Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hopping Galore!

** Finally have the photos so can post this!

** After writing for the better part of an hour, then reading it over, I realized I better issue a Warning Lab
el! This is ALL about my stitching trip last week. If you have no interest, stop right now. Know that I got home safe and sound, a few dollars poorer but that my face has more laugh lines and many happy memories in my heart. Back to baby blogging later this week. **

If you are still here, go make yourself a nice cup of tea and settle in
... it's a loooong one!

First off, obviously, I am back from the Shop Hop. What an wonderful time! Mom and I shopped, talked, shopped, chatted, bought out stores, talked some more ... until we both had to drink a ton of water as we were dry dry dry! Along the way, we met some amazing people. The shop owners were gracious, kind, and fabulous hosts. We even had one couple offer us their home for the night when we asked about a local hotel. And, they were completely serious! (Hi Paula! Hi Carlton!) If you are in Findlay, OH check them out they are so friendly and so very nice and their store was such fun! They were our last 'official' stop (we, of course, had to add a couple extra stops). Craft Gallery

Okay, backing up a bit ... first stop was Bridget at Something Extra in Toledo. The sweetest gal, ever. Didn't try to oversell (that is something that just drives me nuts!), warm, wonderful, and helpful. She showed Mom and I a trick that completely CHANGED the way we will stitch. We love Bridget! I have this thing about working with one stand of floss. It's just my preference, and it most likely ties in to my love of water colors ... it makes the finished piece look more gentle and peaceful (to me). However, we both are working on the Garden Lady series (or the correct name is Winter in My Garden - changing the season as needed) from Mirabilia Designs. The charts call for using two strands, so me being me ... I had to change them! I have started my first one twice. It's the winter one (my absolute fav, although all four are amazing).

Winter in My Garden ~ Autumn in My Garden
Spring in My Garden ~ Summer in My Garden

Are they not so beautiful? They call for tweeding (using one strand each of two different colors). I somehow missed this the first time, and started with my preferred one strand. Then one day Mom called and asked me how I was getting around the tweeding thing. DRAT! Okay, so I pulled out about 25ish hours of work (and it looked so beautiful!). I started over using two strands. Hated it! Did about 10 or so hours because I kept telling myself I didn't have a choice. Gave up, pulled it out, put it aside. Went on to other projects until I could find a way to stitch these the way I wanted to, but still have it work.

Enter: Bridget! She showed us how to do tweeding with ONE strand. That gal is brilliant, I tell you, brilliant! Of course, as long as Mom and I have been stitching, you'd think we would have thought of this by now. But it just goes to show, you can teach old dogs (haha!) new tricks. For those that are still wondering about the trick (have I bored the non-stitchers yet?) ... start your crosses with one strand of the darker of the two colors. Stitch all (or part) of the tweeding area, then go back and finish the X with the lighter color! One strand of each color but still using one total strand! Whooohoooo, wish I had known about this last summer when I had time for larger projects. Who knows when I will get back to these ladies, but when I do I now have a plan. Bridget, thank you. I loved your store, but this one little trick MADE the whole trip to Ohio worth it!
Something Extra ~ 2214 Tedrow Road ~ Toledo, OH 43614-3856 ~ 419.385.7299

Next stop: River Bend Stitchery in Vermilion. What a nice little store. We enjoyed the displays and the fabric wall. Sadly, they have a shop cat, but with my allergy to cats so intense these days (every time I am exposed to a cat, the symptoms get worse!) we didn't get to stay as long as we'd have liked to. However, if you don't have my little issue and are in the area go visit. Nice shop, very well laid out and very helpful staff!
River Bend Stitchery ~15008 Holiday Drive ~ Vermillion, OH 44089 ~ 440.963.0383

Third stop was Just Stitching in Strongsville. We knew the moment we pulled up, we've been there before (sure enough, last September)! We love this shop, wonderful staff, amazing displays and the shop is HUGE! I sure wish she'd set up shop here in Washington, I'd love to have a stitching shop here, especially one this nice. I think Mom and I spent over two hours in here, it takes that long just to see everything, wow! Sadly, she does not have a web site but you can call her and she ships nationally ... and does not charge postage. That alone endeared me to her (and yes, the shop owner has a name ... it just escapes me at the moment I am embarrassed to say).
Just Stitching ~ 13315 Prospect Rd ~ Strongsville, OH 44149 ~ 440.572.9777

Next was the Crafty Ewe in Broadway Heights. This lady ROCKS! I had brought along the dragon piece I am, yes sadly, still stitching on (no, it's not going to be done before we leave). I was hoping to find a premade frame so that when I was finished stitching I could frame it myself. I kept looking in the other stores, but nothing really quite fit or was what I was looking for. After pulling just about every frame she had off her walls, with nothing quite making me happy, she had a brainstorm. Off to her framing room she ran, coming back with THE perfect frame. It's a bit too long but with her suggestions of adding a couple of the flowers on each side to lengthen the piece, it will fit in there perfectly. Oh, and the price .... nada! She had it in her framing room as someone had had her do a frame change, so she GAVE it to me. I'm telling you, I thought I was going to cry right then and there. (And here again, I am sure this VERY NICE LADY has a name, but you know, I don't think I ever caught it ... I even called Mom just now, she didn't know it either. Next time I am going to make a point of getting everyone's name!). By the way, her store is amazing. Cute displays, loved her framing ideas, lots of finished pieces hanging on the walls. Mom and I both spent WAY too much money in here, but we had just the best time. What a fun shop. I want to live there, just to have this delightful shop at my fingertips!
Crafty Ewe ~ 8035 Broadview Rd ~ Broadview Heights, OH 44147 ~ 440 838-1600

Our final stop for the day was the Red Apple Frame & Stitchery in Madison. We pushed to get there our first day, and shouldn't have. We were over tired and didn't get as much time as we would have liked in this darling shop. We got there and only spent about 10 minutes, realized we were both beat and decided to go find a hotel, return in the morning. Except by the time we found a hotel, we were over half way to the next shop. So, we decided to keep going forward instead of returning. If you live in the area and haven't visited yet, do it. The framing area alone is worth it! The charts are easy to look through and find (not always the case!) and the displays / finished pieces are very nice (love the way she frames!). One of the main reasons I visit shops and do not do much via the Internet (for stitching supplies) is that I love to see the displays, especially the way they choose to stitch something. Some the shops will stitch exactly as charted and some they will change around. I love getting these ideas! My other major reason is that if we stop going to shops, more and more are going to close. The expertise of these ladies (and men!) are why the shops are there. Sure, we can get our patterns, material and fibers on-line but if we have a question or a problem, the shop owners and their wonderful assistants are there to help us. Can't get that on-line! (Okay, step away from the soap-box, Kiy...)
The Red Apple ~ 123 N. Lake Street ~ Madison, OH 44057 ~ 440 428-6000

The next morning we headed out, our first stop was Inn Stitches. When we pulled up we knew we were going to like it. I have no idea why, but we both exclaimed how cute it was ... and it's in a strip mall! But the little mall in laid out differently and it just worked, what can I tell you? We entered the store and were met by (what we think) are the two shop owners but I guess they might not have been. Just the nicest ladies you'd ever meet. They made us feel quite welcome, which is so nice. We wandered around, asked questions, got tons of help and again, bought way too much. This little shop felt like home, I could have moved in in a heart beat. I think this trip really hammered home how much I so miss having a "home" shop. One of the things that didn't ever occur to me was to check out stitching stores in Tricities. Can you believe there is only one, and that is a needlepoint one (to you non-stitchers it's NOT the same thing!). My closest shops are in the Tacoma area and Spokane .... 2-4 hours away! Not good, although for some reason Jeff doesn't see the problem. :)
Inn Stitches ~ 5561 Fulton Drive ~ Canton, OH 44718 ~ 330.966.8383

Our last shop hop store was the above mentioned Craft Gallery. Besides offering a bed for the night, Paula and Carlton have an amazing store and an amazing story! Just this past summer their store was flooded and it broke the heart, just looking around their store to see what must have been newly replaced merchandise. Luckily, most of their finished pieces were hung above the water line! Doesn't that picture just get you? That's downtown Findlay this past August. Considering that we were there in early October, and we could not tell at ALL ... wow! We loved the stitching items we found, and I even found two kits ... and I rarely buy kits but I had to have them. They also have wonderful gift items there, and I found a couple of things that I am taking with us for some of our nanny/orphanage director gifts for when Jeff and I go to China.

We turned in our Shop Hop Passports here and for visiting each shop we received a special gift ... an ort bag! For those (few) non-stitchers that may still be reading this far, an 'ort' is the tail end of a piece of thread that is too small to be used again. It actually is two bags that hang on a small rack, perfect for orts in one side and stitching tools (pens, highlighters, scissors, cell phone, tv remote .... haha!) in the other side. Also, one of them is silk-screened with the Shop Hop logo on it ... what a great memento of this trip!

Just when you think I am finally done ... nope! We decided that since we had time, we'd visit a couple of other shops. There was one in Tecumseh (Michigan) that we had been wanting to visit, but never quite got there. So north we zoomed (Mom was driving after all!) and found the most darling store. In fact, Tecumseh has a wonderful downtown area, we should have stayed longer and wandered the stores but we were two women on a mission! We loved Timeless Stitches, not only are there plenty of charts, fabrics and fibers there is also a cozy room adjoining the shop to sit and stitch. While we were there four ladies wandered in, just to stitch. What a nice community of stitchers! We had such fun there, and went a bit overboard buying material. She serges .... which Mom and I love love love! (Can you believe we forgot to take a picture of this shop? Thankfully Mom is going to run down sometime in November, so said she'd grab one then.)
Timeless Stitches ~ 112 N. Evans St ~ Tecumseh, Michigan 49286 ~ 517.423.0808

Last, but certainly not least, we just had to zip up and visit one of our favorite shop owners. Deb at Stitches 'N Things moved this past summer and we wanted to see her new digs. We love them! It's the cutest little store. Quite a change from her old store, but honestly, both Mom and I liked it better. Really! First of all, she has a whole room (a ROOM!) devoted to fibers. Peg board on all four walls with color upon color of hanging threads. It's like a dream room, I didn't want to leave. Frankly, if Deb has the room to devote to a thread room the shop is plenty big enough! She had finished pieces all over every surface, and while she says they (for the most part) were all in her old shop ... I didn't remember seeing very many of them (and we had been in that shop many times!). Right when you walk in the door is her framing area and behind the desk are her fabrics, and she has a WALL of chart storage! Really, I can't imagine what she doesn't have in there, it's all there! I am not sure what I was expecting, but the FAR surpassed it. What a GREAT shop Deb, we love it!

Oh, and don't think Mom and I got out of there without a bag of goodies .... and speaking of bags .... I bought one to use in China. Actually, to use on the way home from China specifically for a diaper bag (the one extra bag I can have once we have Emi). I still think I am going to use my backpack for a diaper bag while in China (hands free and all that) but on the way home it will be nice to have an extra bag for blankets, diapers and all the gazillion things baby's need. Strangely enough, Mom and I attended the stitching retreat Deb had these made for, and I didn't get one then. Funny how you get ideas after the fact! I have had it on my 'wish list' ever since, I am SO happy she still had some in stock! (P.S. I 'borrowed these pictures from Deb's web site, I can't believe we forgot to take pictures when we were there!)
Stitches ‘N Things ~ 4288 N. Fenton Rd ~ Fenton, MI 48430 ~ 810.629.3333

So that concludes the week of our visiting stitching shops. It went way too fast, but at the same time, I always had Emi in the back of my mind ... wanting to go to China 'right that minute' to get her. This week was perfect, I really needed this. Last week was too early to start packing, but had I been home I know I would have gone a bit crazy thinking I needed to be doing things, but not really being able to (yes, I could have been unpacking as there are still many boxes but it just wasn't going to happen). One thing that stands out in my mind about last week is that I got to show off Emi's pictures in each store. By the time we made it to the last one ... we had been the topic of emails between the stores and they knew all about Jeff and I, and our trip to China! The community of cross-stitchers, heart-warming.

The one thing that Mom and I knew, and still continues to amaze us, are the differences from shop to shop. When it comes right down to it, all the shops have access to all the designers (of the charts), all the same fabrics, the same fibers, etc. However, what they choose to carry, how they display it, their personalities ... every shop is SO very different. I think that keeps us taking these trips. We enjoy every moment, meeting the shop owners and their staff. Picking their minds, getting great ideas, taking a bit of their shop home with us. This was a fabulous week, and when someone (again) asks ... "you went to Ohio for vacation" I will say (again) ... "yes, yes I did and had a blast"!

Thank you again to the NorthCoast Shop Hop stitching stores, your hospitality, warmth and fun made for a wonderful week.

1 comment:

Magi said...

I used to do some stitch work a lifetime ago. I always really enjoyed it. I should take it up again. I love that Garden series. It is beautiful.