Friday, February 04, 2011

Is it spring yet?!

All the handwork we saw in Jordan was counted cross stitch! The women there produce all manner of clothing, accessories, decorations, household goods, all cross stitched - we loved it! Stop in the shop to see the jacket and pillow Sandy brought back.

Carousel Charts' (Portland designer) Mermaid of the Oregon Coast, as stitched by Reta Holland (Dufur) - lovely!
One of Sandy's best helpers, granddaughter Amelia, putting up Mill Hill beads.

We had such cold weather for a few days, after it felt like spring for a week- but it's warming up, again, hurray! As long as the sun shines...:-)

What's new? Mill Hill's spring kits are here, and we love them all - magnets include a fabulous Triple Scoop ice cream cone, dreamy dragonfly and beautiful butterfly; beaded and buttoned kits are for Mardis Gras, a Main Street Flower Shoppe, wonderful hummingbird, and two cute cupcakes - small and quick!

Mary Engelbreit has created darling PAPER DOLLS with beautiful and fun backgrounds, not to stitch, just cut out and play! We've gotten them for our granddaughters - but want to cut them out ourselves! We were reminiscing about the old McCall's paper dolls when we saw these, how we waited for mom's new magazine so we could cut them out right away. Nostalgia! Sandy will keep one set of books at the shop until it's time to give them up in June for a birthday gift...check them out, or you can see the covers on the Leisure Arts website. We'd love to get some for you!

There are lots of new designs out from our favorites, too, so do stop in to see what's new! Little House is beginning the 2011 ornament series with Cardinal Winter; Lizzie Kate's begun their Halloween Rules Double Flips, just adorable - the first is "Wear a Costume"! Sandy's begun, so you can see how it looks at the shop.

February 8 is

"Hari-kuyo: Festival of Broken Needles

In the Hari-Kuyo ceremony, Japanese women gather once a year on Febuary 8th at Shinto shrines or Buddhist temples to thank their worn out needles and pins for good service.

It is also a time to value the small, everyday objects of daily living and to wish for progress in one's needle work. In what is known as the Festival of Broken Needles, women gather to offer a funeral-type service by laying the needles to rest in soft jelly cakes or tofu. This burial is meant to bring rest to the needles and wrap them with tenderness and gratitude.

Further to the idea of laying the needles to rest for good service is the idea that women have many secret sorrows in life. These sorrows are often passed to the needles during long hours of stitching and the needles are thought to take on the burden of some of these sorrows, thus taking them away with the stitching that they do. This "rest" is brought to the needles in appreciation for their faithful service.

Another aspect of the ceremony is the consideration for "the value of small things." The concept of Mottainai, or not being wasteful, is related to the usefulness of the needles. These small but important tools would give long, useful service throughout the year. They were not to be lost or wasted nor carelessly replaced."

What a great sentiment! Should you choose to bury your old needles, rest assured we have plenty in stock to replace them. Let us know you've honored your needles and we'll give one for free. :-)

News from Zweigart: Many fabric colors in various counts have been discontinued - because they're no longer popular in Europe - they don't seem to worry about the rest of the world. :-) Since it's our source for most stitching fabric, it causes difficulty in that older designs might call for something which is no longer made. We usually have an easy alternative - Wichelt has provided us with a very useful color chart relating fabric to DMC floss colors, so we can generally find an excellent replacement. There's also the option of hand dyed fabrics, and we have a good assortment of those on hand also. Flexibility is the key. :-)

DMC - Their prices have gone up again, so we may be re-thinking ours. For now, we're holding it at 50 cents per skein, but you might wish to stock up soon. Anchor remains stable, at 60 cents per skein. (Full retail on both is quite a bit more.) Most of the overdyes are now $2. Kreinik went up some time ago, but hasn't changed recently.

It's like everything else, prices go up but seldom go down. Many patterns now fall closer to the $10 range - those designers have multiple levels with whom to share the income, so we can hardly blame them. Shipping, too, is a huge factor in costs. Still, counted cross titch is one of the least expensive types of needlework - and we still love doing it! We hope you do, too!

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Fall has fallen!

After such a beautiful WARM week, September turned into October, turned into fall! Luckily, it's still sunny, but cools in the evening and is getting dark earlier - which means stitching time! Time to bring out the Christmas ornament designs we meant to make last year (or, we have lots of new ones here from which you can choose!) - in time for our annual contest! Entries are due November 27, and can be cross stitched, beaded, blackwork or Hardanger, and need not be original - just tell us where the design is from because people want to know - and we have a new tree upon which to hang them!

It's our 20th year! - but we've only had - 2? - 4? - trees - they do last pretty well. We've wanted the convenience of a pre-lit tree for several years now (at home the sweet hubby does the lights - here it's Sandy's NOT favorite task), and finally found a great deal after Christmas last year, hurray! Still, Sandy's hoping Reta will have it all set up on Nov. 26, while she's still gone on vacation. :-)

Even if you don't enter, do come in to see them and vote on people's choice, and get some great finishing ideas. There's a gift for everyone who enters, plus prizes for three places and people's choice. Our perennial second place winner has moved out of the area - will she mail one in?? :-)


Debbie Mumm Dancing Reindeer kits from Mill Hill; Fjord Ponies from Ink Circles; new thread colors from The Gentle Art; new fabric colors from Picture This Plus (ask about our Surprise monthly fabric - you choose the type, count and size cut, we choose the color); annual Santas from Lizzie Kate - socks and underwear anyone!? :-)

There are new designs from the Stitching Studio, birds and animals with their native Alaskan counterparts; Alma Lynne's state samplers and "She Who Buys The Most Fabric Wins", Clementine Cloth Collector! is back; Bewitching Cross Stitch from Joan Elliott; fabulous Laurel Burch bags from Nordic Needle; and as always, these are just the tip of the iceberg. And that "Yucky, Yummy" at the top? - Sublime Stitching embroidery designs ("Not your mother's embroidery") are now available to us through Hoffman (see link at right). Check them out! Come in to see what's new!


Sandy will be gone October 22 and 23, and November 12 - 26; the shop will be staffed each of those days from 11 to 3, so please don't hesitate to stop in - special orders are always accessible, too.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Winter 2009

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? We're so busy rehearsing for Christmas programs, making Christmas ornaments, partying, there's been no time to reflect on the season. Maybe next week. :-)

Pictured are some Christmas treasures - there's been a lot of stitching going on! Come vote for People's Choice on the Christmas ornaments; the judges (stitchers Kim Boldt, Teri Shelquist and Rhonda Jabaay, thank you all so much!) chose June Haney's Christmas card for first place ($15 gift certificate), Mary Crichton's cat on the fireplace for second place ($10 gift certificate) and Corliss Marsh's pocket snowman for third place ($5 gift certificate). The People's Choice winner always gets something special - it's a wait and see...:-) All entries receive a gift as well. Start now for next year! The first ornament in Little House's new series is here - Fa La La, carolers in the snow.

There are lots of new patterns in stock, and always more coming; choose a gift certificate so you can choose an after-Christmas project! Fair warning - we MAY be closed on Christmas Eve, so guys (meaning husbands, etc.), don't wait that long! We also have a new shipment just in of Laurel Burch bags - perfect for toting your projects and/or assorted paraphernalia around town and yonder. They are SWEET!

We want to thank you for your continued support - we wouldn't still be here without you! We know it's getting harder to keep our spending local, but we try to have what you need, or get it as quickly as we can. Remember that for every dollar spent in an independently owned store, 68 cents returns to the community; only 43 cents spent in a national chain stays here (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics). And probably - definitely?! - zero remains when we shop online. Instant gratification is expensive!, even if it may seem cheap as we click our dollars away.

So, enough sermonizing - enjoy the holidays! Eat, shop, stitch, and remember the reason for the season.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fall is coming!

Although here it is in the 90's again - but when it cools off at night into the 50's and 60's, you know it won't be long...Of course, that's OK by me, it means it's time to make Christmas gifts!, and ornaments, and cards...maybe some cookies...:-) The Just Cross Stitch Ornament issue should be coming soon - lots of great ideas (and recipes! :-) for contest entries. Let's make this year's tree loaded with your ornaments!

(Photo is local stitcher Diane Keilman with her recently completed Serendipity Nativity, outstanding!)

Mill Hill's newest kits are darling, ornaments and magnets, Arctic Circle Santas and Jim Shore Santas, the beaded and buttoned kit assortment...all self-contained, reasonably priced and quick to finish. The latest Prairie Schooler set is in, and they're wonderful, animals, spooky creatures, Santas...and all simple and quick to stitch, and as one stitcher pointed out, they use consistent color schemes - no new thread to buy!

Samplers are again surging in popularity, and many new ones are here with more to come; we also have new Celtic designs, flowers, baby patterns, fairies, new Lizzie Kates - and we're waiting to see what their new DoubleFlip series will be, now that we're finishing the current Merry Christmas series.

We also have some yummy new fabrics, threads, beads and buttons to embellish your work and frames; your imagination can run wild. :-)

And now for some may have heard of them...

Biscornu is a French adjective that means "that which has an irregular form, with projections" or "complicated and bizarre."

Biscornus are interesting little eight-sided pincushions that have become very popular in recent months. The word biscornu (sometimes written biscournu) is derived from a French adjective, meaning skewed, quirky, or irregular, literally, "two-horned". Sandy made two for the Wasco County Fair, one a pincushion and one an ornament. One of our Hood River stitchers has even made large ones into doorstops! Any square or round design can work - and you can use up scraps of fabric and odd bits of thread or leftover beads and buttons - the ultimate recycled gift!

Our Idaho neighbor, My Big Toe Designs, has these wonderful tutorials on her website:

VACATION for Sandy: Sept. 1 through 7, Sept. 17 through October 5; SHOP WILL BE STAFFED Tues. through Sat. 11 to 3 during that time, so don't hesitate to come in! We NEED your support, and thank you heartily for thinking of us first for your needlework needs and desires! We know how easy to is to "go online" - but it's very difficult to to compete with all "they" have to offer and that "instant gratification". We try to fill that need, too - please check us out and let us order for you!

Closed for Labor Day weekend, Sept. 5-7. Picnic! Hike! Swim! Play croquet with your kids/grandkids! And don't forget to stitch a little. :-)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


It's March and there's new snow...too bizarre. But, for Sandy it's just more good stitchin' time! And after the Nashville show, there are many new things to stitch! Stop in to see the bounty - and the new samples we've stitched. We especially love "Live Simply" and "Crabby All Year"! Next up are Monthly Mockeries from Raise the Roof ("I know you are but what am I?" - sounds just like Sandy's little brothers!), Lizzie Kate's DoubleFlips for Halloween and Nora Corbett's fairy Letter A (Letters from Nora).

Mill Hill's newest kits are in stock, and more are coming soon - snowmen from Jim Shore - maybe they'll ward off more snow! The flower and vegetable bead and button kits are wonderfully bright, the spring magnets fun and appetizing! - a hot fudge sundae!, popcorn, root beer float...yum!

Stoney Creek has several great new books including bib designs for the new bright bibs from STS Crafts, made in Brazil, Pets with Attitude and Vintage Cycles; Quaker designs abound (see photo) and are really fun to stitch; Nora Corbett (Mirabilia) continues her fairy alphabet series as well as a new Santa, his sleigh and reindeer - we love Rudolph!

We brought back lots of new free designs from Nashville, too - and there are many sources online as well. Try one or two as a bookmark for your Bookmark Challenge! We'd be happy to give you remnants to stitch on, or we also have pre-made bookmarks and lots of colors of perforated paper to use. Encourage a young reader - it's a small gift that will mean a lot. Plus, we're giving prizes! Upon further reading, we see Nordic Needle is again doing their $100 gift certificate drawing, so if you'd rather, we'll send them there so you can get in that drawing. Deadline for that will be May 1, 2009; for bookmarks that will stay in our area, you have until May 30 - and yes, you can stitch for both! :-)

ONLINE TRADE SHOW - The spring show is coming up, April 15 - 20; do check it out. There are always lots of designers we don't see anywhere else - it's where we found those "naughty words" (see below) last year! :-) Then be sure to let us know if there's something we can get for you. Some have minimums, but we'll try our best to accomodate you.

CELEBRITY CROSS STITCH! They say celebrities attract people to their hobbies - think Vanna White. :-) Finally we read of an actress who stitches! Miranda Richardson ("Harry Potter", "The Phantom of the Opera", "Enchanted April", "Blackadder", dozens more) found the perfect way to pass the time when she isn't in front of the cameras during 12 hour days of filming - "I spent my time cross stitching." She goes on to say she stitches "naughty words onto handerkerchiefs" - hmm, we can get those! :-)

AND ON THE RED CARPET - Paris Fashion Week, March 2009; Christian Dior's collection by designer John Galliano included "dove grey suits trimmed with fur, and featuring bubble hems, caught with CROSS STITCHING! How cool is that?!

Thursday, December 04, 2008


Here's the Christmas tree with 2008's nine fabulous ornament entries (hot pink tagged); stop by to see it! And, here's the first set of Lizzie Kate's DoubleFlips for 2009; some of you weren't able to access the link for some reason. Computers - phooey!, I'd rather stitch anyway! (ONE of the reasons for the slowness of posting the blog...)

It's such a busy season - with house guests to pamper, songs to sing, concerts to attend, cards to write, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, gifts to finish! Back to stitching!! Please do stop by to see what's new...Sandy really has to work on this snake...! :-)

(I'm so glad the false flap about "Happy Holidays" has "left the building"; Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Chanukah (we DO have Jewish friends, after all), ETC., don't all fit in a headline!)

May yours be merry and bright, and may your retirement funds come back big time in 2009! :-)