New Andover business offers a unique Adventure in needlecraft


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  • Eric and Anna Hemsworth, owners of Stitch Adventure




  • Stitch Adventure in the Gazebo Plaza in Andover Township




  • The business' classroom




  • Fabrics and notions on display




  • Stitch Adventure will offer long-arm quilting machine operator certification. Its own machine will be available for rent.




  • A rainbow of colorful fabrics greets customers.




  • Fabrics, yarn and notions are available.




By MANDY CORISTON

ANDOVER -- Stitch Adventure, a fabric and notions store and learning center, held its grand opening weekend on Sept. 28-30, with festivities including knitting and crocheting contests, mini-classes, quilt appraisals by AQS-certified appraiser Dana Balsamo, giveaways, and a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 29. The store, located in the Gazebo Plaza on Newton-Sparta Road, is owned by Anna and Eric Hemsworth, both New Jersey natives and US Navy Veterans.

The Hemsworths met while in the service, and Anna said a sewing machine is the first birthday present that Eric bought her when they were dating. “I learned to sew from my aunt and to crochet and do yarn crafts from my grandmother,” Anna said, “I would spend summers with them in Puerto Rico when I was young, but that sewing machine really got me into quilting.”

Anna said Eric is beyond supportive of her endeavors, and that the shop would never have been a reality without him. “It’s wonderful to be a team like we are, to have that built-in support system,” she said, “And he even sews!”

The Hemsworths want the store to be a gathering place for people to shop and learn, and as important, to expose the next generation to the joy of traditional needlecrafts.

Anna said they chose the location because they fell in love with the space. The high ceilings, natural light, and the white and lavender décor are calm and inviting. There’s a kitchen table for people to sit and chat together while they work, a sitting area with comfortable leather chairs, and a classroom workspace. The center of the shop is filled with well-spaced shelves of colorful fabrics, yarns, threads, and notions. “We wanted to stay central in the county,” Anna said, “and be part of a community where there are other attractions. Quilters travel, and if they come to Andover, they can also find good restaurants, go antiquing, really make a day of it.”

Vicki Schroeder, a long-time friend of the Hemsworths, will be working at the shop as an Adventure Guide and she’s excited to see the couple achieve their dream. “We know this is a unique business,” she said, “but I hope it really inspires others to take that leap and open up other businesses that are new and different.”

Customers have been steadily coming in since the store had its soft opening early in the summer. Browsing the fabric racks on the Grand Opening weekend, Cynthia Seamans of Paulinskill Lake found seasonal panels for a project for her grandchildren. “I’m going to make them Trick or Treat bags with this,” she said, pointing out a Halloween-themed fabric, “It’s perfect!” Seamans was also drawn to a bolt of cloth printed with glow-in-the-dark constellations, saying, “My grandson would love this one, too!”

The store offers classes for all ages in a variety of needle and yarn crafts, from knitting and crocheting to hand embroidery and quilting techniques. In addition to shopping and classes, Stitch Adventure also boasts a long-arm quilting machine. The apparatus is an industrial sewing machine which makes it possible to put together the front, batting, and backing of large quilts in a time-efficient manner. Anna will be providing drop-off services for her to do the quilting, or quilters may take lessons from Anna to become certified on the machine. Certified quilters will be able to rent time on the machine to finish their own projects. Visitors to the shop are treated to a display of Anna’s own stunning quilt work, done in an assortment of patterns and techniques.

Andover Township Mayor Janis McGovern, State Senator Steve Oroho (R-24), and Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce President Mel Dennison attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

“We’re so thrilled to have another new business in town,” McGovern said, “We have so many great things happening here, and now we have a new destination for residents and visitors to enjoy.” On a personal note, McGovern said she’s excited because she intends to take some crochet classes at the shop.

Stitch Adventure is located in the Gazebo Plaza at 253 Newton Sparta Road, in Andover Township. They are open 7 days, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. during the week, until 6 p.m. on Saturday, and 5 p.m. on Sunday. They’re always open online at www.stitchadventure.com or on Facebook (search Stitch Adventure) and Instagram (at stitchadventurenj). The shop can also be reached by phone at 973-300-1773. Class schedules and event information can be found online or in-store.









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