The Quarter Stitch
The Quarter Stitch, a small three-room store, is satisfyingly settled into the French Quarter just a stone’s throw from Jackson’s Square. The store has solidly stood the test of time as this year marks its 50th anniversary.
In a riot of color, barrels, baskets and bins overflow with hand-dyed luxury yarn and on the wall beautiful hand-painted needlepoint canvases await a loving needle and thread to make them into treasured heirlooms.
“One of the things I like best about the store is helping people find the perfect colors and textures for their projects,” says Jenn Webber, the store’s manager. “Then as they work on those projects back home, they remember their trip and how much fun they had in New Orleans. And when they finally wear that scarf or cowl or sweater, they’ll once again remember New Orleans.”
There’s more diverse selection, much more modern inventory and some of the store’s business now takes place online, but not much else has changed at this boutique business.
“We're thrilled that we have been a part of the fabric of New Orleans for the past 50 years,” says Webber.
To mark their anniversary year, they’ve partnered with Dragonfly Fibers to produce four New Orleans-inspired, hand-dyed colorways. A colorway is a scheme of two or more colors in which a design is available. The store’s first skein was inspired by the colors in a portrait of Marie Laveau. It’s beyond vibrant and features the hues of kelly green, orange, maroon and yellow.
“The next three colorways, and the people they honor, are still secret and won’t be known until we release the yarn,” Webber says.
Recently, the success of Marvel Studios’ Black Panther hit the knitting community with a huge impact. The top trending pattern was Nakia’s infinity scarf worn by actress Lupita Nyong'o. It was copied by thousands of knitters around the world. Webber even made one for herself..
Caitlin Geronimo, another of the store’s employees, has had several touches with Hollywood. She was asked to knit a faux chainmail coat of armour for a character on a TNT show. She’s also been asked to create knitting projects for fictional characters in a movie or TV show who just happen to knit.
And just in case you’re wondering, knitting isn’t just for old white-haired ladies. The Craft Yarn Council reports that a third of women ages 25 to 35 now knit or crochet. Also, several studies point to the fact that these crafts can lessen anxiety and reduce stress.
“Knitting and needlework can be very relaxing,” says Geronimo. “It’s very similar to meditating or doing yoga.
“Also, I find when my hands are busy, my mind stays focused,” adds Webber.
The store also carries a wide selection of New Orleans themed needlepoint canvases, many of which were designed in-house or by local artists.
Mallory Maine, 15, from Huntsville, Alabama, appreciates all the Quarter Stitch offers. She and her family visit it every time they come to New Orleans. She’s a weaver and often creates costumes and accessories for the The Society for Creative Anachronism.
“I love the variety here,” she says. “They carry so many colors with so many different textures. This is not anything like what you’d find at WalMart or Michaels. I love it.”
The Quarter Stitch
629 Chartres St.