Friday, November 16, 2012

Norden's Needleworkers - Silver Creek Samplers, and A Stitcher's Garden (Fayetteville, NY)

I am very late in posting our newest editions of Norden's Needleworkers.  And for that I am very sorry.  I hope you enjoy reading about two very incredible, and patient women!  Diane Grick of Silver Creek Samplers, and Jan Smith of A Stitcher's Garden in Fayetteville, NY. 

Featured Designer

When did you begin designing your own patterns and how did that turn into a business?
From 1993-2006, I worked as an art director for a quilt magazine. For those 12 years, I ate, breathed, and slept quilts. Making and designing quilts came naturally to me. It was a devastating blow when the magazine went out of business. My passion for quilting waned and I needed an outlet to channel my creativity. I decided to go back to cross stitching (which I did for a few years before learning to quilt) and began to design my own patterns. It took three years before I had enough courage to contact a distributor. My designs were immediately accepted, and I haven’t looked back since.

      Do you stitch your own models, or do you have model stitchers?
I do all of my own stitching. I don’t think I’ve stitched a model yet that I didn’t make color or design changes to. I also REALLY enjoy seeing the pattern come to life as I stitch.

How important is social media in the cross stitch industry and how do you make use of it for your company?
 I think social media is very important. In January 2012, I began a blog. ( I’m probably one of the last designers to do so! I decided that since I don’t have a website, that a blog would be a good way for stitchers to get to know me as well as update them on what’s new at Silver Creek Samplers. I’m also on Facebook too.

Do you feel your style has changed over time, and if so how do you feel about your older designs now?
My lettering style has changed since my first samplers. I needed to condense my letters a bit to keep my designs to a more “friendly” size. Not everyone wants to spend months stitching a huge sampler, or have the wall space to hang them.

What other designers are you a fan of?
Plum Street Samplers and La D Da are two of my favorites.

What are your three favorite movies?
Dances with Wolves, The Green Mile, and Forrest Gump

Do you have any pets?
No house would be complete without them! Chloe is a 10 year old cat who flunked out of mouse catching school, Molly is our newest member. She is a 2 ½ year old beagle-basset that we adopted this past May from our local shelter. (Don’t tell the cat…Molly is my favorite!) We also have 5 Rhode Island Red hens who live in a chicken coop that my son, Colvin and I built together last year.

Chicken Time

Would you share a little bit about your family?
Sure! Alan and I have been married 18 years this September. We both grew up in Montrose, PA and graduated from the same high school, but didn’t start dating until 1993. We continue to live on our own little acre of paradise, located a few miles north of Montrose. Our son Colvin, turned 13 in June. He is already 5’8” and hasn’t really started his growth spurt yet (yikes!) Colvin is in Boy Scouts and enjoys fishing and hunting. Both Alan and Colvin help me out when I have an order to fill. Alan helps me stuff the bags and Colvin zips them up. It’s wonderful family bonding time!

What is your greatest strength? What is your biggest weakness?
I think my greatest strength is my creativity and imagination. My biggest weakness is, without a doubt, procrastination.
What changes would you make if you could go back in time?
I would not change a single thing. Not that I haven’t made my share of mistakes and bad choices. But I’ve learned valuable lessons from my goof-ups and that has helped me grow into a stronger and more confidant person. No one has the power to change yesterday, but you can change tomorrow!


7070 Cedar Bay Rd
Fayetteville, NY 13066

How long have you been a stitcher and how did you first learn about stitching?
I had done some stamped embroidery with my grnadmother as a child and tried a little crewel embroidery after college.  Then between the birth of my son and daughter I saw an ad in a local newspaper for a counted cross stitch class held by a museum in a nearby village.  I think there were about four sessions.  We started out doing a 2"x3" over one sampler on 22ct Hardanger, and by the end of the class we had learned about history, materials used to stitch (fabric & DMC floss that was pretty much only available at the teacher's home!) and even had a framer come in to show us how to mat and put our little pieces together.  I taught a few friends to stitch, started looking around for shops within a few hours drives and formed a "Stitch & Bitch" group with friends from church, some of whom are still friends and still stitching today.  We went to festivals and retreats together until I opened my shop and started working six days a week!

How long have you been in business?
I opened the shop in August of 1999 in a restored 100 year old barn located across the street from the old Erie Canal in Fayetteville, NY (an eastern suburb of Syracuse).  The building is broken up into several shops and mine in located on the first floor when you walk into the barn.  There is a large lobby area with barnwood walls that reach the peak of the roof-perfect for displaying large models from a trunk show!
What types of products do you offer?
The main focus of the shop is counted thread cross stitch.  We carry lots of different fabric counts & colors including the popular hand dyed linens, wool, weaver's cloth, gingham linen, mono canvas, etc.  We don't have as many fibers as a needlepoitn shop would but have a full line of DMC, Crescent Colours, Sampler Threads, Weeks Dye Works, & Needlepoint Silk, and a variety of silk ribbon, Caron Collection fibers, Rainbow Gallery, Gloriana, Dinky Dyes, Perle Cottons (solid colors & hand dyed), etc.  We also have charts or kits for Punch Needle, Needle Felting, Wool Applique, French Knots, Silk Gauze, Redwork, Ribbon Embroidery, Hardanger, Canvaswork, & Brazilian Embroidery.  We have embellishments from Just Another Button Company, Shepherd's Bush, Homespun Elegance, JBW Designs, Lizzie Kate, Samsarah, The Victoria Sampler, etc.  We have a nice selection of needlework toold including: magnifiers, lamps, scissors by Dovo, Gingher, Pre-Max, Dinky Dyes, Kelmscott, etc; Q-Snaps, hoops, needle magnets, and various other tools for specific techniques.  We have pre-made frames and also do custom framing in the shop.

What type of events do you offer?
We offer classes on a regular basis on a number of techniques, bi-monthly Stitch-Ins, frequent Trunk Shows by popular designers, premiere parties after market, an online newsletter (subscribe for an e-mail version at, an annual Needlework exhibit by customers each May (the stitcher who receives the most votes wins a gift certificate to the shop), and occasional vending at local events. We have two monthly sales (one is usually seasonal charts & one is a technique) rather than designating specific sale days so everyone can take advantage of the sales. We just completed a month long Retired Shop Model Sale and we hold an annual retreat.
What successful event would you like to share?
The most fun for the staff and participants is by far our "Stitching Friends Retreat". It is held each year in March at a local hotel. The committee works on ideas, planning, decorations, soliciting donations, hiring teachers, & interacting with the hotel staff for the best possible event we can have. We are in the process of planning for 2013 which will be our eleventh year. We have had many popular designers come to teach for us and attract retreaters from various parts of the country. It's a three day fun-filled event with lots of prizes, gifts, stitching, eating, laughing, etc. To see information about our upcoming "Woodland Forest" please see the retreat page on our web site.

Besides stitching and running your business, what are a few things you enjoy in your free time?
Since the shop is open six days a week, I only get a one day weekend and there isn't too much "free" time. I like to read, garden, feed the birds, and even cook occasionally (!). When I get a chance I like to go on one day adventures to garden shops, the cider mill, to hear local musicians, visit unique shops, or enjoy the nearby Finger Lakes wineries, etc. with friends (or family, if they are in town).

What is your favorite holiday and why?
My favorite is definitely Thanksgiving! I know what the menu will be and, can shop, cook and organize ahead of time. I use favorite family recipes, invite friends and family and relax and enjoy their company before and after the eating event. Minimal decorating is involved and since I have the excuse of working the next day-they all come to my house so no traveling is involved! It's a cozy time of year and I always look forward to it.

What are your three favorite books?
I read quite a lot so I can't really pick three books, but I can probably narrow down the authors I choose to: Stuart Woods, David Rosenfelt, John Lescroart, Harlan Cobin, Elin Hilderbrand, James Patterson, or mysteries and contemporary fiction in general.

Would you like to share a favorite recipe?
Here is an easy, seasonal, and yummy favorite.
Apple Betty Cut or chop 4 cups of apples (I use Macintosh & peel them), add 1/4 cup of orange juice and pour into a 9" pie plate. Set aside. Combine: 1 cup of sugar. 3/4 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon cinnamon Add: 1/2 cup soft butter or margarine and crumble mixture over apples. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes. Its good warm or cool and can be served plain or with topping.

What is your favorite meal?
At home : Avocado dip & lime Tostitos (quick, if not totally nutritious) At a nice restaurant: Mesclun salad, Salmon, Asparagus, a glass of Riesling, and of course something delicious & chocolate for desert!

Do you have any pets?
I have an 18 year old long-haired black cat named Jeremiah

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