The beginning is near

Needlework friends quickly become like family. I can't explain it, but perhaps you know it too. There are many common threads that bind us together.  In my 16+ years working with needlework designers through Kreinik, I can honestly say each one stands out as creative, unique, fabulous, and fun, leaving their own stitch on the tapestry of this world. When one such friend from my early days with Kreinik called recently about a new project for 2013, I was instantly excited — because I knew her; I knew it would be creative, fun and fabulous.

Nan Baker of Purrfect Spots is a cross stitch designer who created one of my favorite all-time designs: Cat Burglar (you can find the pattern on her web site www.purrfectspots.com). I am a cat person, so I loved the humor of the design. It also used Kreinik thread and it became one of the best-selling reasons for a stitcher to buy thread. As most creative people do, Nan expanded her talents to designing needlepoint as well. It was always exciting to see the newest Purrfect Spots By Nan design release.

As most needlework designers do, Nan had a non-needlework-related full-time job.  She was an animal advocate, but specifically, an animal disaster specialist. She introduced me to the pet-loss support program Rainbow Bridge, and shared tales of her travels to disaster areas to take care of the displaced animals. Yes, when a hurricane, tornado, fire or flood hits, animals are in trouble too. They are separated from their owners, their fenced yards are suddenly unfenced, they may be hurt, they may not have food or water. As a member of the Disaster Animal Response Team for the Humane Society of America, Nan went to the disaster areas (you know, the ones you hear about on the news), herding horses, arranging shelter, and reuniting pets. Through Nan I saw the news from the animal perspective. 

Nan prepared me, and thousands of others, to make sure our pets are included in each family's household Disaster Plan. She started the CASEY program, Caring For Animals Safely in Emergencies During the Year. Here is a link for info on the CASEY plan; if you have animals, please read it to get your own Disaster Supply Checklist For Pets: www.purrfectspots.com/thecaseyplan.html 

Nan designs quilt patterns now. The exciting 2013 project is a quilt block-of-the-month in a new online publication, The Quilt Pattern Magazine, at www.quiltpatternmagazine.com. Yes, Nan stays true to her passion and features animals. As she has in the past, Nan patterned with artist Will Bullas, this time to do adaptations of his famous polar bears. You will recognize his endearing animals from posters, greeting cards, calendars and children's books. You can see more of his artwork at www.willbullas.com. (I'm asking Santa for Will Bullas prints for Christmas.)

The fabulous design pictured in this blog is Nan's Cool Yule pillow featuring a Will Bullas polar bear. It is just about as fast and easy as it can get: fusible applique, Kreinik Iron-on thread for embellishments. It was published in the November 2012 issue of Quiltpattern Magazine. Run to the site www.quiltpatternmagazine.com and subscribe; you will get a link to the current issue (a beautiful, colorful, project-ful 58 pages of quilt goodness). Right after Christmas, the block-of-the-month featuring the Bullas Bears will start in Quilt Pattern Magazine. I've seen the quilt; it is a design that men, women, kids, teens, and all ages will love. It will be worth your creative time.

One other message from Nan: The Quilt Pattern Magazine has joined with Petfinder.com to help the animal victims of Hurricane Sandy. It's not just money that is needed; the kennels need blankets and quilts to help keep the animals warm in shelters. All the details are here: http://www.quiltpatternmagazine.com/program/KennelQuilt/. Nan told me, "Please help get that word out. For one of my Christmas gifts, my friend made 3 quilts in my honor to send to the shelters. I was thrilled. Best present ever." This is a perfect time (pardon me, "purrfect") to start your next project as an animal disaster relief project. Gather your friends and make blankets together.

Here's a Thanksgiving toast, to the warmth of friendship, needlework, quilts, and helping others, pets included. I'm thankful for new beginnings too. From small beginnings come great things.

By Dena Lenham

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