Make us your home page
Instagram

Needlework is no dying art at A Stitching Witch

SPRING HILL — However beguiling, Debra Neville is no witch. But what she creates and teaches others at A Stitching Witch is artfully bewitching.

With yarn having twined through her fingers since the age of 3, Neville, 60, brings to her shop and classroom, opened in January, a vast knowledge of knitting, crocheting, spinning and weaving, along with all of the fibers and implements to do so.

"(Needlework) is a dying art," Neville concedes, "because people these days want instant gratification, so they just go buy something. But it's coming full circle."

Handmade garments are drawing raves for their creators, like chefs serving up down-home, farm-to-table menus. A younger crowd is picking up needles, Neville said. Old fibers are now new.

"It's the enjoyment of doing it," she said. "A lot are retired; they can only play bridge so much. They come in, and we knit and talk and laugh. It gets a little crazy in here," Neville said of the shop's every-Thursday Sit, Knit and Nosh sessions with snacks, tea and coffee.

Knitting, a two-needle craft, is the most popular fiber pursuit, Neville said. As for the other crafts: Crocheting is accomplished with one needle; spinning involves twisting raw fiber into workable yarn via a hand spindle or spinning wheel, and weaving works yarn into fabric.

With yarn, the basic ingredient of needlework, Neville said, "There are thousands, hundreds of thousands of yarns." Among her stock: silk, cotton, rayon, ribbon, sheep and alpaca wool, rabbit angora, even fibers made from sugarcane and milk.

Perusing the varied fibers is a touchy-feely experience, conjuring exclamations of "silky," "cuddly," "luxurious," "satiny," "fleecy."

Their colors are an eye feast, every slice from the color wheel plus every tint and shade thereof, as well as multicolors.

Why a yarn shop in Spring Hill? "There's no yarn shop around," pointed out Neville's assistant, Sandi Malay.

For five years, Neville owned such a shop, Fiber Odyssey, in Homosassa. Destroyed by fire in December 2015, the nearest remaining specialty fiber store is near Orlando, Malay said.

Neville of Spring Hill acknowledged that local craft and fabric stores offer yarn, but their fiber selections seldom range beyond acrylic.

Of the competition, Neville added, "Others don't carry the quality and the fibers. If you want quality, you come here. I'll tell you if it's not a quality fiber."

Neville more than tells. She teaches.

Said Malay: "I told her I couldn't knit because I was left-handed. That's something you can't tell Debbie. She taught me two years ago to knit left-handed."

At the shop's eight-seat work table on a recent afternoon, Neville's grandson, Tyler Faczmarek, assembled table looms for an upcoming weaving class Neville will teach.

While Neville knows men who knit, she forecast, "Weaving is definitely something I think men will get interested in."

The shop also stocks some 20 sizes and configurations of needles, along with patterns ranging from infant layettes to adult outerwear.

Any bridal patterns? Neville hopes not.

A bridal gown with trailing train was Neville's most challenging knitting project.

"I'd never do it again," she declared. "Oh, it was beautiful. But the fittings and adjustments — it was nuts."

The gown was a world away from her project at age 3. Growing up in the British Isles, where needlework is revered, the youngster knitted a series of strips and needled them together with more yarn to make a child's blanket.

"We pulled apart old sweaters, and I used that for yarn," she said.

Now, at A Stitching Witch, Neville and local needlers have a world's selection of yarns at their fingertips.

Contact Beth Gray at graybethn@earthlink.net.

>>IF YOU GO

A Stitching Witch

What: Yarn shop, needlework classes

Where: 2915 Commercial Way, Spring Hill

When: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays

Phone: (352) 293-3601

Needlework is no dying art at A Stitching Witch 02/14/17 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 15, 2017 4:22pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ousted to political Siberia by Corcoran, Kathleen Peters sets sights on Pinellas Commission

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — The perks of power in Tallahassee are a coveted chairmanship, a Capitol office in a prime location and a prominent seat on the House floor. Now Rep. Kathleen Peters has lost all three, but here's the twist: Her trip to "Siberia" might actually help her reach the next step on the Tampa Bay political …

    Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-South Pasadena, has been relegated to the back row in the State House chamber, moved to a fouth floor office and stripped of her job as chairwoman of a House subcommittee after a series of disagreements with House Speaker Richard Corcoran. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  3. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran wants the Constitu?tion Revision Commis?sion to ask voters to repeal the state’s system of partial financing of statewide elections.
  4. Related Group breaks ground on complex at old Tampa Tribune site

    Real Estate

    TAMPA — When Miami developer Jorge Perez first eyed a 4.2-acre tract on the west bank of the Hillsborough River two years ago, people asked him if he wouldn't prefer to build on the opposite side closer to the downtown core.

    No way.

    From left, Related Group executive associate Arturo Penaa, Jorge Perez, center, founder and CEO of the Related Group, Mayor Bob Buckhorn and Steve Patterson, the President of Related Development dig their shovels  during the groundbreaking ceremony of the 400 unit Riverwalk Manor apartment complex on site of the old Tampa Tribune building on Wednesday. [OCTAVIO JONES | Times]
  5. Eat 3-course meals for $35 at these 100 restaurants for Orlando's Magical Dining Month

    Food & Dining

    In the early 1900s, hotels offered "table d'hote" or "prix fixe" menus as a form of loss leader. Hotels didn't necessarily make money on these lower-priced, multi-course meals, often served at communal tables, but they made up for it on the booze. Prohibition may have contributed to a gradual shift toward a la carte …

    Bulla Gastrobar serves a variety of Spanish and Portuguese dishes.