Monday, June 13, 2016

Ready for Christmas stiching?

Once again it is time to show you all of the new things in the shop.  The latest listing can be seen at  Looking at all of the new things makes me want to stop writing and start stitching!!  Ready or not, the new Mill Hill Christmas kits are here.  We have the ornament kits, the Button and Bead kits and the Santas for this year---Renaissance Santas!  If you would rather stitch for the current season, we have Fourth of July Picnic from Samplers Not Forgotten and Long May She Wave from Classic Colorworks (designed by Little House Needleworks).  We have two more charts in the To the Beach series from Hands on Design that would also be excellent summer projects.  They fit a standard 5” x 7” frame when stitches on the recommended fabric.

We are taking pre-orders for several things: the 2016 Just CrossStitch Halloween Special Collector’s issue and the Christmas Ornament Issue, the Lizzie Kate Spooked! Summer Mystery Sampler and the Little House Needleworks Little House ABC Samplers.  Just email us if you would like us to let you know when they arrive. 

We hope you can stop in as you are traveling this summer.  It is fun to meet out internet friends!  We appreciate your continued interest.  Remember to promote your love of stitching to a friend or family member who does not stitch…yet!


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Summer stitching!

I hope this finds you enjoying summer (those of you in the northern hemisphere of the world!) and maybe finding a few extra minutes to stitch.  If you are planning summer travels, remember that the first thing a stitcher packs is his/her project bag!  My personal rule of thumb is that it should contain at least three projects: an easy one, one that takes more concentration and a contingency project just in case something doesn’t work out with the other two!

We have updated our What’s New page with many suggestions for projects to fill your stitching bag.  You can see them here:  There are two new Bewitching Pixies from Nora Corbett, Gingerbread Village 8 from Country Cottage and two limited edition designs from Just Nan (Do not wait to get these!).  If you love owls, we have Owl Scissors in a new Primitive Black color and a chart pack with two owls from Val’s Stuff.  Scissor collectors will want to see the new, affordable Rabbit Embroidery Scissors in Gold or Pewter.  And, there are four designs with patriotic themes that would make wonderful summer projects. 

Just this week we learned that the Christmas/Winter Mill Hill kits are on the way to our store!  If you are an early Christmas gift stitcher, this will give you time to get them finished.  Our next update will have pictures but you do not have to wait until then to order them.  A new series called Chalkboard Quartet is also available.  To see pictures now, go to , and click Mill Hill Kits on the left side of the home page.
This is the last week of our Summer House Stitche Workes Trunk show.  Stop in soon so you will not miss seeing the beautiful models.
We hope to see you soon-either in person or online!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Treatise on ordering

New items are waiting for you at!  We stitchers are always on the lookout for new projects to add to our stash for future stitching.  Stoney Creek and Leisure Arts both have new books with wonderful Christmas stockings.  If you thought you missed getting Strawberry Fields Forever from Blackbird Designs, you are in luck!  It has been reprinted.  Patriotic charts are well represented with new books from Blackbird Designs, Plum Street and Cross-Point Designs.

I recently read a blog post from my friend Deb at Stitches ‘n Things.  She has given me permission to reprint it here and she also credits Cathy from Needle in a Haystack for some of the content.  The needlework industry has changed dramatically since I started at House of Stitches 29 years ago.  I used to order from 2 or 3 companies every week to get the majority of things that we sold.  Now it seems like most of my time is spent ordering, re-ordering, keeping track of backorders and trying to track down out of print charts that are suddenly THE thing to stitch in all the on-line groups.  Deb explains things in a way that I think will help you understand why it sometimes takes longer than we would like to get you the supplies that you need.

I am often asked why an item may take a while to be ordered and mailed.

In our industry, more than 99% of the vendors we deal with are small companies. While we purchase Zweigart fabric and DMC and other threads, we don't deal directly with them, but purchase through distributors here in the US. To put it into context, my local bakery (Crust here in Fenton) has more employees than most of the companies we purchase directly from.

Most are 1-2 people companies with a handful (Wichelt, Kreinik, Week's Dye Works, Norden Crafts, Fleur de Paris) having maybe 6 to 10 employees. While many cross-stitch designers also sell through one of the distributors that's not true of most thread and fabric dyers. So when you place an order for say, fabric from 4 different companies, threads from 6 more, a mug, a frame or a couple of charts, chances are we have to order from 2-10 vendors.

Where orders with most vendors took 1-2 weeks, that has now changed to more like 2-4 weeks and that's from the time we place the order. Our industry still has not recovered to pre-2008 levels and that means all of us tightened our belts. We are not able to carry as much stock as we once did nor can our vendors or distributors. So a hand-dyer of threads or fibers might no longer keep a deep inventory in stock but have to dye as needed, which means it can take longer to get orders than it once did. Plus, they all have lives outside of our industry and jury duty, an illness, a family emergency or even an unexpected school holiday can throw a spanner in the works (designers do not have 'staff' to fill in for them as they work out of their homes).

Some vendors we may only order from a few times a year; with many others once or twice a month. And, the only distributors we order from "nearly" every week are Hoffman, Norden, Wichelt and Yarn Tree. But they frequently have to backorder items to us or tell us to reorder until their shipments are filled (they have minimum order requirements to meet too from the manufacturers) and arrive back in their warehouses.

Speaking of minimum ordering amounts ... some of our companies have set dollar minimums we have to meet. until we have enough orders to meet their minimums, we cannot place our orders. And, with the companies that do dying of fabric and threads, they have to have enough yardage orders to dye a certain color before they can make that dye bath up. When they do have that minimum requirement met, those dye orders are then placed in queue to be dyed behind their existing orders.

My hope in explaining this is that you'll have a better understanding of why your orders don't magically appear and why it may take longer than you think it should. If you have a deadline for a project, let us know when you place an order and we can tell you if we think we can meet it. If not, we'll see if we can help you find an alternate, or see if another shop might have what you need. We are small industry and you would be surprised how many times we all reach out to our fellow shop owners to find things we don't have in our stock!

With that detailed explanation, just let me add that we appreciate your understanding and continued business! We want everyone to have all of the supplies that they need.


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Latest arrivals!

Our What’s New page is filled with over sixty great new designs!  Hop over to visit at   The new Mill Hill kits are here!  In addition to six Autumn Buttons and Beads kits and six Autumn Harvest Magnet kits, we have the Little Monsters Trilogy and Calavera Charmed Ornaments.  Lizzie Kate’s new Yearbook Double Flip series has begun and the first half of the series is in stock and waiting for you!   Heart’s Content has a beautiful new kit called Tudor-Batik Scissors Sheath.   If you feel like stitching a summer-themed design, be sure to see the To the Beach series from Hands On Design.  Needle’s Notion has a cute design called Bandana Ranch for the little cowboy or cowgirl in your life.

Strawberry Fields from Blackbird Designs is back in print and back in stock!  And their new book, Sweet Land of Liberty also arrived today.  It has five patriotic designs!  If you need either of these just put a note in the customer comments area of your order form.

Our framer says to tell you she has framed Winter Wienerland ( from Plum Street a couple of times recently and it is as cute as can be!  It is fun to see how the same design looks when stitched on different counts and colors of fabric. 
While we are speaking of Plum Street, I started stitching Deer Friends recently.  I worked on it in the car while we traveled this past weekend and I am sure my poor husband got quite tired of hearing me exclaim over the beautiful colors. This is what is stitched so far.  (Now you can admire the colors, too! LOL) I am ready to start a deer!

Any day now we will be receiving a trunk show from Summer House Stitche Works.  I am really looking forward to having Beth’s stitched models in the shop!  It is always very inspiring to see the actual stitched piece instead of just a photo on a chart.  Once we have the models unpacked and set up I will post some photos for those who cannot visit in person.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 21, 2016


It seems like spring is really here to stay!  The flowers and trees are blooming and we have not had snow in at least two weeks! Hooray!  Our What’s new page at has mostly spring designs.  There is one very ambitious Christmas design from My Big Toe.  It is called Hymns of Christmas and if you start now you might have it finished in time for the holidays this year.  It is in my someday stash; would you like to add it to yours?

Today we received the latest charts and kits from Lizzie Kate.  It was too late to add the pictures to this update but you can see them on the Lizzie Kate blog:   The Double Flip charts are in celebration of the 20th anniversary of Lizzie Kate Designs!  The years have really flown by!

And speaking of how time flies; in only six months it will be Halloween!  To give you a jump start we are having a 25% off special on Spook of the Month kits from Val's Stuff.  The kits contain everything except the floss and are as cute as can be.  To see them, go to our catalog and type Spook of the Month in the key word box.  The shopping cart will not show the discount but we will subtract it and let you know the adjusted total.

Does figuring the finished size of a design frustrate you?  It is pretty simple with your handy dandy calculator.  If you have a cell phone there is probably a calculator right there.  All you need to know is the number of stitches in your design and the count of your fabric.  For example, if your design is 148 X 49 stitches and you are using 14 count fabric, you would divide 148 by 14 (10.57”) and then divide 49 by 14 (3.5”).  That tells you the stitched area is 10.57“ by  3.5”.  You will want to add a margin of fabric to all sides for finishing.  We usually recommend 3” on all sides if you are planning to frame your finished piece.  The means you need to add 6” (that is 3” on the left and right and 3” on the top and bottom) to the design area.  In our example you would want a piece of fabric at least 16.57” x 9.5”.  If you know you want a mat and frame, it is a good idea to add 4” on each side instead of just 3”.  The only other thing that might be a tad tricky is if you are working over 2.  Then you need to divide the linen count by 2 before you figure your design size.  28 count linen is figured as 14 count fabric, 32 count linen is figured as 16 count fabric and so on.   I hope this makes starting your next project a little easier.

I will let you get back to stitching or shopping for stitching and say farewell for now.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


Have you been stitching spring projects?  Here in northern Indiana we keep saying that it is spring but we have to bundle up in winter coats and gloves to endure the cold, wind and intermittent snow!   Working on a spring projects helps me endure.  How about you?  We have new charts and accessories for you to see at  Some have a spring theme but in honor of our up and down weather, there is a snowman book from Stoney Creek and a snowman scissor fob!
It has been awhile since I told you about the Merchant Mall at one of our suppliers: Hoffman Distributing.  They have an amazing collection of stitching books and supplies.  The wonderful thing is that you can shop there and place an order and it will go into our shopping cart and will arrive with our next weekly order.  Then we can send it on to you or you may pick it up in the store.  You may also ask us to combine your Hoffman order with other things that you order through our website.  Even though your Hoffman invoice will show shipping charges; we use our own rates which are usually lower.   There is a link on our home page ( that will take you there.  You may search by title, designer or category.  I must warn you that you may find many things that you did not know you need until you see them!

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Happy Easter!

We have an updated What’s New Page for you to enjoy:  This is a busy weekend for many people so the fact that it is shorter than the last one will help you take time to browse our latest offerings and still have time to enjoy your Easter festivities.   Quite a few of the new arrivals continue to be from the Nashville Needlework Market.   I know several of you have been waiting for the new Plum Street designs to arrive.   I hope you do not try to choose only one! "Dearie and Darling" from Kathy Barrick is a perfect companion to her "And Heaven and Nature Sing" design.  Puffin has new mini Needle Minders that are great for smaller projects.
Keep on stitching and let us know how we can serve your needlework needs.  Thank you for your loyalty and continuing business!  We hope you have a wonderful, blessed Easter!