photos of our newest location at 1734 Clement Avenue.
Our parking lot
The barrel ceiling with
View from our back door to
the front of the shop
Our check-out area on the
Our fabric cabinets, book
case & display space near the front
Our fabric cabinets and
the wool wall.
An area for sampler
related items and new product.
Our back window (facing
the parking lot) with cabinets for DMC Perle and Kreinik silks.
Par of our 87' long wall
Park Street - Front of the store
Our location from 1998-2003
Just after our move to Webster Street
in February 2004
Webster Street - 2004-2010 (with our purple walls!)
We are now on our 3rd location, moving into the
1734 Clement Avenue space July 2010. The building was a pencil factory
for more than 55 years and has been converted into a mixed-use
commercial space. At the present time we are the only retail in the
building, sharing it with a professional photographer, HVAC supplier
the offices for the pencil company (Listo). The building is of
post and beam construction with a wonderful open feel to it. Our barrel
ceiling highlights the old truss system and with it being 24 feet tall
at the mid-point gives a great sense of space. We've painted the walls
Seafom (tending toward the green rather than the blue) and have a
carpet of taupe and grey which is kind of like pebbles on the beach.
With a small parking lot for the building we have 3 spaces (marked
NEEDLE), 2 handicapped spaces and plenty of on-street non-metered
parking. We're very happy with the space and hope you'll enjoy visiting
March 27, 2010 marked our 12 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
in early 2004 and then to our Clement Avenue address in July 2010.
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 most stitching techniques and can usually
give pointers to others who are specialists in a particular area.
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 three other great
owner friends in Janice from Traditional Stitches, Linda Mendenhall of
Old World Designs and June
McKnight, who has sold her shop and is spending more time teaching. 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. You'll find videos on You
2). In 2004 I became chair of
the Counted-Thread & Embroidery within our trade
organization, serving on the board of directors of TNNA until September 2010 when my
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 love
being a shop owner!
Shop Manager - Debi
Debi is the shop's manager and with Cathe tends
to the day-to-day business for the shop
such as ordering all those goodies we like to buy, keeping track of
special orders and handling the shop e-mail. Debi is normally in the
shop Tuesday through Friday.
Staff - Jennifer
Jennifer joined us in August 2008 and is the
primary mail order person. When
packages are mailed to you Jennifer has handled it at least from the
wrapping until it's sent to you and perhaps been the one to pull your
order as well. Jennifer does cross-stitch and we're getting her hooked
on needlepoint as well.
Staff - Mary Frances
Mary Frances became one of the staff in August
2009, having previously worked at Lacis in Berkeley. Mary Frances has
done needlework most of her life and is featured frequenty in Piecework magazine for her lace
knitting. She's a wealth of odd-ball needlework information and is the
person to ask about any kind liturgical embroidery (as well as dead
Staff - Ali
Ali started with us in November 2007
and is now our part-time mail order person. Over her time with us we've
given her the needlework
bug and she enjoys cross-sttich in particular.
Helpers - Susan & Margaret
In addition to our regular staff our "helpers"
are those of our staff who are not necessarily in on a regular basis,
although some are here quite frequently. Depending upon when you're in
the shop or call us, one of them might be here as well. They are all
well qualified to help you with your stitching questions and if they
don't know the answer, they'll know who does.
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.