Cranberry Needlecrafts & Framing Shop celebrating 30 years
For three decades, a quiet little shop in South Charleston has been a haven for “stitchers,” those enthusiastic devotees to the art and craft of counted cross-stitch.
The counted cross-stitch haven in South Charleston is Cranberry Needlecrafts & Framing Shop at 230 Sixth Ave. Owned by Dee McDonald, Cranberry Needle Crafts will celebrate 30 years in business in September.
The shop actually had its beginnings in 1985 in Cross Lanes.
“In 1985, we were in Cross Lanes, but it didn’t work out. We closed for a year, and then we opened here (in South Charleston) in 1987,” McDonald said.
Cranberry Needlecrafts sells mostly supplies for counted cross-stitch, such as “charts,” which are design grids, threads and fabrics.
“My main business is counted cross-stitch and custom framing,” she said.
In years past, Cranberry Needlecrafts also carried supplies for knitting, crocheting and other types of needlework, but counted cross-stitch seems to be the most popular with her customers, so that’s what McDonald focuses on.
“We’re just about 100 percent counted cross-stitch. Counted cross-stitch has stayed steady over the years.”
McDonald said counted cross-stitch isn’t necessarily easier to do than other needlecrafts, but there are more design choices for enthusiasts to choose from.
In one regard, counted cross-stitch is easier than other needlecrafts “because you work from a grid. It doesn’t rely on you filling in a blank canvas.”
“There is a lot of selection in counted cross-stitch; if you like something, somebody, somewhere, designs it or charts it out,” she said.
Cranberry Needlecrafts’ shelves are full of counted cross-stitch charts for just about any design genre you can think of, from animals, to flowers, to sports to seasonal and holiday scenes.
Cranberry Needlecrafts sells fibers from the DMC Caron Collection, Kreinik, Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Art and Classic Colorworks.
Evenweave fabrics are also available with thread counts from seven through 32. Cranberry Needlecrafts will also cut fabrics to the size you need.
In threads, there are metallic threads, hand-dyed threads and silk threads.
“There are a lot of different types of threads,” she said. “A lot of people use the hand-dyed threads now.”
Cranberry Needlecrafts doesn’t offer formal classes, but for those wanting to learn how to do counted cross-stitch, McDonald will offer them guidance in getting started.
“I’ve taught people how to do it.”
McDonald opened her shop 30 years ago because she was interested in needlecrafts, fabrics and sewing. Her father, Jack Marchio, encouraged her to go into business.
“My dad suggested it, and I thought it was a good idea. He helped me get started in it.”
McDonald’s mother, Kaye Marchio, is a veteran “stitcher” and helps out in the shop. Examples of Marchio’s stitching work are on display in the shop.
According to McDonald, there are only two shops in West Virginia devoted to counted cross-stitch: her shop and the Village Sampler in St. Albans. She said counted cross-stitch devotees tend to know where the shops are when they are traveling around the country.
“We get a lot of travelers that come through. Stitchers will map their routes to see if there are any stitching shops along the way. There are books that list all the cross-stitch shops in the country,” McDonald said.
And there are so many charts available for counted cross-stitch, that enthusiasts are likely to find something new at every shop they visit, she added.
On the custom framing side of Cranberry Needlecrafts, McDonald stays busy.
“It’s what I spend most of my time doing,” she said. “If I’m not out here waiting on customers, I’m back there framing.”
McDonald said she can frame just about anything, including items that call for deep, shadow-box frames.
One time, a hunter brought in a “fanned-out turkey tail” for McDonald to frame.
Another memorable framing job came from a medical doctor who brought in an artificial knee joint to be framed.
“We’ll frame anything,” she said.
McDonald credits her shop’s longevity to loyal customers who never tire of doing counted cross-stitch.
“I’ve got a lot customers who I remember from my first year in business.”
And there’s something about doing counted cross-stitch that never loses its appeal, even if a stitcher gets away from doing it for a while.
“They get married, have kids and they quit for a while because they’re too busy, but they almost always come back to it,” McDonald said.
Cranberry Needlecrafts and Framing is open three days a week, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
For more information, call 304-744-6390, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org