Today, I took a trip into Alameda (East Bay) to visit Needle in a Haystack. I had read about the wonders of this shop, and was excited to discover that I now live relatively nearby. This morning I called up a friend who stitches and we decided to go out for lunch and then to the shop.
We stopped for lunch in the Oakland Chinatown to visit and restaurant I had been craving ever since my brother took me there 3 years ago. Shan Dong is AMAZING. We got string beans, hand cut noodle soup, and dumpling. YUM!
It took less than 10 minutes to get to Needle in a Haystack from lunch. We arrive a little after 2, and spent the next 2+ hours choosing threads (me) and choosing projects and threads (Cathy).
Actually, before choosing threads I took my canvas over to their AMAZING canvas selection to confirm my sinking suspicion that the canvas I bought in NJ was not the 18-count mono that the store owner told me it was. My project was supposed to chart out to 16″x16″ but was actually 18X18, so I was pretty sure the count was off. Luckily, NIAH has every canvas you could ever possibly want for any stitch project in any color. Their canvas area was bigger than any other needlepoint shop I have been to.
They also seemed to carry every thread ever made. Boy was it fun to pick threads!!!! I ended up picking up only the thread for the ANG project because it took so long. I pulled all of the blue threads in the thread list, but decided to switch the pinks to purples. It wasn’t always easy to match exact shades, so I hope the threads I chose will work to create the dark/light pattern work in the piece!
I went in thinking that I would change out a lot of the interesting (read: expensive) threads for more affordable solutions, but I was so excited by using new types of threads that I ended up not substituting very much. I did make a few cotton for silk substitutions, and stayed far far away from wool due to my allergies. The total, however, ended up being actually less than I expected (though still expensive!) which made me very happy!
The women at the store were wonderful, and though I finished picking my threads at closing time, they let us stay another 30 minutes or so while I paid for my purchases and Cathy finished kitting her 2 new projects. Congratulations Cathy, for graduating from prepacked kids to choosing your own thread. I know it can be more expensive, but it’s so much more fun!!!
BOTTOM LINE: I’m excited to stitch my new project (lessons start Oct 1), happy to find a new needlepoint store, and very very full!