Eat, Play, Live

Stitch Your Art Out builds a community of crafters

Artists gather at Stitch Your Art Out in Pine Grove Mills on April 18 to talk about projects they are working on.
Artists gather at Stitch Your Art Out in Pine Grove Mills on April 18 to talk about projects they are working on.

Editor’s note: This story is part of the Eat, Play, Live special section.

Time moves differently inside Stitch Your Art Out — or maybe it’s just a Pine Grove Mills thing.

Either way, proprietress Cynthia Spencer is already thinking months ahead, color-wise.

“My head is already in fall. Summer is gone from my point of view,” Spencer said.

Over the past 14 years, Spencer has grown her yarn, fabric and crafting shop into a small-scale tourist destination, mostly by turning a willfully blind eye toward quilting’s conservative stable of colors and patterns.

Bright and contemporary are the marching orders at Stitch Your Art Out, where the shelves are festooned with vibrant pastels that fly in the face of more traditional choices like navy, brown or tan.

“It does look like a candy store only lower calorie,” Spencer said.

At the beginning, Spencer said that customers were surprised by the fabric supply’s vibrant color palette — but now they’ve come to expect the brave and the bold.

The shop attracts a steady stream of regulars but has also been known to appeal to the occasional tourist. Last summer, Spencer entertained a woman from California, who had come to town to visit her child at Penn State.

“When you’re a crafter, you look for it. I get most of my business from Google now,” Spencer said.

A steady schedule of crafting classes and a yearly retreat to Lake Raystown help keep the regular clientele engaged.

The monthly creativity class, led by Spencer, meets at Stitch Your Art Out to discuss progress and swap tips on different projects the group has percolating.

“As you’re talking to everybody, you kind of get the creative energy from everybody and it sparks new ideas in you,” said Deb Finocchio, a member of the creativity club.

The projects on display represented everything from traditional quilts to a knitted squirrel with a cap on its head.

Spencer was eager to try one of her own.

“I can’t imagine not doing things with my hands and not having color around me,” Spencer said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

Stitch Your Art Out

Where: 235 Pine Grove Road, Pine Grove Mills