Michrle is a beginning needlepointer. She wrote to me last week wanting to know how to find a needlepoint store. Because she lives “in the middle of nowhere,” finding one with an on-line presence is important.
Here’s my advice for finding a shop you’ll love and work with forever.
- In terms of finding a store, the very best thing is to find one in your area, even if not really close, so you can establish an in-person relationship.
I don’t go to my LNS (Local Needlework Shop) that often but I order from them all the time by phone, email, and on their site. Because we’ve met face-to-face there is a connection.
- If that isn’t possible, the next best choice is to find a physical shop that has a website you can use for ordering. Not all shops have sites where you can order and not all webshops have physical shops behind them.
- You want a shop that has lots of lines of threads, a good selection of supplies, and carries needlepoint canvases. There is so much stuff out there that it is difficult for a shop to have everything on its site, but you want a shop & site that are pretty complete.
Although you might order by phone sometimes, you want to know that they carry Thread X by looking at the site.
- If you need things that aren’t as easy to find, for example blank canvas, counted canvas books, or lots of embellishments, make sure the shop carries them.
- Far less easy to define is whether you find the shop sympathetic or not. That’s often a matter of personality. You may have to try more than one shop.
- Finally if there is a canvas you want and don’t see, ask the shop to order it for you. Most will.
I doubt if I’m strange in this but I’m pretty loyal to the shops I use; you probably are as well. I shopped at the store where I learned to needlepoint for a decade until I moved. I would take a bus or cab and my whole lunch hour to visit my favorite shop in San Francisco, I followed the owner of the shop down the street from my home when she consolidated to her original shop.
I’ve had the same LNS right now, since they opened. The understanding and help you get from a regular shop, the understanding you have and the help they will give you are worth their weight in gold.