Greetings, Fellow Stitchers!

In September of 2010, Jeff, Jojo, Taz, and I began an adventure.  Jeff started a blog on his website to chronicle our travels.  I wanted to do the same, but wanted the journal to be different from his.  So begins The Shop Sampler!

I’m a stitcher, as you may have read in my other blog, Blackwork Lessons.  I am also a painter who hasn’t painted in a long while.  Living in a 27 foot trailer, I don’t see myself painting anytime soon.  But I stitch!  And I adore the historic samplers that girls used to create to learn their letters, numbers, bible verses, document events, and show their skill to potential beau.  Insert lightbulb here!

The plan is to paint a sampler using the fibers and stitches and colors favored by the owners of Local Needlework Shops I visit during my travels!  I started the process in October.  My next post will speak of that visit.  But first, here’s the plan.  When we stop in a new location and I we’re there long enough to get out my stitching stuff, I look for needlework stores in the area.  I check my budget to see if I can afford to go into the shop.  You know there is no stitcher who can walk into a shop and buy only one skein, reel, card or any other measure of fiber!  I never seem to get out of a shop without it costing me between $20 to $60 minimum!  (How well would you do?!  Tell the truth!)

So, if I’m able to afford a little trip, I go to the store.  I browse.  I look at EVERYTHING.  Sometimes I bring a shopping list and gather those goods.  If there is a class going on, I check it out.  I visit with folks just sittin’ and stitchin’.  In doing so I find out who the owner or manager is.  Who the teacher is, if there is one.  Then I tell that person about my project.  I ask about their viewpoint on the state of the world of stitching.  I ask them about their favorite fiber.  And then their favorite stitch.  Then I ask them to pick out their favorite color in that fiber and tell them I will find a way to put that fiber and that stitch into my sampler and ask if they mind if I write about my encounter with them on my blog.

So far, I have to tell you, it is fun!  It is a joy to watch when the shop keepers are picking their favorite fiber and color.  You know exactly why they are in business and how they stay in business.  They touch the strands of silk and wool and cotton.  And ooh, and aah over the vibrant colors.  Typically, they go to the newer fibers, the new loves, but are then torn over not choosing the old loves.

Try it!  Go into your LNS and ask the owner, not to help you pick out what you need for your next UFO–come on, now! you know it’s true!–but ask her or him what particular card of Splendor, or spool of Kreinik, or of all the fibers in the shop, what is his or her current love.  And how should that love be expressed?  On canvas?  Congress Cloth?  Linen? Etamin?  What background would show the blush of true love to its best?  Should it be a bold statement with four plies or a simple, single thread wrapping the ground fibers?

When you do this, you will remember anew why you love this art, too!  So join me in this journey.  See the world anew.  I probably won’t post daily, maybe not even weekly, but at least once a month you’ll find me here to tell you another love story to help paint The Shop Sampler.  Please share your love stories and let the Sampler grow!