About.com's survey of stitchers' recent experiences at needlework shops is still drawing responses. And they are shocking to me: 134 people have recently visited a shop where the staff treated them rudely and 138 people have recently visited a shop where the staff didn't know much about what they sell. Shops refused to help 50 people! Fortunately, 112 folks love their local shop.
Here's the link. You can click "Current Results" underneath the survey to see the numbers as they stand now.
The numbers aren't good, are they? I know that anyone can have a bad day (plus we don't know the shop's side of the story), and in this economy shops are under even more pressure than before which might make them a bit short with customers. Still, the shop owners who read Blog (I know you are here, I can here you whispering among yourselves!) probably are doing a little soul-searching right now and renewing their vows to be the best needlepoint vendor on the planet. After all, there are at least 112 of you whom your customers love!
I decided I wanted to create a list of shops, the ones I patronize and know are fabulous. All of them are thrilled to have mail order customers, so if you don't have a shop nearby or the shop you do have is one you've vowed never to set foot in again after years of rudeness or cluelessness, you will have shops I vouch for. I encourage blog readers to mention their favorite shop in the Comments or on their blogs, complete with either website or street address and city if the shop is not on the Internet. After all, I'm just including the ones I've done business with personally. I've heard of many other great shops that I haven't listed because this is just my list of shops I've worked with who wow'd me with their knowledge, customer service and the amount of goodies they have available. These are not the only great shops, trust me!
My list is by state (and alphabetically within state) to help folks who stumble across this posting locate a shop as close to them as possible. After all, who wants to stand at the mailbox waiting for a package any longer than necessary?
California: Needle in a Haystack in Alameda is a fabulous source for unusual threads and counted thread supplies. I use their online thread listing constantly and order anything exotic from them. They ship once a week and they are a long way from me, so mail orders from them take a bit longer but it's always worth the wait. Note their new address as they just moved.
California: Needle Nook of La Jolla always has the latest canvases, and their sale prices and trunk show discounts are fabulous. They also have a very good stock of books and tools of various kinds. I visit their photo galleries a lot to see the latest thing that isn't up on a designer website yet. Note that their hours as they are not open weekdays for after-work visitors.
Connecticut: Alex Paras NeedleArts is my go-to site for canvases from Leigh Designs as they always have the latest designs from her plus exclusives that you can't get anywhere else. They have a nice little selection of tools, many charts, and some great photos of stitched models scattered throughout the website. If you plan to visit in person, you'll actually be visiting Thistle Needleworks in Glastonbury. AP NeedleArts is their online presence but in person they are Thistle Needleworks. Wherever you go, you'll find lovely stuff and knowledgeable staff ready to help.
Illinois: Designers Desk is the place to find discontinued charts, threads or canvases. They moved to a renovated three story house in Geneva last year and filled every inch with what a needleworker needs. They will rush it out to you, too. There's never any waiting unless they actually don't have something and have to track it down from their gigantic contact list. Believe me, Pat knows everyone! You need it, she'll find it.
Pennsylvania: Fireside Stitchery is the closest out-of-state shop to me so when I need it NOW I order from them. They have a fabulous stock of threads and charts and some lovely wooden tools and also have constant trunk shows.
Texas: Needle Works carries everything a needleworker could want and they are a great place to get advice if you need to substitute threads or colors. They have a huge stock of needlepoint canvases and always have the latest thing. They've just moved to a new location so if you plan to drop by, make sure you head to the new shop.
Virginia: Needlewoman East (photo above), Scarlet Thread, and Waste Knot are my local shops. They are fabulous! I salute you, Liz and Lori and Sara Leigh! Between you, you have almost everything my stitching fingers need. And a lot I don't. (Good thing I don't live close by or I'd be bankrupt.) Note that Scarlet Thread is now Internet only and is mostly a
Washington State: Threadneedle Street has a great selection of books, silks and silk gauze supplies. I visit their site to just read the book reviews!
Remember, these are the shops I regularly buy from and for which I vouch unreservedly. I know of many other great shops I haven't listed because I have never bought from them. So fill in the blanks in the comments or on your blog, ok? This is a listing for folks who are traveling or who need something that isn't available locally and need advice on places to do mail order. Not everyone is as savvy a needleworker as we are, or maybe their shop just closed and now they need other sources.
The bottom line is there are great shops available. You just need a little help from your stitching friends to find them.
Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at http://chillyhollownp.blogspot.com Archived Yahoo 360 postings at http://profiles.yahoo.com/chillyhollow