Thursday, July 24, 2008

I have a new LNS, and a whole bunch of other things

Yesterday, DH had to be at the hospital early for a test, so while he was having the test done, I was in the waiting room stitching. First, one of the receptionists came over to me and asked what I was doing. I showed her Home by the Sea, the project I brought with me. She was just amazed at the work I had done and asked if it was very hard. I said it wasn't hard once you got the hang of it, but the key was paying attention and rechecking your work every so often to make sure you were on track. She said she would be too anxious and impatient to stitch, and I told her it would probably help calm her down as the repetitve motion of needle through fabric can be quite soothing. She also said I could probably sell my work, but I told her that it takes too long and requires too much effort for many of the large pieces to make it worth selling (not to mention all the copyright issues!) I did say that there are some stitchers that worked on commission, and that many of my pieces are given as gifts, highly personalized to the recipients.

By the way, I must once again plug my Vera Bradley Little Travel Case. Sadly, the piece has been discontinued, but you can still find some on places like eBags, eBay, etc. If you don't have one and you like Vera Bradley, you might want to pick one up. My small size scroll frame fits perfectly, though my medium one doesn't quite get in there all the way. It keeps my charts flat and has plenty of room for my tools and threads. I've used this several times now - down the shore, weekend trips, and waiting rooms, and it's been fantastic. And since eBags has it on sale for $25, well worth it! (the color selection is limited though)

A little later on, another woman in the waiting room came over and asked if I had scissors she could borrow. She was using perle cotton to hemstitch some receiving blankets and had forgotten to pack scissors. She said she did a lot of traveling and got tired of having her scissors confiscated at the airport. I told her she could get a clover cutter, and she said she never heard of one! I told her any sewing store should have one, and if she couldn't find one, needlework shops would have them as well. And since the blade is completely enclosed and can only be used for threads, she should have no problems at the airport. As you can imagine, she was quite happy to know there was a solution to her problem and said she'd be going out to get one ASAP.

After our adventures at the hospital, DH was feeling up to it, so we dropped off a prescription, went for breakfast, then stopped by AC Moore. I wanted to pick up a linen tester that I had seen on several other blogs. A few people have had serious issues when they discovered the fabric they were stitching on was a different thread count than it had been labeled. I used my 40% off coupon, so for under $3, it's cheap insurance that I don't start stitching something only to discover I'm about to run off the end of the fabric.

We also wanted to look at some dollhouse things. Now that we've moved, DH is itching to start the lighthouse dollhouse we bought 2 years ago. When he was younger, he helped his grandfather build a house for his cousin, and has always wanted to do another one. When we spotted this lighthouse at AC Moore, we knew it would be perfect for us. (Now to obtain the keeper's cottage). We're still deciding on paint colors and how we're going to do the inside, but we'd like to keep them simple. This is a New England Lighthouse, after all! I'd also like it to reflect some of the lighthouses we've visited, so we'll flip through our photos and try to pick out details from our travels to incorporate into the light.

And FINALLY, my new LNS. I was sad to leave The Strawberry Sampler, as they always had a ton of great stuff there, and an incredible staff, but the 90 minute drive to visit them can really only be done occasionally, especially with the price of gas. I had to find something closer, and to be honest, the selection at the mass market stores like Michael's and Joanns has been disappointing. Sure, for DMC and some tools, they're great, especially with sale prices and coupons, but their selection leaves much to be desired. And the stores closest to me only have a bare minimum of the bare minimum. I have to go 20 miles to get to a half decent selection at a Joann Superstore as my local Joann's seems to only carry sewing items (fabric, patterns, notions) and seasonal decor. Their cross stitch stuff is some DMC, needles and Aida fabric. I don' think they had even 1/2 dozen charts in the store.

Anyway, short of ordering on the internet, the situation is somewhat dire, but we stopped by Just Cross Stitch in Royersford. It's on the small side - basically 2 rooms in a former house converted to commercial space, but they have a fantastic selection and the store is well organized. Everything is accessible, and while there's a lot to look at, it doesn't feel too crowded. And they have all the specialty threads I need, and a HUGE selection of fabric. Even better than the Strawberry Sampler had, plus they will cut and serge the fabric you need for a chart on the spot, a service the Strawberry Sampler didn't offer.

The woman working there was also quite friendly and helpful (I wish I could remember her name!). Apparently the owner just had knee replacement surgery that morning, so two of her friends were actually volunteering to keep the shop open for her - and being paid in charts and discounts instead of a salary. She also clued me in to a few local stitching groups and said that the shop sponsors a big "stitch in" in the fall at a local park that always has a good turn out and is a lot of fun. The shop doesn't have their own website, but they do have an email list, so I signed up for that, of course! And I picked up a grab bag of odd cuts of 28 ct. fabric in assorted colors. One of the pieces in the bag appears to be a hand-dyed piece in a gorgeously soft linen, so I am looking forward to finding something to stitch on that. It was $7.50 for the bag of about 10 pieces, all about the right size for ornaments / fobs / small pieces, so I think it was quite a bargain, and it will help me branch out a little with colors.

So it looks like the voting is coming down to the My Big Toe Designs piece and the Bent Creek "I Do". I hadn't mentioned it earlier, but DH picked I Do as his favorite, and it looks like I'm leaning towards that one as well. But I still really love the Big Toe one, so I ended up buying that one yesterday for my stash. The I Do wasn't in stock, so they're going to order it and let me know when it comes in.


Anna van Schurman said...

I think that store may be the same distance from my as SS. And they're open Sundays!

Lisa said...

Jen, yippee...glad to see a post about the lighthouse project...umm, do you plan on stitching miniatures for a mini lighthouse scene? My LNS is an hour away, so I know how you feel...especially about the Joann's/Michaels thing. Cut n' serge on the spot..thats something I would do if I owned a shop...what a lovely place.

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Paula C. said...

Hi Jennifer,
I sent you an email about joining your Christmas ornie SAL but just wanted to post here too in case you didn't get the email. Hope to hear from you soon =)

Deirdre said...

I have a Vera Bradley bag! I LOVE it!

Even though I live next to a big city, there are no LNS! It is sooo sad. Lots of Michaels and Hobby Lobby's though. I mail order almost everything now.

Dani said...

I love the little travel bag ... I think I picked up after the last time you mentioned it before it was completely retired.

Glad you found a LNS near you. That's going to be the thing I miss when I move ... which will be inevitable at some point.

Heather said...

There is nothing better than having a great LNS, I LOVE mine and go there as much as I can just because I like to be in there LOL!

I bought a very similar bag, it must be a Vera Bradley knock off… from JoAnn’s and I just love it. I have it next to my couch holding all of my WIP. :)

That Clover tool actually isn’t aloud on the airplanes! I looked it up once to check and they say you can’t have them ACK! I bring fingernail clippers to cut threads with me on flights and that seems to work fine for the short amount of time you are on a plane.

Cute lighthouse too! How fun is that??

Cindy said...

Thank you for the VB tip / enabling! I have been looking for a Windsor Navy one. I just ordered one :)

Sally said...

I'd love a VB bag but don't see me ever getting one. GOing to look on Ebags now though:)

Dianne said...

Hope J is ok. Bri just had more bloodwork yesterday to retest his cholesterol which was high at the beginning of the year. It was my idea, not his. Men are funny about stuff like that, but I think Tim Russert passing away scared him a bit.
Great about the new LNS. Sounds perfect to me! I haven't been to TSS for months. I just have so much here I don't need anything right now, but I love browsing there. BTW, I have the clover cutter I bought for a plane trip. : )
I assembled a little dollhouse in the early 90s and still have it on display as it's so cute. J will have fun with the lighthouse. That looks like one I'd love to do too!

Meari said...

Thanks for the heads up on the Linen Tester. I need to get me one of those.

The lighthouse sounds like fun!

I always like finding new LNS's.

Jenna said...

I have heard of Clover cutters not being allowed at some airports because you can pull them apart and use the blades as a weapon. However, I just bought a cheap pair of blunt-ended kid's scissors and haven't had an issue with them yet. They go through the scanners without so much as a comment and that was through London Heathrow and Manchester airports where the security was really tight.

Pumpkin said...

I really find it amazing what we can still learn from other stitchers :o)

The lighthouse is GORGEOUS! What fun! You'll have to post a picture of it when you're done :o)

Glad you found a closer LNS. I wish we had a closer one :o(

Kim B said...

Well aren't you the helpful stitcher! And it sounds like your new LNS will be good!!

cheeto said...

Love all your finds! And miss being close to an LNS!

I'm just catching up on my blog reading, so I might be a little late with this: Shakespeare's Peddler had a really pretty (IMHO) version of Bent Creek's I DO with some color changes- I did it for my cousin's wedding. It still has the full alphabet, but the "I Do" pops more Pic Here If you're interested I'll dig up the details and send them to you. It used a few JABC buttons, IIRC.