Back in January a friend from home told me about this store in Tucson called The West and said I had to go and check it out. She said they had a very impressive array of embroidery threads and hand stitching threads plus a whole lot more including gift wares, toys and paper products. I didn’t get there in January but a recent visit to the city had another friend and I stopping at The West for a visit.

The West is a volunteer run retail store that returns their profits to the community in the form of grants to local charitable organizations that benefit women and children. Read more about their history. Since 1981 they have granted over $2.6 million to Tucson Charities – that’s so inspiring.

I walked into the shop and was greeted with the most friendly welcome by one of the many volunteers who gave us the story and run down on the layout of the store. Then I took a look around and was totally overwhelmed by the amount of thread hanging on the walls and racks. Plus there was more that I couldn’t see in drawers and another room in the back. Oh boy what a paradise for hand stitchers of all things hand stitching – cross stitch, petit point, needlepoint, embroidery and the list goes on.

I managed to choose a few skeins to purchase but deciding which type of floss and what colours to purchase was really hard. The amount there was to choose from was really overwhelming. The threads came in all sizes, types of fibres and finish – glitter, sparkly, fuzzy, metallic, variegated or solid colours. I just wanted one of everything. And the prices were really reasonable – I really had to contain myself.

The fuzzy green thread I bought to use in one of my thread bowls which I am teaching as an open enrolment virtual workshop this spring called Twist, Twirl & Shape It.

And I found the perfect soft yellow with a hint of glitter to sew the centre of my Mini Bargello Sunflower to the petals so as not to distract from the softness of the piece like the dark line I have started and is going to be ripped out.

Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching book caught my eye so in the shopping cart it went – such great images with detailed step by step instructions for each stitch – perfect for the new stitcher. One day I hope to take one of her classes – maybe when I am not quite such a newbie at hand stitching. Another great resource for embroidery stitches is The Stitch Bank at the Royal School of Needlework – there are hundreds of stitches to try out.

I also bought a tea towel from Cora & Pate with cacti all over it thinking that I would stitch around each one and inside to give dimension to the design. I thought I would work on it in the evening but our days were to busy, I was tired and we watched movies instead. So maybe I’ll just use it as a tea towel. But those threads that I bought do match and I didn’t even try to match them so this tea towel may just need some stitching and then become a pillow or a wall hanging. Hmmmm, the ideas are endless.

Saguaros are my favourite cacti

If you are in Tucson I do recommend a visit to The West – you will not be disappointed.

Until next time,

Happy Quilting