Stitches N Things, where you count in Fenton
By: Sally Rummel, Business Reporter 09/23/2007
If you think counted cross-stitch is an "old-fashioned" craft for people who have a lot of time, you haven't been inside Stitches N Things at Fenton Lake Square, directly behind Sagebrush Cantina in Fenton.
Reportedly carrying the largest inventory of counted cross-stitch projects and accessories in Michigan, Stitches N Things is well worth a visit, whether you've ever "counted a stitch" in your life or not.
Fenton native/owner Deb Koch has crafted for herself and her customers an interesting, colorful and well-organized retail store in just 800 square feet of space. Downsized from her former Davison location, this store is a tidy space from floor to ceiling, with enough room to house Stitches N Things' growing Internet global presence.
With drawer boxes containing favorite patterns by category, both novice and experienced crafters can easily find what they're looking for. New designs are located in a rack that's changeable monthly, so that visitors to the store will always have an opportunity to see "what's new."
Fabrics, kits, beads, buttons and embellishments are plentiful, too. Stored in cube units, fabrics are categorized by colors and varieties. Pre-made pillows, purses, totes, stockings, ornaments, boxtops and baby items are also available, making a perfect "backdrop" for one's stitching project.
Many new techniques are also on display, providing contemporary designs, textures and visuals. Knotwork (as easy as it sounds), needle felting, needle sculpture and Russian Punch Needle are just a few of these new techniques that have added a contemporary twist to the age-old art of counted cross-stitch.
For the crafting novice, it's a vision of possibilities, because some projects are simple and can be tackled in as little as a couple of hours.
"It's all done for you, you're just reproducing it on fabric," says Koch, who admits she flunked home economics in her school days. "I'm 'sewing challenged,' but this is easy, fun and relaxing."
Serious counted cross-stitchers can also add their own artistry to their projects, by adding texture and embellishments, changing fabrics, etc.
While Koch enjoys teaching the craft, the small size of her store makes on-site instruction impossible, but she and her staff pride themselves on helping customers "over the counter."
"I'm hoping to teach classes this winter at off-site locations," adds Koch. "But please stop in and let us help you with any aspect of your project, even if you're a beginner needing assistance in picking out your first kit."
Assisted by a staff of three, Koch has literally the world at her doorstep, thanks to her strong Internet presence. One-third of her store is dedicated to the Internet portion of her business, from order storage to order filling and packaging.
But it's the people she really enjoys, as they come to her store from as far a drive as 1½ hours. "We are really unique in the state of Michigan," says Koch. "While other cross-stitch stores are closing, we're thriving. And we have more than 5,000 designs in stock for you to see."
Koch is also proud of her extensive custom framing department, which provides a variety of wood frames in dozens of colors and styles. "It's the first thing you see when you walk in the door," says Koch. "You can visualize the completion of your project before you even start."
Stitches N Things is open Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (810) 629-3333 or visit the store's Web site at: www.stitchesnthings.com.
©Tri-County Times 2007