Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

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.

Pocket Full of Stitches

in Lubbock, TX

The inspiration for the name of this month's featured shop had its genesis in a nursery rhyme:
Sing a song of sixpence,
a pocket full of rye...

But it also reminds one of another childhood schoolyard favorite:
Ring around the rosie,
a pocket full of posie..."

So why not a needleworker's version:
To decorate your britches,
choose a Pocket Full of Stitches,
Colors, Textures,
It's all such fun!

What an enticing concept: just imagine a deep pocket brimming with a needleworker's stock in trade and favorite design tool: stitches! Just like magic, all you have to do is reach in and grab! Well, just reach into the shop named Pocket Full of Stitches in Lubbock, TX, and you'll pull out not only stitches but threads and fibers galore for needlepoint, counted thread and counted cross stitch, fabrics, hand painted canvases and charted designs, tools, frames and stands, books, needle cases, pincushions, bags and other gift items, accessories and finishing services for stockings, pillows, ornaments and standing figures - the whole stitchers' kit 'n caboodle.

But the imagery doesn't end there. "Pocket Full of Stitches," say owners, Nancy Harmon and Rhea Irish, (who are sisters-in-law) "came about in almost the "blink of an eye.'" Again, the connotation, is not far off the mark. From their very first conversation about establishing a needlework shop, to the time the business was set up, only 2 weeks had elapsed! And in those 2 weeks Rhea and Nancy managed to find a storefront and secure a tax number, before leaving for a TNNA market in Dallas. When the leasing agent for the building they were interested in, asked them what their retail experience was and Rhea just popped-off: "We like to shop!" Now here it is 15 years later and they're both still stitching and having fun. Rhea insists: "There are always new products being introduced, new designs being painted and charted and new threads being born. Never is the needlework business dull." She then emphatically adds: "When it does become dull, then it will be time to close the doors on this venture." Judging from their ongoing enthusiasm, that doesn't seem likely!

Both owners are native and very loyal Texans. Lubbock is home to Texas Tech University - go Red Raiders! (The name of all the Texas Tech ball teams, of which they are devoted fans.) The University sponsors a wide assortment of activities and entertainments and the town maintains its own museum and Ranching Heritage Center. Rock music aficionados will recognize the city as the birthplace of Buddy Holly and music fests in his honor occur at regular intervals The surrounding terrain is very flat and cotton is king. Nancy's parents were cotton farmers and owned a cotton gin, while Rhea comes from a tradition of ranchers which is still their way of life. She married an attorney, turned rancher, and states unequivocally: "We love to be at ranch with the entire family, working cattle. All brothers, sisters, spouses, nephews, nieces show up and help us vaccinate and brand cattle."

Lubbock lies in the southern part of the Great Plains situated in the lower Panhandle of Texas. Nancy and Rhea say it is a wonderful place to live, with a dry mild climate year round, having many of the assets of big cities, but retaining small town values and courtesies. Only someone who loves wide open spaces as Rhea does would insist: "It may seem that we are in the middle of nowhere, but it's an easy 4 hour drive to Ruidiso, NM to the mountains to ski or 6 hours to the Metroplex in Dallas/Fort Worth!" Their community serves as a crossroads for travel to the western part of the state. Aside from mail and Internet orders, business comes primarily from West Texas and New Mexico and from travelers passing through. Native folks are known for their outstanding friendliness and this goodwill is nowhere more evident than at Pocket Full of Stitches. You will not find a more accommodating or knowledgeable staff anywhere. Rhea and Nancy surmise: "Perhaps this attitude exists because we are all stitch-addicted and want to share our love of needlework. Our goal is to please stitchers everywhere." And when they say "stitch-addicted," they ain't just whistling Dixie neither! The Stitchers Anonymous Club is a fixture. To join you must qualify as a stitching addict and spend $300 during the calendar year. For this obsession and expenditure, you receive a black tote bag and 10% discount for the rest of the year. The sooner you achieve "SA" status, the more time you have to take advantage of the discount. What Nancy and Rhea may have lacked in hard core retail experience, they've certainly made up with creating marketing strategies along the way!

Apropos to this month's midsummer Yuletide theme, at Pocket Full of Stitches they stitch Christmas year-round. Their primary specialty products stem from their Christmas Clubs, of which there are four running concurrently this year: Santa's Village, The Nutcracker Ballet, Twas the Night Before Christmas and The Twelve Days of Christmas. These consist of a series of hand painted canvases, ornament sized which fit the specific themes. At the first of each month, club members are shipped a kit including canvas, threads, photo and stitch guide. Members receive a 15% discount on the kits. In addition, each summer, they put on a special "Christmas in July" blowout celebration. Trunk shows from several different needlepoint designers are held and they offer 20% discounts on these canvases and related special orders, as well as all other in-store canvases, Christmas books, kits and gifts. Scheduled shows for this summer featured Melissa Shirley, Shelley Tribbey, Sandy Jenkins in June and A Stitch in Time (Gale Martin from Sugarland, TX) show will run from July 3 to 17. Specific details for the Christmas Clubs are available in the shop newsletter and on their website.

When Nancy and Rhea decided to add a website, they enlisted the help of a professional for the initial design. However, it didn't take Nancy long to suss-it-out and become the resident web expert. She is constantly improving and updating their Internet pages, and being a born perfectionist, is not satisfied until everything is just right. Having a presence on the net has increased their horizons and their list of new friends and clients is constantly growing.

Nancy and Rhea have also combined their talent and enthusiasm in another business venture: Vested Interests: designing and knitting 100% cotton sweater vests for colleges and universities in the "Big 12": Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, Texas A & M and others like Tennessee, Arkansas, SMU and TCU. Another favorite is the Stitcher's Vest which declares, "I Love Stitching."They got started in the vest enterprise in a similar manner to the institution of their shop, by just jumping in feet-first! A knitting machine was purchased along with a design program and they just started making sweaters. Vested Interests has been in operation for 6 years. It will surprise no one to learn at this juncture, that both partners are self-taught in needlework. They only began to take some classes when they went to market that first time, after renting their storefront!

The staff at Pocket Full of Stitches is multi-talented. Joan Seely is the resident needlepoint "guru." She adores working with threads and canvases and devises the most interesting combination of stitches to use. Betty Bell, a retired school teacher, specializes in kitting their Christmas Club orders and keeps track of all the club members. Lavinia Dollins is their "ray of sunshine" and super customer service person, whether advising in person or by phone. Meg Miller loves to stitch and even with 3 young children has energy to spare and has been with them the longest to date - 9 years. Devon Broyles is the shop display artist who creates "scenes" and arrangements for windows, counters and other areas. Kelly Freeman, the youngest, is a Texas Tech student and so full of zest that it just radiates to everyone: fellow employees, employers and customers alike. With that line-up, in addition to Nancy and Rhea, when you reach into a Pocket Full of Stitches, you just can't come up empty handed!


Pocket Full of Stitches is located at Sunshine Square, 4523 50th Street, Lubbock, TX 79414
phone: (800) 234-1761 & (806) 792-1761
fax: (806) 792-6555
e-mail: pfos@pfos.com
website: http://www.pfos.com
Store hours: Monday - Saturday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm

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