Tag Archives: shops

Christmas in SC

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I arrived to spend Christmas with Carol on Thursday, and by Saturday we were ready to shop. We set out early, met up with another of Carol’s stitching buddies, and drove to Atlanta.

The first shop we visited was the new Labors of Love. Carol and I have decided to stitch “Patchwork of Peace,” the American-flag-in-little-boxes piece that I think Margaret and Sylvia have already stitched, so we had a LOT of threads to search out! We decided to focus on the blue threads to start. Mark and Charlesy helped us pull the threads, and especially in my case, to find substitutions…because of course I decided to be different and stitch on Congress Cloth and not 18-count canvas. Imagine, we found ALMOST all the threads in one shop! And they special-ordered several that they didn’t have.

For anyone visiting Atlanta, we highly recommend that you visit Labors of Love! The shop is spacious and airy and the walls are lined with full ranges of many threads not always found in smaller shops. You want Dinky Dyes? How about those Threadworx overdyed Kreinik braids we had trouble finding for Autumn Kaleidoscope? They had them both…Burmilana? Bella Lusso? Yes and yes again. And Mark and Charlesy were knowledgeable about all the threads and very helpful. They even recommended someplace for lunch…but when we got there we couldn’t find parking so we headed over to the second shop on our list…

Nimble Needle is a smaller shop, but also carries a large thread inventory and walls full of painted canvases. We found a couple of the thread colors we hadn’t found at the first shop and I succumbed to an ornament canvas from the trunk show currently on offer. But frankly I was a little shopped out and didn’t spend as much time absorbing the surroundings as I might have otherwise. But this would also be a great destination for you if you visit Atlanta!

We ended up having lunch at an unassuming-looking barbecue place just a few shops down from Nimble Needle, and it was wonderful.

Both shops have off-street parking, always nice in urban settings.

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Winter travels, addendum

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Oops, I totally forgot to comment on a stop I made on the way home from DC.  As per Linda M’s suggestion, I stopped at Hillside Stitchery in Stevenson, MD.  As I was driving, I could not understand where the shop might be since at the exit, one drives for a few miles in quite the bucolic setting.  Then all of a sudden there is this sweet little shopping plaza, in which the needlepoint shop resides.  The staff and owner couldn’t have been nicer.  They currently have a NeedleDeeva trunk show.  One of the staff members had stitched and displayed quite a few samples of the Needledeeva canvases.  I was quite taken with one of the faces she had done.  I did decide to purchase the canvas (again without the aid of an enabler).  So, the staff member allowed me to take a photo of her work and she also made a color copy of the canvas and wrote down the stitches that she used.  I could not believe how accommodating she was.  The shop also featured some totes in which you could put inserts or sew the canvas onto the front of the bag.  Great choices!  If you are going to see the Woodlawn exhibit, I highly recommend that you stop and take a look.  I wish the shop well and hope they have staying power.  They deserve it.

Winter travels

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So, I have had some fun travel adventures this winter.  I apologize for no photos, but when I get any where near new fiber/stitching sources, I lose my head and forget to do what I want to do to blog.

So in February, we spent a little bit of time on both coasts of Florida visiting with friends.  First we ventured to Siesta Key which is a barrier reef island right next to Sarasota.  My host is not a needlework enthusiast, but she indulged me.  Boy, am I glad she did!  First stop was the Needlepoint Studio of Sarasota.  What a nice, welcoming, bright shop.  There were stitching stations all over the store, with lights and magnification.  I wanted to spend the rest of my vacation there stitching, but alas, I remained polite to my hosts.  There were beautiful canvases everywhere, lots of threads and a great assortment of books.  I added to my library with a purchase of The Handbook of Ribbon Embroidery by Ann Cox.  I’m very excited to have this well illustrated reference book as I am taking some lessons from Pam at Edwardian Needle in Silk Ribbon Embroidery.  I know this book will be helpful in the hours that I am away from Pam.

Down the road by no more than a 1/4 mile was A Good Yarn.  What a great yarn shop. This shop too was very bright, with lots of knitted samples and lots of sales help.  I also did damage in there.  My friend was not much help, as she was enabling me.  I was told that the two shops used be to be located right next door to each other.  If I lived there full time, I would just bring a cot and never leave.

Next we moved on to the east coast of Florida to Palm Beach Gardens.  This host is a fiber enthusiast (along with her daily golf obsession), so there was no twisting of arms to go take a look.  The needlework shop near where she is located was not such a good one, so I will not mention it by name.  However, while we were there, we unfortunately needed to make a condolence visit with another friend.  So we took a drive further south of where we were staying.  Of course, I was furiously googling needlepoint shops near “current location”.  I found a gem in Delray Beach, called Stitches by the Sea.  The shop is small but full of life and stitchers who crowd around working on their canvases.  Lots of bright cheery motifs with lots of Kreinik in them.  This shop had a Penny McCloud trunk show.  Without any enablers around, I managed to order a canvas of a funky looking face that I can’t wait to start on, once it gets here, of course.  The sample in the shop was so much fun, but stitch guides are not written down.  However, I was allowed to take photos of what was there.  I will not publish it here because I did not get permission for that.

March brought me to what will probably turn into an annual trek to see the Woodlawn exhibit.  I stayed with my dear friends in Chevy Chase and I spent the day that I went to Woodlawn with the “other” Barbara L.  We started out at the shop in Arlington called In Stitches.  I’m pleased to report that there are many more canvases available for purchase than last year.  There is also lots of cross stitch.  I did not notice if any of the charts were for canvaswork.  Again, everyone was cheery and helpful.  I was able to reign myself in at this shop.  We had lunch at Mt. Vernon and then headed over to Woodlawn.  Of course, Barbara and I had some fun with the registration lady when she asked for our names.  She did do a double take when we both used the same name!  We got there a few minutes late for the docent led tour of the winning pieces in the exhibit, but since the “other” Barbara L is friends with the retired ANG judge, Kathy Meyers, who gives the tour, we were allowed to join in.  Although this year’s exhibit is smaller than last year’s, the work is just breathtaking.  I am always so awe struck.  Kathy’s talk was so informative.  She pointed out that not all of the winning pieces looked complicated, but that the stitching was so superb, they were awarded ribbons based on their excellence.  The judging that takes place here is based on a system called consensus judging.  (Kathy, please forgive me if I get some of this wrong.)  The three judges have their sheets on which they tally marks in many areas and then award one ribbon for first place, and many ribbons for second, third and honorable mention.  The three judges then confer and and they must agree on how to award the ribbons.  At the ANG national seminar exhibit, the three judges write down their marks, they are added together and the highest number gets the blue ribbon, etc.  Little things like a wobbly stitch, shadows of threads in the back and even how the piece is finished can affect the marks.  Like things are judged together.  In other words, the cross stitch is not mixed in with the canvas pieces.  They do separate out soft finishes (like pillows) from hard finishes (frames).  Hopefully, I got this right.  But with the little I did glean from the talk, I have added respect for our chapter winners.  Kudos to you!

March will bring me another travel adventure since I am heading out to CA to babysit my “little people” while their Mommy and Daddy take a much needed break.  However, I start my trip with a class by Susan Portra at Luv2Stitch in San Mateo.  More about that next time!

A Stitching Weekend

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This past weekend several of us from NJNA were invited to join the Monmouth Chapter EGA at their annual stitching retreat at a hotel in Voorhees, NJ.  We went down on Friday afternoon stopping first at the Nimble Needle in Haddonfield where we browsed, found threads for projects, found new things we could not do without and generally had fun.  Karen, the owner, is a delight to work with helping with finding things or suggesting stitches to use, or picking out the ideal thread.  From there we went to the hotel about twenty minutes away.  Monmouth Chapter had a large meeting room set aside for us from three on Friday to four on Sunday.   You could find someone in there stitching from 7:30 in the morning until 11 at night!

From NJNA Tina finished four pieces that had been languishing at home waiting for the final few hours of work!  Then she began working on another needlepoint piece that needed several days of work but did come out of the dark for work to begin again.  Ada was thwarted in working on her Japanese work but had brought some other pieces and almost completed the background on a winter piece after receiving suggestions for a good stitch from others gathered around.  She also completed the stitching of another small piece.  And I completed the stitching I needed to do for a piece being offered at Friends of Counted  Thread, began Bali Hai unsuccessfully and then worked on Sisters from seminar with very good results.

It was so much fun to see what others had brought to stitch with them.  One woman had been in Linda’s class from the previous weekend and was working on that.  Another brought a Ton Mineri piece that she had set aside for several years and can now see the end in sight.  An interesting bit was that a section had been stitched with a plated silver thread which had tarnished in the intervening years.  It would have been impossible to remove or clean but outlining the section in a dark thread did make that section show up, rather than recede into the piece.  One woman made a beaded bracelet before moving on to needlepoint.  A cute York Peppermint Patty ornament was completed and the next, a Hershey bar was begun. Others made great advances on a single piece of cross stitch or needlepoint or knitting or moved from one piece to another. But stitching with others gave us companionship, many laughs, suggestions or encouragement when needed. of course, there was food involved with many trees available for snacking or dessert all day.   All in all a wonderful weekend!

working diligently

First Touring Day in NOLA 

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Jill and I did not have class on Monday so we started the day stitching on our Saturday/Sunday projects, cleaning up some  “spaghetti”. Then we started our city tour by picking up the Hop on/Hop off bus outside our hotel.

After traveling through the Arts District and past the WW II Museum, our first hop off was in the Garden District.  There we had a wonderful walking tour of the beautiful mansions with their extensive gardens .   Some of them are owned by celebrities like John Goodman and Sandra Bullock.  Others have been in the same family for generations.  All exterior renovations are strictly regulated to maintain the character of the District.

We then toured a cemetery .  Because of the high water table, burials are in crypts above ground.  Some  are very elaborate and landscaped.  It felt like a city!

After getting back on the bus, we traveled past the warehouses that store the Mardi Gras floats.  Some door were open so we could peek in. Wow!

Then on to the  French Quarter where I had my first Hurricane in the French Market.  Lunch was a shared half muffaletta – similar to a Stromboli but with an olive spread inside. We walked a few blocks to the Quarter Point, a needlepoint and knitting shop.  Lovely painted canvases were offered as well as yarns like I have never seen.  They said that the French Quarter location allows them to offer more unusual yarns!

After a walk through the Quarter, we came back hot and tired but happy to  have gotten a taste of the city.

Below is my progress on Florida Palm.  Who knows what today will bring!

Woodlawn!

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I am very excited that for the first time ever I have two pieces of my work entered in an exhibition. I was encouraged by my fellow ANG chapter members to submit an entry to the Woodlawn Needlework Exhibition and Sale. So I dove in and sent two pieces down to the exhibit with Linda M and Mr. M.

There was no doubt I would go and look at all the needlework since I have a good friend who lives in the area. Of course the only time our schedules aligned, was for opening day. So off I went. It was a beautiful, but blustery day and I had the best time ever!

Upon my arrival the day before, I met with the “other” Barbara L. for lunch and a visit to Waste Knot in Arlington. We had fun getting to know each other better and of course shopping. The shop was quite nice. They had some threads I hadn’t seen before. It was quite funny that our respective husbands reminded us not to mix up the credit cards. 😀

The next day, I set off for Woodlawn. As one pulls up the drive, the mansion looks quite majestic.

Of course once I got inside, there was the usual confusion in regard to the “other” Barbara L. There was only one Barbara L listed in the program, so I had to explain there were two of us when I checked in. That Barbara lives near Woodlawn, so she has been involved with the exhibit for many years.

So, now I was inside the exhibit and there was such eye candy! The work across all media was really breathtaking. I saw cross stitch pictures that looked like photographs and stump work that had incredible detail. The gold work was amazing. I did find amusement that the morning guides were from the local garden club and I did a bit more explaining to them than the other way around. Yet, they were quite charming and lovely to chat with. They did explain some interesting things about one or two of the pieces in each room. One thing they did explain was that the ribbons had not yet arrived. So, on the name tags, the entries that won ribbons had different colored dots, indicating their place. Of course I couldn’t tell what the different categories were. I also over heard that people who had entries could have the guides get a docent and then they could take a photograph of their own entry.

You know I was really there to see the needlepoint, dot or not. I loved it! There is a lot of talent out there. Finally, I hit the dining room and there was my hydrangea piece hanging on the wall. I was excited!

Now, I started to look for the chapter display in earnest. It was no where to be found on the ground floor. I went upstairs and I still didn’t see them. Finally I went into a bright sunny room that had no furniture, but a whole uninterrupted wall for display. There they were! I also saw my second piece, which was a Tony geometric counted piece. However, I quickly looked away because I noticed Mary D’s piece ( I believe it is her Frankie piece) had a red dot on it! I was so excited for her. I quickly tagged the guide to find out what she had won and it is a second place. Sorry that I don’t know the category. Congratulations Mary! At any rate, I began to look at the wall in earnest and it was then that I noticed that my name tag had a red dot also. I kept looking back to make sure my eyes weren’t playing tricks on me. What great positive reinforcement for a first time exhibitor! I also noted with amusement that the “other” Barbara L. had a piece on the same wall. Thankfully, the two pieces were labeled correctly. I took one last look around and then I was off to In Stitches.

I had a very nice visit there and bought a few notions. I found a reproduction magnet with an embroiderer on it.

Keeping with the historic theme, I decided to visit Washington’s mansion at Mt Vernon. I think the last time I was there, I was about ten. Needless to say, the park service has made vast improvements. No photographs allowed inside, but here is a panoramic view of the Potomac.

For you knitting and weaving enthusiasts, here are some photos of the spinning room, which is an outer building.

Of course no day would be complete for me without a stop at a local yarn shop. I went to Fibre Space in Old Town Alexandria. What luscious yarn, some of which is locally dyed. However, I was able to stay on my yarn diet by focusing more on notions. They had a new needle that I had never seen before. It looks like a boomerang and is used in place of double point needles. Really interesting.

So my fun day came to an end. I felt really happy and satisfied. I encourage all of you, if you can, to go south and take a visit to Woodlawn.

Mid Winter Cape Cod

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One might wonder why anyone would choose to go to Cape Cod in the middle of winter. Well for the past several years that is exactly what I have done. My dear friend Susan, with whom I have been friendly for the past thirty years, has a home there and she graciously invites me. She is also a fiber enthusiast. Though she only does limited needlepoint, she is more than adept at so many other needle arts. When we load the car, it looks as if we are moving. The suitcases take up very little room. The rest is all needle art related. There is lots of yarn for knitting, her paints, weaving and quilting and of corse my needlepoint paraphanalia, stand and all.

We arrived there this year on Super Bowl Sunday. As we were rushing to buy groceries before the store closed for the big game, we discovered that the anticipated precipitation for the next day had been upgraded to a blizzard. What fun for two people who wanted to pursue their passions. So we had a glorious time since we did not lose any power.

The next day we had enough cabin fever to want to go out. One of the things we did was go to a Cape Cod institution. This of course had to do with needlepoint. We went to Town Ho Needleworks in Brewster.. This is a very interesting place. One has to climb a fairly steep flight of steps to get inside the shop. If one can see past the “interesting” filing and set up in the shop, there are some real jewels. There are charts for counted work from designers who are no longer designing or no longer with us. The owner of the shop is a huge Maggie fan. I saw many canvases I had never seen “live”before. There is a nice selection of threads and good quality notions. The owner told us that he tried to retire five years ago, but his students wouldn’t let him. So his Cape Cod institution goes on. If you go to the Cape, his shop is worth a visit.

There is one other needlepoint shop on the Cape which I did not get to visit this time. It’s a bit out of the way from where we were staying. Osterville Needlepoint Shop is under new ownership, so I don’t wish to really comment on what I saw when I was there last year.

I drove home by myself since Susan’s husband was joining her at the Cape. Of course I had to detour to do needlepoint shop hopping. I decided to go to Larchmont to see Stitch by Stitch. This is a lovely shop full of beautiful canvases. At that time they had a Labors of Live trunk show. The owner was so accommodating and went out of her way to help me find a good small battery run light for my airplane travels. There is also a wall of notions.
I highly recommend a stop there as well

So, a mid winter visit to the Cape is not so strange after all.