Berryville store seeks to become gathering place for needlecraft enthusiasts | Winchester Star

BERRYVILLE — The furniture, handmade clothing and decorative items among the yarn and crafting supplies for sale at Pam Hummel’s store give a visitor the feeling of being at home.

Quite appropriate, it seems, considering that Hummel wants Needles & Pins Fiber Art to be like a community living room, a place where people not only can buy supplies they need to showcase their creative talents, but can also socialize while enhancing their skills. For instance, patrons can chat and relax while knitting or sewing, or they can take a class in embroidery or cross-stitching, or maybe even creative writing.

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Hummel, who crochets and does needle-felting, opened Needles & Pins nine months ago in small business incubator space above Berryville Main Street’s store, The Fire House Gallery and Shop. At the start of this year, she moved into a larger storefront at 10 W. Main St.

A former preschool teacher, Hummel has embarked on her second career as a retailer. She got the idea for Needles & Pins after reading “A Good Yarn” by Debbie Macomber. In the novel, a woman opens a similar store that becomes successful.

“I thought it would be a cool thing to do” in Berryville, Hummel said. When traveling, she said, she has noticed that small, locally owned shops in downtown areas — in contrast to chain stores in malls and strip shopping centers — seem to be on a comeback.

Joining Hummel at the new location are two other area women known for their stitchery talents: Norma Johnson, who also is known as “The Needle Lady,” and Micki Smith, who is known for her “Brazen Sheep” creations.

The women became acquainted as Johnson and Smith regularly visited Hummel’s store. But their friendship has developed to the point that they feel comfortable becoming sort of like business partners.

“The Needle Lady” and “Brazen Sheep” legally will remain separate entities, with Johnson and Smith subleasing space in the store from Hummel, they explained. But the three enterprises will present themselves as one entity.

“We’re all in it together,” Hummel said. “We do everything together, both the decisions and planning.”

“All things fiber” is the store’s unofficial motto. Needles & Pins sells yarns made commercially as well as in Clarke and Loudoun counties. Knitting and sewing supplies such as needles, hooks, patterns and embroidery kits are available, as well as hand-crafted clothing and home decor items.

“We have all the supplies you need to do needlework of any kind,” said Smith.

The women believe the store will become even more successful because needlework is becoming more popular as a pastime. While it traditionally has been most popular among women, more and more men and young people are doing it, they observed.

“It’s relaxing, it’s soothing, like a nonchemical tranquilizer,” said Smith, a former government worker and marketing director for an international nonprofit organization.

“I’ve solved a lot of problems in my life by knitting,” added Johnson, a former school librarian whose specialty is making quilted pocketbooks.

Overall, “there’s something very spiritual about creating, knowing that what you see in your head can become a product of your hands,” she said.

The women are still determining what types of needlework classes they will be offering. Smith, who also is an author, said she aims to teach a creative writing class for children at the store during the summer.

Needles & Pins is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The phone number is 540-277-2961.

Light refreshments always are available, according to the store’s website.

Social knitting groups are able to meet at the store from 10 a.m. to noon Wednesdays and Thursdays as well as 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays. Yet anyone can simply stop by and do some knitting on their own, and talk to whoever is there if they want, whenever the store is open.

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