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Ruth Ellen's Two Cents

Dear Stitchers,

    Can it be it's been so long since I've added my "2 cents"?  I haven't been sitting still though!  I've been to West Virginia twice to spend time with Dad and to celebrate Christmas and his 93rd birthday on January 1st.  Then recently I pulled weeds and cut brush in Mom's garden.  Hearing her words of instructions brought back memories as I searched for cone flowers, daylilies, peonies, poppies, and larkspur to move before the "church gardeners" come to plow up the area.  Dad is enjoying giving these "youngins" his thoughts on "how to".  By the time the corn is as high as an elephant's eye, they will be eating and sharing their bounties and thinking...."What would we be doing if he didn't have us to supervise?"   He loves it! 

My daffodils are parading all around the barn and along the fence and lake.  Surely spring is really here as the pussy willow is fuzzing up as well.  It's so initeresting when I think about our first few years when in May particularly we didn't see as many come through the door at the shop....they were gardening, too, waking up the ground, pruning, and getting ready to plant seeds.


a few of the daffodils - and the canoe- waiting for warmer weather!!!

    Plant!! Plant seeds.  We hope to do just that.  For the life of the shop....almost 30 years....we have had available and given out a Beginner kit and a Linen beginner kit, which includes fabric, thread, chart, needle, and directions for "how to do it"!  These little kits have gotten many "hooked" on cross stitch who have become stitchers over the years.  The directions ahven't changed a bit since the early 80's and we invite you to "plant seeds"  with us.  Stop in or write us to request a kit...not more than 5, please...to help us share this "cross stitch stuff" with others.  As you help us plant seeds, you help us to continue to be a place of destination for cross stitchers to see new models and get help with starting a project.  As we constantly hear our customers - friends of the shop share the story of their local shop closing, we are humbled that they have looked for us....and we're still here!  Knowing there are many of you with friends who might like to try this, we thank you for letting us get the seeds planted!

30 years .....in September... we went up and down the stairs of the old farmhouse on Rt. 1 (now Duffers) setting up shop.  Beth was 15, Abby was 12 and Carm was 20 - and in college.  We had no idea what was ahead for each of us.  In 1982 we moved to Olde Ridge Village down the road on Rt. 202 and put ourselves on the map for stitchers all over the country...and a few from abroad.  Years of growth, seeing the deigns change from paper sheets to leaflets and books, and chart packs, we are amazed what is still available.  Just a handful of designers and suppliers we have now, were around in '79 and early 80's.  They've grown and changed ....... ahhhh, just as we all have!

The chain stores arrived in the 80's finiding a market for cross stitch and thus, they spread the word to many about The Strawberry Sampler.  In the 90's, the internet became a reality for many shops.....a challenge to "get online".  So now we reach out all over the world!! Our website as you know is www.strawberrysampler.com....share it with your stitching friends!

Our move down the road on Rt. 202 to Springwater Plaza in 2005 was a challenge and a gift as we down sized our floor space space...but not our inventory.  We turn our inventory over and over making space for the new stuff when it arrives and taking orders for what is needed.  Many have commented that smaller is better and more "intimate".  We share so much with many - and the sharing goes far beyond cross stitch...high points and low points...and we are all blessed.

Recently while stitching with some friends, I was sitting beside a gal who was "pulling out" a length of floss from a DMC skein.  As it got knotted and tangled, I looked over and said, "You need to start pulling from the end where the number is".  To her and many others around...a look of surprise.  Years ago, DMC put a little hand pulling thread on that tab where the number is, but that seems to have been replaced by a rounded arrow now.  Hope this little tip helps!

Remember, too, that the thumb of the hand opposite your stitching hand (for me...my left hand) is  your best friend as my Danish teachers always reminded me.  Now and then, stop and think about what that piece of anatomy does when stitching...particularly when doing other counted thread stitches. It points to the place, feels the needle and holds down the fabric.




Ruth Ellen