A couple of weeks ago Tom and I spent the weekend in Battle Creek, Michigan with dear friends. What a wonderful time the four of us had! On our way home, we decided to make a slight detour to visit Bobbie and Cam at their shop Stitching Bits and Bobs in Plainwell, Michigan. What a treat that was!!
Bobbie and Cam opened their original shop in West Memphis, Arkansas in February 2003 and attended their first Nashville Needlework Market about the same time. Bobbie told me that they had no idea what to expect so they drove to the market in a Ford Taurus. She said it was a good thing that they lived only four hours away because Cam had to pack things on and around her to get everything home. All you could see was her head. Obviously there was no stopping for anything (including a bathroom break). Wow--what we do for our love of needlework.
Here are some photos from one of the two large rooms in the shop. Look at all those fibers!!!
I was so excited to see Bobbie and Cam again that I forgot to ask them a number of things about the shop. (Thankfully I remembered to ask Tom to take some photos.) Once I got home, I emailed Bobbie with some questions, and she kindly answered them. (Thanks, Bobbie.)
Me: How did you get the name Stitching Bits and Bobs?
Bobbie: I noticed a lot of the Brits in my stitching group would say they were going to gather their bits and bobs and go stitch. So that is how we came up with the name for our shop. Later on I noticed in one of the Harry Potter movies that Hagrid tells Harry that they need to go to Diagon Alley to get his bits and bobs for school. A lot of people assume it's because my name is Bobbie! (Ellen: That's exactly what I assumed, Bobbie.)
Me: Please tell me about your shop and how you got started.
Bobbie: We started out online only and originally thought we'd remain that way. Once our inventory started to take over the house we decided we needed a separate building for it. That is when we moved to Michigan and bought property that included a separate carriage house. We had our shop in the carriage house for about a year and then due to so many requests we decided to have walk-in customers too. We quickly grew out of the carriage house and were lucky to find a retail space only four blocks away.
We started out with 1200 square feet and within six months were able to expand into part of the space next to us which brought us up to 1800 square feet. Four years ago the business on the other side of us moved to a smaller space so we were able to expand again - we currently have roughly 3600 square feet.
Me: I noticed lots and lots of fibers. Please tell me about them.
Bobbie: Our shop has an extensive selection of fibers and I'm always finding ways to squeeze in a new fiber line! We carry threads from Dinky-Dyes, Rainbow Gallery, Gloriana, Needlepoint Inc., Thread Gatherer, Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Art, Classic Colorworks, Carrie's Threads, Tentakulum, and many more. Our most recent addition are the cotton and silk lines hand dyed by Erik Shipley of Ship's Manor Designs.
Me: Tell me about the stitch-ins you have at your shop.
Bobbie: We have a weekly sit and stitch that is open to all. Some of us meet for an early dinner at a local restaurant, The Old Mill, at four and sit and stitch is from five to eight. We are always happy to have people stop in and join us if they happen to be in the area!
Me: Is there anything else you would like to say?
Bobbie: I think the one thing that surprises most people is that we do not have employees. Cam and I do it all right down to creating and updating our website. My parents helped us quite a bit the first few years and we've had a few temporary employees but we really enjoy working together just the two of us.
Stitching Bits and Bobs has a large mail-order business with many customers both in and out of the US. They are open Tuesday-Saturday or by appointment. We were at the shop on a Monday which is the day that they play catch-up from a busy week and get ready for the next one. The shop is on my automatic list which means they get my new designs as soon as they are available.
Thank you, Bobbie and Cam, for letting us stop by for a visit, especially knowing how busy you are even on your "off-day". Wishing you many more years of continued success with your shop.
Blogspot is giving me issues today--no matter what I try, I can't get the font to stay consistent throughout this post. I've finally given up and decided to post it as is.