Thursday, September 1, 2011

San Francisco: Part One

We are finishing up a trip to San Francisco for a business conference. Most of the time we’ve been here our days have been full of either driving along the coast, which we did pre-conference, or attending sessions and various other conference type activities. On Monday I had the day free to roam and found, just a couple of blocks from the hotel, a needlework shop. 

Needlework, Inc. is the company that produces the Needlepoint, Inc silks you may have used in some of your stitching projects. The skeins are very expensive, around $5, so I have rarely used them. The shop is on the third floor of a small building in downtown San Francisco across the street from Union Square Park. When you enter the building the very small lobby has a very small staircase and a very small elevator. You would almost think you are in the wrong place if it weren’t for the placard on the wall indicating the businesses located on each floor. Needlepoint Inc was listed for floors 2, 3 and 4.

I stepped into the elevator and pushed the 2 button. Nothing happened. I did this a couple of times before finally hitting the number 3, and then I was off. The door opened into the shop. The shop is small but very colorful and full of samples and canvases. One corner holds mostly Christmas, and a few Halloween, designs. Many of the designs were done in 3-D, some as ornaments, others as purses and boxes, and still others as lady bugs and other critters. While the designs were very enticing, the cost of the canvases was not. Many of the canvases were running close to $100 and up for designs that were about 5 x 7 inches in size. The least expensive one I could find was $20 and it was for a small (maybe 2 inch by 1.5 inch) egg design that they had finished with a backing as an egg ornament. 

Interestingly enough, I found they did carry some cross stitch patterns. They had several designs by Milady’s Needle, The Drawn Thread and Jeannette Douglas, as well as a few other miscellaneous designers. While I didn’t examine each pattern, it did appear that these were designs that featured Needlepoint, Inc. silks. I did pick one up by Milady’s Needle along with a few of the silks to complete the design. 

I've read other online reviews about this shop that indicated they were not friendly or helpful. There were two women in the shop, one younger and one older. Perhaps they were mother/daughter. I was greeted by the younger as I entered the shop. As I wandered the shop I was asked how I was doing by each of the two women. The younger woman helped me get a couple of skeins of silk as they were shelved too high for me to reach without a ladder. As I checked out, she engaged me in conversation about where I was from, why I was in town, etc. 

While no one was out right rude to me, I did get the distinct impression that they were not very receptive to those new to needlepoint. I overheard another woman ask about what could be done with a particular canvas. She was told she could do anything she wanted with it. She asked the same question later about another canvas and was again given the same response. She was clearly looking for a suggestion from the shop ladies, but it wasn’t forthcoming. I also overheard the two shop women speaking about another customer in not so nice terms. They several times mentioned she was “new” to needlepoint.  These overheard conversations, plus the costly canvases, lead me to believe they cater to the serious and experienced needlepointer. Still, it was a nice shop and a place I would visit again to see the many displayed samples.

In addition to doing a little shopping, I was able to finish reading the book Lye in Wait. It is a cozy mystery based upon a woman who makes soap as a home business. The book was free for the Kindle in August (though I did just check and it is still showing as free). The book was enjoyable and a quick read. I especially enjoyed the little tidbits about soap making the author tossed in throughout the book. I like learning a little something while also enjoying a good mystery. The story held my interest and it is definitely something I would recommend if you want something light to read.

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