Sunday, July 1, 2012

Favorites: The Best Needlework Shops

This article is almost two years old, but is receiving a lot of visitors recently, so I thought I would republish it so that folks can add more shops to the list if they so desire.  Please remember to give the correct name, website and the state it is located in to help people find a shop in their home state.  If the Comments section doesn't work, please email me at chilly hollow athotmaildotcom and I will post for you.  Thanks!'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 counted thread counted canvaswork source.  All three shops have fabulous thread stocks, which makes this threadaholic a very happy stitcher!

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 Archived Yahoo 360 postings at


  1. Good idea, Jane, to post the shops that we find helpful. I have a local shop, Needleworks, in Homewood, Alabama that I love to shop at. They have very knowledgable and helpful staff and I usually find more than enough there to keep me busy. I do, however, purchase from other online shops who have a larger inventory and access to some threads that my shop doesn't have. I have gotten excellent service from: Amy's Golden Strand in Memphis, TN, Pocket Full of Stitches in Lubbock, TX and Bedecked and Beadazzled Lutherville, MD. All three have a strong presence on the web and have special ordered for me many times.

  2. I'm a Scarlet Thread (since Jan O. owned it) girl, with Needlewoman East, The Point of it All (just off Wisconsin in Bethesda, Metro accessible!) and In Stitches (Rte. 1, near Woodlawn) thrown in. I have GOT to get to Waste Knot one of these days!!

    (I will be saving this entry for future vactions...!)

  3. Thanks for the links, Jane! When you say counted thread, you mean counted canvaswork, right?

  4. For Texas I would add Pocket Full of Stitches. I have done mail order from them for several years and always find them helpful on the phone as I try to find things I need long distance.

    Thanks for putting this list together. It sure helps those of us without a local shop.


  5. Thanks for the list, Jane! I also live in Virginia and really like Waste Knot. I'd like to give a huge recommendation to two shops- one I frequent and one from who I've ordered.

    The Point of it All ( in Washington, DC is fantastic. Their prices are a little on the high side but Susan and her staff all give such fabulous customer service. I'm a new stitcher but have never been made to feel like one. Everyone is so patient, especially when I continue to change my mind about thread colors.

    I've only ordered via email/phone from Pocket Full of Stitches ( in Lubbock, TX but they treat me just like I were shopping in person. Megan is so helpful with suggesting things and doesn't hesitate to order things. Their Christmas in July sale when ALL canvases are 20% off is fantastic. She ordered a couple of things for me and even gave me the discount.

  6. Andrea McCaffreyTuesday, July 20, 2010

    Wellesley Needlepoint in Wellesley MA is a wonderful shop......everyone stitches, including the owner. There is top notch instruction available from Lynne Segil and more canvases and fibers than you can count!
    It's worth the drive from won't be disappointed!

  7. Yes, SL. Since I don't do much work from charts, I didn't know that counted canvaswork is the right term until recently and I'm having trouble remembering that. Sorry.

    Jane, mumbling "counted canvaswork, counted canvasWORK, counted CANVASWORK" to herself in CH

  8. I would like to mention my local shop, Exclamation Point, in Saratoga, Ca. Those ladies are always willing and know what they are about. In fairness I must say that one day I witnessed such demands being put on them by one customer that I was appalled. They were trying their very best to please that woman who had two of them pulling threads for a large and detailed canvas before she left for her luncheon engagement. What a bitch, and she probably complained that they didn't know what they were doing.

    1. The Saratoga shop has closed. The business was sold, and the new owner reopened in Santa Clara. Exclamation Point is quite different now.

      Stop in and check it out for yourself.

      Stephanie Wong

  9. Jane

    I want to add Queen Anne Stitches in Valencia, Calif...they are open 11 to 8 pm Tues thru Thurs and they do mail order. Heidi is the owner and Sherry Bray is the in house teacher. Both Heidi and Sherry are great with painted Canvases

    Also, Aristeia in Brentwood is terrific and the staff is very helpful in each shop. Wendy and Laura have done alot of stitch guides but you must buy the canvas there.

    Susan Portra works out of Newport needlepoint and Peggy, the owner is a gem. Great shop and of course there are lessons from Susan

    Sue VanderNoor

    Sue VanderNoor

  10. Jane - I feel compelled to add two amazing shops to your list and put Arizona on the map. Here in Tucson, AZ, we have two of the most amazing shops on the planet. (Do I sound biased??) :-) The first is The West. The West is completely run by volunteers and donates all profits to women's and children's charities in Tucson. All volunteers are amazing needlewomen and absolutely love what they are doing. Each and every one of them is amazingly helpful. The other shop is The Busy Needle. An exceedingly welcoming place with experts more than willing to impart their knowledge. Needless to say, I am not affiliated with either shop. I'm just a very happy customer.
    Tucson, AZ

  11. Jane,
    I concur with the shops named by you and by the others in their comments. I have the pleasure of having Bedecked & Beadazzled as my LNS. Consequently, you know that I am spoiled absolutely rotten. Ruth et al. are so knowledgeable, helpful and pleasant. Ruth has the patience of Job and is so creative.
    If you are in the area, you really must come and play.

  12. Bristly Thistle opened in Amelia Island over a year ago, and both Michele and Chris Herron have nourished the love of needlepoint for avid stitchers in northeast Florida. The shop is very supportive of our local 8 Flags Needlepointers ANG Chapter. Michele is a multi-talented teacher with new techniques and more then enough trunk shows to feed our passion for new canvases. Bristly Thistle is a wonderful addition to our island.

  13. I failed to mention NeedleNook of La Jolla. The staff is very helpfull and it is filled with lots of canvases and threads and I have fond memories of many Goddess Weekends.

    Also, Amy's in Memphis is teriffic. While I haven't been there I have had a great experience there whenever I order something and this year has been wonderful with Halloweenies. The staff is friendly and Jill does a great job with the mail order and Robin puts out a great newsletter Peggy is stitching the Halloweenies right along with us. Can't say enough about all these great shops and staff

    Sue VanderNoor

  14. Jane,
    I was very pleased to see Fireside Stitchery listed by you. I am a customer there and I can say I was "adopted" by them. it is a fantastic shop with committed people who are extremely friendly and truly enjoy what they do. They will happily help people not only with threads but also with stitch guides and helpful advice. They love what they do

  15. Jane,
    I would like to add two LNS in southeast Michigan. Needlepoint For You in Auburn Hills, MI. Lynne Bay is an outstanding shop owner, talented, and very knowledgeable. She will help in any way she can. The other is Homestead Needlearts in Grand Blanc, MI. Again a wonderful shop owner, with "Grand" knowledge for threads, color and canvas selection. Teresa and "Star" (her beautiful dog) will go out of there way to help any way they can.

  16. Jane,

    The Needle Bug in Montgomery, AL is my local shop. Leigh and her staff are extremely friendly and accomodating and have a fabulous selection of threads and canvasses. As I am a local customer I do not have to mail order but I know Leigh does fill many Internet and phone orders.

  17. Thanks, Anne. I am very glad to have more shop recommendations to keep here. I hope that folks googling for shops in their area stumbled across the recommendations here to get them pointed in the direction of a "local" shop nearest to them for their stitching needs.

  18. Jane,
    A couple months ago I had the pleasure of going to Serendipity Needleworks in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Very friendly and helpful. Plenty of needlepoint canvas, threads and goodies to entice any stitcher and also yarns, etc., for the knitter. Amy's in Memphis is always a good choice whether in person or long distance.

  19. I'd like to add "Two's Company", owned by Jane Hudson, in Rock Hill, SC to your list of "must visit" shops. The shop is a thread-a-holic's dream. She has walls full of painted canvases but if you don't find exactly what you want Jane is an artist herself and will be happy to paint you a custom canvas. It is easy to find, there are several neat places to have lunch close by. When I can't make the road trip to shop I know I can call and she will be happy to drop things in the mail. Just a happy customer!

  20. Stitcher's Paradise in Las Vegas, NV. Gina is the owner and she is very nice and very helpful and knowledgeable. It is more cross stitch than canvaswork, but does have quite a few charts and painted canvases. A good selection of threads and notions.
    Reno, NV, has Stitch in Time. Excellent source of canvases, charts & threads. Also has cross stitch. These 2 shops are the only ones I know of it Nevada!

  21. Australia : AllThreads, shop front and on-line ordering. Great range, prompt service, lovely on the phone, if something is out of stock they are prompt in telling you and sending it to you when it does come in.

    The Needleworx people are a very small company with very low prices. They are extra-sweet, and a struggling business. The poor things got flooded out in their store a couple of years ago. A great place to get something like a pile of floss boxes. However, they are often out of stock on items. I think it's a family run business.

  22. Elaine Magnin site was bought by two former employees and is now run as Golden Gate Needlepoint. They are very nice and have everything you need there. Please don't turn people away saying they are out of business!

  23. Many thanks to everyone for adding recommendations. There are a lot of great shops I don't know about because they don't have websites. Then there are more that I just haven't heard about. Great information!

  24. Thanks, eRose. I know there are folks who do shopping other places than the U.S. and they want to know about great shops, too!

  25. Anne B. wrote this on another comment, "Please add The Needle Bug in Montomery, Al to your list!
    She has wonderful canvasses, a great thread selection and is always having fabulous classes."

    I thought I should copy the comment for this article so that folks can find it with the other shop recommendations. Thanks, Anne!

  26. Marcia, thanks for pointing out that Elaine Magnin is still open, just in a different location. The original article was 2 years old and at that point, we didn't know it was going to be purchased and moved.

  27. I'm posting this nice list of recommendations from Nancy who emailed it to me. Thanks, Nancy! (and thanks for the nice compliment)


    I remember you from ages ago and love your blog. When do you have time to stitch!! I am a stitch-aholic and also teach classes at my LNS ( initially Next Station Needlepoint) and now at Enriched Stitch in Wilton. Thanks for your info on the shop opening.

    Enriched Stitch owner Suzie Vallerie has done an excellent job at bringing new designers to Fairfield County, Ct. She has been open 3 months and is excited to try new fibres and designers. She has stocked all the basics and has added many fibers esp. silks and new wools from Planet Earth and Ribbon Silk. All new to this area.First master teacher, Julia Snyder was here 2 weeks ago and I hear rumors of a return in early spring!! Suzie will order anything for you and has lots of classes and trunk shows scheduled. Staff is friendly, helpful and love to see all projects big and small. Very much a full service shop with excellent fibre choices and true love of the art of Needlepoint. Suzie is hoping to be able to do Skype tours of the shop for stitchers who dont have a LNS or just want to see whats happening here.

    Thistle Needleworks, Glastonbury. This is the retail arm of Alex-Parras. Owner Judy has been in business for years and services both needlepoint and cross stitch. As a result she is the go to source for all the various overdyed floss used for samplers by x stitchers ( Weeks, Thread Gatherer Sampler threads etc..) She has an in house framing business, is excellent at filling orders and you cant beat her twice yearly 2 day sale on everything - She also carries Kreinik in 5 meter spools - good for trying out a color. Staff is helpful.

    Aristeia - Brentwood, Ca. one of the best stocked shops. Needlepoint only and more of a larger canvas crowd but good stash of everything especially Melissa Shirley. Teaching is the name of the game and there are well known teachers there every day. Shop is always busy but the staff is helpful and really knowledgeable. They have painters available to personalize everything.

    Sign of the Arrow St Louis, MO. This is a great shop that is not for profit. They are fabulous belt sellers and finishers since Zeller is right in St Louis. My favorite part of this shop has always been the young stitchers...Keep em coming St Louis. They have lots of HS students who volunteer in the shop. Not all the staff is totally knowledgeable about Needlepoint but there is always someone there who is.

    First and Last Stitch, ST Louis, MO. Another good shop with really helpful and knowledgeable staff. They are fabulous at ordering canvases and also have in house finishing. Prices are fair and they do nice work.

    Needlenook of La Jolla - in addition to a major web site they also are a wonderful store and have to be in the greatest location. Good for a visit any time of year. Traffic getting there less than fun in the warm weather but worth the trip.

    I have been to needlepoint stores in nearly every city I have visited and would rank these among the best. I am more interested in the variety of canvases and a very broad range of threads. To anyone who loves and is loyal to their local store, bravo, but the fun about visiting order and buy there.

    Jane, you do a tremendous job and are a real service to all of us who love to stitch

    nancy "

  28. Jane, I know this is an old post but I just saw your comment on Spinster Stitcher. I was just in Atlanta and went to both In Stitches and Atlanta Needlepoint. Both are located in Buckhead, about a mile from each other so one would be able to visit both. They are lovely shops with lots and lots of threads. Atlanta Needlepoint was having a Cooper Oaks trunk show while I was there and they must have had 500 canvases! In Stitches had a great selection of canvases and even had a themed Christmas room. I bought something at each shop and received great service from both.

    1. Gosh, thanks, Whitney. It's always great to add to this list. I love knowing there are two shops so close to one another in Buckhead, which suddenly boosted Atlanta considerably on my Places to Visit list. I'm sure this will help travelers and folks in GA without a shop nearby as well. Appreciate it. Glad you had fun and bought a little something from both places.