We are pretty lucky here. We have not one, but two pretty good craft stores. We have a California based company called Beverly's, which has a nice selection of crafts, and an exceptional selection of fabric. They carry Michael Miller and Moda fabrics, which are my very favorites. In addition, we have a brand-spanking new Michaels. If I do not need fabric, I will usually drive the extra 10 minutes to the Michaels because they have a terrific overall craft selection and have better prices.
I had to go to Target today, which is in the same shopping center as Michaels. (I always seem to run out of all of my cleaning supplies all at once, hence the trip to Target.) I needed some feathers for an angel Chrismon that I am working on so I ran into Michaels. I am noticing that the bead section gets bigger and bigger. They are so beautiful, and seem to get nicer and nicer with each selection that is added. However, this also makes me sad...
I realize that crafts are cyclical and sadly, cross stitch is not at the top of the cycle. I have noticed that there is hardly anything left for cross stitcher. There is the obligatory selection of DMC and aida cloth, but no patterns, no Mill Hill beads, no nice linen, no pretty Gingher designer scissors. While I do not purchase many kits, I was disappointed to see that cross stitch kits never even made it to this store. It just seems like such a shame. I remember a day when even department stores like JC Penney and Mervyn's carried stitching kits and supplies. Every mall had a LNS.
I will say that the quality of craft supplies has improved so greatly over the past twenty years. I am so impressed with the varied items and the professional look that the average person can achieve with what they can pick up at the local craft store. I love being able to work with a lot of different materials and have a varied interest in crafts. However, my first love is cross stitch and my worry is that eventually the limited selection will eventually become no selection. I realize that craft stores are also just trying to accomodate what their customers want right now. I also like the immediate gratification of quilting, making a bracelet, or making a card. But I really hope that cross stitch makes it back to the top of the cycle again, that good materials are readily available, and that this artform will not be lost forever.