The needlework shops are a little rarer in Arizona, as they are in most places, but here's a little about two I visited.
On the way home from the quilt shop in Cave Creek, I stopped at a shop on 5th Avenue in Scottsdale called Old Town Needlework. Let me start by saying the woman behind the counter was very nice, greeting those who entered the shop and engaging them in pleasant conversation as they checked out. I only purchased two skeins of Crescent Colours and was treated as a valued customer. There was a small group of ladies, perhaps four or five, sitting at a table working on some needlepoint. I couldn’t tell if it was a class or a stitching group but they did seem to be enjoying themselves.
I’m afraid I have to say this one was disappointing. There really wasn’t anything about the place that would draw someone in and make them want to stitch a project. They focused mostly on needlepoint but had only a very few samples displayed. The walls were plain and white. The cross stitch section was problematic. They have those stair step type shelves and had placed patterns in them, but the patterns were too tall and had fallen over so you couldn’t really look at the shelves and see what they had to offer without bending them upright. Most of the patterns were not current.
The fabric was rolled up and placed on end in plastic bins. I picked up a few of these and found several that had no count on them and they looked like they had been sitting there for quite awhile.
They did offer a nice selection of threads and seemed to have a variety of needlepoint canvases, but again the canvases were not displayed in a good way. Some were hanging up but many were on top of one another on a table so it made it a little cumbersome to see them. There was a section of Southwestern designs.
What they did have that was unique was a small section in the back of deGrazia cross stitch patterns, as well as other Southwestern type charts. In addition, they had charts for the college logos (ASU, NAU, U of A). If any of these interest you, then while in the Phoenix area I would suggest a stop at this shop.
Now on to my favorite shop! You knew this was coming…
The Attic in Mesa, Arizona is by far my favorite shop. If you love samplers then you will love The Attic! Are you on their newsletter list? No???!! Well, stop reading right now, follow this link and sign up! After you sign up, come back and finish reading this post.
The shop is in a little strip mall on the northeast corner of McKellips and Center in Mesa. It is currently right next to a large Goodwill shop. I must tell you not to be put off by the outside of the shop. It doesn’t look like much and with that sun shining (and it usually is!) it may appear that the shop is closed. If you are there on a Sunday or Monday it IS closed, but otherwise check their website for their current hours and then just walk right up to that door and open it!
As you step in you will be overwhelmed by the hundreds of samples lining the walls and in the display cases that are placed throughout the store. They do change things up from time to time, but here are the basic things to look for in the shop.
- ) Scarlett Letter- They have a good variety of charts from this designer.
- ) Book corner- This is the place to go to find books on samplers, alphabets, etc. Right now they have a number of copies of the Betty Ring American Needlework Treasures book. And yes, they do mail order!
- ) French designs- My oh my! An excellent selection of charts in this area!
- ) Holiday- there is a little nook that has Christmas and Patriotic designs as well as a section of Halloween/Fall designs.
- ) Frame Shop- They do custom framing- and have a selection of pre-made frames as well..
- ) Fabric & Threads- They love the high count fabrics so you’ll find a nice variety of 36 and 40 count. They also specialize in silk conversions so you will find a nice assortment of those lovely silk threads here as well.
- ) Trunk shows- There is almost always a trunk show (or two or three) of some kind going on at the shop. Be sure to ask what is currently on display.
- ) Alphabet samplers- Again, a very good selection of these.
Customer service is a plus, even when they are busy. One morning I was in the shop and two women were working. For some reason there was a rush of ladies in the shop that morning, but the two employees treated everyone with care and didn’t rush anyone. I had some fabric cut for a particular sampler and the nice young lady who helped me not only measured and cut as carefully as she would had I been alone in the shop, but she even labeled the bag she placed my fabric in with the color, count and the project it was for!
If you haven’t guessed it yet, I highly recommend a visit to this shop no matter where you are in the valley. It is well worth the drive!