Five questions with Polly Kramer and Carol Crowe

Carol Crowe and Polly Kramer, owners of KC Needlepoint

Longtime needlepoint enthusiasts and recent business partners and friends saw their dream of creating a light, bright community of stitchers—from beginners to veterans—come true at KC Needlepoint, their shop in Waldo.

They only realized after they opened that “KC” stands for Kramer and Crowe as well as our beloved hometown, which was not the first coincidence in their partnership.

How long have you been stitching?
PK: I began stitching around 8 years old. I remember going to a couple’s home in St. Louis—they sold needlepoint and dollhouse furniture in their basement. I still have a newspaper clipping of me and my friend stitching on their porch.

CC: I started needlepointing when I was 11 years old with local needlepoint artist Joanie Sherman.

How did you end up as partners?
CC: We did not know each other before we opened the shop. We had each been thinking about opening a needlepoint store in Kansas City. In September of 2014, Polly emailed the manager of the well-known needlepoint shop Sign of the Arrow in St. Louis, asking her for her thoughts about the idea.

PK: Carol emailed the same woman in November asking her thoughts about opening a shop. She emailed each of us back to say someone else from Kansas City had made the same inquiry. We met at Aixois for lunch in November and the rest is history!

What is it about needlepoint that’s so appealing?
PK: Needlepointing is relaxing! It is also therapeutic. It is so nice in this age of phones and tablets to put away the electronics and get in touch with creativity and handwork. We love the fact that you can do it while watching TV, at a child’s sporting event, traveling, even sitting on a beach or chatting with friends. It’s also a lifelong hobby. Many people come to our store and tell us they haven’t stitched in years. “No problem,” we tell them, “It’s like riding a bike!” For us, it’s also a connection to our mothers and grandmothers who needlepointed and taught us how to needlepoint. Now we are teaching our daughters how to stitch.

Is there a particular project that is good for a beginner?
CC: We like to start our beginning needlepointers on a single initial 4” square. We teach them both the basket weave and the continental stitches, the two basic stitches in needlepoint. A small, simple canvas gives ample space to learn a stitch, but it is small enough to finish and have a sense of completion. Once someone has learned these two stitches they can tackle any needlepoint canvas.

Do you have a fantasy project that you just haven’t gotten to yet?
PK: I believe I have already completed my fantasy project, although at the time I started it I didn’t know what I was getting into. From 1994 to 2001 I stitched a runner for our front stairs, which turned into a family history of sorts. Each stair represents a member of our family along with their birthdate and an icon specific to them.

CC: My fantasy project is a rug. I was busy this past year needlepointing cummerbunds for the groomsmen in my son’s wedding. We also spend a lot of our stitching time needlepointing samples for the shop, so the rug has taken a backseat.

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