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Is LeeWards Craft Store Still in Business?

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Does anyone know if the craft store LeeWards is still in business? They closed their store in San Diego years ago but they had the best crafts. I'm looking for small hand loom type things because I don't know how to knit or crochet but I want to make something.

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Thanks!

Joanne from San Diego CA

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April 30, 20129 found this helpful

LeeWards is now Michaels. I am the daughter of the founder/CEO (and my uncle was the VP.) They started the company at a time when silk, for parachutes, was still in high demand, although the war was over. This allowed him to stay profitable, as he sold the silk to those who needed it (stockings) etc.

My dad started one of the first catalogue businesses in the country. I can still remember seeing his customer list on cards-like the old card catalogues in the library. He was one of the first who switched to computers and hired people to do punch cards.

He was always thinking of the customer: before he allowed a "kit" to leave he had checked out the instructions with the line operators. If they didn't understand the instructions, it went back to the artist. It had to be accessible. My dad was the salesman; my uncle the day to day guy. My dad introduced silk flowers to the US. He made a connection in Hong Kong and brought the products into the US.

None of us wanted to run the business. It was sold to General Mills, which in time, devolved to Michaels. My father retired to Spain, my uncle to a place in Ill. Each of them mourned the loss of the business.

I worked there, at minmum wage through numerous vacations. I remember working to fill orders, and always wished that I had roller skates to get around. It was tiring. I miss it now but that is likely nostalgia.

I am thrilled that someone remembers LeeWards. It was a great place. I only wish it were still in business.

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November 17, 20151 found this helpful

I wish it was too. I started shopping at LeeWards when I was 12...1967, in Los Angeles. I LOVED it! I've worked at Michaels for 10 years, but it isn't the same.

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Anonymous
December 12, 20151 found this helpful

I remember Lee Wards I had a catalog and ordered a variety of craft items from it. Today I was searching for it on the internet as Michaels does not carry the variety that Lee Wards did. I am disappointed to find out it has closed. I to mourn its closing. Former satisfied customer.

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Anonymous
January 2, 20161 found this helpful

Thank you for sharing. In the 1970's my mother, husband, sister, and I made many Lee Wards Christmas ornament. Some are a bit "used" while others are still looking great. I've repaired when I could. But it's hard now to ever find sequins that match the originals. One of our favorites has a music box in it and it needs a bit of repair. Another special one is Magical Christmas tree. My husband spent a lot of time and lots of glue and it is just as lovely today as it was when he made it. I'm sorry to say Michael's doesn't hold a candle to Lee Wards especially with ornament kits if they even have them. Wish they would reappear.

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Anonymous
January 11, 20160 found this helpful

I became familiar with Leewards in 1980 while I was stationed in Germany. They had the best assortments of Macrame books and I lost my favorite one that I wish had now to remake copies of Macrame hangers and shelves I still have today. Do you think you can obtain any of the macrame books from that time. This is one of the shelves that came from that magazine I wish I could get.

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Anonymous
March 9, 20160 found this helpful

me, too

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July 3, 20160 found this helpful

Hello,

I was going through some magazines that I had kept over the years for reference to remember the name if I needed something. The catalog is the Bicentennial Edition --"Sale ends July 28, 1976"

P.Housden

Virginia

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July 13, 20160 found this helpful

My mom and family took turns in order from the new catalogue, making christmas balls bejewed to Easter eggs, necklaces and mom knitted granny and i crocheted many afaghans ,placemats pot holder. Loved looking through each cat. Thanks for the info I have a box of the ball point paint called expressa-color still.

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August 12, 20160 found this helpful

I bought from Lee Wards for over ten years.

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October 21, 20160 found this helpful

I loved LeeWards When I was a kid, I would go with my mom to buy hook rug supplies-- She would spend years making huge rugs. I would spend what seemed like hours wandering and looking at all the lovely things "I would make someday" LOLL I have a loom that you are looking for.... It called a knitting loom. It is made of wood and has nails in it that you weave back and forth to double or single knit. Sorry, I looked at Michaels for one-- but finally found it at JoAnne fabrics...In our town they are right across the parking lot to each other. I did not know that LeeWards is Michaels...That's a great legacy!

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November 14, 20160 found this helpful

I was just thinking of LeeWards and the wonderful time I had ordering from the catalogue and visiting the store in the Northern California south bay. Thanks to you and your family!

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December 13, 20160 found this helpful

I miss it!! My daughters still is their Christmas stocking I made from ordering from the catalog! 36 yrs ago.

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December 14, 20160 found this helpful

I'm so glad to see so many remember Lee Wards. I also grew up with it. My Aunt Verna Lee "Mernie" Clark worked there and my family shopped there constantly. As I recall Mernie would design projects of various kinds then, once approved, would work with the engineers to break them down into kits. I learned how to do most crafts before I was 15 learning from my aunt. I would go across the street to her house after school and she was home from work, and she would let me play with scraps she had at home. I loved my trips to the Elgin IL store, walking the aisles, looking at all the parts and wondering what I might do with them. I craft of all kinds to this day and thank Mernie for her skill and time with me. Her daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughters also craft. We have also sold some of our work. I hope to live up to her legacy and make her proud.

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December 19, 20160 found this helpful

Lee Ward's. I used to go to that store, Burlington, MA, all the time. Learned various different crafts and spent many hours walking and looking at everything. Sure miss it.

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December 30, 20160 found this helpful

I remember getting feather doll kits from lee wards i had every color they sold.sure miss that store.

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January 4, 20170 found this helpful

Oh how I loved that compay. I bought a cross stitch tablecloth and said it was my 27 year project, thinking at the time that it will take me that long for sure. Well, it's way over 27 years and I just pulled it out to work some more on it and on the instructions it says LeeWards, I had lost track of the company through the years and moves to different states and decided I wanted to know also if the company was still going. I'm sad that it isn't but so happy I have my tablecloth that is ALMOST finished, lol. Thanks for telling us about the inside of the company. Take care.

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January 8, 20170 found this helpful

My sister took me a a Lee Wards store in or near St. Pete, Fl. in the 80's. I loved it! A huge building divided in areas for each craft. I can't remember if there was one in San Antonio too. I went to a huge store there but don't remember the name but it was identical to the one in St. Pete. Michaels is good but it is too small for all the crafts offered. I go there when I am in the States now. Ah, those were the days!!!!! Sherian

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January 9, 20170 found this helpful

Oh the memories of Lee Wards. My entire family would make the drive to Kansas, where the store was located. My dad was a good sport and would wait while my mom and I looked all around. I loved their kits and get a kick out of finding some of their old items on Ebay or in thrift stores.

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January 10, 20170 found this helpful

I miss LeeWards too. It was my mom's favorite craft store. We were upset when Michaels took it over. My mom passed in 1994, but I still remember going to Lee Wards with her. We used to say She who dies with the most yarn wins. Just a bit of nostalgia.

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January 14, 20170 found this helpful

I started shopping at the Lee Wards in Elgin, Illinois in the early 1970's and loved it. Unfortunately, the building now houses a flee market and a Habitat Restore, which we do visit on occasion.

Believe it or not, I DO have an original Lee Ward Weaving Loom Kit, unopened and still in the box, which I am looking to sell. I would love for it to go to someone who remembers the quality products that aren't quite the same anymore.

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February 22, 20170 found this helpful

Thank you for that information I have found several leewards catalogs in a storage unit that I bought. Too bad I can't save them and give them to you you have to contact me like toot sweet. Today being February 22, 2017.

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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

I lived in Schaumburg, IL in the '80's and remember my visits to LeeWards very fondly. I wish the Michael's team were as diligent about screening patterns as was your Dad. Warm cuddly thoughts to you and all us old crafters.

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February 25, 20170 found this helpful

I loved the catalog and even ordered from it, did not know the connection to Michaels, but makes sense when you think about it 

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Anonymous
February 26, 20170 found this helpful

I had no idea that LeeWards was no longer in business or that it devolved to Michaels. I loved ordering all of my embroidery supplies from LeeWards Catalog. I was never disappointed.

When I was pregnant with my second child I embroidered the crib quilt, Kitties in a Basket. I took me the entire nine (9) months to complete it. Just in time for the birth of my daughter. I have lost track of where that quilt went. I wish I still had it (46 years later) to take a picture of it. It was my daughter's favorite and it did become quite thread bare after about 8 years.

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March 20, 20170 found this helpful

Lee Wards was the best craft supplier. The one store was located in Elwood, Long Island, New York. My parents ordered from the catalog many times. We drove from Brooklyn, N.Y. and also Baldwin, NY to shop. Thank you for great memories with my parents.

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March 25, 20170 found this helpful

We had no stores nearby (Eastern Washington) but I ordered from the catalogs in the late 50's & 60"s. I was reminded of them when I recently bought a mixed bag of yarn from a thrift store and it contained 4 skeins of Lee Wards yarn. I have such good memories of their products.

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April 7, 20170 found this helpful

I wish Leewards was still in businews also. It was a great store.

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April 19, 20170 found this helpful

check out libraries or used book stores.

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April 22, 20170 found this helpful

My LeeWards embroidered table cloth - which is only half done - is now 47 years old. Bought in Elgin Illinois and worked on when I was pregnant with our last daughter. I still have it but will probably never complete it. Avocado green. Yuck. There has never been another store as much fun as LeeWards.

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April 30, 20170 found this helpful

My mother had ordered a doll kit where you make some sort of paper combination fabric circles for its dress and the doll had a parasol. I was wondering if they are still some around. thanks Ione Neese

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May 1, 20170 found this helpful

As a former Soft Lines Manager at Michael's, Chesapeake, VA I too miss the store.

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May 18, 20170 found this helpful

I went to the store in Elgin, Il. That's where my mom bought kits for hooked rugs and ripple afghans. Loved that store.

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Anonymous
June 3, 20170 found this helpful

My grandmother worked for Leewards in Los Angeles when I was little. She took me along sometimes in the summer. I learned how do do many crafts while there each day, from some of the nicest people. Wish current employees were helpful and polite.

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June 17, 20170 found this helpful

I also was a constant patron of Lee Wards in San Diego in the 70's, and have gone on line to try to find it again. Yes, I go to Michaels but preferred Lee Wards. Oh well. I appreciated the reply from family member, as I now know the answer, and the history of the store. Thanks for the info.

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June 25, 20170 found this helpful

By chance do you or do you know of someone that I could get a pattern from? My mom started the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep counted cross stitch and the pattern has gotten lost. I have tried Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon. No one has it. Just trying to finish something my mom started. Thanks so much.

Janelle

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June 28, 20170 found this helpful

My husband and I had to drive to Elgin Illinois yesterday and as we drove down State street I said " I know that building ". I spent all night thinking about it and remembered it was where my mom, aunt and grandmother would go for our craft kits. I hooked many rugs and made many needlepoint kits from there. I just couldn't recall the name, though, so I googled it. How fun to remember it was Leewards. And to hear all these great stories

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July 13, 20170 found this helpful

Me too  I LOVED that company. Herrschners nor Michaels even hold a candle to that company! Nothing compares to the old stores and their products

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July 16, 20170 found this helpful

I just mailed a Lee Wards wool hook rug to a friend. I made it around 1966/67. I designed the pattern and hooked it from rug mesh and pre-cut wool pieces from your catalog. the finished product was about 7' x 8'. Still has no moth holes. I also have maybe 40 Christmas ornaments I made. What nostalgia.

thank you.

elsie

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July 18, 20170 found this helpful

I used to go to Leeward all the time when they were in Burlington, MA. I miss them a lot. I go to Michaels, but it's not the same. I still have a paper they used to wrap the yarn. It has the color and lot number on it. Thank you for letting me know what happened to them.

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July 20, 20170 found this helpful

I remember shopping at Lee Wards many times. i always did a lot of knitting and crocheting and was sad when they closed the store. That was a lot of years ago. This month for my 84th birthday my son went to an estate sale and bought me a lot of yarn ( I always ask for it as I still knit a lot and make. Hats, gloves etc. for the homeless) Imagine my surprise when I opened the very large tote and found

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July 27, 20170 found this helpful

They opened one in New Jersey and I worked there I miss too,but I can't remember what year it closed, and turned into Michaels I would love it if someone could send me the year.

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May 9, 20130 found this helpful

I bought a dollhouse from Lee Ward many years ago for my Granddaughter. It was assembled by my son for his daughter. And now my great-granddaughter is very much enjoying playing with the same dollhouse! The dollhouse has brought so much pleasure to our family. Thank you Lee Ward.

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August 20, 20130 found this helpful

Michaels is really terrible and it's hard to find the craft supplies you need. Also they won't order something if it is not on their shelves. I miss Lee Ward as I used to get a doll part with them I now can't find and I remember doing the ornaments with my Mom and son every year. At one time our entire tree was those homemade ornaments from Lee Ward.

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Anonymous
March 24, 20160 found this helpful

I agree!! I loved Lee Wards in Az. Had a back wall of every color & ply yarn you could ever want! I crochet & use to go wild getting yarn there. Also loved their x-stitch kits & embroidery patterns. All a dying art I suppose. But I still crochet blankets for Denver Hospice as I moved here in 1974. Nothing like or since Lee Wards!!

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June 24, 20150 found this helpful

I have seen in Mary maxim craft catalogue "knitting & crochet" for dummies. This might be an idea to help you learn these crafts. Good Luck with your adventure.

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Anonymous
March 13, 20160 found this helpful

My mother and I shopped Lee Wards from the day we discovered it (it was quite a drive for us to Elgin, but once I got a car....we went every week). We both mourned when it disappeared. No other store has the range of items Lee Wards had nor the service.

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March 21, 20160 found this helpful

I just found a LeeWards Cape Cod dollhouse kit, dated 1975, in my aunt's house. Original price was $39.95.

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August 6, 20170 found this helpful

I stumbled upon this site and was elated at the response of so many crafters. I worked at the Elgin store in the early 70's in the yarn department t. LeeWards was very flexible with schedules as a lot of us had school age kids. They were also flexible about summer vacations. Leave work for the summer and return in the fall after school started. I quit after a time, but several years later I landed a job in the corporate office in the advertising department. At one point I was the phototypesetter for the catalog. I have nothing but fond memories of those days.

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