My wonderful husband, as part of my birthday present, took me with him to Charleston when he visited the law school where he works part of the time. I got to tour the city while he was working- oh well! My "tour" really involved two needlepoint shops and the areas around them. The first shop was called Cabbage Row, and it was on the beautiful and elegant Broad Street. I did find some lovely canvases, such as this Scottish santa for my mom and a beautiful seated lab, but on the whole I was a tad disappointed. The, I presume, owner is a lovely woman and very happy to help and talk about needlepoint. The thread selection was very up to date. While Silk and Ivory and Neon Rays are present, some others like Burmilana, etc are not. There is a wide selection of Paternayan though. I personally do not prefer to stitch with Paternayan. It's one of the original needlepoint threads used during the time when all you did was tent stitch. I have done a piece with Paternayan: a beautiful rocking horse that my grandma picked out with Paternayan wool that she could barely even start because it was on 18 count canvas. The owner had a beautiful Melissa Shirley that she was doing all in Paternayan and in tent stitch. I think that is fine if that is how you want to needlepoint something, in fact, I think a few pieces in tent stitch look lovely, but with all of the lovely threads and stitches out there, I can't fathom doing every piece in tent. In spite of the lack of threads, etc, I would definitely go back. I love the location, the canvases are beautiful, and the owner truly loves needlepoint. In fact, she had some canvases that I have never seen before and really liked.
After I visited Cabbage Row, and successfully restrained my purchases, I walked back to my car to feed the meter. On the way back, I realized that I was walking on Rainbow Row, beautifully restored multi-colored houses. Beautiful. Then I walked down East Bay street to look for a place to have lunch. Most of the menus contain a lot of seafood because Charleston is on a penninsula and it is a port town.
I had lunch at Carolina Bistro. I dined on a yummy crab cake and salad with a diet coke- heavenly. Carolina Bistro is amazing, and I highly recommend it.
Next, I drove to It's a Stitch on John's Island, which is considered part of Charleston. It was closer in thread selection and canvas selection to the shops that I am used to in Houston. The owner is of Scottish descent, so guess what! She had amazing Scottish santas!! The canvases were lovely too! Very up-to-date selection, and the thread selection was very modern as well. The only "cons" are: the price of the threads were a bit steep (not out of line, but still on the expensive side) and the shop does not do stitch guides. I got this lovely Silver Needle canvas there as well as a large piece of blank canvas (24"x 34") for my ANG American Flag. This "flag" that I keep talking about is the stitch guide for the Lone Star ANG's 2008 seminar auction item. It is lovely and huge!
Despite the fact that there is not a needlepoint shop in Columbia, I am very pleased with the selection in Charleston. ANNNNDDD I have a great excuse to go to Charleston :)