It all started with a small cross-stitch kit I purchased while visiting the United Kingdom.

It was made by Heritage Crafts and was an image of the Taj Mahal. I had no idea how to do cross-stitch stitching and no idea it would lead me in the direction of creating a small home craft business. The kit came with 14 count Aida fabric, about 25 colored threads and instructions on how to create the image using simple ‘x’ stitches. It took me a few months, but I did complete the image and was thrilled with the results. Along the way, I discovered that even though the colored fibers were labeled according to manufacturer number, it was up to me to untangle them, label them with the appropriate symbol according to the chart, and then separate them into 2 strands for each time I stitched. It took longer for me to do this organization than it did to really stitch the image. The flimsy thin cardboard fiber holder did not stand up to my constant handling, bending and wrapping of the fibers. I soon replaced it with a thicker piece of card weight paper, but a seed of an idea was placed in my mind on improving a thread holder.

I completed many cross-stitch kits since then and became interested in making a large tapestry series depicting the epic saga of Star Wars using tapestry wool and images I converted into cross-stitch patterns using a software program I discovered from Australia. Each image was created with 35-40 colors and I needed a way to organize, label and store all of the different fibers. There were no suitable fiber storage systems at any local craft stores, so I came up with the idea of using a hanging file folder box, one purchased at any Staples or Office Depot. The hanging files would be replaced by bars of the same length, but wide enough to have holes to hold the thick tapestry fibers and a label for the manufacturer’s number and chart symbol.

With my husband’s help, I made some rudimentary bars from some thin acrylic plastic my husband had lying around in the basement using the width dimensions of a hanging file folder, but adding holes for the fibers. I used a hack saw, a scroll saw and a drill with a 1″ wide bit. Voila!! They worked incredibly well. Since I am a Material Scientist, I was aware there were small hobby lasers on the market and went in search of one. I found a small 40 watt Full Spectrum laser for sale on Craigslist, and my husband and I spent many months with sheets of acrylic perfecting cutting techniques.

Years ago the only markets for crafts were local churches with seasonal craft shows, or street fairs which came around in the summer. Now, the incredible power of the internet and sites such as Etsy, Ebay, Amazon and others reach worldwide customers, especially needle crafters, who are looking for specialty items and tools to assist their work. I am happy to be one of those providers of specialty tools and I am happy to use 21st century technology to create those tools just for you.