Enter the wonderful Chicago summer -- which allowed for outdoor dining and socializing. I reconnected with a dear friend’s older brother and, as a happy accident, we started dating. I was swept off my feet by Kendall. On about our fifth date, I realized he had worn a needlepoint belt with every outfit. Turns out his mom had stitched him a whole collection over the years.
Last year, as the world was shutting down over St. Patrick's Day weekend, my roommate, Lindsay, and I hunkered down. We stocked up on wine, ice cream and La Croix -- you know, the essentials! Like everyone else, we wondered what the next few weeks would look like. I specifically remember asking, "Will this ruin my birthday plans (on April 17th)?" and Lindsay assuring me, "Oh, no way. Not a chance. Everything will definitely be back to normal by then." Oh, how naive we were! But despite the terrible and difficult things that came with the past year, some wonderful & exciting adventures that I never could have planned also popped up.
Last year, I was hitting my stride. I had started to move on from a difficult split with my college sweetheart, successfully taken my first big career risk and was enjoying life with my wonderful friends in Chicago. I thought the next year would bring some girls’ nights out, a trip to Europe, and movement up the corporate ladder. If you had flashed me a scene of my life now, sitting in an empty storefront on Armitage hanging thousands of skeins of threads, I would never be able to piece together how I found myself here.
My wonderful roommate learned how to stitch from her mom & grandmother, as did other East Coast-based friends of mine. Growing up in California, the most I knew about needlepoint was that my Aunt Jill had needlepointed us Christmas stockings before she met my uncle. When I moved in with Lindsay, I truly thought it was the strangest hobby and didn't really inquire about it for our first two years of living together.
After the pandemic hit, I had no excuse but to stitch the ornament canvas she had given me for my birthday. Of course, I was hooked. In the early months of the pandemic Lindsay and I would find ourselves up at 2 am chatting, stitching, and drinking wine. I loved how it kept me busy and made me feel productive, while I was still being social. My stash started to grow, but I didn't really think of needlepoint as more than a pandemic hobby.
Enter the delightful Chicago summer -- which allowed for outdoor dining and socializing. I reconnected with a dear friend’s older brother and, as a happy accident, we started dating. I was swept off my feet by Kendall. On about our fifth date, I realized he had worn a needlepoint belt with every outfit. Turns out his mom had stitched him a whole collection over the years.
Kendall and I's first photo together!
After a few months of dating, Kendall and I met his friend Jack and his girlfriend for brunch in the West Loop. Of course, this girlfriend turned out to be none other than the stranger I am now hanging needlepoint thread with! Mack and I bonded over our pandemic stitching, tech sales boyfriends, love of wine, and coastal childhoods.
Now, finally, this story has made it to my pandemic birthday number two! This time I thought I knew what to expect -- a small dinner with friends. Alas, my half-vaccinated boyfriend came down with COVID and we headed to a tiny cabin in Wisconsin to quarantine. Work was light for me, so I spent the week throwing myself into stitching, and Matthew McConaughey's book “Greenlights.”
Now, I'm not sure if it was the unsuspecting wisdom of Matthew McConaughey, my impending 25th birthday, the pandemic or fate, but an idea hit me and I could not not act on it. I wanted to start an LNS in Chicago, and I wanted to do it immediately! I spent the week building out my business plan and pitched it to my parents, figuring they could only be so mad while I was quarantined on my birthday. WRONG. They were (rightfully so?) very concerned that their CPA daughter was investing her life savings in a shop for a hobby she had pursued for just over a year.
I took the week to think about it... and decided to do it anyway. Genius really struck in the moment I had the idea to bring Mack on as my partner. Mack had all the experience I lacked and rounded out my plan perfectly. She eased my parents’ concern, and tweaked our business plan into reality.
So, crazy or not, Third Coast Stitches is my quarter-life crisis, and I can't wait to share it with you!
Life is our résumé. It is our story to tell, and the choices we make write the chapters. Can we live in a way where we look forward to looking back? - Greenlights
Greenlights - now on my beside table!