

My childhood friends, mom, sis, and grandmothers inspired me to create. (Even Dad and brother worked with their hands) When we visited Grandma in Oklahoma she had all kinds of crafts going on – from quilts to pink barbie crocheted toilet paper holders to poodles made out of burrs and felt.  Everyone was always making something…!

Snowflakes are special !

When Mom used to sew for me, she did every seam perfectly and when she crochets snowflakes, they are perfect too (but everyone different of course like snowflakes are meant to be).

“Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.”
– Margaret Mead

What about this century?

Well I moved here to England 25 years ago after marrying my British guy and we live in Surrey with our 12 year old son we are so lucky to have.  We have lots of great creative and generous friends and family to share our lives with here and back home in the States, and in Scotland.

I have been an active member of the Kingston & District Branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild for 14 years and achieved an NVQ level 1 (Embroidery) and now a member of the International Feltmakers Association. All generous and nurturing crafters !

I love the new trends and availability of all things crafty and the social aspect – like Knit & Natter every other week with mother-in-law (who knits nonstop for charity) at our local library and the monthly meeting with friends at Embroiderers’ Guild, our small embroidery group, Enigma, and we all visit the great craft fairs when we can.

I have just started to pass on what I have learned all these years and am having fun running craft workshops & volunteering at my son’s old school.

Why blog about it?

I’m a passionate crafter/maker and it is fast becoming a great journey for me to chronicle here what’s going on, share the how-to’s and hopefully, what I share might be fun to make or inspiring to read.

Happy crafting!

– Karen x

ps, thanks to Business Clan for helping me set this up!