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.
"In 1993 my mother and I started our needlepoint business,
Fireside Stitchery," states Maria A. DeSimone. So begins
the saga of a shop that has become a true family enterprise. Maria studied Electrical Engineering and Philosophy in college
and then went on to receive a Law Degree from Villanova University,
PA, thus ultimately following in her father, Tony Bartolini's
footsteps. Tony practiced law for over 40 years and was the managing
partner of a large Philadelphia law firm. Maria's law specialty
was Intellectual Property (patents, trademarks and copyrights)
and she practiced for about seven years. When Tony retired, the
prior family trend was reversed, and Tony followed in his daughter's
footsteps by coming to work at Fireside Stitchery. He now serves
in the capacity of Chief Financial Officer, but that does not
absolve him from doing a little of everything. It didn't take
Tony long to learn the finer points of stitching. In fact, he
has already stitched two models for the shop and is stitching
more. Even Todd, Maria's husband, is vital to the business as
their computer expert and web developer.
Christmas Mitten by Renaissance
Maria grew up in a home where handwork was treasured and nurtured.
Each family member pursues some form of creative expression.
Maria's sister, Rachel, makes lovely jewelry; brother, David,
owns an antique shop and works with the intricate mechanisms
of clocks and watches; father, Tony, is an expert woodworker
and mother, Judy, is a very talented stitcher. Tony applies his
carpentry talents to making beautiful hand turned wood laying
tools, needlecases, and hand turned cases to hold the Best Laying
Tool. He also creates one-of-a-kind pieces to display needlework,
such as footstools, fire screens, needle boxes, scissor cases
and many other beautiful items. Maria's own interests include
needlework of all kinds, music, writing and beading. She adds,
"Although needlepoint is my specialty, I enjoy all the needlearts.
I also love to do off-loom bead weaving. I am currently experimenting
with spinning my own threads and learning how to weave in the
Navajo style. I also enjoy designing, teaching and lecturing
in many areas of needleart."
Tony's Hand Turned Best
Laying Tool Cases
Judy was an obstetrics nurse and worked until she and Tony
started a family. She then traded in her nursing whites to become
a full time stay-at-home mom. She was the one who introduced
Maria to needle and thread. Judy is an expert stitcher, adept
in many techniques - heirloom hand sewing, cutwork, pulled thread,
lacework, Japanese embroidery, needlepoint and others. Maria
proudly reports, "Her most recently completed pieces were
two exquisite christening gowns and matching bonnets for her
first grandchildren (my sister's twins)."
| Vera Bradley Teddy Bear
|| Alice in Wonderland Chair with Hand Painted
Fireside Stitchery was begun as a mail order business working
out of a small rented office on the top floor of an old home.
The company has grown quickly and today, in addition to their
thriving mail order venture, has a retail business ensconced
in a beautiful full service store in Frazer, PA, about 35 miles
west of Philadelphia. The mail order catalog is unusually comprehensive
spanning about 100 pages. The newest edition of the catalog is
due out late this year. Maria and her husband Todd, along with
Marti Davis and Jennifer Taylor of Needleartworks.com, are working
on expanding the business further into the Internet arena with
an exciting on-line store for the benefit of those stitchers
who do not have a local needlework store.
More of Tony's Best Laying
The shop is in its third home. The initial move was made when
Fireside Stitchery expanded into retail and then quickly outgrew
the space. Maria enthuses, "Our present store is a joy.
I would like to say that it is big enough, but I do not think
we could ever have a shop that is 'big enough.' There is always
one more thread family to try to hang on the wall, or a few more
canvases and shop models to display." Fibers in families
grace the pristine white walls of the shop, creating a wonderful
splash of color wherever one glances. Included is the Caron Family
of threads. Maria resumes, "It is a real feast for the eyes
to see all the Watercolors, Wildflowers, Waterlilies, Impressions
and Soie Crystal hanging side-by-side. We make it our business
to know all about the threads we carry so that we can recommend
just the right threads for our customers' projects. We are always
on the lookout for new and interesting threads, and we keep our
stock up to date with all the new colors."
in the Woods by Thespia Designs
Fireside Stitchery stocks an extensive and diverse collection
of hand painted canvases from painted canvas artists all over
the country. They work with talented local artists to come up
with that perfect personalized one-of-a-kind design. Marina Ketterman,
who also works part time in the shop, and Sarah Kirkpatrick of
Thespia Designs are their custom painters.
An entire section of the store is devoted to needlework books
of all types. Maria firmly believes, "One can never have
enough books." They also carry the beautiful Vera Bradley
quilted bags (perfect for toting all sorts of needlework projects),
all the latest needlework accessories, tools and "must have"
stitching gadgets, plus great lights, magnifiers, and floor stands.
Fireside Stitchery's favorite and best selling floor stand is
the Lowery Workstand.
Floral Pillow by Marina
In their latest location, the shop boasts a separate room
for classes. Workshops and classes accommodate all levels of
stitchers and run year-round. In addition to local teachers,
guest teachers from all over the country make frequent appearances.
Maria adds, "Often you will find one-on-one impromptu classes
taking place with a beginning stitcher or with a stitcher needing
a refresher on some new stitch. We also offer classes for children
they are so much fun to teach, and they love to use the
sparkly threads like the Caron Collection Snow and Antica. It
is a real treat to see needlework through their eyes." A
favorite class that Maria teaches to kids incorporates the McKnight
Habitat series of designs. The kids learn to stitch while learning
about characteristics of the different animals at the same time!
Hope by Marianne Frost
Owners Maria and Judy boast, "Our Fireside Stitchery
staff is the best. Joan, Marianne, Mariana, Janet, Evi, Diane
and Donna are a very talented group who eagerly share their love
of stitching with our customers. Two members of our staff, Marianne
Frost and Donna Taylor, are designers and teachers who each have
their own line of published needlework charted designs."
Un Ballo in Maschero
by Donna Taylor
Many Trunk shows are held throughout the year, providing a
wonderful opportunity to become familiar with all the pieces
from a particular designer. A complete range of finishing services
is available at Fireside Stitchery. Their creative staff stands
at the ready to add that special touch to any customer's needlework
project. They will eagerly pull threads and make stitch suggestions
for any canvases purchased. They even pull threads for mail order
clients who send in canvases for suggestions and also send canvases
off to mail order customers on approval. That kind of dedicated
and extensive customer service is indeed not easy to come by.
by Marina Ketterman, Stitch Guide by Marianne Frost
In January of 2000, Fireside Stitchery debuted an Ornament
of the Month program and it has been a smash success. They will
be expanding to offer three more new programs beginning in January
of 2001: Splendor Silk Collector's Club, Thread of the Month
Club and Canvas of the Month Club. An informative newsletter
is published 3 times per year. Anyone interested in receiving
it can call and put their name on their mailing list and become
a valued member of the extended Fireside Stitchery family.
| Limited Edition Super Chicken and Frosty
|| 3-D Humpty Dumpty by Tapestry Tent
490 Lancaster Avenue
Frazer, PA 19355
Phone: (610) 889-9835 or (800) 531- 2607
Fax: (610) 889-3013 (FAX)
Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 10:00AM to 5:00PM
Wednesday 10:00AM to 7:00PM
Saturday 10:00AM to 3:00PM
Maria has yet other needleart related vocations. From 1995
to 1998 she was a feature editor, designer and writer for Needlepointer's, the magazine of the American Needlepoint Guild. These talents
have most recently been used to launch another venture. She is
a founder along with two partners, Joyce Lukomski and Sarah Bennett,
in a new commercial needleart magazine called needlepoint
now. Maria serves as the Assistant Editor for the bi-monthly
publication. For more information on this magazine and for a
free design, Pieces of Eight, courtesy of needlepoint
now, see this month's Magazine Freebie!