One of the problems with living in a sprawled out city with a river cutting through it is trying to get around it. Especially if you don’t have a car or the inclination to spend ages on a bus (or, more likely, several buses). When I first took up cross stitching, it was because I found a subversive cross stitch kit that cracked me up. I thought, what the hell, it’s not a lame cutesy thing, so lets give it a try.
Turns out I really like cross stitch. I even like some of the more traditional stuff that doesn’t involve swear words, modern references, or quirky designs. So, I looked for local stores that sold cross stitch supplies, but at the time I didn’t find anything. Which is weird, because it turns out that there’s a pretty nice one fairly close to me (by close, I mean a 3 km walk, along an interesting street and past my local quilt shop).
The Craft Connection, Inc. is a simple store – they specialize in cross stitch supplies (not needlework in general, but cross stitch – though, really, they have everything but embroidery patterns) and do a little framing on the side. It’s not flashy, they have a limited number of charts and fabrics, err on the side of traditional designs, and I didn’t see a single swear world or modern pop culture reference while I was there. But, they have a good selection of the basics and will (where possible) do special orders for you.
They also have a huge selection of threads. I didn’t see anything hand spun, but they had all the DMC threads, some lovely looking speciality thread brands, and even yarns (which I think might be meant for rug hooking).
The owners were at the Trade Show in Nashville when I visited, but the staff who was there was incredibly friendly and helpful. She let me dump my backpack and coat in a corner so that I could look at ALL THE THINGS, she made a few suggestions based on some charts I’d picked out, and she seemed to go out of her way to try and help other customers (helping them look through piles of charts, pulling threads for them as they rattled off colour codes, etc.).
So, was it worth the trip? Hell, yeah. And, not just because I had a great walk and visited a few other neat shops. I ended up getting a small Christmas themed chart, two charts by The Drawn Thread (The Butterfly Garden and The Herb Garden), and some lovely linen (which is quickly becoming a favourite, despite the fact that it requires more attention and brain power than Aida cloth). I also found some gorgeous blue linen that I fell in love with (fortunately, I think I’ve figured out a project that I can use it with, so I’ll be heading back for it soon).
One thing I would love (and, maybe they do this) would be to see a spot where stitchers could congregate, learn from each other, and have some social time while stitching.
Apologies to the store owners. I didn’t ask permission to take these pictures. I hope that they won’t mind, as I did it out of glee and a desire to promote them.