Saturday, February 24, 2018
Business

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 [email protected]

 
Comments
Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

Edward Peachey demands severance from CareerSource before stepping down

The head of the Pinellas and Hillsborough career centers under multiple investigations into the way they report job placement figures says he has no intention of stepping down.That’s unless he is paid five months severance.In a letter from his attorn...
Published: 02/23/18
Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

Terminally ill Valrico man dies a month after marrying junior high sweetheart

VALRICO — During his final few days, 19-year-old Dustin Snyder moved to a hospice house, surrounded himself with belongings from home, swam in a pool and visited the beach in Ruskin.Wherever he went, the terminally ill Valrico man had family beside h...
Published: 02/23/18
Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

Tampa Downtown Partnership gets initial city okay to expand north

TAMPA — The Downtowner may be heading to Tampa Heights — but not until Oct. 1.That’s because the nonprofit Tampa Downtown Partnership this week won initial City Council approval to expand into Tampa Heights."Tampa Heights is becoming an important gat...
Published: 02/23/18

Tampa lawyer gets 27 months in federal prison for insider trading

Tampa lawyer Walter "Chet’’ Little was sentenced this week to 27 months in federal prison for engaging in an insider trading scheme that reaped him and a friend profits totaling nearly $1 million.According to federal authorities, Little accessed comp...
Published: 02/23/18
More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

More companies are cutting ties with gun lobby as #BoycottNRA movement gains steam

Three major companies — Enterprise Holdings, First National Bank of Omaha, and the cybersecurity giant Symantec — have ended co-branding partnerships with the National Rifle Association as a #BoycottNRA social media movement picks up steam.Enterprise...
Published: 02/23/18
Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citi to refund $330 Million to credit card customers it overcharged

Citigroup is preparing to issue $330 million in refunds after the bank discovered it had overcharged nearly 2 million credit card customers on their annual interest rates, a spokeswoman said Friday.The bank, which has about 150 million credit card ac...
Published: 02/23/18
Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

Girl Scouts camp sold to member of Tampa’s Lykes family

ODESSA — The 63-year-old lakeside summer camp had no air conditioning or electricity. Cabin floors were often covered in grime, and cobwebs clung to the windows.But under new ownership, the 18.6 acres of Florida woods known as Camp Scoutcrest to memb...
Published: 02/23/18
BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

BB&T cites ‘technical issue’ in outage affecting customers

Millions of BB&T customers were unable to access their accounts after a service outage which the bank blames on an equipment malfunction. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina-based bank posted a statement on its Twitter page saying the problem persiste...
Published: 02/23/18
Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

Realtors are ‘every 10 feet’ in Florida but more want in the business

ST. PETERSBURG — Tired of working as a yacht captain, Pancho Jiminez decided to get into real estate even though he knows it’s a highly competitive field in Florida."Realtors are every 10 feet around here," he says.Nonetheless, Jiminez is among 30 st...
Published: 02/23/18
Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

Winn-Dixie sells 8 stores after report says owner could close 200 locations

A week after Bloomberg reported that Southeastern Grocers — the Jacksonville retailer that owns Winn-Dixie and other chains — could be closing up to 200 stores, the company announced it was selling off eight of its Louisiana locations.Texas’ Brooksh...
Published: 02/23/18