Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mini-mystery #2

This Monday, Laura J. Perin posted the beginning of another mini-mystery (two-handed stitcher.blogspot).

Having nothing else to stitch (snort, chuckle, teehee), I gathered the fibers and produced this:
This scan is so washed out, the computer said "do not print from this image".  Can't wait for the camera to return home.  Enough whining.  My colors are:  watercolors 003 Meadow; DMC perle 5 3814 and 993; silk lame braid  SL26; and petite sparkle rays PS58. 

Now to wait patiently for next Monday when Laura will post the next set of instructions.

On another topic, I managed to blog every day in November as part of NaBloPoMo 2011.  Whew!  Made more difficult by not having a camera at my beck and call.  It was a challenge that I'll try again next year, but twice a week is enough for me as a regular thing. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Stitching for hire

Needle Nicely often has customers who either don't want to needlepoint but like the look or overestimated their commitment to needlepointing a project.  That's when we step in and, for a price, will finish the stitching.

This is a baby's first Christmas bootie ornament designed by Kathy Schenkel.  Each September one of our customers decides she wants us to stitch half of this for a selected child.  She buys the entire canvas and fibers and we stitch the stocking on the right.  First we add the name and then complete the stitching.  She has found someone who does the final finishing of the ornament.

We ask no questions about the derivation of names (well, we wonder...). 

We'll also finish belt canvases.  This belt, an Elizabeth Turner design,  was purchased approximately 8 years ago and the customer managed to do one square inch.  She change all of the original colors.  We finished the stitching and it is now at the finisher and will be back for her to give as a Christmas present.
Another item we've been working on all summer is a 4'x6' 10mesh rug for a woman who purchased it from us 20 years ago.  She has decided that she wants to see the finished product and fears none of her children would bother to stitch it if she died.  It should be finished about February.  I'll post a photograph before we send it to the finisher.  That is, if my precious camera ever returns home from the repair shop. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Ordering canvases for the season

I spent today with Rondo, one of my needlepoint sales reps. I first met Ron Needle Nicely's first winter in Vero Beach.  It was also his first year as a needlework rep so we have lots to chat about.  Spent from 9am to 3pm looking at photos of needlepoint canvases, deciding which ones to order.  I time-date the delivery so the canvases arrive the end of Jan-beginning of February when "they're here"--the snowbirds, that is.  I usually meet with Ron in September, but this year I waited because the pain of what a terrible season last winter was lingered.  And lingered.  However, with painted canvases, you can't order them today and expect them to arrive tomorrow.  The designers need time to do the painting or have the painting done.  In these tough economic times, designers can no longer afford to stock much inventory so you have to allow for that when placing an order. 

I met with Priscilla, my other sales rep, the week before Thanksgiving for an afternoon.  This time allows us to catch up on information about mutual friends and in general what's going on in the industry.  Like, what do we think is going on at JCA (Ron was their rep for 30 years, until last year), what shops have closed, where are there new shops, etc. 

One might ask, if there are markets, why are there sales reps?  Markets contain so many designers and companies that it is impossible to spend quality time at each booth.  When I go to market, my first day is spent collecting price lists, looking at displayed canvases and saying hello to people. I've been in this industry for over 35 years, so I know a lot of people and I'm chatty!!  I cover the entire show, but only take price lists from companies I want to order from, either at the market or in the future.  My philosophy is that I don't want to carry paper I never intend to look at.  And, why take someone's paper they paid good money for if you're just going to toss it?

The second day I start placing orders.  And taking the time to chat with the designers who have reps.  They have new designs that the rep didn't have, so now is the time to order them, knowing they will need to be painted and will arrive later than previous orders. 

Markets are wonderful in that they allow you to get the mood of an industry.  But they are expensive.  I doubt that I will be going to the Phoenix market in January because of its cost.  My plane ticket is free because of frequent flier miles, but my food and lodging aren't.  It's the season in Phoenix so the hotel rooms are $150 to $250 a night.  Yeow! Sometimes I take the redeye home so I don't have to pay for that last night's room.  I look on the meals as a treat since Vero is such a small town.  At market I look for Chinese and other cuisines I can't find in Vero. And I refuse to go cheap because I can do that at home (and too often do).  I want to experience the market, whether it's lunch at Coronado or dinner on the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  And usually a group of us will get together for some quality time with some good catching up along with the food. 

But you can never forget that you're committing money.  One year I took a class with Shay Pendray that used Splendor.  At 10am after the class, I went directly to Rainbow Gallery and ordered the entire line of Splendor, I was so taken with it.  That night I didn't sleep a wink.  I had committed to over $2200 for the Splendor.  Would I be able to pay for it?  Scary thought. 

So as a shopowner you always are looking for a Splendor moment.  Maybe that happened today with Ron.
We'll see in February when the canvases start arriving.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Mini mystery from Laura Perin, III

Ta da!
What fun!  I finished stitching this today while I was watching Roger Federer win the year-end tennis tournament in London.  That makes for double delight. 

Laura mentioned that this variation of her design used a lot of metallic.  Well, I started having heart palpitations from more than exciting tennis when I realized that I was close to the end of my silk lame braid.  I finished with a mere 9" of that fiber left.  Whew! I know I have more of that color at the shop, but I wanted to finish this today. 

In the past few days I also discovered that other bloggers were stitching this mini-mystery.  Go see their color selections at:;; and  It's great to be able to see how different designs look with different color combinations.

And tomorrow Laura says she's going to begin another mini-mystery. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mini mystery from Laura Perin, II

Today I moved on to the 2nd Monday's assignment in Laura Perin's mini-mystery.

The colors in the scan aren't as bright as in the original, but at least you can see the different fibers and colors used. 

I plan for my stitching tonight and tomorrow to be completing Monday #3's instructions, which provides the outer border for this square.  I can't wait! 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mini mystery from Laura Perin

On Monday, November 7, 2011, Laura J. Perin on her blog
started a mini-mystery charted design.  She asked that the stitcher select one color of watercolors, one metallic and two perle 5 in colors that picked up shades in the watercolors.  I selected Watercolors 144 Pomegranate, silk lame braid SL52, and perle 5 352 and 3801. 

You'lll have to pardon how askew this image is.  My camera is in for repairs and I had to scan the canvas.  Whoopee!  I suppose I will improve with attempts, but time is short (and it's almost time to start preparing dinner!).  This is the stitching as Laura suggested for Monday #1.  I don't like all the canvas showing around the central motif so I added another stitch.

I like this better, my apologies to Laura.  In the next day or so, I'll show the stitches from Monday #2.  I'm glad I finally remembered my flatbed scanner, since I had put off stitching this because of my camera problems.  As everyone will understand, these were "burning a hole in my pocket".  I wanted to stitch them NOW!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Tassel canvas III finish

The tassel on the far left is stitched in a yellow Balger in alternating slanted gobelin with a row of continental down the middle.  The top of the tassel is done in Smyrna crosses in a bright silver metallic.
French knots form the top bead on the next tassel.  The top of the main part of the tassel is turkey work stitched in candlelight.  The bottom of the tassel is the fern stitch in a hot pink metallic.  Mosaic stitches and smyrna crosses are also used in the top areas of the tassel.

It's satisfying to admire the finished product.  The combination of stitches with metallic and matte lends this purse flap a certain exotic flavor.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sweater ornaments

Barbara of Stitch-Its has a series of sweater ornaments using 13mesh canvas.  They stitch up really quickly.
Some are cardigans that come with decorative buttons; others are pullovers, some with large thematic buttons (gardening, sports, etc.).

And then Barbara will paint custom canvases in the colors of your favorite college. 

A special order for a customer.

I have 2 degrees from Appalachian but I can't manage to get blogger to let me type to the left of this photograph.  Grrr! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

More about service

Kitting is another service provided by needlepoint shops.  Needle Nicely sells the majority of its canvases "canvas only" (though I do remember pricing canvases to include Paternayan yarn--long before the advent of specialty fibers).  I try to emphasize to customers that they should try to use the fibers they already own, rather than always buying everything new.  And I don't mind going through the bags of left-overs, organized or not (though organized is definitely preferable!), to help kit the new canvas.  Usually people tend toward the same colors so their leftovers will be relevant to additional canvases.  I must confess, though, to having had a customer scold me by saying "stop trying to save me money!"  Believe me, I haven't made that mistake with her again!!

Hand-in-hand with kitting is stitch selection.  Sometimes a thicker (or thinner) version of a fiber is needed for a certain area done in that special stitch.  Stitch guides are all the rage today.  I resist buying them to accompany canvases in my inventory because I feel any shop owner should be able to suggest appropriate stitches and fibers.  Not to mention that it adds to the final cost of the canvas.  Not good when someone is hesitating about the purchase.  Sometimes I feel that the stitch guide becomes the be-all and end-all and the design disappears.  Ditto for some of the exotic fibers called for.  End of minor rant!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Tassel canvas II

Continuing with the tassel canvas, the tassel on the left is done simply in the chain stitch in a dark champagne-colored candlelight. 

The beads at the top of the next tassel are done in combinations of French knots and cashmere stitches.  Then the fun--area of turkey work produce a wonderful fluffy effect.  Then the bottom of the tassel is done in alternating slanted gobelin rows interspersed with continental.  The "dangles" are French knots again.  Quite a pleasing effect.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Star fish and Sand dollar

I have talked often about coral designs, and in fact I am finishing my 2nd coral class canvas which I'll blog about again as soon as my camera returns from the doctor.  And I have stitched several seashell items, most notably the seashell tote (or someone said it was a pocketbook--whatever).  Associated Talents has done two pillow designs that are striking in their simplicity. 

I love them and wish there were enough hours in the day for me to stitch them.  They'll look just as good on a rattan settee as on a coral loveseat or a bone leather sectional.  A decorator's dream!

And miraculously I'm still alive in posting everyday in November.  I'm amazed! 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Peppermint stripes mini-stocking

Rainbow Gallery has a continuous free charted design program that assists in promoting the Rainbow Gallery fibers.  These charts are reprintable by shop owners to encourage customers, so your local shop should have access to them.  They're usually free if you buy the fibers and sometimes even if you don't.  I like to stitch charted designs, but many of my customers prefer painted canvases.  Anyway, this is a design by Joan Lohr from 2006.

The cuff is a stitch called Woven Ribbons stitched in opal fyrewerks.  It's a nice stitch that goes quickly--yes!!  The edging is the long-armed cross stitched in silver goldrush 18. 

The body of the stocking is done in stripes.  The first is the interlocking gobelin in silver goldrush 18.  The next stitch is the fern done in 4-ply christmas green splendor.  Another row of the interlocking gobelin, followed by the slanted gobelin in red goldrush 18; repeat until finished. 

We made a twisted cord from red perle 5; backed the stocking in red velvet and lined it with a plaid taffeta to make an inexpensive Christmas present for someone.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Lee's Needle Arts tassel canvas

Using impressions, I started stitching the background in black impressions in the mosaic stitch.  I like to start with the background so I can spread its stitching out (when I get bored, I can do something "fun"). 

I stitched the bamboo from which the tassels are hanging in a cashmere stitch the length of the width of the bamboo in a medium brown impressions. 

The first tassel's body was stitched in the chain stitch in a melon-y candlelight.  The yellow part of the top of the tassel was done in alternating slanted gobelin.  The hanger was done in a metallic gold rush 18 in the mosaic stitch.

The next tassel's body has panels of the fern stitch separated by rows of continental stitch.  The largest two-color bead is stitched in French knots using gold rush 18 and candlelight.  The contrast in "shine" adds to the texture of the knots.  The other beads are done in various cross stitches, Scotch stitches and mosaic stitches.

This design was fun to stitch because so much is going on with each tassel.  Great fun to play with.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

In for repairs!

At the shop yesterday I pulled out the trusty Canon camera to take some more photographs for "the" blog when the camera started beeping at me and displaying E18 on its screen.  Being a mechanical genius (NOT), I immediately dropped it in my tote bag like it was a hot potato.  Las night I spent some time flipping through the manual before I broke down and emailed Canon.  The upshot is that today I mailed the camera in for evaluation and repairs.  Cross your fingers that it doesn't take long or cost much.  I must say Canon customer service is prompt and helpful.

In the interim, I do have some photographs and topics that I have tucked away for a rainy day or extended trip.  I have to maintain my NaBloPoMo 2011 writing streak!

This time of year in a needlepoint shop is one of constant arrival of finished customer projects from the finishers.  That also means calling customers or, as happens alot at Needle Nicely, shipping many items.  Last Thursday I was a whirling dervish of activity.  Cutting up long canvas boxes to make smaller boxes for shipping Christmas ornaments.  Putting Christmas stockings between pieces of cardboard and using a roll of tape to make sure the edges are closed securely.  Finding the right size box for that gorgeous pillow.  Marcia waited on customers while I managed to close up 17 items of various sizes for mailing.  Then, at 4 pm I sat down and stitched for an hour as my reward for being so industrious.  The next morning my DH pointed out to me that no, I didn't need to leave early because the post office was closed! (Needle Nicely was open--when tourists are in town, we're open.  With the exception of New Year's, Christmas, Fourth of July and Memorial Day.)  Boy, did I rue that hour of stitching.  But Saturday a.m I was standing in line at 9 o'clock to make sure everything got mailed.  While I know I could use online postage programs, I'm a small-town girl and prefer the banter with the post office counter staff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Vero Beach ribbon pillow

This is a fun canvas designed by Rosalie Peters and sold by Kate Schofield.  It's on 13mesh canvas and provides a nice variety of things to stitch including signal flags that spell Vero.  The Needle Nicely shop model is stitched with perle 3.  The blank squares were filled with pale yellow mosaic stitches.  The outside border was stitched in the same yellow in the woven trellis variation.  This model was stitched by several Needle Nicely employees and some of them are now less than fond of the woven trellis variation.  They say it is easy to get "off count", but also agree that the finished product is worth the pain. 

We could have added other stitches, but I wanted the design elements to be the real center of attention.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ombre purse

This purse is a perfect example of "necessity is the mother of invention".  Years ago the pundits at Needle Nicely had fallen in love with ombre, a multicolored metallic fiber from Kreinik.  They/we ordered bunches.  That didn't sell.  Time passed and it was noticed that no one was buying ombre.  What to do? 

I traced the shape of a shop model purse on 18-mesh canvas.  Then I started stitching 18x18 stitch squares in basketweave with each color combination.  To divide the squares I did 3 rows of pewter LaLame metallic, again in basketweave.  Then for the finishing, the finisher made a shoulder-length cord from the LaLame.

Looking at this purse today I can see so many design possibilities, from varying the metallics in the squares to making the size of the square smaller to doing different stitches to. . . really, there are many more possibilities.  Perhaps I'll explore some of them in the future on this blog.

Monday, November 14, 2011


Brenda Stofft designed this camel that is festively bedecked. 

We stitched the camel's fur in the long/short split stitch using 3 different shades of Medici yarn.  The ground was done in the interlocking gobelin in a solid tone of Medici.  The sky was basketweave in a navy fiber.  The stars were stitched using white gold rush 18. 

The blanket and neck collar were stitched in perle cotton with a multitude of various metallics to emphasize the impression of gems and  precious metals.

The overall finishing was done as a standing stuff with cording made of a combination of gold and silver metallic.  The camel could have also been finished as a hanging ornament.  Finished it stands about 8" tall.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

cuff class, finished models

This has been such a satisfying weekend.  In addition to receiving the seashell tote back from one finisher, I received another package containing my two cuff bracelets for a 2-session class that I will teach, once in February and once in March.  This photo shows the black/white/gray combination.  And the next photo shows the lining.

It was fun Saturday to wait on customers while wearing this beauty!

And the bright color combination: 

You can see from the photos that more of the stitches show on the black/white/gray cuff than on the bright color one, though the two cuffs were stitched identically.  Good finishing is hard to find and I try not to quibble about small things so long as the finished product is attractive. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Anniversary seashell tote, finished product

Oh, the absolute delight of having something turn out even better than you have envisioned it.  That's how I have felt all day after receiving the finished seashell tote from the finisher by US Mail.  I was so excited to see the box that I almost hugged "Cupcake", Needle Nicely's nickname for our letter carrier, Marc. 

I blogged about stitching this canvas beginning the first week in May and it took me through July, averaging one hour of stitching a night before cooking dinner.  It was a fun project to stitch.  Happy 30th anniversary!!

This is a side view.

And this to show the bottom with its little gold feet.

And a view of the inside with leather trimmed pockets that include one zippered pocket.  I left the lining color up to the finisher and I'm thrilled with how elegant it looks.  Everyone who came in the shop today had to admire it (and I'm sure I'll be just as proud all winter). 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Iris luggage rack straps

Blogging daily for NaBloPoMo 2011 doesn't allow me much time for stitching.  That's something I didn't consider when I got the bright idea to participate!!  Anyway, I'll use the opportunity to show some of the projects stitched by my customers.

These are iris luggage rack straps designed by Village Needlecraft.  Susie stitched them in silk 'n ivory.  They look elegant.

It's almost a shame to cover them up with a suitcase!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A finished coral pillow

In January I  talked about stitching this canvas:

I recently received the finished pillow from my finisher and was so pleased with the finished product:

NOTE:  Just so the world doesn't think Needle Nicely uses the absolute slowest pillow finisher--I kept this stitched canvas to show customers throughout  "the season" and only sent it to be finished in August (if you send it in May, you get it in July.  In Florida you have no business in July so you can't pay the bill).  I waited until August so it would arrive in October when I would be flush with money (tee, hee, hee) from the Florida mini-season. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Service, part II

Stitchers are the customers of needlepoint shops.  If a non-stitcher comes in, you try to make them a stitcher.  How do you do this?  My method is to offer a beginner's kit:  a 3"x5" square of 10mesh canvas with a stitch diagram for both basketweave and continental, an 18 needle, and several strands of Paternayan yarn. No charge.  When people offer to pay, I smilingly tell them that it is an addiction and they will pay me (or some other shop) later. 

Formal classes for a fee are offered during "the season" (February, March & April).  However, at any time one may come in and receive instruction in a specific stitch at no charge.  Join us at the round table and we'll help you in between waiting on other customers or stitching shop models.  The object is to spread the love of the art and try to eliminate pain and frustration.  Anyone who works for Needle Nicely is capable of assisting with pattern stitches, or, more importantly, the basketweave.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Christmas trees finished

Tree number 11 is done with a basketweave stitch in red providing the background to cross stitches, Smyrna crosses and Raised Maltese Crosses done in white Balger. 

Slanted gobelin and continental are the stitches used in tree #12 in emerald green, gold and white Balger.

Red tent stitches provide the outline in tree number 13.  The fill stitch is a variation of slanted gobelin.  The fibers used are sparkle rays and neon rays plus. 

The last tree is stitched in alternating slanted gobelin using neon rays plus and green Balger. 

The final touch is using white fyrewerks for the snow flakes in the background.  All in all, a nice sparkly pillow as you can see in this finished photograph.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Festival of Trees, II

You might be asking yourself where all these models come from that Needle Nicely donates to charity.  We have a Christmas tree in a case with a plexiglass front where we have most of our Christmas ornament models.  I try to stitch 2 or 3 each year to keep things reasonably fresh looking (this summer I did the hot-glue ornaments and a Kathy Schenkel clog).  And NN does an annual limited edition ornament.  We started these in Blowing Rock and have continued since the 80s.  They include a painted canvas, stitch instructions and the fibers.

There is a shelf running on 3 sides of the shop about 20 inches below the ceiling.  That shelf is filled with pillow models.  You can see the Christmas ribbon pillow on the right side of the shelf!

The 3rd item Needle Nicely is donating to the Festival of Trees is a hot air balloon designed, I think, by Tapestry Tent.  I've had it "in a safe place" and decided to part with it this year.  I thought it was gorgeous, but it was expensive to finish and just too "different" to appeal to many people. 

The last donated item is a canvas we had made into a cube with ultrasuede backing.  We added the bow to make it look like a Christmas package.  It has been less than a commercial success, so I'm allowing myself to donate it.  I loved the concept, but no one else did.  Perhaps the needlepoint was too large? 

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Festival of Trees, I

Every year our local Children's Theater sponsors a "Festival of Trees" where businesses and individuals decorate Christmas trees and wreaths to be sold as a fund-raiser.  They have expanded this to include gingerbread buildings, homemade items such as jams and jellies, and events like breakfast with Santa.

Needle Nicely has participated for the last 8 or 9 years.  The first year all the NN employees started in March stitching "bulb" ornaments  in pattern stitches that we then finished flat.  That 4 1/2 ft tree was the first that sold that year for the full-price. Quite an achievement!  The next year we did a mix of needlepoint and glass ornaments.  One year I donated 3 of our Christmas stocking models.  The past 2 years I have been donating pillow models where the canvases are no longer available.  Here are two that are going to be part of this year's donation:

This was a canvas from Quail Run Designs.  What fun it was to stitch.  This model is about 20 years old and among the fibers used to stitch it is lystwist--a nice fiber to stitch with, but it never caught on.  The pillow has shirred boxing in red moire.

This Santa was designed by Trubey when she first started wholesaling her designs.  It was a kit, stitched primarily in medici yarn (sigh!).  The beard is stitched in the long/short split stitch.  The finishing is so elegant with the jumbo shirred cording with commercial cording in the "gutter".  The berries are beads.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Seascape screen

Tomorrow I get to check off the canvases from Trubey's trunk show.  Thank goodness DH is a trooper and removes the price tags for me.  Then Monday a trip to UPS to ship the boxes back.

This is my absolute favorite canvas:

I've already had one customer stitch this.  There is so much happening that it is really fun to stitch.  Though I must confess daunting to pull fibers for (customer #1 pulled yarn from her stash to do most of hers). 

Friday, November 4, 2011

coral class II beginning

This is the second coral canvas that Trubey painted for me to teach several years ago.  I sold the original pillows one August day when I was feeling especially poor!  Now to stitch a replacement.  I have already finished one canvas (blogged the finish on September 21, 2011). 

First I started the border stitch, the Van Dyke.  I'm stitching this canvas in Splendor.  The background (and border) are done in 2 plies of a pale aqua and 2 plies of an off-white.  I like doing all of the border before I start the background stitch, only because the background then fits smoothly and lays over the border stitch.
I hate having to take extra time to be sure I'm not piercing previous stitches to add the border later. 

You can see that I painted out the bottom line so the fan coral is spaced evenly.  The copy painter wanted the bottom border to be closer than the top like paintings in an art gallery.  I used gesso to paint out the line.  Though you can see it in this photograph, it won't show through after I've stitched the background.  You can also use white acrylic paint, but the gesso is actually more effective.  You can buy it (in massive quantities) at Michael's and similar craft stores.  You really only need a little bit, so buy the smallest size you can find.

The background stitch I selected for this canvas is the Old Florentine.  It provides a nice texture.  Now, I just need to get some free time to stitch on this canvas.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christmas trees II

To make this into a pillow with all of the peppermint stitch/candy cane border showing, I stitched 4 outer rows of basketweave in a blue silk 'n ivory.  I also started working on the inner background so that it would be finished about the time I stitched the last tree.

The fifth tree is done in the damask stitch in red and green sparkle rays.  This has a nice flow to it and really gives the look of a tree.

The next tree is stitched in the mosaic stitch using white and green Balgers and a red neon rays plus.

In this photograph, the dark green in tree number 7 looks black, but its that wonderful rich dark green that Balger has.  This tree is stitched in the interlocking gobelin in that green and gold.

Green and white tree #8 is stitched in the diagonal mosaic, tent stitch and a variation of the slanted gobelin using sparkle rays and Balger.  

Tree number 9 is stitched in the long-armed cross stitch (over 2) interspersed with the tent stitch in metallic ribbon floss and Balger.

Tree #10 is stitched in the alternating Scotch stitch using neon rays plus and Balger.

It's amazing how quickly things progress when you're doing such fun stitches in eye-catching fibers!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


 I have discovered a blog pertaining to cross-stitch( which I enjoy reading.  I no longer stitch cross-stitch and also no longer sell cross-stitch (both ended when we moved to Florida 30 years ago--you can't pay Florida rents with cross-stitch sales, at least not on the "gold coast of Florida".)  Anna often has lists of various things on her blog.  The lists are, I think, intended to provoke thought. And rightly so.   One she had recently was of her favorite cross-stitch stores (her lns) where she mentioned that this one was delightful to be in, that one the owner was aloof, etc.  I have a shop in a tourist area.  (Especially when we were in Blowing Rock--you become accustomed to being a treat, rather than a necessity to customers).  I try to guide my customers when they say "I'm going to Santa Fe--is there a needlepoint shop there?"  The TNNA retail listing is a godsend reference for this.  I think people should share their feelings about individual shops--"I felt like there was a minimum purchase";  "had a tiny inventory"; "lots of halloween"; etc.  I have many people reading this blog.  It would be wonderful if you could bring yourself to comment on this issue.  The industry needs more openness.  Think of it as saving your local needlepoint shop.  Think about what makes it "your" shop and why you want it to survive (or not). 

I have a male customer who has a marvelous analytical eye (he was a highly successful business consultant before 9/11 decimated the market).  I love it when he returns from a business trip, because he has gone to needlepoint shops and "looked" at them.  I wish he would do a website critiqueing them because his observations are so right on.

I intend to keep hammering on this topic....why?  Because the needlepoint shop is a dying phenomena.  Donna of http://www.needleworkernotinparadise/ mentions this in her October 30th blog entry.To keep it from totally disappearing, we must analyze it and discover what we want to preserve about it.  Please realize that shop owners are aging as are finishers, with no discernible replacements.  Needlepoint  shops are closing, and are too expensive to open new profitably.  Customers are buying on the internet.  That may take the place of the storefront shops, but where are the stitchers going to find finishers?  Let's face it, nothing ruins your delight in a finished product than the realization that the finisher wasn't quite up to snuff.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaBloPoMo 2011

NaBloPoMo is intended to encourage bloggers to post everyday for a month.  I've seen various months, but it is usually November.  So, here goes.  I had to take a photograph of the outside of the shop to prove it was a legitimate shop as part of opening an account with a company that is more of a gift line, rather than needlework.  So here we are with our overgrown rosemary handy for anyone to pluck. 

And now to rack my brain to come up with 29 more gems to delight and thrill you, dear reader, this month.