Needle and ThREAD

Guest Blogger: Kat Rocha

kat-1.jpgEveryone, meet Kat Rocha. Kat, this is Everyone. Sorry, no pics of a cat close at hand, so here’s Cat’s-Best-Friend. Or something.

Kat is a needlework designer and owner of Cross Eyed Kat. She’s designing a bookmark for the Needle and Thread: Stitching for Literacy program next year. (Right, Kat?) No, really, I think it’s already on her schedule.

Here are Kat’s thoughts on reading and bookmarks, written en route to Germany, and sent via iPhone. (How cool is that?!)

For me, books and bookmarks are closely related to memories. I remember learning to read in first grade. I have a distinct memory of the teacher instructing the class in long and short vowels. Now there are very few days when I don’t pick up a book and read, and I’m always on the lookout for new authors to enjoy. I often re-read books I particularly enjoyed.

When I was a kid, aside from getting books from the library, I remember raiding the book collection of my older brother who was in college. It was great because we like many of the same authors and both enjoy the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Some of my favorite authors are Issac Asimov, Tad William, Orson Scott Card, and Connie Willis to name just a few.


When borrowing books from my brother, I would often mark my place in a book by “dog-earing” the corner of the page. I probably picked up this bad habit from my brother. Nowadays, I tend to use found items as bookmarks. For example, I’ll leave boarding passes in books that I read while flying. Then, months or years later, when I pick up the book again, I’ll find that forgotten bookmark and remember what I was doing the last time I read it. I re-read a book recently and found my ticket from when I visited my grandmother for her ninety-fifth birthday!

Of course, I also collect bookmarks from places I visit. I have a lovely shepherd’s hook bookmark with a chandelier crystal on it that I got at the Nashville art museum. I was visiting my aunt just prior to a needlework market, so the bookmark reminds me of the trip whenever I use it. Right now, I’m stitching a bookmark, and I’m sure it will remind me of all the things I was doing while stitching it.

No more dog ears. Use a bookmark and leave some memories with the book.

I have one bookmark that lives inside a particular book. I thought of it while typing this post. The book is within arm’s reach, Writing for Children & Teenagers, by Lee Wyndham, revised by Arnold Madison. It’s so old you can buy a used copy for $.01 at that link! It’s the first writing book I ever owned and read. I’ve read it cover-to-cover three times, and referenced sections more often than I can count. Hey, it’s still within arm’s reach of my computer.

The bookmark that lives in it moved in during my first trip to Hawaii, where I read the book cover-to-cover for the second time. The bookmark has nothing to do with the book or the trip, but it conjures memories of those things. Go figure.

Kat’s right. I will start leaving bookmarks in books that I re-read.

Oh, the bookmark that lives in the writing book:


That’s my friend, Shelly’s, 180-pound dog, Caesar. He’s been dead for quite a while now, but I remember him every time I open this book.

A bookmark you’ve made for the 2008 Bookmark Challenge will soon be in the hands of a stranger. Imagine what s/he will recall every time s/he sees that bookmark.

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