We had dropped the ball; our girl is going to her high school senior prom on Saturday and her dress had yet to be hemmed. We flew out of the house, “flew” down Huntington Drive, and cut through A Stitch in Time to reach Carlos the Tailor who has a minute shop in the back, a holdover from the Andover Shop. When we tell him the date by which we need the prom dress, he glances around at all the dresses jamming his workplace, gives us a slight scowl, and says, “Of course—you may pick it up Saturday morning.” Cutting it close; living on the edge.
After we profusely thank Carlos for squeezing us in, and begin walking back through the main shop, we realize the stress has vanished from our neck and shoulders. Before we know it, we’re dawdling, scrutinizing strandable silk versus metallic filament. Our eyes are drawn to walls and cubbies filled with rich colors of every hue. We touch handmade blankets and baby sweaters, and even a knitted cupcake. A fireplace is decorated, in May, with needlepoint Christmas ornaments and the wall beyond is covered with needlepoint templates.
But these are no ordinary printed canvases, we’re told by owner Alison Hodgkiss. These patterns are hand painted. As a consequence, the shading is more intricate and thus the needlepoint-er can be more detailed, too. No mere basketweave stitches like we remember with our grandmother’s many needlepoint pillows (which always had to be moved out of the way when taking a seat on the sofa) or those basic stitches used when we tried our hand at needlepoint before realizing what a commitment was required and abandoned it for a game of kickball.
Alison shows us the piece she is currently working on. It’s designed by Meredith Willett and Alison has been working since last December. While in the store, we don’t even know the correct questions to ask, but once home, looking again at Alison’s work, we wonder, are we looking at a gobelin stitch? We think we definitely recognize a basic Continental stitch and a double Parisian stitch, but there are so many others it boggles the mind. We hadn’t realized needlepoint stitches could be so creative, making the piece come alive like a work of art.
The underwater flowers in her image, Allison tells us, are made of pieces of silk that were individually cut and then individually burned along the edges before being attached, three at a time, to create each flower. There are seven blooms, meaning 21 tiny pieces to cut out in ever-smaller sizes, then 21 irregularly ovals to burn around the edges. Our respect for needlepoint just shot through the roof.
A Stitch in Time & Hodge Podge Gifts, 2465 Huntington Drive, San Marino 91108. Phone: 1.626.793.5217. Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Needlepoint-Knitting.com.
Alison organizes needlepoint adventures, too. The Seaside Needlepoint Retreat is scheduled for August 11-14, 2016 and will be held at the Hyatt Hotel in Santa Barbara.
Meredith Willett will guide guests through the stitches for the canvas seen above. To learn more, visit Needlepoint-Knitting.com/seaside-needlepoint-retreat.
Hodge Podge Gifts sits on the other side of the room and is filled with, exactly that, gifts. From jewelry to kids’ toys, lotions to glassware, and hats to decorative goods. It’s a fun place to look—great for a housewarming party and hostess gifts, or for that hard-to-buy-for sister-in-law. Last year, we found some lovely, yet Christmas kitchen towels, which were perfect for our older sister who loves holiday paraphernalia.
Need a tailor?
Try Carlos the Tailor in the back of A Stitch in Time.
Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.