The CARON Collection is pleased to feature one of the outstanding shops who so ably provide stitchers with not only supplies but guidance, technical expertise, and inspiration. We hope you'll support your local shops and browse through our extensive SHOP LISTINGS to find a shop near you.
6 Hilltop Road, Mendham, NJ
How did you get involved in needlework (cross stitch, quilting etc.)?
Back in 1989, I gave up horseback riding as a hobby, and I needed something to fill the many hours that sport took. I bought a Dimensions Needlepoint Kit and started stitching. My mother had done needlepoint for many years, but she never suggested that I try it or get involved. I used to do a little knitting and crocheting, but not needlepoint. Well, after the first kit, I was hooked. I loved it and couldn't get enough of it.
What prompted you to open up your shop?
I found a lovely little needlepoint shop in Mendham, NJ, named "Mendham Stitchery", owned by three very nice ladies, and began shopping for canvases and threads there. In 1992, one of the partners wanted to retire and they asked me if I would like to buy her partnership. I thought about it for a couple of days, talked it over with my husband, and said yes. In 1996, my two other partners opted for retirement as well and I jumped at the chance to buy them out and open on January 2, 1997, as Mrs. Stitches. It was a very exciting journey getting the shop the way I wanted it, bringing in as many thread lines as I could find space for and adding counted cross stitch and counted thread designs. I began taking as many courses in counted thread and painted canvas designs as I could find. I met nationally renowned designers and took their classes. I joined the local chapters of the ANG and EGA. I was having a ball.
Where does the inspiration for your business come from?
Inspiration has come from many sources. On a day-to-day basis, it is the enjoyment I see in my customers when they finish a painted canvas or a very involved cross stitch sampler and are excited to start a new piece. National teachers continue to inspire me because of the wonderful designs and projects they create and offer. My students inspire me to continue to design my own classes and pieces.
Mrs. Stitches specializes in hand-painted needlepoint canvases, charted thread designs and counted cross stitch patterns. To that end, I offer the finest threads available to stitch those designs. These include silks, cottons and silk and wool blends. The shop inventory includes specialty threads from Access Commodities, Needlepoint Inc., Rainbow Gallery, Kreinik, brown paper packages, and The Caron Collection.
What makes your shop special?
I think what makes Mrs. Stitches special is that I try to stock the very finest in needlepoint canvases, linen fabrics for cross stitch and stitching threads that I can for my customers and I am always willing to special order a product for a customer. I also limit my inventory to needlepoint and counted cross stitch in which I am accomplished. My philosophy is that I will not sell a product that I can not help a customer with should he or she have a problem. I believe that my customers mostly appreciate my honesty and willingness to help and advise them. I don't try to sell my customers expensive threads; I try to sell those threads because I truly believe they are the best threads and easiest to use for the particular project they are doing.
A beautiful version of "Patches", a Lois Caron design, stitched by Diane in one of Mrs. Stitches classes
How has your shop changed over the years?
Basically, my shop has remained pretty constant throughout the years. I have added products, removed products, seen old customers move away and new customers come in. I have created new classes in needlepoint and held winter workshops for needlepoint and cross stitch. My customers get inspired because I feel free to make suggestions regarding choice of threads and stitches to use. They also enjoy my classes and are motivated to take their needlepoint to the next level.
Do you offer classes?
Yes, I offer four different levels of needlepoint classes. They are beginner, intermediate, advanced intermediate (Stained Glass), and advanced (Florentine Fantasy). Photographs of these models can be viewed on my website. Florentine Fantasy is the newest piece and currently in the pilot class stage.
Beginners Class Intermediate Class Advanced Class
In addition to the classes offered, I usually do a workshop on Sundays in the winter months. The past two years I have used Lois Caron's "Garden Patches" and "Possibilities". Both workshops were very well attended and feedback indicates that everyone had a lot of fun working on the projects. There were 4 classes, each about 1 month apart allowing time for students to catch up on the material covered during the class. The projects were stitched on either 13 or 18 mesh needlepoint canvas, congress cloth or linen. Each student picked her own colors from the Caron Collection threads which included Waterlilies, Watercolors, Wildflowers and Impressions. There are pictures on my website showing the pieces and fun we all had.
6 Hilltop Road,
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