I found out today the lady who owned and ran the closest LNS to my former home died. Inez Fowler owned Inez' Creative Stitchery, in Kensington, Maryland. She was 89 years old when she died last month.
Ms. Inez's shop was the first real LNS I ever went to as an adult. I found it on New Years Eve, 1999. I had a boring day at work, and started flipping through the phonebook, then went home at lunch. She was on the way home, so I stopped in, and bought a kit--my first evenweave kit--and I used to go there a lot. A lady I worked with who was crafty said she'd been in business a long time. It was 30 years, even on Sundays. Every Sunday.
She had treasures in that shop. I'd always come out with some little goodie. Now I regret the ones I passed up. The Gone With the Wind kits. Not getting all the Prairie Schooler nursery rhyme leaflets. But you could find things you wouldn't find anywhere else: napkins, placemats, unusual colors. Amazing finds.
She had a kind of prickly reputation. Her staff seemed afraid of her, but she was ALWAYS nice to her customers. At least when I went in. Even when she found out I was a Kentucky alumni--she was an LSU grad. Maybe she liked seeing a young, enthusiastic stitcher? Maybe she loved needlework and wanted to keep it alive; she stopped and gave me a lesson in needlepoint one day. I never finished that bird, but it wasn't for lack of a good teacher. Whatever it was, she lit a fire under me. For a girl who had never had beautiful threads and fabrics and charts to work with before, her shop was a whole new world, and I went from a hobbyist to an artist. And I am forever grateful to her for that.
Whereever you are, Ms. Inez, thank you.