After stopping in North Dakota at Nordic Needle for some needlework shopping – yes, I admit it, I bought embroidery supplies at each of these shops! – we struck out west towards the Seattle area of Washington, via Glacier National Park and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. On the way in to Seattle, very conveniently located off Interstate-90 in the town of Issaquah, is Threadneedle Street, a small needlework shop specializing predominantly in needlepoint and counted thread work.
On the way in to Washington, the scenery changes somewhat drastically after the mountains of Idaho and western Montana. The eastern part of Washington is rather desert-like and scrubby.
The Columbia River is an impressive site. There are a couple dams along the river in the middle part of the state, and one is in the vicinity of the highway, making for a nice scenic stopping point. So we stopped. And it was scenic.
Then we headed into the Seattle area, stopping at Issaquah. Really, when I say it’s an easy stop, I mean it. If you’re on I-90, you simply take the exit, drive into the town on the main street, and pull over to park. It’s about that easy.
Of the four shops I visited, Threadneedle Street is certainly the smallest. In fact, if you weren’t looking for it specifically, you might miss it altogether!
In case you’re looking for the shop some day, though, the pink pig might help you find it. This gal sits at the end of the sidewalk on the same side of the street the shop is on… I didn’t inspect her closely, so I’m not sure what she’s all about. I suspect she’s a grill…
Inside the shop, you’ll find very closely arranged (as in, tight quarters!) merchandise – all kinds of threads, tools, accessories, beads, etc. – that are used in embroidery.
You’ll find shelves of pre-cut fabric and racks of beads, buttons, and little items.
You’ll find racks and baskets full of kits and charts and so forth. And tucked here and there, lines of neat books for sale. (I bought a terrific book here that I’m looking forward to showing you!)
You’ll also find some walls devoted to painted canvases, from elaborate Christmas stockings to geometric designs, etc. They’re very pretty and colorful!
But to me, the greatest appeal of Threadneedle Street is this. It’s the Needlework System 4 stand and all its accessories and parts – and she stocks the pieces in the shop, instead of special ordering each time a customer wants the stand. This means that chances are, if you stop in, you’ll be able to pick up a part right then and there. Every other needlework shop I’ve dealt with regarding this stand keeps a demo model, and then has to special order the pieces you want (and you end up with a 10 – 14 day wait). But here, you can buy the pieces you want, in stock. AND – she has the best prices in the country! If you buy the stand and frame clamp from Threadneedle Street, you’re spending almost $50 less here than anywhere else. And you’re not having to wait. What a deal!
I bought the extension piece, by the way, for my Needlework System 4 stand. This allows the stand to easily work from the side, over the arm of a couch. (Feel free to read my review of the Needlework System 4 stand, if you aren’t sure what I’m talking about!)
So, my review of Threadneedle Street in a nutshell:
Merchandise: There’s a vast quantity of merchandise in this little store! She carries all the popular threads for cross stitch and needlepoint, including wools and blends and so forth, as well as a few different hand-dyed threads that I had not seen before. Lots of little accessories are available, as well. There’s a good collection of interesting needlework-related books that you won’t find on the shelf of a typical bookstore, and a few that I had not seen before, one of which I bought. Seeing some Access Commodities merchandise there, I figure that the folks at Threadneedle Street can pretty much order anything that you want, if they don’t have it in stock.
Shop Layout: As needlework shops go, I’d call this one “average” in size. Most needlework shops I’ve been to are relatively small in general. Threadneedle Street is no exception – the shop is small and seems somewhat crowded, but when you start to look around and see what’s in there, you realize there’s a pretty clever use of space going on. No space is wasted.
Prices: They actually seem a little bit less, overall, than in most places, though I can’t be sure of that with everything there. Certainly, it’s the case with the Needlework System 4 stand, but I also thought the threads were just slightly less expensive than in other shops. In any case, there wasn’t anything that struck me as outlandish, price-wise, at all.
Service: This is the one shop I can say without reserve that I met with great service – that perfect balance between warm and friendly and open, capped with professional knowledge, and not overwhelming. Just a nice, friendly, open personality, ready to help and having no hang-ups about answering questions. It was, in short, very refreshing to go to a needlework shop and receive really genuine, sincere, niceness for a change. You just don’t see that often in needlework shops, thought it’s unfortunate to have to say so. Now, their online service may be a bit different – the website notes that they are often busy with customers in the store and therefore may have to call you back if you call to place an order. I have the impression the shop is worked by very few people (I only saw one!), so if you do call them to place an order, expect to be either put on hold or called back.
I liked Threadneedle Street. If I lived in the vicinity, I think it would be the kind of shop that I’d establish a good working relationship with. There’s a real niceness and enthusiasm about needlework there that I haven’t met at too many needlewo
I’d love to see the Threadneedle Street website updated into a regular shopping-cart type website. I think this would ease the ordering situation for out-of-town customers and it would probably make the job on the selling end easier, too.
After leaving Issaquah, we headed to the Seattle area. My folks used to live on Whidby Island, so we went there to see the old haunts and so forth.
Deception Pass is gorgeous! Well, ok – it’s water! You’ll find that I get overly enthusiastic about anything that looks like abundant water! We drove through Whidby Island, took a ferry to Seattle, stayed overnight, did some looking around the next day, and then headed to Oregon…
…where we saw Crater Lake…
…which is blue beyond belief, and still, and quiet, and cold. Snow still lined the roads up at the top of the mountain, with four-foot cuts of the white stuff in some places along the road. The mosquitoes up there, by the way, were huge and Really Hungry.
From Oregon, we headed into California, where we drove through the Napa Valley, stopping at a few wineries along the way. The contrast between green and lush and dry and sandy in the area is quite intriguing and really beautiful. I love the grape vines! They are something else – I’d love to see them when they are fully laden with grapes.
My favorite stop was at Peju Winery, which is a little boutique winery in the Napa Valley. I prefer boutique wineries to the Big-Wigs (like Berringer, etc.). They’re more fun, more intimate, more interesting, and they do fun stuff with their wine. I bought, untasted, a bottle of zinfandel port (port-style wine, anyway) as a gift. They only make this every so many years, and they were down to six bottles left. It was a risk to pay the price without knowing for sure if it was good, but we weren’t disappointed! Good Stuff Indeed!
This leg of the trip took us into the Bay Area, where I visited two extraordinary needlework shops… coming up!
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