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.
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."
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!
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
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!
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
Store hours: Monday - Saturday 10:00 am to 5:30 pm