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TNNA Names Star Search/Design Winners
Needlework changes people's lives -- in many
Edited press release (Sept. 6, 2004)
The National NeedleArts Association announced the winners of its
first Star Stitchers Search and its second annual Student
Design Competition at its recent trade show in Columbus, OH. The
Star Stitchers Search is part of TNNAís Jubilee Campaign,
a two-year program celebrating the organizationís 30th
anniversary. The campaign is designed to promote needlearts and
raise money for WIN Against Breast Cancer, a national, nonprofit
organization dedicated to education and research.
Star Stitchers were nominated by TNNA retailers who thought
they represented the best of the needlearts. This yearís winners
include Jane Cavalli and Dorothy Smith-Brown (nominated by Carolyn
Pugh of Skein Lane in El Cerrito, Ca); Louise Caplan (nominated by
Carrell Bolton of Needlepoint of La Volla, CA); Rose Hillis
(nominated by Kennita Tully of Wildflower Yarn's Knitwear,
Manhattan, KA.); and Aleusha Gerlach (nominated by Barbara King of
Louise's Needlework, Columbus, OH).
A disabled inspiration.
Louise Caplan, the Star Stitcher from San Diego, is an
inspiration to disabled people who want to take up needlearts. About
15 years ago Louise started dropping in at Carrell Boltonís
Needlepoint of La Volla store. Louise enjoyed looking at the
canvases, but thought she couldn't needlepoint because an accident
had left her permanently paralyzed on her right side.
Finally Carrell convinced Louise that she could teach her to do
left-handed needlepoint. Today Louise threads her own needle (no
easy task), knots her threads, and engages in decorative stitching.
Louise is a Star because she never gives up and always wants
to do more; her next feat will be to tie a French knot.
91 and still stitching.
As a teenager, retailer Carolyn Pugh was so inspired by a home ec
teacher, Dorothy Smith-Brown, she decided to nominate her as a Star
Stitcher. Dorothy taught home economics in Stratton, CO for more
than 25 years.
Carolyn says, "Six years under her tutelage has had a
lasting influence. I learned the art of stitching, sewing, cooking,
home management, and personal development .... To this day, almost
40 years later, I continue to draw on the knowledge that she
imparted to me. I use that knowledge to help my customers with
customizing their knitted garments and to help with design
Although 91, Dorothy lives life to the fullest. Until she broke
her hip a couple of years ago, she played golf every day. Today, she
walks, gardens, and attends a water aerobics class Ė and relaxes
with a needleart project. Lately she's been creating shadow boxes
for her family that includes four children, 16 grandchildren, and
seven great grandchildren.
Rising above life's struggles.
Barbara King of Louiseís Needleworks in Columbus, OH nominated
Aleusha Gerlach because she uses her superb stitching skills to gain
strength during lifeís most challenging times. As a child, Aleusha
tagged along with her grandmother to quilting bees. Over the years
she has done cross-stitch and knitting, but her true love is
Having needlepoint to rely on provided an enormous comfort years
ago when her young son developed encephalitis and spent months in
the hospital. Needlepoint helped relieve the stress and anxiety.
Years later, needlepoint helped her during the hours she spent
Passing on the art.
When Rose Hillis entered Wildflower Yarn Knitwear in Manhattan,
KS, Kennita Tully had no idea her Star Stitcher had just
walked in the door. Rose, a house mother at Kansas Stateís Kappa
Kappa Gamma sorority, was interested in learning how to knit socks.
She had knit many years ago, but had stopped knitting to pursue
basket weaving and quilting.
Two days later, Rose returned with her completed project. Over
the next several months, Rose kept buying more and more yarn and
needles; turns out Rose wasnít just knitting again, she was
teaching the sorority sisters how to knit. In one year, more than
50% of the sorority (40+ girls) took up the knitting. While Rose
focuses on socks and shawls, her "girls" like to knit
scarves. Anyone with a relative at Kappa Kappa Gamma can anticipate
a scarf for Christmas.
Roseís commitment to sharing her love of needlearts makes her a
Star Stitcher. As she says, "If you donít pass it on,
it will become a lost art."
Stitching for others.
For Jane Cavelli, a cost engineer with Bechtel, needlearts have
always been a way for her to give back to her community. "It
all started with my mother," Jane says. "She always wanted
to do something for other people. Iím Irish. We cook and do
Several years ago Jane started making teddy bears for poor kids
for Christmas. When she wanted to learn how to make clothing for
those bears, she asked Carolyn Pugh of Skein Lane in El Cerrito, CA
for help. Soon she was knitting clothes for the bears and at the
same time became the leader of the storeís community service
knitting group which meets twice a month in the store.
Under Janeís leadership the group has knitted Christmas gifts
for the homeless, squares for the New York City 911 project
sponsored by XRX, and chemo caps for hospital patients receiving
Student Design Competition Winners.
For Kent State University freshman Nikki Novello, TNNAís design
competition was an opportunity to experiment with blending her
passion for jewelrymaking with her new interest in needlearts. For
graduating senior Kathy Sheets, the competition provided an
opportunity to practice her fashion design skills.
Both won top honors. Nikkiís entry of a crocheted and pearled
necklace took Best of Show (with special recognition for her
unique use of Crochet, sponsored by the Crochet Guild of America).
She won $300 for her design.
"Being a freshman last year, I was required to take [a]
fashion fundamentalís class. She belongs to the crochet guild and
encouraged all of us to enter the competition," explained
Nikki. "Prior to the competition, I had only done a little
crocheting. My aunt taught me when I was in second grade but I donít
regularly knit or needlepoint."
What Nikki has done for several years is design beaded jewelry.
Itís a family tradition; Nikkiís family owns Cleveland Wholesale
Jewelry. She also has several pieces in galleries in Little Italy.
"I decided to create a piece of crocheted jewelry,"
explained Nikki. "I did lots of drawing and spent a lot of time
trying to figure out exactly how I would do it. As I was working on
the sketches, I happened to mention to a textiles professor what I
was doing and she suggested that I experiment with crocheting
result was an award-winning necklace of crocheted wire, ribbon and
pearls. "Iím so excited about winning this award. I really
hope this is the beginning of my success in jewelry design."
Fashion major Kathy Sheets won two Best of Show awards Ė
for a denim skirt with an inter- changeable, needlepoint accent and
for an original knitted sweater design she created for her momís
"The idea of the needlepoint skirt came to me when I was
working on an independent study project," explained Kathy.
"I wanted to create something that would get young girls
excited about needlepoint."
working on multiple sketches, Kathy created a denim skirt with an
attached needlepoint panel. "The panel is laced in the corner
of the skirt and itís small enough so girls can make several
different designs and change them easily."
Kathy didnít stop with her needlepoint skirt. She then created
a sweater for a teddy bear. "I was taking a class on machine
knitting and came up with a hooded tasseled design."
not creating her own original designs, Kathy is a needlearts
advocate, teaching many of her friends how to enjoy the art.
"My dream job would be designing sweaters for the junior
market," Kathy said.
The Student Design Competition was open to any student
enrolled in a post-high school program or any youth over the age of
18 who was sponsored by a TNNA member.
The 2005 Star Stitcher Search and the third annual Student
Design Competition will begin in January. For more information
on either, or becoming a Jubilee sponsor, contact Sherry
Mulne at firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 614-237-0700. For more info about TNNA, call 740-455-6773,
fax 740-452-2552, email email@example.com,
or visit www.tnna.org.
Note: To read previous category reports, click on the titles
in the right-hand column.