A Little Bit of History
In 1976 there was a small novelty gift and craft shop in Morgantown, WV at 142 Walnut Street called “Depot Stitchery.” The shop was owned by Karl Yagle and sold candles, small gifts, needlepoint canvases and needlepoint yarn. As knitted and crocheted afghans became part of the needlework trend the shop expanded into yarn. A friend of Barbara Hamrick was working as the store manager. She was familiar with Barbara’s needlework talent and asked her to come to work at the shop. After a few months of employment Barbara learned that Mr. Yagle was interested in selling the business.
Barbara Hamrick bought the business in July 1977, phased out the candles and gifts, and changed the name to “The Needlecraft Barn.” Her goal was to carry only quality needlework supplies. This was a focus she maintained as long as she owned the business, and is one we still strive towards today.
The Needlecraft Barn, under Barbara’s ownership, reflected the changing trends in the needlework industry. Latch hook rugs and wall hangings were very popular in the late 1970’s and early 1980s. The shop offered a custom design service in both latch hook and needlepoint canvases. Barbara secured a WVU license and developed many designs for WVU buildings, seals, and logos.
The 1980s saw the rise of counted cross stitch. The Needlecraft Barn added an extensive line of counted cross stitch fabric and DMC threads. The increase in inventory led to a need for more space. In July 1986 the Hamricks bought the building at 162 Chancery Row. The main floor was converted from attorney offices to the new home for The Needlecraft Barn.
The shop flourished in the expanded space. Barbara always offered a variety of needlework classes, worked hard to stay current with the needlework trends, and provided assistance to customers with needlework questions and problems. The Needlecraft Barn always had one or two part-time clerks who were skilled in the types of needlework the store offered. Darla Leach, a childhood friend of Barbara’s, was a part of the shop for almost 30 years. One of the clerks who worked for Barbara in the early 1980s was Cecilia Graves.
After 34 years Barbara Hamrick decided it was time to retire. She remembered Cecilia’s enthusiasm for the shop and called to see if she would “like to buy a yarn shop.” The timing was right and The Needlecraft Barn was sold to Frances Graves, with Cecilia as manager, in May 2010. All the licenses and details were completed by July and, coincidentally, July 1 once again became the official date for the operation of The Needlecraft Barn with new owners.
Today, The Needlecraft Barn continues to stock quality needlework supplies. Cecilia offers classes in different needlework skills and continues the original shop policy of offering free assistance for solving customer’s needlework problems. As the needlework industry continues to evolve, The Needlecraft Barn is committed to operating as downtown Morgantown business offering quality products and service to the surrounding needlework community.