"One day, in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful." -Sigmund Freud\n\n\n\nOur nation has just marked the one-year anniversary of what was undeniably a year of struggle. However, we are choosing to remember it differently because you took these past twelve months and turned them into the most beautiful year of stitching we have seen throughout 20 years in business. Here is how you did it.\n\nIn January 2020, the social media mantra “Stitch 20 in 20” seemed like a worthy challenge. By March, when the world stood still, needlepointers set a fast pace, and “20 in 20” seemed like a good start. \n\n\n\n \n\n\nOrders shot up to levels we had never seen before and it was clear you would surpass that goal of 20 in a hurry. From March 2020 to March 2021, our customers sent in nearly 4,000 pieces for finishing. That compares to 2,300 the previous year. \n\n\n\n\n\n\nAs you finished each project, you needed something new, so we stocked up! We transformed our classroom into an inventory storehouse and started keeping five times more canvases on hand than we had in the past. Today, anything you see on our website is here and ready to ship. We can still order any design you might like, if you’re willing to wait for it to arrive. As of March 19th, painting services are quoting six-month delivery times. \n\n\n\n\n\n\nSince the painters are having trouble keeping up with demand, we pushed our tech team to perfect a stitch-printing service that had been in the works for five years. Working day and night, they made it happen so we could launch Needlepoint To Go in May. \n\n\n\n \n\n\n \n\n\n\nOur new kit line is unique because every canvas intersection is printed to perfection, so you never have to guess where to put the next stitch. Needlepoint To Go kits come with everything you need; a precision printed canvas, specialty thread pack, needles and stitch guides.\n\n\n \n\nThe first Needlepoint To Go series provided all of us an opportunity to give something back. Fifty percent of the proceeds from each Sally Staywell purchase was contributed to World Central Kitchen or Doctors Without Borders. Your stitching amounted to $30,000 to those two philanthropies. We also partnered with Two Sisters Needlepoint to create a kit for the benefit of our environment. Those of you who purchased this sea turtle clutch helped raise $4,700 for Bald Head Island’s Conservancy. Your stitching made a significant impact.\n\n\n\nActual escapes were hard to plan this past year, so you armchair traveled with Zoom! This gave us the opportunity to meet those of you who may never actually travel to our shop in Raleigh. So far, we have conducted 27 Zoom classes and seen 335 of you on the small screen. \n\n\n\n \n\n\n\nThese 90-minute classes were so well received, we turned our annual stitching retreats into virtual experiences too. Forty-six of you joined us over five weekends between October and February for large scale projects designed by Kirk and Bradley. \n\n\n\n \n\n\n\n\nThe Candy Cottage Gingerbread House and Merry Wishes Tree brought laughter and joy to otherwise bland winter weekends. And to date, two of you have actually completed BOTH of these projects and sent them in for finishing. \n\n\n\n\nWe know tons of stitchers encouraged friends to take up the pastime too because our social media circle doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 on Instagram alone. Your daily posts continue to motivate others to stitch and learn something new. Our kitting department never stops producing appealing projects for stitchers of all levels. \n\n\n\nWe have introduced 35 new kits that come complete with stitch guides and some have on-line videos too. To date, we have 155 kits to choose from. Here are just a few that were introduced:\n\n\n\n \nTaking a step back to see what the stitching community has accomplished you begin to see that this was a year well spent. Birthdays, graduations, weddings and holidays were celebrated one stitch at a time, and these beautiful memories will be enjoyed for years to come. So now, as the world begins to open up again, we encourage you to get out and enjoy life to the fullest. Just be sure to pack a stitching project to take along!