Thanks for the kind words, you guys. Tom, I've seen the tool you mentioned, but never bought one. Actually I don't mind if the stitches look hand done since they are. In this age of machine made and mass production, something made by hand is different and special. At least that's how I see it.
Since this thread is now a sticky and will be seen by others later on who are doing a search, I'd like to draw attention to yet another approach by forum member WhoZaWhat which I like very much.
Posts 36 and 37 give a nice pictorial how to with great results.