We are now on our 4th location, moving into the 2433 Mariner Square Loop location in August 2015. We are in a small office complex with grass, trees (big redwoods) and even picnic tables. When the weather is nice it's a great outdoor area for lunch or a stitching break. We do plan for this to be last time we move (it's too much work!).
March 27, 2017 marks our 19 year anniversary at Needle
Haystack, having opened our doors on March 27, 1998. The shop
was started from scratch vs. buying out an existing business (we get
asked this often). We were
located on Park Street for the first 6 years, moving to Webster street from 2004-2010, Clement Avenue in 2010-2015 and now MSL.
All of the staff are stitchers themselves and
while we don't claim to be experts in every technique out there, we are
generally knowledgable about many stitching techniques and can usually
give pointers to others who are specialists in a particular area.
From the left - Cymone, Jen, Cathe, Debi & Marissa
Shop Owner - Cathe Ray
While reading was my first love as a child I've
been doing needlework or crafts of some kind since about age 10. My
grandmother taught me how to embroider and do some sewing but much of
it I picked up on my own. Needlework skipped a generation in my family
and both my sister and I do various aspects of it (she does absolutely
beautiful crochet). I lived in Santa Fe, NM until I was 11, when we
moved to California (mid '60s). I went to junior high and high school
here and later moved to Seattle to attend college. I have a degree in
Computer Science from Seattle Pacific
University (1980), where I started out as Textile major in 1975. I
came back to California in 1984 to work for a computer firm in
Berkeley, at which point I moved to Alameda (and then married a native
In my early 20's, I traveled for a couple of
years with two different gospel groups and saw a great deal of the
country. It was during my travels withoneof these groups that I taught
myself to needlepoint and spent many hours on the road making up
projects. It was also during this time that I found my first
counted-cross stitch patterns on the road. It wasn't until years later
when I took an actual class in needlepoint that I discovered I'd being
doing half-cross stitches vs. tent stitch on my needlepoint. I'd always
wondered why my needlepoint pieces seemed so distorted when I was done
and then I knew :-).
I worked in the computer field from 1979 to
first as a software engineer and after 1994 as a manager of them. In
1997 I started seriously thinking about opening a shop and credit two
people with really making me believe it was possible. First and
foremost is my husband Carl, who believes that I can do anything I put
my mind to. The second is C.A. Wells who helped me understand that I
could build it as a business without giving up my day job. When you've
worked in the computer field as long as I have it gets in your blood
and it's hard to walk away from for many reasons. Once I'd made the
decision it was possible it took many months to plan and when I started
to look for someone to manage the shop I was most fortunate in finding
Ada Haydon. Ada managed the shop from Jan. 1998, even before it opened,
until October 2001, when she left to join her husband after his
transfer back east. Ada now owns Eye Candy Designs, her needlepoint
design company. Ada was the first of many wonderful staff to come
to the shop and it's really my staff who have made my vision of the
shop come to life. Over the years I've also had the pleasure of making
wonderful friends in our industry. Four of them, Jean Lea of Attic
Needlework, Deb Clark of Stitchville USA and Roz Vancil and Jeannine
Cheney of Acorns and Threads are my "partners in crime" - we're
collective known as the Needlework Maffia. I have two other great
owner friends in Janice from Traditional Stitches and Linda Mendenhall of
Old World Designs. The
friendship of these ladies is a godsend to me on a daily basis.
The shop has been a way for me to combine two
very different aspects of my life and I'm the one that handles all the
website and computer work for the shop (I'm really a geek at heart).
After being layed off in 2001 I had been spending most of my time at
the shop while looking for another computer job. In August 2003 I
decided not to go back to the computer world and instead concentrate on
the shop, taking over many of the day-to-day jobs others had been doing
for me. In 2004 I had a small part in a Mythbusters episode about find
needles in a haystack, which was great fun. I served on the board of directors of TNNA as chair of the Counted-Thread & Embroidery group from 2004-2010.
I work a number of needlework techniques such
as cross-stitch, needlepoint, embroidery, hardanger, pulled-thread,
drawn-thread, silk ribbon embroidery, goldwork, Bunka (Japanese
embroidery) Brazilian embroidery, Punchneedle embroidery and a bit of
crewel and Stumpwork. I also do machine embroidery on my Pfaff as well
as gardening, baking, card-making and beading. I've rarely met a
hand-working hobby I didn't like :-).
I'm at the shop Tuesday-Saturday except
Thursday (and sometimes even then), when I try to work from home to do
the web site updates. Even with 10 hour days, sometimes 6 or 7 days a
week I still love
being a shop owner!
Staff - Debi
Debi is normally in the
shop Tuesday and Thursday, spending the rest of her work week at our other Happy Place - The Container Store. Debi has been with the shop for eons and knows about an amazing range of needlework.
Staff - Jennifer
Jennifer has been with the since 2008 and is our primary mail order person (assisted by Marissa). When
packages are mailed to you Jennifer most likely has handled from the
wrapping until it's sent to you. Jennifer enjoys cross-stitch and needlepoint.
Staff - Cymone
Cymone joined the staff in 2016 and has a background in quilting but we've gotten her hooked on cross-stitch and needlepoint. Cymone handles a lot of our phone orders, in store customers and occassionally is the one to wrap up your packages to be shipped.
Staff - Marissa
Marissa has been a customer for many years along with her mom and sister and joined the staff in 2016. She enjoys cross-stitch and needlepoint. In addition to handling your phone questions and those who come to shop in person, Marissa is our mail order assistant.
Why does your toll-free number
have an extra character?
Many people have asked why the mnemonic for our
toll-free number of 877-HAYSTACK has an extra character in it. The "K"
is superfluous and without it the number would be 877-HAYSTAC
(877-429-7822) which isn't nearly as easy to remember. This should
never cause a problem with any phone system, which will ignore the
extra digit. So feel free to use it if it helps you remember the
number. But be careful, we've been told that leaving out the 'C' will
get you a "steamy" phone call.
Shop Awards, Commendations
We were pleased to be the December 1998
shop focus on the Caron
Collection web site (in our first year of business). In January
1999 we were given a Best of the Net
award by the Needlepoint guide at The Mining Company. Also
in 1999, we became a member of the Needlecraft
Showcase, which includes many on-line needlework shops,
distributors and suppliers.